Power of Change Retreat

The 2017 SYL Leadership Retreat took place August 21-23 at Shekinah Re-treat Centre. This year’s event host-ed 40 young leaders representing 16 different organization from the Sask. Credit Union System.

To kick off the theme “Power Of Change” Amie Warkentin of Manito-ba Central (and the National Young Leaders Committee) lead a Change Management workshop.

Day 2 saw the CU Advance 2.0 finalists present their ideas and participate in a questioning period with the judges.

In the afternoon the attendees heard from Eric Dillon about “The Emerging World of Leadership Development”, about “Becoming a Federal Credit Union” from Dan Johnson. Adam Thome shared information about the National Young Leaders and gave

some advice based on his personal learnings. In the evening Gerald Hauta took us outside to tell us about “The Old Man and the CU” (and to do the macarena).

Throughout the rest of the retreat the attendees participated in breakout sessions, networking activities, and enjoyed the natural amenities Sheki-nah has to offer.



“It was nice to hear first hand the reason Innovation is becoming federated. It was nice to have Dan Johnson share his view and perspectives.”

“Adam Thome spoke about being self-aware, and if you fall into the wrong path start over and find a new path. He encouraged young leaders to get out there and try new things. He was very inspirational as a young leader himself.”

“Gerald Hauta was very engaging. His presentation left me inspired and open to change”

“I loved the passion Eric Dillon brought to the table with all of the topics he spoke about. Becoming a leader, not just sitting back and waiting for someone else to make you the leader you want to be.”

“I think Amie Warkentin was one of the best speakers at the retreat in terms of bringing back learnings to our work place. The model she provided, her personal story, and breakout sessions to help deal with change were a good mix.”

“There were so many great conversations in the breakout sessions. I could have just talked and listened for even longer about how passionate everyone is about their CU and their members.”

“I enjoyed sharing ideas and brainstorming with different people for both of the breakout sessions. Getting a chance to talk to people from other credit unions is my favorite thing about SYL events.”

“The time and effort that went into the CU Advance 2.0 presentations did not go unnoticed. It makes me look forward to a long ca-reer within the Credit Un-ion, as the system is definitely in good hands”

“Another successful SYL retreat where the environ-ment is open, non-judgmental, casual and educational.”

“I haven’t stopped telling every-one how amazing this opportunity was and how inspired and revived I feel. I am very passionate about the Credit Union System and was so happy to see so many others that feel the same way.”

“A very motivational retreat. I think its safe to say that we will all be better at our jobs, working with partner Credit Unions, and be more influential leaders. I felt very rejuvenated and refocused and I returned to the office to keep the inspiration going.”

SYL Spotlight: Cornerstone Young Leaders!

 Shannon O’Neill (Chair), Savannah Komodowski (Secretary), Erin Liske, Emily Niezgoda, April Olynick, Christine Honeyman, Amber Landels, Robin Nontell 

Shannon O’Neill (Chair), Savannah Komodowski (Secretary), Erin Liske, Emily Niezgoda, April Olynick, Christine Honeyman, Amber Landels, Robin Nontell 

We are a group of fun, innovative, ambitious individuals whose mis-sion is to empower others to grow and succeed while bringing forth innovative, forward thinking ideas that will benefit our organization and communities. In 2017, our group has come together to accomplish great things. We have been intentional about creating a balanced work plan that promotes our committee, enhances our book of business and keeps the culture strong. A series of “Culture Boosters” are planned throughout the year to keep things fun and additionally we will be completing the following:

Learning and Development: we have launched the Cornerstone Young Leaders Book Club! Reading two books a year to challenge our thinking and further development.

We want to be seen! We have committed to increase our visibility in our organization and the System.

We want to understand our members and help them thrive! We will be hosting a think tank session to promote ideas and innovation about how we an enhance and increase our membership and book of business.

A Day in the Life: by promoting a video blog series that highlights all the great staff and locations we have at Cornerstone we can feel closer as a team

Connect with Cornerstone Young Leaders on Twitter @CCUYoungLeaders to see what they’re up to! 

Fall Virtual Learning

The first SYL Twitter Chat is coming soon! Hosted by Team MarketAbility, finalists from CU Advance 2.0, we want to start a conversation about celebrating Credit Unions and Cooperatives. Keep an eye out closer to International Credit Union Day (Oct. 19) for your official invite & follow us on Twitter @SKYoungLeaders
#CUchat #SYLvoice #cuproud #chooseacooperative

SaskCU Advance 2.0

And the winner is… TEAM CU BY DESIGN!!!! Congratulations to all of the finalists including Creative Crew & MarketAbility! The SYL Committee would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the groups for their contributions to the CU System, and their commitment to collaboration and personal growth.

Ahead of the CUrve
Alex Roettger, Derek Targerson, Sheena Soke

Creative Crew
Harjas Singh, Kayla Hamm, Robin Nontell

CU by Design
Josh Noble, Justin Villeneuve, Shannon O’Neill, Stephanie Burkell

Dynamic Do-ers
Alixander Landry, Chantelle Doratti, Charity Armstrong

Ashley Kennedy, Brady Maw, Taryn Grey

 Judges included Eric Dillon (Conexus), Amy Bott (SaskCentral), Adam Thome (Affinity/NYLC), Gerald Hauta (Unity) & Dan Johnson (Innovation) Judges included Eric Dillon (Conexus), Amy Bott (SaskCentral), Adam Thome (Affinity/NYLC), Gerald Hauta (Unity) & Dan Johnson (Innovation)

Finding That Balance Blend

I knew exactly what I wanted to write about when my turn came around.  It’s something that I have been battling with for the past few years – balancing work & life. We hear and read about this all the time; you have to find that perfect balance that pleases everyone. With two young daughters at home, a loving wife who is in the work force as well, along with other friends and family relationships that I value, it can become difficult to allocate sufficient time and energy to everyone. This is especially true at a time when I am looking to advance professionally and take on more responsibilities at work. I’m sure there are many people out there who can relate to my dilemma!

I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to really sit down, do some research and hammer out a perfect strategy to balance my time appropriately between work and my personal life. A perfect balance seems nice, so let’s look at a 50/50 split. No, I need to commit more time to work if I want to advance so perhaps 70/30 – heavy on the work side. But my wife and kids though; perhaps 60 work / 40 life. Wait, it’s still warm out and the kids want to do so many activities! Better go 60 life / 40 work……… This is impossible.


I soon came to the realization that there is no such thing as a perfect balance. It’s a myth! I’ve thought about it over and over again. The phrase “work & life balance” is flawed. It implies that work and life are on opposite sides of the spectrum but to me, they are not. I would suggest that your career is a very important part of your life and in order to keep yourself sane and satisfied with life, it is imperative that you are able to BLEND your work life and your personal life together.

The best way to do this is embrace what you do for work and become passionate about it and ensure that you communicate this with your loved ones. Having an open dialogue with your spouse, kids, family and friends about what you are working on and how much you care about it will help build a level of respect about whom you are and what you love to do!

Do your best to succeed on the flip side as well – that is, be sure to integrate your personal life into your work space. We are not robots that are simply completing the tasks that we have been assigned. Be dynamic! Be flexible! Interact with those around you. Take interest in what your coworkers and clientele are up to. Be genuine! Hang photos of your family and friends in your office as these are excellent conversation pieces and serve as the perfect reminder of why we do what we do. If we make our work place a fun and interesting place to be, I swear we’ll all be better for it!

Travis Leonard