Let’s take a look at our year together…

You know the moment when you volunteer to do something, but you don’t fully know what you have gotten yourself into?  You think to yourself “no problem – how hard can it be? I can figure it out as I go” Then the time comes to have it done and you have NO idea how you’re going to pull it off.  Yeah you know exactly what I am talking about! And yes…that is me right now.

“December blog – Naomi”

I have literally been staring at those words every single month since February. I had nine months to write what could have been the greatest blog ever and yet, here I sit. I have nothing. “What am I going to talk about so I don’t sound like I fell off my chair and bonked my head while I was sitting here spinning in circles hoping that a relatable topic would just fall out of the air and hit me.” (Because that happens sometimes, right?)

Then I noticed a pile of mail sitting on my desk and just like that, I was sidetracked…or was I?

December mail may be the best mail month of the year! It goes from being 90% junk and 10% bills to 89% junk, 10% bills, 1% Christmas cards/letters/photos. I mean…that bright red envelope with the giant snowflake and handwritten address on the front can only mean one thing…an annual update from my friends and family. Some whom I see often and others who I only get to keep up with via their annual Christmas card (and Facebook of course).

And here we are…maybe not a blog, but more of a Christmas Letter from me to you! An idea that is in no way groundbreaking; but perhaps a necessity as we move into another year in an ever-changing world of banking, *ahem* Credit Union-ing.  Sorry OSFI!

Let’s take a look at our year together…

As I was creating this graphic I was actually blown away at how much we have accomplished in just 8 short months. We had a bit of a slow start on the year but we managed to cram a lot into the time we had left.

Some of my favorite 2017 moments include (but are in no way limited to):

  • Building on the business plan from 2016 using collaboration as one of our key drivers. Many of the initiatives we chose for our 2017 business plan were based around mentoring and partnerships; which always seemed to go back to collaboration. We worked together with CUMA on a couple different occasions – this partnership with CUMA continues to strengthen and I can’t wait to see where it ends up in the next few years. Sticking with the theme of collaboration: In June, the Alberta Young Leaders and the National Young Leader committee formed a Young Leader collaboration group with BC Young Leaders, Credit Union Young Leaders of Manitoba, and Saskatchewan Young Leaders. Through the summer and into the fall we have participated in numerous calls discussing the future of young leader groups in Canada. The conversations are focused mainly around awareness, collaboration, and strategy. These calls are expected to continue and likely grow stronger into 2018.
  • The Power of Change Leadership Retreat that we held in August is number two on my list.  There’s absolutely nothing bad that can happen when you get 40+ energetic leaders from numerous Credit Unions from across the province. I think I can speak for everyone when I say we all came back to work energized, excited, and enthusiastic about the future of the CU System!
  • Of course, I can’t leave out the SK CUAdvance 2.0. Keeping with the mentoring and partnerships theme, we thought it would be fun to reinvent the SK CUAdvance competition, which we hosted a few years ago as well. We began recruiting for the competition early in the spring, and by April, we had 16 entrants willing to take on the Credit Union World! The competitors were split into five teams and were each assigned a system challenge that they were required to come up with a solution (or solutions) to.  The top three teams were then invited to present their finalized ideas to a panel of guest judges at the Power of Change Leadership Retreat in August.  To check out the presentations and see who the overall winners were you can visit our website!
  • Lastly, I’d like to mention the latest initiative we presented; which was hosted jointly by SYL and CU Advance finalists: Team Marketability…the inaugural SYL Twitter Chat. One very common comment around the SYL table is “We should tweet that!” followed by “But I don’t know how to Twitter!” Social media is hard sometimes, but Team Marketability helped us bridge that gap and were able to engage the wonderful world of Twitter with some very thought provoking questions around Co-operatives and Credit Unions during International Co-operative Week. The reason this initiative was so cool for me was because we were able to engage many CUers from across the country AND we got to see Team Marketability actually implement some of their solutions to their CUAdvance system problem of Co-operative Awareness. The deciding factor for me was when a non-CU friend of mine said “Hey Naomi, I saw your responses to that twitter chat yesterday. I had NO idea a Credit Union was a co-operative!” Mission accomplished!

Of course there were many other highlights this year, but these were the ones that really hit home for me and make me feel like our year was successful.  I’d like to finish off by sending a shout out to all our SYL supporters this year.  This is everyone from participants, community members, guest speakers, judges, system sponsors, new committee member applicants, and Credit Union sponsors. Without your support, volunteerism, listening ears, and encouragement (and money J) we would not be near as successful. Of course, a giant thank you goes out to my fellow SYL Committee members (both past and present). THANK YOU for all your hard work this year. I’m positive that you are all going to be standing together with me at the end of 2017 looking back with goofy grins on our faces wondering how we accomplished everything we have!

In my final month as the current Chair of the SYL Committee, I wish all you a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2018!

Naomi Seaborg

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