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A+ Federal CU's Kelsey Balcaitis Selected for CUNA's YP Initiative
Friday, November 7, 2014 7:00 AM

CUNA YP Committee
The CUNA Young Professional Committee. From left: Josh McAfee, Leaders CU, Ronaldo Hardy, Shell Geismar FCU; Meghann Dawson, director of learning events, CUNA; Kelsey Balcaitis, A+ FCU; Kelsey Buyer, Cabrillo CU; David Rohn, vice president, CUNA Councils; Lisa Totaro, Sunmark FCU; Jim Morrell, Peninsula Community FCU; Laura Engle, Piedmont Advantage CU; Jordan Holland, Telhio CU; and Chad Helminak,Wisconsin Credit Union League.

Kelsey Balcaitis, community education director for A+ Federal Credit Union in Austin, Texas, has been selected for the Credit Union National Association's new nine-member Young Professional (YP) Committee. Each committee member will serve a one-year term, with the option to sign up again.

The committee recently held its two-day planning meeting in Las Vegas with the goal of establishing opportunities for young credit union professionals to increase their involvement in the credit union movement. The initiative focuses on three areas: professional education, leadership development, and political involvement.

Balcaitis was one of the original Texas 12 members, which was the first group of young professionals established in the Cornerstone region.

Cornerstone Credit Union League's SVP Advocacy Jim Phelps said, "Kelsey was instrumental in helping us establish the Young Professional initiative in Texas. She has since become an advocate for the CU: ROAR program and helped establish the program at her credit union." 

Balcaitis is also part of the Cooperative Trust, a group initially spurred by "Crash," which began when a group of young professionals "crashed" the 2010 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, DC.  The group got noticed in a big way and has grown to over 250 members, funded by CUNA Mutual Group, with meetups for young professionals designed to spark new ways of thinking, build lasting relationships, and send attendees home hungry to help their communities and the credit union system.

"Crash is one reason we started the CU:ROAR program in our credit union," Balcaitis said. "We saw how important political advocacy was and why it was so important for young CU professionals to be involved. The Crash experience was very eye-opening."

"Kelsey is a true believer in the value of cooperatives and recognizes the importance of promoting the credit union difference to her YP peers," Phelps said, "but also to consumers so they appreciate how we differ from other financial institutions."

Jill Tomalin, CUNA executive vice president/chief operating officer, said CUNA is committed to developing the next generation leaders to grow, promote, and sustain the credit union movement. "We've brought together a diverse group of young professionals from around the country," she said. "This committee of passionate credit union leaders will provide insights and guidance to develop a strong focus for YP programs nationally."