Congratulations to the class of 2023 GAC Crashers! This year’s 51 crashers have been selected from the largest applicant pool yet, and we’re so excited to welcome you to CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference in D.C. this February-March. With 233 applications, the competition was fierce, but the crashers made the cut, representing 48 U.S. states and internationally with representatives from Africa, Australia, and Ukraine.
Crashers will have the opportunity to network with other young professionals and advocate for the credit union difference to policymakers firsthand. CUNA added some new learning panels to the Crash content, so you’ll have the chance to develop your leadership skills and learn more about credit union history, community partnerships, engagement, and key advocacy topics.
Many thanks to CUNA for making it possible for all 51 crashers to attend the conference by covering your registration costs. Brought to you by Filene, The Cooperative Trust, CUNA, and state leagues, GAC is a career-changing program that gives you opportunities to build industry knowledge and connections that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
The following crashers from the Cornerstone region include:
Johnston tells us her reasons for applying to crash the GAC.
“I applied to crash the GAC to learn and advocate not just for employees but for our members,” she says. “We have to continue to fight for the benefits credit unions provide our membership and our communities. I was able to get a sneak peek through the Oklahoma Ambassador program in 2022, and I want to have an even greater understanding on a national level. I want to continue to grow my advocacy voice and bring that back to Oklahoma and my credit union.”
Johnston says she is most excited to have her own GAC stories and looks forward to building her network of credit union advocates.
“I have heard this experience is fun, exhausting, educational, and impactful,” she says. “Everyone gets something different out of the week in DC, and I can’t wait to come back with a new passion for the credit union movement.”
Johnston adds that GAC is an incredible opportunity to collaborate and meet young professionals from all over the country while also pushing her out of her comfort zone.
“We all have the same mission, but we may be doing it differently. Gaining the insight from others like me can further influence the conversations and decisions I make at my credit union. It is a good way to expand my mind outside of my state and region,” she says.
Stephenson says her reasons for applying to crash the GAC was fueled in part by wanting to make an impact on her credit union’s community.
“I applied because I knew this wasn’t about me. Having thousands of credit union professionals come united from all walks of life, is what’s important. That our voices are lifted up where we’re advocating for our members’ rights and the impact of our communities, that’s what’s important.”
She says she also wanted to learn from this experience and other thought leaders on how to progress and “be the change we want to see.”
Newfarmer says attending the GAC has been on his professional to-do list for some time.
“After recently graduating from Southwest CUNA Management School, I thought it would be the best time to pursue this professional goal. I’m excited because not only will I be able to check another credit union goal off my list, but even more excited for the networking and learning opportunities I will gain from being a crasher.”
He also looks forward to networking with future and current credit union leaders, engaging with lawmakers, and being “a part of the credit union movement’s premier advocacy event.”
He adds, “Most of all, I am eager to bring everything I learn from crashing the GAC back to Texas Trust Credit Union to help fulfill our mission and vision of building bright financial futures for our members.”
We know you’ll bring spirit, passion, and hopefully a little bit of good fun and disruption to the conference. See you in D.C.! To see the full list of crashers: filene.org/crashthegac-2023
Credit union young professionals have access to a program dedicated to help you engage, empower, and create an impact.