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Making Meaningful Connections: One Crasher’s Story

Andrews Federal Credit Union’s Kyle-Anne Eaton says the experience Crashing the GAC reignited a passion for serving the community and gave her the opportunity to build an expanded network of credit union peers.

young professional near U.S. Capitol

Eaton is an HR & Training Specialist with Andrews Federal. She was one of 58 young professionals chosen to Crash CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference last month. Eaton shared details on what she called a “life-changing experience.”

What surprised you about the experience?
I was shocked at how quickly we all bonded. It seemed like we all knew each other for years. Our group was very diverse, coming from different backgrounds and representing our states and credit unions. However, we were all there for a common purpose; to better our credit unions and community. We all instantly created meaningful connections through that common purpose, and our last day’s goodbye was highly emotional for me. I did not want our experience to end.

What was your most memorable moment/activity/or speaker who really resonated with you?
The first day was really memorable for me. Our first speaker, Taylor Murry, basically taught us a Credit Union 101 course. He broke down the history of credit unions and their purpose very entertainingly. His passion for credit unions really struck a chord with me and set the tone for the whole program. Or it could be that he made a T-shirt with all of the Crasher’s faces on it and then wore it to the conference.

How has the Crasher experience impacted you professionally? Personally?
Professionally, it has enhanced my view about credit unions and the fantastic work we can do collectively. Also, it has given me a network of credit union professionals from who I can ask questions and bounce ideas. Personally, the Crasher experience has reignited a passion for serving our community and sharing that we are a force for good. In addition, I walked away with lifelong friends.

What were your key takeaway(s)?
Advocacy can be done at any level within the credit union. You do not have to be on the board of directors to make a change. You can be a new employee, member, or seasoned employee with a passion for serving our community. Additionally, I added leadership skills to my toolkit, like empathy mapping, and created a personal mission statement.

Would you encourage other credit union professionals to apply for the program?
Absolutely! This whole experience has been life-changing! I found ways to make a difference in my credit union and community and connected with folks passionate about the same. Together we sparked ideas for change and will remain linked to continue to do so.

You’ll hear from our third Crasher, Del-One FCU’s Dr. Shallon Poulson, in tomorrow’s newsletter.

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