Building a Stronger Credit Union Movement One Young Leader at a Time

By Theresa Witham

Two years ago, Devin Selte was named CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec for his work on the Servus Credit Union Young Leaders Network. Since that time, he has continued helping to build the network for young leaders at the $12 billion/390,000-member credit union based in Edmonton, Alberta. Now, as he transitions to a new role as assistant branch manager, he (along with another original founding  member, Robert Christianson) is leaving the network’s executive committee. The work they did will ensure the leadership network remains healthy for a long time to come. “It’s exciting to see new people come on board and do new things,” he says.

Developing young leaders is a passion of Selte’s because it “will ensure that the credit union way of banking is going to be sustainable and will be there for years to come,” he says.

Servus CU also offers a mentorship program open to all employees. Selte is currently mentoring and being mentored. The CU’s mentorship committee makes up to 75 mentorship matches each year for a 12-month period. Employees submit applications, highlighting their interests and skills. The committee then looks for good matches. “I think it is important to pay forward some of the time that people have invested in me to develop me where I’m at today and then pay that forward to other people as well.”

And the learning goes both ways, he adds. Mentors can, and should be, learning from mentees, too.

Selte is also passionate about cooperative cooperation. Over the past three years, he and others in the Servus CU Young Leaders Network have made presentations to credit unions and industry groups all over the world, including Canada, the U.S., Ireland, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

“You try to build that network and as these other CUs start their own programs, we can share best practices to see ‘is there something that they are doing that we could bring inside Servus Young Leaders Network and make our program even better?’” he explains.

“Credit unions around the world are probably seeing the same thing,” he adds. “ The competition is getting harder. Regulation is greater than it ever was before. How do we ensure that our members appreciate and know what a credit union is? I think there has to be greater attention across credit unions all over the world to ensure that we’re really making people aware of what makes a credit union different from a bank. Credit unions have not been ones to brag about ourselves, in my opinion, and I really think we need to work together as credit unions, whether it’s provincially, nationally, internationally, to really build a brand for credit unions that we all can use and support and get out in our communities and truly brag about the great things that credit unions can do in the world.”

As more people become interested in corporate social responsibility, “credit unions have a great opportunity to really match up with that,” he says.

Theresa Witham is a CUES editor.

Follow this year’s CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec challenge at CEO/Executive Team Network, Nov. 3-6 in San Diego or online at www.ntcue.org.

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