GUEST BLOG by Natalie Payne: CRASH...Just Do It!


Just this past month, September 2021, I was fortunate enough to attend the Iowa Credit Union Convention as a CRASHER! Although it has only been a few short weeks since this experience, it has already influenced my day-to-day work life and how I view the credit unions and our movement!


Being only 22, I never really thought of this as more than a job, when in reality, this is my career and my LIFE! During college at 18, I was working at a retail store. I got home one night and googled ‘financial institutions hiring near me.’ I hated working nights. The first to pop up was a credit union, so I applied, and sure enough two weeks later started working there! Again, this was never much more to me than a job to get me through college with good hours.


Well, if I fast forward some years, I loved my job so much I decided to finish school with a two-year degree rather than a four-year and go full-time in the finance field at The Family Credit Union. From working at my previous credit union, I was aware of the CRASH program but never put much thought into it as I was only a part-time teller. I had been at TFCU for about 8 months when one of my bosses sent me the link to apply and said, “You need to do this.” I felt quite honored that she thought I deserved to be there and apply. In my own head, it is still hard to tell myself that I am an emerging credit union leader. However, to my surprise Jodi Allen at ICUL saw the same potential my boss did!


As exciting as this was, it was equally as nerve wracking. Meeting new people, having to put myself out there, whew, I wasn’t sure I could do it! It helped to know I was not the only one in this situation as the other 14 CRASHERS had to do that same thing. It was a very welcoming environment and a big relief when we all got to sit in the room and meet each other. Although very different, we all had the same mindset and end goals and were there to do the same things: learn, grow, and present ourselves well.


For anyone contemplating whether to apply for CRASH or not, the answer is DO IT! Getting to attend this convention is pound for pound one of the best things I have ever gotten to experience. Although the days are long, they were filled with opportunities to help grow as a person and a leader. Meeting everyone was just as great. Being in a room with so many people with the same aspirations and similar passions as you make for easy conversations and lifelong connections.


Between the Community Impact Project, listening to multiple, amazing guest speakers, and learning more about the credit union world I get to work in made for some of the best three days of my life. Not only did I get to be apart of those things, but I also got to meet fellow CRASHERS who are now lifelong friends. If you would have told me at 18 that this was just the beginning of my career, I would have laughed and rolled my eyes. Now there is nothing I want to do more than what I do and get to live out the ‘people helping people’ philosophy every day.


If you ever question if it’s for you or if you are considering an application for CRASH, live like Nike and “Just Do It.”


Natalie Payne, MSR/Marketing Assistant, The Family Credit Union