Coming out of college with a degree in politics, I was looking for a way to apply my background and skills in my new career. I have a strong interest in government and working with credit unions and their members has not diminished that. This is what led me to join ICUL’s Champions program and Collins’ Advocacy Committee. I want to have a part in protecting the needs of our members and this movement.
I believe the government has a huge role and the ability to make the world a better place. Working with the Champions program has allowed me to get closer to this goal. Each time I talk with a legislator, empower another advocate, or share a member story, I am engaging meaningfully with our government.
Advocacy is for everyone, not just those who are interested in politics. Advocating for the credit union movement is especially powerful because our legislative priorities are not only about protecting financial choice, but they are also about protecting the financial lives of our members. I am proud of the fact that our priorities go beyond just things that directly touch credit unions, and address issues like childcare and housing. It is easy and rewarding to get behind advocacy when our priorities reflect our people helping people philosophy.
As a more introverted person who doesn’t enjoy talking to strangers, being a Champion has allowed me to grow outside of my comfort zone and dig deeper in my passion for advocacy and helping those I serve every day in the credit union. I have grown professionally and personally by networking with the other credit union champions and learning more about the activities of the legislature.
Advocacy and speaking with elected officials can seem intimidating. However, elected officials are people just like us. Once you start the conversation, it is easy to keep it going. I love seeing how accessible and easy to contact our legislators are.
We are lucky to live in a place where our voice as advocates matters. You don’t have to know the ins and outs of the legislature to be an advocate or a Champion. Rather, you just need to be able to talk about what your credit union does every day and the difference it makes. When it comes to telling the credit union story, we are the experts.
My advocacy work has taken me to both the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, Illinois State Capitol in Springfield and the National Capitol in Washington, DC. Every time I hike the hill, I get to talk about the good work that my team is doing in our state. Getting to brag about them and their relationships to members truly never gets old.
ICUL is a bi-partisan, non-partisan organization which means we don’t pick sides. We support credit union supporters. So, no matter what your politics are, there is a place for you in the Champions program. If you are interested, I encourage you to reach out to Gracie Brandsgard
, Director of Government Affairs, or Brittany Freeman
, Advocacy Coordinator, to learn more about how you can also be involved in bringing advocacy to your credit union.
Taylor Morris is an Assistant Branch Manager at Collins Community Credit Union. She is an active participant of ICUL's Champions program and Collins' Advocacy Committee.