April 12, 2021
By Thomas Belekevich, WYCUP Director and Regional Representative - Latin America and the Carribbean, World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU)
Great things happen when the world’s young credit union professionals come together!
When we launched the 10,000 Strong! campaign earlier this year, the idea was to create a simple metric to track our progress as we work to expand international engagement opportunities for young credit union professionals. It quickly became evident that we have an opportunity to do so much more.
WYCUP – as World Council’s Young Credit Union Professionals program is affectionately known – represents a bridge between YPs around the world. From Poland to Paraná, and from Malawi to Michigan, the international perspectives we share at WYCUP make us unique. We’re a global network of young professionals who recognize the potential for financial cooperatives to change the world.
So how do we change the world? Where do we begin?
A great place to start is in recognizing that we are not alone - a comforting thought after a year of global isolation.
In February, we brought together leaders from young professional networks in more than 20 countries around the world at the first meeting of the WYCUP Affiliates Council. There, we identified three primary goals:
1. Strengthen existing YP networks and support the formalization of new local networks where they don’t currently exist;
2. Enrich professional journeys through an exchange of global perspectives, both virtually and in-person;
3. Empower young professionals to develop shared resources to address our common challenges.
When we met for the second time last week, the WYCUP Affiliates Council took a closer look at what we want to learn from one another. Check out these video highlights from the meeting. As we shared our stories, we quickly saw that we face similar challenges. We are diverse – but we have common goals and dreams.
Iowa and Brazil are very different places. Or are they? Credit unions in both are concerned about expanding their relevance to young people in their communities. YPs in both want more professional development opportunities where they can apply their talents to positive change. Young members in both identify employment and education as their primary concerns.
As we learn more about one another, we encounter solutions to our shared challenges that can and should be replicated in other places. This is the perfect space for empowering YPs to champion these solutions and create shared resources that can be utilized by financial cooperatives everywhere.
To get there, we first need to bring YPs together on a much larger scale - and the WYCUP Affiliates Council is working on that now. We’re developing a new shared resource – a template for virtual engagement – that can be used by local YP networks to connect through an interactive networking experience with peers in another country. By bridging the world’s young credit union professionals, we’re changing the world!
So, remember, you are not alone – you’re part of a global network that is coming back together stronger than ever this year. And we’re just getting started!
WYCUP is World Council’s Young Credit Union Professionals program. Originally established as a scholarship program to raise the voice of young professionals on the global stage, WYCUP is a global community of YPs with a desire to change the world. We’re working together to enrich professional journeys through global perspective and empower young people through financial cooperatives. Join us at wycup.org and connect your career to a world of opportunities.
Thomas Belekevich is the WYCUP Director and Regional Representative for Latin America and the Carribbean for the World Council of Credit Unions.