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IIG...Challenging but Very Rewarding!

January 15, 2020

By Brad DeHeer, Serve Credit Union

I was extremely excited when I was given the opportunity to apply for the 2019 Iowa Innovation Group (IIG). It’s something I wanted to do after being a Crasher in 2016. I can’t thank Jami and Jen with Serve Credit Union enough for their support and encouragement in my decision to apply. I was a little nervous filling out the application because I wasn’t quite sure what to expect or if my application would even be considered. At the time, I had only been with Serve Credit Union for a couple of weeks, but had been with another credit union for 5+ years prior. 

A week after filling out the application, I received an email from Erin Coleman from Filene Research Institute stating what was next in the process. The next step was a short phone interview and a personality survey. After completing those I felt better about the process but still didn’t know if I would make the cut. 

A few weeks later, I received an email from ICUL inviting me to become a member of the 2019 Iowa Innovation Group. The excitement consumed me. I couldn’t believe I was picked to be one of the 16 credit union professionals to be part of IIG. I immediately emailed my team to share the good news. The fun and adventure were set to begin. 

I was nervous to get started, but excited at the same time. I still wasn’t sure what to expect, but a lot of the nervousness went away after the IIG participants met over the phone to kick things off in March. The following month we all met at the league office for our first in-person meeting. We split up into our teams of four, went through introductions and dove right in to what the IIG process was all about. 

The next six months leading up to convention were challenging but one of the best experiences I’ve ever gone through. I had an amazing team and all of us had different credit union backgrounds. I think this was one of the reasons the four of us worked so well together. We all had our individual strengths and combining those to work towards a common goal worked well for us. 

I can’t say enough about my teammates. Michelle, Fran and Armin were amazing to work with and we still reach out to each other to this day. Out of the whole experience, working with these three tops the list. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to work with. 

The IIG process had its highs and lows. At times I felt overwhelmed with everything but kept reminding myself to trust the process. Meeting with my team over the phone every week and communicating through email helped ease the stress. We kept our focus on the goal and supported each other through the whole process. 

One of the highs through the IIG process was presenting at convention. It was satisfying to present what we had been working on for the previous six months in front of those who make the investments in us. It was a huge relief seeing the support from those sitting in the audience. Not just for my team, but the other teams as well. 

If you are thinking about applying to participate in the Iowa Innovation Group, I highly encourage you to do so. It’s challenging but very rewarding. If you go into it with an open mind and the willingness to trust the process, great things will happen for you and your members. 


Brad DeHeer HeadshotBrad DeHeer is a Branch Manager for Serve Credit Union and a past participant in the Iowa Innovation Group.

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