The Power of My Voice
April 16, 2019
In the year 2000, I was in 4th grade. I was obsessed with *NSYNC, the number one show in America was Survivor, and on November 7, George H. W. Bush was elected president.
As a curious, naive 9 year old, I distinctly remember having so many questions about the election, the job of the president, and why the loser couldn’t just be the Vice President. It seemed like such a simple solution to a 4th grader.
Through the years I’ve followed campaigns, watched debates, and stayed up way past my bedtime (I’m an old soul) to watch the election results on broadcast television. Then, on November 6, 2012, I voted in my first presidential election as a senior in college. If you would have told me on November 6, 2012 that seven years later I’d be standing on the steps of the nation’s capitol advocating for the credit union industry I would have laughed.
One month after casting that vote, I graduated from Wartburg College and would soon start my career at Collins Community Credit Union in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. When I applied for the job at Collins, I had no plans on staying at the organization for longer than a year. Honestly, I didn’t know what a credit union was and working in the financial industry sounded incredibly boring.
To my surprise, it only took a few short months for me to be completely in love with my job and the industry. I eventually figured out what the heck a credit union was and that the “people helping people” philosophy was the backbone of the credit union movement. I was so thankful to work for an organization that had values aligned so closely with mine.
My passion for advocacy was ignited in March 2018 when I attended my first Hike the Hill event in Des Moines. After attending that event I wrote “Crash GAC” down on my personal goal sheet for 2019. If you know me personally you know that if I set a goal I will achieve it, so I was ecstatic when I received the email from the Cooperative Trust saying that I was selected.
GAC was jam-packed. I was part of a Crasher fam that was 100+ strong. We spent the week getting to know each other, hearing from top-notch speakers, listening to messages from both sides of the aisle, and advocating for our movement. Crashing GAC was truly a once in a lifetime experience and I’m so thankful to work for an organization that values young professionals and supports them on their leadership journey.
Looking back on the experience it’s surreal to think that the passion I had as a young girl came full circle for me as a young professional. Since GAC, I attended another Hike the Hill event in Des Moines, met with my state representative, and continue to send emails to my legislators urging them to protect financial choice because I believe in the power of my voice.
Taylor Yezek, 2019 GAC Crasher