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Top 5 Reasons to Crash the GAC in 2023; Apply Now!

Authored By: Lewis Wood on 10/25/2022

Crash the GAC

Top 5 Reasons to Crash the GAC in 2023

Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference is the largest credit union advocacy gathering of the year. When credit unions arrive en masse in Washington D.C., there is a palatable energy one cannot ignore. Change happens at this event. I'm not referring to the typical changes we live through daily; gray hairs and wrinkles are inevitable. I'm talking about the soul-changing, heart-changing, belief-changing kind of change.

The change that would cause someone to move across an ocean or United States. The change that would inspire people to stand proud of their differences in a sea of others. Crashing the GAC has positively impacted hundreds of emerging professionals. I hope you'll join us on this life-changing journey.

Apply here

Location! Location! Location!

Whether your last visit to Washington DC was during your 8th-grade class trip or you took the train in from one of the many surrounding metropolises, D.C. is a place all its own. Deep history and energy are coursing through the streets. Change happens in this unrepresented chunk of America, big, global change. Like the stuff I mentioned in the beginning, you are weaving your mark into our nation's history by attending GAC. And you might even find some time to visit cool monuments and museums. 

Advocate on Behalf of Credit Unions

The whole reason we are at GAC is to advocate on behalf of credit union members to our elected officials. We Crash to disrupt the status quo and inspire change. This is the time for credit unions and Crashers to share American life's honest, human stories—the connections you have made with your members matter. The loans you approve matter—the money you take in and save matters. Craft your story and be ready to share it. Our representatives are listening because credit unions have one of the most compelling stories: inclusion, access, cooperation, and community.

Meet Top Leaders and Thinkers

At this point, Crashers are welcomed and mostly expected at GAC. Folks are genuinely excited to meet our next generation of leaders. With great expectations comes great responsibility too, which means what to the emerging leader? It means when you come, bring your best – whatever YOUR best is to YOU. Be authentic but also recognize that Crashers represent young people and rising professionals from across our nation. This means leaders will ask you questions and expect you to have questions for them too. Don't play it safe but respect the legacy. These leaders are willing and ready to support you and your career growth; it will be up to you to define what that means.

Opportunity to Shine

When I Crashed the GAC in 2016, the mentor team offered an invaluable networking tip, "be interested, not interesting." This was my mantra during the entire Crash. This thought opened me to conversations with more people than I could have imagined. Not only did this give me the courage to approach folks at the conference, but this also left a positive impression on those I met. Most people enjoy talking about themselves, and this approach cultivates positive feelings and emotions. The bottom line, people will remember how you make them feel. So, use this time to be interested, and I guarantee that people will be equally interested in you. Note: this approach works in almost all networking situations, not just at GAC. Test it out at your next networking event.

A Lifetime of Connections

Crash the GAC is unique. We put a group of strangers together, for a week, in a new place. We ask folks to trust the process and open themselves up to discomfort. Leaders join us to share their invaluable wisdom and invite us to step into our strengths to be our industry's next generation of change-makers. Through this experience, Crashers create new friendships, experience change in opinions or beliefs; they experience democracy in action. The bonds are genuine, and the power of advocacy is profound, leaving an indelible mark.

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