CU Ambassador Contest

Nurturing the Next Generation

CrossState Credit Union Association’s CU Ambassador Contest sparks creativity and innovation within the credit union movement. This is your opportunity to make a difference. Each project will significantly impact your organization and the credit union movement across our states. If your project is selected as a final contestant, you will be recognized at the CrossState Connect Annual Convention 

Three-Phase Contest Structure

The CU Ambassador Contest is broken into three phases:

  • Proposals
  • Projects
  • Presentation

The phases build upon each other, starting with the foundation of the proposal and growing until the presentation during Connect Annual Convention. During each section you’ll be working on your idea, gathering research, developing implementation strategies, and putting your project into practice.

Because your project will likely require some work during business hours, we highly recommend using a project you’ve already started or finding something that will benefit your members or falls within an area of your existing expertise.

History & Purpose 

The Credit Union Ambassador Contest (formerly the Youth Ambassador Contest) is an opportunity to advance the careers of credit union professionals ages 21 and up and provide a platform to move their credit union forward. 

The contest has evolved from the Miss Credit Union Contest to the Youth Ambassador Contest, and now the Credit Union Ambassador Contest. Since its inception, hundreds of staffers dedicated to the credit union industry have learned more about the movement, while advancing their future as leaders. Many former contestants have achieved success in professional positions within their credit unions. 

Rules & Regulations

Before you continue, please review the official rules and regulations of the 2023-24 CU Ambassador Contest.

Read the Rules & Regs

Phase 1: Submit Your Proposal

To become a contestant, simply submit a one-page proposal on our website by November 5, 2023, include your supervisor’s email address, which acknowledges you have permission to compete in the contest.

Your proposal should include:

  • Why you feel your project is valuable for you credit union, the community, or the movement
  • How you plan to implement the project
  • What data you plan to measure to determine success

As long as you are a non-executive level employee at a member credit union over the age of 21, you can enter the CU Ambassador Contest.

A volunteer group of Chapter Leaders will score the proposals using this rubric. If your proposal scores among the Top 24 entries, you will be contacted in early December and move on to the next phase: Implementing Your Project. 

Phase 2: Implement Your Project

In this phase, you will join up to 24 credit union professionals from regions across New Jersey and Pennsylvania* to put your proposal into action. This is where you will conduct further research, implement action items, and move your project toward the finish line.

During this phase, you will put your leadership and collaboration skills into practice, working with other departments, staff, and managers to help you launch your proposal from idea to reality. By the time this phase ends, you will have completed at least 60% of your project.

Using the data, findings, and success rate of what you’ve accomplished, you will put together a final project update to submit the following on the CrossState website no later than March 22, 2024. That update will include:

  • A maximum of 15 typed pages or 15 PowerPoint slides (works cited, indexes, and cover pages/slides will not be included in the maximum)
  • An optional video introducing themselves and explaining their project. This video is to be no more than two minutes

Projects will be judged using this rubric.

If your project scores in the Top 10, you will move on to Phase 3: Present Your Findings.

*The eight regions are broken down by county to the right to ensure opportunities for equal representation across the CrossState membership. Your credit union’s headquarters will determine your region. You can also view the regions on this map.

Phase 2 Regions

  • Erie Region: Erie, Warren, McKean, Potter, Crawford, Venango, Forrest, Elk, Clinton, Mercer, Clarion, and Jefferson counties
  • Northeast Region: Tioga, Bradford, Susquehanna, Wayne, Lycoming, Sullivan, Wyoming, Lackawana, Pike, Columbia, Luzerne, Monroe, Carbon, Northampton, Montour, and Lehigh counties
  • Pittsburgh Region: Lawrence, Butler, Armstrong, Indiana, Clearfield, Beaver, Allegheny, Westmoreland, Cambria, Washington, Green, Fayette, and Somerset counties
  • Central Region: Centre, Union, Blair, Huntingdon, Mifflin Snyder, Juniata, Perry, Cumberland, Adams, Franklin, Fulton, and Bedford counties
  • Capitol Region: Northumberland, Schuylkill, Dauphin, Lebanon, Lancaster, Berks, and York counties
  • Philadelphia Region: Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, and Philadelphia counties
  • North Jersey Region: Sussex, Passaic, Bergen, Warren, Morris, Essex, Union, Hudson, Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex, Mercer, and Monmouth counties
  • South Jersey Region: Ocean, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland, Cape May, and Atlantic counties

Phase 3: Present Your Findings

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the final phase — presentation! After all the work you’ve done, this is the fun part where you will embrace the credit union spirit of collaboration and inspire your peers and colleagues at Connect Annual Convention.

You’ll join no more than nine credit union professionals (10 in total) to share your project in the Hall of Achievement. This means, you’ll receive a free registration to the event, a poster with your project description, and display space in the trade show where you’ll have the chance to chat with attendees and share your challenges, successes, and overall goals.

All finalists will be notified by mid-April 2024.

The Top 3

Everyone who advances to Phase 3 will be invited to Convention, but only those with the three highest-scoring projects will be asked to share their project on stage during Awards Night. If your project scores among the Top 3 out of 10, here’s what you need to know:

  • You will share a maximum five-minute presentation on your project on the general session stage. Exceeding the time limit will result in a deduction of 1 point for every 15 seconds you exceed.
  • You can use a PowerPoint, notes, or props during your presentation. A video can be included, but cannot replace the live presentation.
  • Your final scoring will occur during the live presentation by a panel independent judges, whose scores will be averaged.
  • The winner is determined by combining the live presentation score and the project score.

Housekeeping Items

We can’t wait to hear your ideas and read your proposals. But, before you submit anything we want to make a few things clear so you (and your supervisor) know what’s expected of you if you should win.

The role of the CrossState Credit Union Ambassador is an active one. As the ambassador, you will:

  • Take part in several CrossState-sponsored promotional activities, including but not limited to:
    • A presentation of your project in a 30-minute update during CrossState Leadership School in August.
    • An update on your project and what you’ve been doing as the Ambassador during Fall Leadership Conference in September.
    • Speaking at Chapter meetings.
    • Serving as a resource for the next year’s contestants.
    • Providing updates to the CrossState Board of Directors.
    • Appearing in video segments.
    • Participating in CU advocacy efforts as a representative of the movement.
    • Attending the following year’s Annual Convention.
  • Write for CU Edge as a subject matter expert on the topic of your project.
  • Travel to several areas of the states, create connections, receive significant personal recognition for your credit union, and CrossState.
  • Represent the credit unions of New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the very best of your ability in all official functions and appearances involved with the title.

To protect the interests of the credit union movement, all appearances of the Credit Union Ambassador as a representative of the CrossState Credit Union Association must be coordinated by and cleared through CrossState. 

CrossState will remain in contact with the Credit Union Ambassador and will make arrangements for attendance at events to which you are invited. Function registration and lodging will be covered by CrossState for Leadership School, Fall Leadership Conference, and Annual Convention the following year.

The CrossState Credit Union Ambassador Contest is sponsored annually by the CrossState Credit Union Association and its member credit unions.

The Winners’ Circle

Winning the CU Ambassador Contest gives you a lifelong experience, new connections, and the knowing you made a difference through your project. As a recognition for your excellent project, however, the Top 3 finalists don’t go home empty handed.

  • First place receives $1,000 in cash, a free registration to CrossState Leadership School and Fall Leadership Conference in 2024, free registration for the 2025 Annual Convention, and publication in the CU Edge.
  • Second place receives free registration to CrossState Leadership School and Fall Leadership Conference for 2024, along with a $500 cash prize.
  • Third place receives a $250 cash prize.

Questions? Read the FAQ

If you have questions about the process, goals, or anything else related to the contest, check out the FAQ.

Question still not answered? No problem! Send the CU Ambassador Team a note.

Check Out the FAQs