CU Ambassador Contest

Nurturing the Next Generation

CrossState Credit Union Association developed the Credit Union Ambassador Contest to help the younger generation learn about the history, philosophy, and operation of credit unions. Participants gain experience in meeting and interacting with other people, and public speaking — skills that bring career opportunities. For more than 40 years, the contest is still opening doors to credit union careers. The Credit Union Ambassador promotes financial education, as well as the benefits of the contest and credit unions. They speak at Association-sponsored education sessions and leadership conferences, and attend chapter meetings and other special events. The state winner also serves as a role model to encourage young professionals to participate in their credit unions. 

Contest Structure 

In order to compete in the state contest, individuals must either compete and win in a Chapter contest or must send a video link of their presentation and win in the virtual entry process. 

Chapters hosting contests must invite credit unions in their regions to compete. Once the winner is selected from the Chapter, they move on to the state competition. 

The virtual contest is held for individuals whose credit union is in a region with an inactive chapter or which does not hold a contest. Individuals submit a three-minute pre-recorded video presentation. One winner is selected from virtual entries by an independent panel of judges to compete in the state finals. 

History & Purpose 

The Credit Union Ambassador Contest (formerly the Youth Ambassador Contest) is an opportunity to advance the careers of emerging professionals ages 21-30 in the credit union movement and provide a platform to tell their story. 

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 young people have learned more about the credit union movement, while advancing their future as leaders. Many former contestants have achieved success in professional positions within their credit unions. 

The State Finals 

The Credit Union Ambassador is selected each year during the State Finals, held in conjunction with CrossState’s Annual Convention. 

Contestants are judged by the results of a written examination, an informal meeting with the judges, and a three-minute presentation to the convention audience during the evening contest. 

Written Examination — The credit union knowledge portion of the judging will be determined through a written examination. This portion of the State Finals should not be difficult for the candidate who is familiar with the credit union operation, history, and philosophy. CrossState provides information to all contestants in January, well in advance of the State Finals, so they can prepare for the written examination. All contestants are provided with the same materials from which the exam questions are taken. 

Oral Presentation — Each contestant will be asked to present a short three-minute speech on a pre-selected credit union subject as part of the State Finals. This presentation will be given before an audience of  Annual Convention attendees. The contestants will be provided with a list from which they may choose their own speech topic. 

Contest Awards — The first-place winner receives a $1,000 cash prize. In addition to the monetary gift, the winner will get exposure to several different credit union-related and professional development opportunities throughout the year. 

Judging the Candidates

Judging at the State Finals will be based on the following criteria: 

  • Credit Union Knowledge, Ability to Communicate, and Professional Demeanor 
  • Each category is worth 100 points, for a total of 300 points possible 
  • A portion of the judging at the State Finals will be based on a comprehensive written examination; one-on-one interviews between each contestant and judge; and a portion on a presentation before a credit union audience. 

Duties and Responsibilities of the CrossState Credit Union Ambassador  

The role of the CrossState Credit Union Ambassador will be an active one. The Credit Union Ambassador will take part in several CrossState-sponsored promotional activities, such as speaking at the Association’s conferences and speaking at chapter meetings. He or she may be called upon to attend various meetings or functions throughout the year. 

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. 

The Credit Union Ambassador will be expected to speak for and to work for youth involvement in credit unions throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He or she will have the opportunity to travel to several areas of the states, meet interesting people, and will receive significant personal recognition for the credit union, chapter, and CrossState. It will be a year of new friendships and personal enrichment — one not readily is forgotten. 

The Credit Union Ambassador will be expected to represent the credit unions of New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the very best of his or her ability in all official functions and appearances involved with the title. 

Everyone benefits by participating in the contest, as it generates interest and excitement about credit unions and demonstrates that credit unions are interested in the future of young people. More importantly, it helps prepare young professionals for leadership roles in the credit union movement. 

Questions about the program?  Contact Jessilyn Kumpf at 1-800-932-0661 x 2250. 

Expenses 

CrossState will remain in contact with the Credit Union Ambassador and will make arrangements for attendance at events to which he or she is invited. Out-of-pocket expenses of the state Credit Union Ambassador in connection with approved functions will be paid by CrossState. 

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