Young Professionals Gather for Advocacy Event in Augusta

YPs gather and listen at the start of their advocacy day.

Members of the Maine Credit Unions’ Young Professionals Network (YPN) gathered at the State House on Thursday to participate in a day-long advocacy workshop organized by the League’s Advocacy & Outreach team. The event was designed to highlight the important role advocacy plays in helping credit unions achieve their public policy goals. It also served as both a forum for networking and a vehicle for professional development.

From left to right: State Treasurer Henry Beck, Rep. Sally Cluchey, Rep. Josh Morris, League staff members – Krista Simonis, Ellen Parent, and Jake Holmes.

The event kicked off with a special tour of the Blaine House. Following the guided tour, YPs moved to the Appropriations & Financial Affairs Committee Room for a roundtable discussion with State Treasurer Henry Beck and State Representatives Sally Cluchey and Josh Morris. Attendees asked the speakers questions about the financial services industry, career advancement tips and resources, and more. They also discussed why they pursued careers in public service and offered insightful takeaways to help young professionals carve their own paths. After the roundtable, YPs gathered for lunch and networking, and then walked off their meals with a League-led tour of the State House.

“I’m extremely passionate about both the credit union movement and history,” said Jake Holmes, Director of Outreach & Financial Education at the League. “Being able to connect with like-minded individuals from Maine credit unions while simultaneously absorbing all the history the State House has to offer made for a great day. Not only do I know more about our state, but I feel I know more about the Maine credit union industry’s future. After spending the day with our credit unions’ YPs, the future is certainly looking bright for this movement.”

The post-lunch programming continued with representatives of the Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions forming a panel. Deputy Superintendent Andrea McLaughlin and Staff Attorney Gordon Laurendeau all gathered to answer questions and discuss how the Bureau maintains and promotes sound financial practices.

Before ending the day with happy hour at Cushnoc Brewing Company, YPs spent their last hour at the State House participating in an advocacy training. Attendees were paired into four groups, with each being assigned a bill. The groups had to develop a position and produce three reasons why they chose that stance. Each group then had one representative give “testimony” and answered questions from the other groups.

“It was so great seeing how engaged everyone was,” said Krista Simonis, the League’s Director of Governmental Affairs. “The political process can seem so intimidating, but the voices of our young professionals are so important and valued. We’re here to help them feel confident about interacting with their elected officials—that way they can play a role in the achievement of both credit unions’ public policy goals and their own goals, too.”

State Treasurer Henry Beck, Rep. Sally Cluchey, and Rep. Josh Morris address the YPs.

The YPs participate in a session to learn how to provide legislative testimony.

About the YPN

The Young Professionals Network (YPN) is an open group for Maine credit union staff and volunteers, ages 21 to 40, that focuses on providing professional development, networking, and educational opportunities, as well as resources to help YPs grow and strengthen the credit union industry. For more information or to join, please review the YPN Program Overview and Registration Form.