Young Professional Lives Out Her Passion for Lifelong Learning

'From the time children receive their first payment from the tooth fairy, proper money management is a lifelong skill.'

October 07, 2013
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Cara Carlevatti says the rock star she would most like to be is Gwen Stefani of “No Doubt” because of the musician’s advocacy for strong women.

“There are a lot of women in leadership roles in credit unions in the state of New York,” says Carlevatti, member development coordinator for Great Erie Federal Credit Union, Orchard Park, N.Y. “Advancing in the credit union is something that young professionals can look forward to.”

As a young professional herself, Carlevatti embraces the credit union culture of community involvement. In two short years with Great Erie Federal, she has revamped the credit union’s youth savings program to include savings rewards such as savings deposits for report card grades. She also started a credit union library with books, DVDs, and games for both youth and adult members.

The financial literacy library allows members to borrow materials and then return them to the credit union at no cost. She has worked with local Girl Scout troops, day camps, and other local groups, bringing them to the credit union to learn the basics of financial literacy.

“Financial literacy is important at every age,” she says. “From the time children receive their first payment from the tooth fairy, proper money management is a lifelong skill. If you get into bad habits when you’re young, they’re harder to break when you’re older.”

Another important element of financial education is informing consumers of the advantages of credit union membership, adds Carlevatti, who was recently elected vice chairman of the Credit Union Association of New York’s Young Professionals Commission.

Her passion for education extends to Carlevatti’s personal life as well. She is studying for her MBA at St. Bonaventure University.

“You need to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way,” says Carlevatti, who advises young credit union professionals to do the same. “Credit unions have such a rich history. It’s important to stay true to credit union principles while adapting for the future.”

But current and future credit union leaders need to stay up-to-date on the members' evolving financial needs and the techniques to best serve those needs, she says.

Carlevatti also is an active participant in the “Don’t Tax My Credit Union” campaign.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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