From Benny Goodman to Credit Union Leaders: Breaking the Noise Barrier and Embracing the Future

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“I guess people used to think my music was noise.”

Toward the end of his career the “King of Swing” Benny Goodman was due to record at a studio. Just down the hall a punk rock band was recording. Benny’s manager arrived at the studio first and heard the other band playing and kindly asked the studio manager to ask them to stop while Benny was in the building. Of course, since the punk rock band was also paying for studio time the studio manager politely said, “I’m sorry, I cannot do that.”

Shortly after Goodman arrived at the studio and stopped at the door to where the punk rock band was playing. He stood and listened for a few minutes as the punk rock band continued playing and recording. Goodman looked at his manager and quipped, “I guess people used to think my music was noise.”

In the first half of the 20th century, the era of Swing and Big Band was embraced and beloved by high school and college-age kids but looked down upon by the older generation. According to an NPR study, the music we listen to between the ages of 17 and 22 is what sticks with us for the remainder of our lives, and we tend to cringe at anything “new” as we get older. Yet, we forget that the musical preferences we carry with us through our older years was once new and was once considered “noise” to an older generation.

As seasoned credit union leaders, how easy it is to look at new technologies and new ideas with contempt and brand it as “noise.” How easy it is to be nostalgic about the way things were when we started in the industry and brushing aside the energetic next generation. As seasoned leaders, we bring a lot of experience and perspective to the table, but how foolish we are to pretend that the world does not continue to move forward. Innovation is happening more rapidly than ever before. How sad it is that our stubbornness is killing credit unions that could be doing so much for the next generation of members.

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Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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