From the capitol building in Washington DC to Cambodia to Corban University, Amanda Brenneman, ’12, is making a difference in the world around her.
In recent months she not only lobbied legislators about bills that could affect credit unions, but she also spoke about human trafficking in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Northwest. Additionally, she is building relationships with other university alumni through the new Corban Adventurous Professionals group.
Brennneman is now one of 15 credit union employees internationally vying for a $20,000, 2-year CEO training opportunity. The “Next Top Credit Union Executive” candidates are being selected through a voting process, which runs through July 29. Anyone can see Brenneman’s video and vote through this link.
As she moves through the corridors of Maps Credit Union’s Salem, Ore. headquarters, the confident 28-year-old Adult Degree Program alumna is already talking about her most recent trips to Washington DC and Florida as a crash lobbyist on behalf of credit unions in the United States. She works as a business development officer and in February was selected as one of 19 credit union employees, under age 35, in the United States and the United Kingdom, to represent the industry.
“The trip was definitely career changing,” Brenneman said. “I had the opportunity to address Senator Jeff Merkley in front of the Oregon constituents. I was able to meet Representative Kurt Schrader and sit on his couch and as a group, talk to him about our desire to defend credit unions’ tax status among many other issues.”
In May she spoke about Maps nationally recognized Buy Local program to a national audience of credit union CEOs, presidents and other executives in Florida.
When she started the ADP program, Brenneman wasn’t planning to working in the financial industry. She initially wanted to serve as a trauma counselor for survivors of human trafficking, but admitted an internship with Called to Rescue changed her mind.
“While I was there, I realized God did not equip me with the skills to counsel victims of trauma,” she said. “I realized I was drawn to the business and inner working of running a non-profit.” This internship gave her the opportunity to write grant proposals and speak to the public about the agency’s mission. During Corban’s 2012 commencement ceremony, she was recognized for her efforts and named the ADP Distinguished Graduate.
Brenneman’s passion for the cause didn’t end with the internship and graduation. She currently works with Called to Rescue as a grant writer, including applications for funding that could potentially be used as part of a $48 million matching grant to help human trafficking victims. She also serves as a board member for POLE Gems in Salem, which ministers to men and women working in the adult entertainment industry.
“I went to Cambodia in 2009 and what I saw during that month broke my heart,” she said. “What I saw left me with an urgent desire to be involved in any way that God would use me.”
Her experiences have shown her the importance of building relationships. After a conversation with Corban’s Director of Alumni Relations Deleen Wills and several other Corban alumni, Brenneman made the decision to form Corban Adventurous Professionals, CAP, to get to know other young alumni and enjoy life together.
“We want to have spontaneous activities and have planned hikes and other events,” she said. “We want to connect with other like-minded individuals.” However, she noted that the group is not intended for business networking and that participants don’t need to be firmly established in their professional careers. Although newly formed, she hopes to see it grow and thrive and to see new friendships formed.
“We want the common thread to be about Corban and our faith,” she said. Currently, the group has a Facebook page and is working to establish other ways to connect.