5-time Olympian White to share how to become a peak performer at GAC

When Shaun White started snowboarding in the 1990s, it was a niche activity. So, while traveling in the family van to compete all over the U.S., he never thought the sport would bring him worldwide recognition or financial success.

White hopes to show credit unions attending America’s Credit Unions’ Governmental Affairs Conference that there was no special ingredient behind his Olympic success, which included three halfpipe gold medals before he retired following a fourth-place finish at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. While his keynote March 6 revolves around snowboarding, he believes his story will relate to everyone in the Washington, D.C., crowd seeking to perform at a high level in their field.

White became a professional snowboarder at age 13, a professional skateboarder and homeowner at 16, and a high-profile Olympic gold medalist at 19.

“It was all of a sudden,” says the five-time Olympian. “That level of success was a big change—for not only me, but for my family and the family dynamic. When your 15-year-old is making more money than both parents, how do you keep your kid a kid? How do you remain the adult? For whatever it’s worth, I know my family did a pretty amazing job of holding it together.”

It took a while for White to feel comfortable with his wealth and celebrity status. Until he built up an adequate level of financial education, he had no choice but to trust that people had his best interest in mind.

“You can fall victim to people,” the San Diego native says of the importance of financial wellness. “I went through a difficult time when I was younger. I’d step into a room and there would be 10 people using a language I didn’t understand. I went, ‘Wait a minute. I really need to learn this.’ The more you apply yourself, the more you understand—and it’s not as complicated as it’s made out to be at times.”

For credit union leaders at GAC, White will share how to become a peak performer regardless of industry or profession.

“Take away the snow element, and it’s the same journey,” White says. “It all starts with setting goals. What do you really want to do? Then it’s, ‘OK, how would I do it?’ It starts this process in your mind. People are really good at figuring out problems, you’ve just got to be open to it.”

White’s still chasing goals. Now a recreational snowboarder, he stepped deeper into the business realm in 2022, launching WHITESPACE to fill the gaps he sees in the snowboarding world.

“It’s something new, different, and unique,” White says. “That was my approach to the sport. If everybody’s doing this, how can we do that? What’s the path less traveled? I hope my story leaves people feeling like, ‘I could also do that. I can apply these things in my life.’”

Use #GAC2024 on social media to engage with America’s Credit Unions and industry advocates throughout the event.

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