‘Be responsive to strategic plans’

Educating the board is key to strategy, panelists say.

From left: Meredith Vaughan, Frank Chinn, and James Sackett.

The most important document board members review is not the monthly board packet, it’s the credit union’s strategic plan.

“We see board books as retroactive of what happened instead of what could be,” says Meredith Vaughan, director at $5.8 billion asset Ent Credit Union in Colorado Springs, Colo. “Don’t be responsive to board books. Be responsive to strategic plans.”

Vaughan participated in a panel at the 2019 CUNA Roundtable for Board Leadership in Phoenix that examined the board’s role in strategy. Other members of the panel were Frank Chinn, board chair at $1.3 billion asset Unitus Community Credit Union in Portland, Ore., and James Sackett, vice chair at $1.3 billion asset Firefly Credit Union in Burnsville, Minn.

To develop the strategic plan, Vaughan says the board sets the “master goal” for the credit union, but doesn’t get into details on how to achieve that goal. The CEO and leadership team finalize the operating details and put together the strategic plan, which the board approves at the annual retreat.


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