During my career of more than 30 years working in the credit union movement, my passion and devotion to credit unions and the movement have mostly been inspired by other credit union professionals that I have met along the way. Networking with credit union leaders at chapter meetings, conferences, and one-on-one visits has granted me the opportunity to engage in important, educational and memorable conversations with my peers and highlighted the experiences of embracing the power and spirit of the credit union movement.
I can recall many brilliant learning encounters that have taken place during a break, at meals and even in the hallways at various conferences. These are the occasions when I most feel the passion and commitment we all share in working together and where our dedication in spreading the credit union cooperative spirit is most present. Many of my credit union peers have become trusted mentors, cherished friends, and some are like family to me. Several have retired over the years, but I continue to meet new leaders and peers whom I learn from and am motivated by; and I continue, to the best of my ability, to be an inspiration and role model to the next generation of leaders.
In the past few years, however, there seems to be fewer meetings and conferences and attendance is down. Economic conditions, technology and time management have driven us to computer monitors to network via webinars, emails, list serves, blogs, LinkedIn groups, etc. New technological venues provide an abundance of opportunities but limit the ability to meet, network and build ongoing relationships with other credit union leaders and staff members. Few people ask questions or exchange ideas during webinars and therefore we are not exchanging thoughts on what we have learned. Webinar attendees typically sign off when the webinar ends.
Technology is eminent and boundless and we must stay on the cutting edge. It is imperative credit unions enlist technology to save time and money and offer convenience. However it is equally important to continue to network and work together to sustain the success of the credit union cooperative movement.
Commit to finding the balance that embraces new technologies and keeps the spirit of the credit movement alive. Attend conferences and seminars, serve on a board or committee, set-up a breakfast or lunch meeting with other fellow credit union leaders. Let us agree to carry on the passion, emotion, spirit and commitment to the cooperative movement by meeting, interacting, sharing ideas and inspiring one another. We all will be richer for it.