Leadership and the next generation of CEOs

Collaboration and values-based credit unions are at stake.

by: Henry Wirz

I just returned from the Western States Summit Round Table, founded many years ago by Stan Hollen, Rudy Hanley, Ed Callahan and Gary Oakland. These former credit union CEOs, all retired now or in other roles, were part of my generation of CEOs. The question I ask myself over and over is who will assume the kind of leadership that they and others of our generation brought to their credit unions and the credit union system in general.

Many CEOs at the recent round tables are of the next generation, and it is too soon to see if they will be great leaders, too. The last generation of CEOs created the modern credit union with professional management, they developed the CUSOs (CUDL, CO-OP, PSCU, CSCU, MBL, etc.) and they played a great role in political advocacy and regulatory advocacy, possibly saving credit unions with HR 1151.

What made CEOs like Stan Hollen, Rudy Hanley, Ed Callahan and Gary Oakland effective is that they were doers, thinkers and advocates. I have attended many round tables and what I recall is that our generation of CEOs used the round tables to collaborate with other CEOs to come up with new ideas and collaboratively work to bring them to fruition–whether those ideas led to new CUSOs or just fundamental research (including creating Filene Research Institute).

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