My Time at the Southeast CUNA Management School (SRCUS)

Dizzy Felkel, Marketing/Member Education Coordinator, SPC Credit Union & 2012 SCCUL Palmetto Protegeby: Dizzy Felkel, Marketing/Member Education Coordinator, SPC Credit Union & 2012 SCCUL Palmetto Protege

A daily recap of my first-year at the Southeast CUNA Management School

I heard lots of things about SRCUS from coworkers: The project, the rowdiness, the long classes―The project. So, I wasn’t sure what to think. But now that I’m standing on the other side having completed my first-year of the program, I can say I made the right choice in attending.

Day 1: The Road to Orientation…and snacks
The drive [to the University of Georgia] wasn’t bad, just boring. Seriously, how many horse farms can exist on one highway? After check-in, everyone met for orientation and a reception. I met a few people and then drove to Wal-Mart for snacks. It gets more exciting, I promise.

Day 2: I Think, Therefore I Am
We had more orientation and then a class on “Understanding Emotional Intelligence” where I learned the following:

People move from unconscious incompetence → conscious incompetence → conscious competence → unconscious competence.

In summary, we should all move to be competent in what we do without really having to think about it―good stuff.

After lunch, we had a class with Dr. Black titled, “Understanding Yourself to Work Better with Others.” Today was a day about understanding. Dr. Black dissected the different personality types that might make the workplace difficult. I apparently am super-meditative, which sounds super-mellow, but means I am a logical analyzer. It’s no wonder I was so popular in high school…

I guarantee my marketing co-workers are different, which can lead to difficulties. I now see how differently people may approach things, and really none of them are “wrong,” mine is just more right (kidding, of course).

Day 3: Ropes Course Day
The day I dreaded from the moment I learned of it: Rope Course Day. Out-of-shape-balding-about-to-turn-thirty guys don’t love anything with the words “Ropes” or “Course,” unless you say, “of course you don’t need rope, we are going to Krispy Kreme.” Well, I may or may not have (totally did) prayed for rain, and rain it did. But to my horror, they didn’t cancel anything, just moved it indoors! We did more team oriented activities, where I somehow was forced to do “team jump rope.” Let the record state, I owned my part of the activity.

The final class of this busy day was, “Ignite Your Inner Entrepreneur,” which was really a marketing class. I felt right at home in this class and I dare say was the most creative in the activities. Little did I know this would be the last time I’d understand anything over the next few days (cue the ominous music).

With today’s course work completed, I made my début in the Hospitality Suite (H.S.). This is the “after-hours” room where students can relax and hang out. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly my definition of fun (for the record, my definition is eating a cheeseburger in my recliner while watching reruns of Dawson’s Creek). As is, I stayed in the lounge for an hour, and then spent another hour in the hallway talking with John Paul of MPCU (a former coworker). I definitely saw that many friendships were formed during these hours. But, I did have seminary homework most nights and had to miss out, except one other night where I was forced to return to the H.S. (re-cue ominous music).

Day 4: Financial Analysis Day! Yay…
Day four was Financial Analysis Day―all day. No way to make that sound exciting. I was pretty much lost through this entire class. It definitely required at least some knowledge of finances, and I had none. That’s pretty much the whole day.

Day 5: Financial Analysis Day’s nicer cousin
Day five we reviewed Financial Ratios and I actually learned this time! The instructor took his time and explained everything very well. I now have a (very) basic understanding the financials in my Credit Union’s board member packets. I gained the most from this particular class. It also created a longing in me to learn even more about all this (since these financial statements seem to be important in our industry). I wish the financial ratio class could be even longer, marking the first time that statement has ever been uttered.

We finished the day with a short class on “Managing Your Personal Brand.” I’ve actually been reading books about branding, so this was not totally new for me. This class focused more on the “create an experience” idea. I prefer to get back to the “why we do the things we do,” instead of focusing on “what we do.” Troy Hall spoke to that end later in the week.

Day 6: Let’s debate
By this point, fatigue is a real factor. I’ve already spent a lot of time in the classroom (and remember: I also had homework once I got back to my room). Fortunately, “Ethics” was a fun class for me. Preachers are used to arguing stuff, plus I’ve always had a knack for asking tough ethical questions. We had a spirited discussion on Courtesy Pay usage.

That evening we had a class debate. The upper classmen debated the use of social media, focusing on its usefulness for growing membership. It was quite entertaining. I got to be a semi-expert among my class, since my credit union has a social media calendar in place. Surprisingly, many credit unions were not using Facebook regularly. SPC CU is ahead of the curve!

Somehow my name ended up on the Debate Team list, so I headed back to the H.S. Everyone was very nice in chatting with me―I’m guessing some knew I was slightly uncomfortable― and I had an okay time.

Day 7: Conley shows us how to budget effectively and Risk Mgmt Returns
Scott Conley, who gave me my first credit union job, led the discussion on “Developing and Implementing an Effective Budget Program.” He kept it simple and entertaining, raising a lot of good “what ifs” and cause-and-effect issues.

The second session on “Risk Management” was a good official “final” class. This instructor was crazy in a pleasant, fun way. She gave a lot of information on security practices. I learned several things in this class, including to never draw silos on a whiteboard…don’t ask.

Day 8: Generally speaking, this has been great!
It’s all general sessions for our last day. Mike Mercer and Bill Cheney spoke, which was stinking awesome. I’m guessing they are as close to celebrities as we [CU folk] get. Speaking of celebrities, Troy Hall was in the house as well! He was very helpful in speaking on a myriad of topics. Plus, he recognized me in front of everyone so I felt important. It seemed everyone took away much from his talks. #BTDNOW

I definitely made the right decision by selecting SRCUS as my prize. I was exposed to a wealth of information I otherwise may have never received. I plan to work hard on my project (started my first day back in the office) and strive to be involved with my classmates when possible. I’m thankful to SCCUL and SPC Credit Union for this great opportunity. Attending SRCUS is an investment well worth making.

The SE CUNA Management School is held each summer at the University of Georgia’s Georgia Center with faculty from the Terry College of Business and credit union industry experts. Students who complete the 3-year program are equipped with skills and knowledge to meet leadership challenges that arise in the credit union industry. This year, school was held June 8-15 with a total of ninety-seven students―twenty of them from South Carolina. Among that group is Dizzy Felkel (SPC CU), South Carolina Credit Union League’s first-ever Palmetto Protégé. He selected SRCUS as his education benefit prize, which covered one-year of tuition.

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