MADISON, Wis. (5/21/13)--Attendees of the Credit Union National Association's America's Credit Union Conference in New York City will learn the secrets of taking bold action in times of duress from Lt. Col. Robert Darling, who served in the Gulf War as a decorated U.S. Marines combat helicopter pilot and was a key adviser to the Bush administration following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Credit Union Magazine senior editor Adam Mertz interviewed Darling in advance of his opening keynote address at ACUC, June 30. ACUC will be held June 30-July 3.
On Sept. 11, 2001, Darling had a front-row seat on history, standing side-by-side with President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, then-National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, and other high-ranking government officials as they responded to the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil.
The author of "24 Hours Inside the President's Bunker" says he's "on a mission" to spread the word about the events he witnessed on Sept. 11.
In the interview Darling describes how leaders must combine decisive action with humility, allowing "people in the field" to be the difference makers.
"You're going to go to your most junior [employees] sometimes and you've got to have faith, trust and confidence in their abilities," Darling says. "You have to surrender control and follow what they're advising you to do because they know more about that potential crisis than maybe you do, and how to mitigate it or end it."
Darling will share the lessons he learned in a framework credit union leaders can apply to their operations, and underscore the importance of providing a firm financial foundation for members who are first responders and military personnel.
"In the credit union movement, we've got to give their families financial literacy," he said. "We've got to be able to offer programs where they feel they can get mortgages and buy cars and get those things they need so they can deploy away from their families and protect all of us."