CUNA Community CU & Growth Conference

CUs Must Share Their Powerful Messages

Storytelling can persuade consumers—and members of Congress.

October 8, 2013

Through their daily focus on improving members’ financial security and the communities they serve, credit unions across the country have great stories to share.

But how do they craft these messages? And how can they ensure the right people—including those in Congress who can protect credit unions’ tax exemption—hear them?

That’s a common theme of the keynote speakers at the CUNA Community Credit Union & Growth Conference (CCUC), which runs Wednesday through Friday in Uncasville, Conn.

Credit Union Magazine will provide on-site coverage of the conference and the Community Credit Union of the Year Awards.

Paul SmithPaul Smith, director of consumer research at Procter & Gamble, kicks off the conference Wednesday morning with “Lead With the Credit Union Story,” which blends the history of the movement with main points from Smith’s recent book “Lead With a Story,” a guide to crafting business narratives that captivate, convince, and inspire.

Business leaders and executives at major corporations such as Disney, 3M, Nike, and the World Bank have adopted storytelling in the past decade as a method of influence, leadership, and growth, Smith explains.

Drawing from years of research and interviews with more than 75 CEOs and executives, Smith provides a road map for using stories to redefine the culture in your credit union, inspire your staff, and most important, grow your business.


Paul GentilePaul Gentile, executive vice president of strategic communications and engagement for CUNA, follows in Wednesday’s general session with an update on Unite for Good, an initiative to bring the movement together to work for a shared credit union vision: Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner.

Gentile will share best practices of credit unions that successfully support the Unite for Good initiative locally, and identify ways that attendees can aid the realization of this vision, which CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney launched at the Governmental Affairs Conference  in February.

Unite for Good: The complete story from CUNA on Vimeo.

Ryan DonovanMany GAC attendees took the Unite for Good message to their representatives in Congress, which continues to debate issues of deep concern to credit unions—from the growing power of the Consumer Protection Finance Bureau (CFPB) to the rewriting of the tax code.

“Who Will Speak for Credit Unions?” in these discussions, asks CUNA's Ryan Donovan, senior vice president, legislative affairs. In Thursday’s general session, he'll discuss today’s hot-button legislative issues affecting credit unions and explain why it’s more important than ever for credit union executives, volunteers, and members to be active advocates for the movement.

Politics is won by those who show up, Donovan emphasizes, and the voices seeking to limit or eliminate credit unions aren’t diminishing. Meanwhile, in the post-financial crisis world, the challenges facing credit unions seem ever increasing.


Sarita MaybinThe ability to stay positive and productive in the face of change, challenges, and uncertainty is essential to your role as a leader, says Sarita Maybin, who will deliver Thursday’s keynote address, “Adapting, Succeeding, and Thriving at Your Credit Union.”

Whether it be regulatory burden, decreasing loan volume, staffing pitfalls, or potential legislative threats, you must adapt during these times of drastic and constant change to ensure your personal success and that of your credit union.


Chad HymasChad Hymas dealt with a change few of us will experience, when at age 27 an accident left him a quadriplegic. But the accident didn’t paralyze his dreams. Hymas started his own communications company and became an elite athlete, setting a world record by traveling 513 miles in his wheelchair, from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas.

Hymas, named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the 10 most inspirational speakers in the world, shares his message in Friday’s keynote address, “Doing What Must Be Done: Leaving Your Legacy.”