Q: What does your role as a deacon have in common with your position as CEO?
Now you are going to get me to preaching. So here goes.
Regardless of your faith, convictions, or beliefs, you probably believe that the church serves an altruistic purpose. We go about showing compassion and charity to all we reach. Ultimately, church is about the redemption of people toward a better life.
Let’s analogize the role of faith and the purpose of credit unions. Each institution has at its core the conviction that people deserve understanding and compassion. Both have a commitment to serving a wider community, one individual at a time. Credit unions and faith followers respect people for their present conditions while working to find a better solution.
I don’t think one can be successful in credit unions without caring for others. If you remove people from the equation, the movement is reduced to merely peddling commodities. This is neither sustainable nor inspiring.
I’ve seen a passion for service in the faces of volunteers and professionals from various credit unions. I’ve listened to countless success stories about credit unions rescuing families from financial illnesses.
Regardless of field of membership, designations, and delivery models, we all share a craving to improve mankind. This is the true promise of the credit union ideal. For me, the credit union thinking restores and reinforces my faith.
Q: What’s one thing people might be surprised to learn about you?
This could be a dangerous admission. I think people know I am a credit union fanatic. I hope they know I am a friend when needed.
I suppose people might be surprised to learn that I’m trying to kick a workaholic habit. It’s true. I have a difficult time winding down. Call it a personality flaw. My wife and my mother are working on me. Our kids have given up on the idea that I will ever change. But I’m really trying.
It does not help my cause when I see so much to be done in terms of financial education, services, and advocacy for members. I keep thinking a breakthrough innovation that will eliminate poverty exists just around the corner.
Yep…I said that. As far-reaching as that might sound, I honestly believe we can improve the lives of whole generations. I figure, to tackle big challenges, it takes lots of elbow grease. In other words, keep working.
One day, I will achieve work-life balance. In the meantime, charge!
Q: As you begin your role as CUNA Board chairman, what other thoughts come to mind?
I’d like to give a shout-out for my fellow CUNA directors. Most folks don’t have access to the inner workings of the CUNA Board.
In other words, no outside audience witnesses how the board performs its responsibilities. So, take my word for it: This group of men and women are stalwart credit union servants. The dedication, preparation and commitment to the credit union movement is truly inspiring.
I have the privilege for seven years to watch this governing body work. It’s a thing of beauty to see representatives from different corners of the credit union world come together for the betterment of all members.
While we are elected based on class distinctions of size and geography, no such tribal issues come into the board meetings. When one speaks, there are no constituent-based selfish motivations at hand. Each director holds as his or her mandate the good of all credit unions.
Finally, it is a pleasure to work with the CUNA management team and staff. Professionalism does not begin to describe the skillset of each person I have encountered at CUNA.
Their command of their respective subject matters and technical know-how gives me comfort knowing that credit unions are being well-served. I‘ve had the opportunity to talk with enough staffers to determine they are not in this just for a paycheck.
The CUNA team feels the credit union fever just as much as we do in the field. In fact, I believe the CUNA folks are credit union nerds, too.