More than 400 executives, young professionals and change agents reunited, reignited and recharged at the African-American Credit Union Coalition’s (AACUC) 24th Annual Conference at St. Pete Beach, Fla.
The weeklong event, sponsored by Trellance, successfully featured conversations devoted to diversity and inclusion, a full-day workshop benefitting CEOs of credit unions with less than $100M in assets, opportunities for professional and career development, connections with vendor-partners solutions and celebrations of Black Excellence.
The conference was full of meaningful moments, chief among them: awarding Visions Federal Credit Union President/CEO Ty Muse with the 2022 Pete Crear Lifetime Achievement Award, NCUA Chairman Todd Harper committing to support the survival of small credit unions and minority-depository institutions during a fireside chat and NCUA Board Member Rodney Hood offering personal reflections and one-on-one conversations with attendees during the conference wrap-up.
Originally planned for 2020 at the TradeWinds Island Resort in St. Pete Beach, FL, the AACUC pivoted to virtual annual conferences for the last two years. This year’s conference was the first major in-person event for the organization since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are more than pleased that we were able to deliver such a significant in-person event with veteran and new AACUC members and friends, especially given what we have all experienced over the last two years,” said Larry Sewell, outgoing AACUC Board Chairman and retired Vice President of Community Outreach for Together Credit Union.
“This conference in St. Pete Beach has been a long time coming and to see so many people enjoy each other and the resort truly warms my heart,” said AACUC President/CEO Renée Sattiewhite.
AACUC choreographed a diverse and balanced agenda, beginning with leisurely activities showing off Florida’s golf lifestyle with a mini golf tournament and St. Petersburg’s Black history with a tour of a local African American museum. Several pre-conference events geared towards first-time attendees, new AACUC members and those seeking training and professional development offered attendees opportunities to gain invaluable direct access to a compliance expert and executive coach.
The conference officially kicked off with a compelling keynote from last year’s closing keynote speaker Tony Moore, The Culture Architect, extending AACUC’s challenge to be Bold, Mindful and Brave as part of its Commitment to Change: Credit Unions Unite Against Racism (CTC) initiative and setting the tone for this year’s conference.
Speakers covered current hot topics such as economics, technology and DEI, helping credit union executives navigate today’s complex financial and economic environment; concepts like improvisation and community volunteerism, helping managers recognize best practices to help engage and retain talent; and mindfulness topics that addressed a person’s wellbeing, helping employees be their authentic selves in the workplace.
AACUC had record-breaking attendance from first-time attendees and young professionals. Nurturing and giving young professionals opportunities to learn, grow and shine (demonstrate their talent) is a hallmark of AACUC, as evidenced by the CTC Young Professional Leadership Award recipients recognized during the AACUC 2022: What We’ve Done So Far session.
“As a young professional, I am delighted to see so many of my peers show up and engage with our organization,” said Dohnia Dorman, AACUC Chief Experience Officer. “We are fully committed to offering programs and ways for the next generation of credit union leaders to be and feel valued and create pathways for their development and advancement within the credit union system.”
Other notable events from the conference included the inaugural Small Credit Union Summit and African American Credit Union Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. In collaboration with AACUC, CUNA Mutual Group, Inclusiv and the NCUA, CEOs and executives from credit unions with less than $100M in assets convened with peers and experts in the areas of board governance and supervisory committee matters, digital marketing, compliance, lending, risk, financials, human resources, recovery solutions and National Credit Union Administration resources to drive solutions for credit unions with limited financial and human resources. Six credit union leaders and volunteers from across the country were recognized and inducted into the Hall of Fame for their contributions to the industry.
The conference concluded with a gala-style Pete Crear Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony, dinner and after party. This year’s recipient was Tyrone Muse, president/CEO of Visions Federal Credit Union, where he as led the $5.6 billion New York-based financial institution since 2013. A recent inductee of the CUES Hall of Fame, AACUC recognized Muse for his dedicated service to his community, his leadership style punctuated by positivity and encouragement and the accomplishments and growth of Visions with him at the helm.