Sekou Andrews believes in the power of making waves.
“Waves can be positive or negative depending on if you’re the disruptor or the disrupted,” Andrews told CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference attendees Sunday in Washington, D.C. “Today we focus on waves as a means of change: Wave makers are change makers.”
But in today’s financial services world, “you can’t take death-defying risks in the shallow end of the pool,” Andrews says. “We must focus on waves as a means of change.”
Andrews, a former teacher, also discussed some of the “research” he conducted with grade school children on how ocean waves are formed. Though the theories the children offered didn’t follow science, one element held true: Their answers were imaginative and original.
“This is what you can do what you do with your story: Rewrite this version of yourself lying within and put a little magic in the tale of your potential,” Andrews says. “Your creativity holds the power to defy your own gravity. Who better than grade schoolers to stir the waves of complacency?”
Imagination is critical to innovation, he says. “The visionary doesn’t just see what’s there. The visionary sees what isn’t yet there but will be there―the new path that will be forged.”
When credit unions find new ways to serve their members “and breathe new life into their industry,” they’re rewriting their own narrative.
That narrative is essential in telling their story to lawmakers. Storytelling is how cultures find common values.
“Storytelling creates an opportunity for you to find yourself in others and for others to find themselves in you,” Andrews says.
For credit unions and their narrative of financial well-being, there’s not a single story but thousands, he says. They include single mothers struggling financially, entrepreneurs starting new businesses, underserved communities, immigrant populations, and new homeowners to name a few.
“You have a powerful vision for the industry: financial well-being for all,” Andrews says. “But your vision is only as powerful as your voice, which is why it’s so important to give voice to the solutions you provide for your communities.”
Ultimately, financial service relationships are built on trust, and the stories that credit unions share will reflect the trust their members place in them. “That’s what it means to be part of a community,” Andrews says.
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