Virtual events take center stage

A behind-the-scenes look at a new HR compliance school.

July 1, 2020

Jess MacLagan joined CUNA in 2020 as instructional design manager after serving as compliance officer for $1.6 billion asset Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union in Chattanooga and more than 10 years in the banking industry.

A week after she started, all CUNA staff started working remotely due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Many of CUNA’s live events also shifted to virtual events.

“Training is more important than ever during these uncertain times,” says James Carrick, CUNA’s vice president of learning events. “The virtual format allows attendees to gain knowledge while interacting with their peers.”

MacLagan, who’s based in Atlanta, provides a glimpse into what it takes to shift from live to virtual events, challenges in doing so, and an event next week on human resource (HR) compliance rule changes.

Credit Union Magazine: What was your initial reaction when you realized you’d be putting on virtual events?

MacLagan: The move to virtual given the current climate just made sense. It wasn’t really a surprise. I did, however, ask that the HR compliance event be the beta test for CUNA’s virtual experience.

This event relies so much on networking and communication, and I thought it would be a great flagship event for CUNA in this new virtual endeavor. I was genuinely excited when everyone agreed and we got the “go ahead” to convert our conference.

Q: What’s involved in putting on a virtual event?

A: Putting on a virtual event has proven to have a lot of challenges. We had to “create” everything from the ground up since CUNA had never created an event like this before.

We needed software, cameras, a production team, speakers, sponsors, and emcees. We have had to redefine roles for employees and pull in so many different teams to even make one of these virtual conferences possible.

To say this has truly been a team effort would be a severe understatement. I’ve met more colleagues just from planning this event than I have in my previous three months working here. It’s been a great collaborative experience.

Jess MacLagan

‘The move to virtual given the current climate just made sense.’

Jess MacLagan

Q: Tell me about the HR Compliance Rule Changes event you’re planning.

A: This conference includes six, 45-minute sessions that will cover the latest regulatory changes related to the current pandemic and their impact on credit union policies. We will even have a roundtable Q&A with our speakers who are subject matter experts in credit union HR compliance.

This will give attendees facing the same challenges the option to discuss among themselves possible solutions.

Our speakers are David Reed from Reed & Jolly, Diane Reed from CUDoctor, Michael Barnsback from O’Hagan Meyer, and Carlos Molina from CUNA Mutual Group.

The sessions will cover topics including Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations; Family Medical Leave Act; Families First Coronavirus Response Act; Americans with Disabilities Act; Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act; employer risks, rights, and obligations; and more.

Q: How do you come up with these topics?

A: These sessions have been hot topics since COVID-19. Many of these regulations have been changed or updated to address new leave concerns, pandemic shutdowns, and essential employees.

With all of this new information coming at us at a record pace, we decided it would be beneficial to create a virtual conference covering these topics and how they affect our member credit unions. This event is built to specifically address 2020 HR compliance changes.

Q: How do you like working remotely?

A: It has been quite the transition for me, but I like that we are all helping each other come up with ways to make it fun and different.

My favorite thing about working from home is the flexibility of “offices.” If I want to work in my living room each day, great. But if I want to work on the patio during a nice summer day, even better! Changing my environment has been so enjoyable.

Work is what you make of it. Travel to different offices whether in your home, in your yard, or in your state. Find things that bring you joy and surround yourself with it.

The happier your surroundings are, the happier you are “at work.”