Thank you to all the attendees and exhibitors who took time out of their busy schedules to join us at The League's Annual Convention & Expo last week in Lake Geneva! Over 500 members from credit unions across the state took part in our various educational, networking, social, and fundraising events.
For those who could not attend, we'd like to share portions of The League Board Chair Val Mindak's opening remarks to convention goers, as she reflected back on the history of the organization and what lies ahead as we Move Forward:
It seems appropriate that after 85 years of service to its members, The League would have “Move Forward” as its theme for Convention; we’re not resting on our accomplishments and laurels, but instead we’re focusing on the future and how we can do even more to help our member credit unions succeed. We’re aiming to inspire, educate, and provoke thought while at the same time providing you with the opportunity to make new friends and enjoy the company of old.
However, we can't truly Move Forward without being mindful of our past. With the past in mind, The League asked for your thoughts on who inspires you, and for your favorite memories of being part of our Movement. Here's a sample of what you had to say.
From a Young Professional - "I have so many people who motivate me to continue on this career path, and who are always ready to share their resources when I ask."
From a long-term credit union employee - "For many of us long-term employees it is about maintaining our passion, and for newer employees it’s about inspiring them. I feel blessed and could not have chosen a better career path than to work in this Movement. It seems like we could be the largest NON-dysfunctional family that exists."
From another long-term employee - “What I remember most about the Convention is not only the wonderful volunteers, employees, and leaders of the movement, but also the many ideas we learned that we could take back to the credit union and introduce to our members. One of the best ideas was 'share drafts,' and how credit unions could now offer that service to members…"
And another - "I have worked in the credit union movement my whole career and have so many wonderful memories. One event I will never forget that I was fortunate to take part in was the Grassroots Rally in 1998 in Washington D.C. to defend passage of HR1151 – The Credit Union Membership Access Act. Thousands of people were there. Our voices were heard, and legislation passed to allow us to continue to expand our fields of membership."
From a self-confessed reformed banker - "As a banker I never believed the whole 'serving the underserved' thing. But it’s true, and most credit unions live it every day. It renewed my faith that not all business has to be cut-throat.”
From a 24-year credit union veteran - "I’ve found that credit union folks are the salt of the earth, and they have given me so many great memories and stories to share. I can’t list all of the folks who have influenced me over the years – there are SO many – but I will say, it is clear that we are here to help others – and that’s one of my personal missions."
From another long-term employee - "I recognize the leadership role the Movement has played in providing opportunities for women to advance their careers."
From a more than 40-year credit union veteran - "My first day on the job the state examiner arrived – no notice—a total surprise just like in the movies. He smoked cigarettes like a chimney. Well, actually, several others (including me!) smoked AT OUR DESKS! Ashtrays were at every teller window. By the end of that first day, I did not quite understand what an examiner was, but I did know he was a cranky old thing and that my boss was stressed out.”
From another long-term employee, commenting on a memorable event - "I was a chapter officer when my wife passed away. The chapter president suggested that if I ever started dating again, to let her know. So I eventually did. The chapter president’s co-worker and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary last September!"
From a wise veteran of more than 60 years in the movement who, when asked what event made an impact on him, responded - "The most important event was when my girlfriend, now wife, went to work for CUNA. She would tell me how great credit unions were. and how they were helping the average individual. So, in 1955 I became a charter member of a credit union and was elected to the Board. Following that I was elected to the chapter board and then to the League Board. While a member of The League Board, the Governor appointed me to the Review Board where I served for more than two decades...and later I represented Wisconsin on the CUNA Board and served on the CUNA Mutual Board for 30 years. All this because my girlfriend went to work for CUNA in 1947."
So, in closing, as we move forward, these comments remind us that:
We have a passion for what we do,
- Much of what we have achieved is due to the help of others,
- We need to continue to fight for what we believe in,
- Our focus needs to continue to be on serving our members,
- Service to the underserved is in our DNA,
- We need to continue to tell the credit union story,
- Love springs eternal,
- And last, but not least, a wise man always listens to the sage advice of a wise woman.
With these fond memories, we Move Forward with confidence in our ability to change the lives of credit union members.