The National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation) presented four Herb Wegner Memorial Awards at its annual dinner Monday night at the Marriott Marquis in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington, D.C. Andy Janning, CEO and Founder of Man on Fire Enterprises, served as the night’s emcee.
An astounding group of over 930 credit union leaders and supporters attended the Foundation’s fundraising gala. The awards ceremony celebrated the highest national honors in the credit union movement:
“Relevance requires us to stand together united for the common good,” said Mitchell after accepting her award. “Stand up for diversity! Stand up for what’s right. Stand up for what you believe in. This is not my lifetime achievement, it’s a renewed challenge to me and all of us to stand up for the credit union purpose.”
This year’s winners joined an elite group of 64 individuals and 28 organizations whose efforts over the past 30 years have earned them the recognition of Herb Wegner Memorial Awards.
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By Frank Diekmann, CUToday.info
WASHINGTON–So, you’re a big, sophisticated credit union. That’s cool, said one person, but there are still challenges to be met.
Three of those challenges were identified by Brandi Stankovic, managing partner and cofounder of Mitchell Stankovic & Associates, during the company’s Underground Collision Conference held prior to GAC in Washington.
According to Stankovic, those three challenges are:
Thanks to her dedication to spreading the credit union idea worldwide – and her determination to foster diverse representation in CU leadership and membership – the National Credit Union Foundation has bestowed a 2018 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement on Susan Mitchell, CEO of Mitchell, Stankovic & Associates.
Mitchell is one of four Herb Wegner Memorial Award winners who will be honored by the Foundation at an event in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 26, in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference.
In 2009, Mitchell became the founding chair of the Global Women’s Leadership Network, an offshoot of the World Council of Credit Unions. She has a passion about the importance of women to not just run the household and the family, but also serve as leaders in the community. She volunteered her time with no budget and limited resources to create GWLN and make it the premiere global credit union program for women, engaging thousands of women from an international network. She has created an initiative to raise $2 million for scholarships, member education, empowerment grants and programming facilitation opportunities for credit union women.
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By Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, Associate, Mitchell Stankovic & Associates
A period of self-reflection is good for individuals, companies and industries. I retired from Travis Credit Union as CEO more than three years ago. In the last year I’ve had both knees replaced, forcing me to take time out of my consulting, but I’ve made good use of that gift of time. As I look back on my four-decade career in credit unions and forward for what’s to come for credit unions, I see great things, from the members we’ve saved from financial ruin to the enduring relationships I have within the credit union community.
My experiences have been wonderful overall, but as I reflect I also am pondering what I and others have done, could have done, and should have done to create an even more sustainable future for credit unions and the members we serve.
1. Credit unions preach cooperation but in practice we remain divided. We really don’t practice what we preach; we really don’t cooperate. I had the opportunity to serve on the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ committee overseeing the cooperative advertising campaign. We recognized that awareness was (and is!) a critical issue for credit unions. Collaboratively we could tackle that issue, but the issue seemed to be that smaller credit unions felt the larger credit unions would reap most of the benefits. To its credit, the league went out on a limb to require all members to fund the effort. When the Great Recession hit, the program unfortunately lost support and fell apart, but we were doing good work to benefit ALL credit unions. The whole is greater than its parts, and we need that collective strength when our bank competitors on the same block are larger than all credit unions combined.
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By Randy Karnes, CEO, CU*Answers
Every year I hear credit unions CEOs talk about how they need the newest products and services to remain competitive. The one thing I don’t hear is a dedication to changing the culture at the credit union to be effective. Adding new services is easy, but changing how we work and serve our members requires buy-in at the organization from the top on down. One particular area where credit unions have been slow to change their mentality is behaving more like the online retailers customers expect in their daily interactions.
The days of the ‘if I build it, they will come’ mentality, where credit unions could simply build a new branch and watch the people walk in, are dwindling. Taking that approach for online strategies is sure to result in failure—the virtual world faces overcrowding. If you’re not a retailer and you don’t know how to get members to visit your virtual branch, you’re in trouble.
Most credit union executives and boards still need to figure out what being an online retailer means for their credit union. Continuing down the path most are taking, they’re missing out on the opportunity to begin that culture shift now. It will take years of work; budgeting, planning, setting deadlines, and being accountable to it.
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