The countdown has begun. I am leaving tomorrow (July 15, 2012) to start a new adventure in Wisconsin, or, as I like to call it, “The Credit Union Mecca.” I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately. This isn’t going to be a soppy blog post, but I think it is only natural for one to conduct an extensive examination of where one has already been and where one plans on going when making a career move. Keep in mind that the furthest I have ever ventured from Sandusky, OH for more than a week was Bowling Green, OH for college and that was a whopping 59 mile trek.
Now, I find myself about to move 513 miles away from everything that I’ve ever known. The one thing that remains constant is my love for credit unions. If you’re reading this, it’s probably not news to you. You may even be thinking it’s not that big of a deal. You’re right it’s not, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all of the great Ohio credit union revolutionaries that I have been blessed to work, collaborate and share conversations with. So, if you’re reading this, I would strongly encourage you to connect with the people I am about to mention. I have come to find that these individuals are top-notch people, live and breathe the credit union mission and will do anything within their power (and within the law, of course) to make sure that credit unions remain top-of-mind. So, without further adieu, here they are:
Deborah Schaffer – Directions Credit Union
Deb is a CU Rockstar, plain and simple. I’ve had the great pleasure of doing financial literacy presentations with her, talking about grand ideas, thinking about how we can make credit unions more relevant to younger members and how we can work to further our community outreach efforts. I could go on and on. I consider Deb to be a great friend and I know that anything she does will end up being successful. She has a drive unlike most people and her intentions are always, let me repeat, always founded on the concept of improving other people’s lives. If you haven’t had the pleasure of talking/tweeting with her, please look her up. I guarantee that the above words cannot do her the justice she deserves.
Amanda Thomas McMeans – Members First Credit Union
Talk about a go getter. Amanda singlehandedly rebranded her Columbus, OH based credit union and helped to orchestrate a 3-way credit union merger. Her Member Bill of Rights program is, in a word, genius. I had the privilege of meeting her and her awesome husband at The Ohio Credit Union League’s (OCUL) Invest 48. What you see of Amanda via new media is what you get in person. She has an infectious (think good infection) personality and she is most definitely a mover and shaker in the CU world.
Mike Barr – Commodore Perry Federal Credit Union
Mike is another Ohio CU revolutionary that I met at the OCUL’s Invest 48. I was really impressed with how tapped in he is to all of the things that most CEOs don’t think about. Mike totally gets that the future of credit unions is completely dependent on our ability to increase our relevance to both our current members and potential members alike. He’s a very sharp guy and runs an awesome credit union. I was lucky enough to spend some time with his employees and talk about marketing earlier this July and you could tell that her has empowered them to do what needs to be done in order to make sure Commodore Perry FCU is braced for many more years of success.
Patrick Harris – Ohio Credit Union League
Patrick is just a cool dude in general. This guy wakes up every morning thinking (pure conjecture here), “What can I do today to help______ credit union in ____, OH?” If you’ve ever met him, you know he is 100% genuine in his efforts to do whatever he can to make your job easier. This guy sends out emails about opportunities for press coverage, calls just to see how things are going in your neck of the woods and would pretty much do whatever he can to make sure your credit union and its members have the support of the OCUL. I’ve participated in a couple of webinars that he’s moderated and learned a lot. Early in my adventure with VacationLand Federal Credit Union, the information and sessions he provided helped immensely in my efforts to truly grasp what the credit union revolution (movement, industry choose which one you like best) is all about.
I’m leaving a lot of people out here and I hope no one is offended. Honestly, if I named everyone in Ohio that has been and continues to be consistently awesome, this very well could be the longest blog post ever.
The bottom line here is this: I am extremely grateful to have been a small part of the wonderful things that are occurring throughout my home state. The people mentioned above, as well and a horde of others are really moving credit unions forward.
This is my way of saying thanks. You guys and gals are awesome and there is no award or recognition that could truly do justice for all that you have done and are yet to do. I look forward to staying in touch with all of you and seeing you at conferences. Please keep doing what you are doing and remember that all of us are MAKING A DIFFERENCE in thousands of people’s lives.
At the end of the day, making a difference (for the positive) is what all of us are put on this earth to do.