The 2023 Summit officially kicked off at the Delta Hotel in Fargo, ND with Opening Ceremonies on Tuesday evening, May 9th. DakCU President/CEO Jeff Olson (photo above) began by welcoming attendees and setting the stage for our signature event. With nearly 300 attendees, guests, and business partners this year, Summit attendance was in high gear as credit union professionals from across the Dakotas gathered to reconnect and reenergize!
Olson began by thanking Dakota’s credit unions for all they did to help their members and communities throughout the past year. North and South Dakota credit unions have a proud history of serving the Dakotas, and this is the 17th combined meeting since the two leagues merged. Jim Nussle, President/CEO of CUNA, sent his well wishes through a video message, congratulating our states for their continued success in credit union advocacy and advancing our communities.
The 13 Summit Crashers gathered before Opening Ceremonies for their first session with Christopher Morris, the Credit Union National Association's membership engagement consultant for the Midwest region. This year, competition was stiff for the Crasher Program – with nearly 30 applications. (As a reminder, we encourage those who were not selected this year to try again next year!) Throughout the conference, they attended general sessions in addition to specific Crasher social events, team building activities and industry-specific educational sessions.
The Summit continued into Wednesday, May 10th, with a full day of entertainment and education, including mainstage attractions and breakout sessions featuring topics that have been front of mind in the Dakotas. This year, DakCU delivered an incredible speaker lineup, including motivational and self-improvement guru, Pete Smith, our opening keynote. Pete addressed the issues credit unions face with staffing, and how being in the “relationship” business means focusing on the “things that matter.” This is what allows credit unions (and other small businesses), as well as individuals, to weather the storm when things get difficult.
We were honored to have a special guest this year, Lisa Ginter, CUNA Board Chair and CEO of Community America CU in Kansas City, MO. Lisa participated in an open dialogue with Jeff Olson about being service-minded, and how her career has led to personal growth and a sense of purpose. The message was especially meaningful for the Crasher group, young professionals just beginning their careers. Lisa personally donated an autographed KC Chief’s Jersey (Patrick Mahomes) and signed helmet (Andy Reid) for our GAC Silent Auction!
The general sessions and the breakouts were also outstanding this year, with industry leaders including Christopher Morris, Steve Rick, Jim Kasch, Anthony Mondello, Greg Tomaszewicz, Glory LeDu, and Tonya Voltolina. (Photos below.)
With much anticipation, attendees were treated to closing keynote Kat Perkins, the music sensation who was a finalist on The Voice. Kat talked about her journey from being a small girl from the town of Scranton, ND, to overcoming a medical emergency that could have left her voiceless, to being a nanny, to becoming a finalist and a crowd favorite on the hit show. Only through being "fearless" was her success possible, and her message is to live with courage because most "fear" is actually doubt. Finally, Kat treated the crowd to a live rendition of her song, "Fearless." What would you do if you weren't afraid?
Later on Wednesday afternoon, the Annual Business Meeting took place. Olson provided an overview of Association achievements (and challenges) faced over the past year, and also recognized DakCU staff. Karla Clark was recognized for her 30 years of service to the League, and Jay Kruse was presented with a gift to honor his years of service to the Association, as he begins his new role as CEO of Norstar FCU.
The grand finale of the Annual Summit was the elegant Awards Banquet, where individuals and credit unions were recognized for their achievements over the past year. Most notably, the DakCU Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Mindee Kohlman, retiring CEO of Aspire CU. You can read the full story in today’s Memo.
Other awards will be covered in upcoming issues of the Memo, so stay tuned! And thank you to the many credit union professionals who joined us in Fargo this week. We hope you enjoyed our signature event as much as we enjoyed hosting.
The Memo is DakCU's newsletter that keeps
Want the Memo delivered straight to your inbox?