The 2021 Summit officially kicked off in Fargo with Opening Ceremonies on Monday evening, May 3rd.
DakCU President/CEO Jeff Olson launched the event, welcoming attendees and setting the stage for our signature event. With more than 225 registrations this year, Summit attendance is officially back to pre-pandemic numbers, as credit union professionals from across the Dakotas gathered to reconnect and reenergize!
Jeff began by thanking the Summit sponsors, and he also recognized the group of Crashers. Then, he incorporated a bit of humor by poking fun at the past year of virtual meetings with some funny videos in an “Ode to Zoom.” But all kidding aside, credit unions successfully helped our members navigate the past difficult year by doing what we do best, keeping their best interests in mind and improving lives. There is much to be proud of as true “Financial First Responders.” Opening ceremonies concluded with a video message from Jim Nussle, President/CEO of CUNA.
Tuesday, May 4th was a full day of entertainment and education, with mainstage attractions and breakout sessions featuring topics that have been front of mind in the Dakotas. Between the pandemic, new legislation legalizing cannabis, and the ever-present challenges of strategic planning and leadership development, our members have been seeking information they can use to enhance their credit union’s performance. This year, DakCU delivered with an incredible speaker lineup.
First up was Melanie Spring, opening keynote and motivational storyteller. Melanie showed the audience how to create a branded experience by telling your unique credit union story. There are many reasons to make a “pitch” – to get an investment, to get a new client, to hire new employee, to get a raise or promotion, or even to get a kid to do homework. When making a pitch, it’s important to remember that it’s not all about you! Sharing information is really giving a gift, and Melanie shared her DISH method for pitching. DISH stands for Data, Impact, Story, Impact.
Data – it’s not just about numbers! Some things cannot be measured.
Impact – Consider the impact on you AND the other party. Success is not measured in the amount of dollars you make, but the amount of impact.
Story – People will tend to remember the story over the numbers (data). We all have stories but we forget other people need to hear them. Storytelling is really just content + context. The pitch might not change a life, but the story might.
Humans – be sure to use the right language for the audience to make that important connection. “Human to human” is all about how people feel when they connect with you.
So, in your next pitch: map out your data; be specific about your impact on you and them; tell a story that illustrates your point; and know how you want them to feel. Finally, practice, take a deep breath, say your first ten words, and then PITCH – but be sure to ASK for what you really want.
Next on the mainstage was Steve Rick, CUNA Mutual Group’s Chief Economist, who is always well received at DakCU events. Did you know that Steve was born and raised in Moorhead, MN and attended NDSU? He provided an overview of the underlying economic trends that credit unions need to consider. Of course, everyone is wondering, where is the economy heading?
Economic recovery in 2021 is predicted to be around 6% - mostly due to increased demand for goods and services post-COVID. The economy is actually expected to grow over the next three years. Steve Rick expects modest inflation for the foreseeable future. Interest rates will be rising, but not dramatically. Loan growth expected to be about 5% for credit unions in 2021, while saving growth expected to be at 15%.
The grand finale of our speaker lineup was closing keynote Eric Chester, who presented “On Fire at Work: Driving service through the frontline!” As an acclaimed workforce researcher and thought leader who also happens to be a credit union member – Eric explained how you can find, develop, and retain top talent. The audience was left with some great ideas that they can immediately put into action!
When you are looking to hire the “right people,” are you looking at their skills, or their core values? Chances are, you are looking for people who are positive, reliable, professional, have initiative, respect, integrity, and gratitude. These are not skills – but seven core values that are a person’s work ethic. Chester’s book, “Reviving Work Ethic,” defines work ethic as knowing what to do and then doing it. Asking questions that reveal work ethic, and then training and rewarding the “right people” along with discipline, coaching, and modeling are steps in the right direction.
Between the main attractions, attendees had the opportunity to choose from multiple breakout sessions on a variety of topics. Two of the most popular sessions were led by Jim Kasch, consulting and competitive market expert, who spoke on leadership development and strategic planning. DakCU has just formed a new partnership with Jim and Canidae Consulting that offers exciting opportunities for our Dakota credit unions – be sure to check with George McDonald, DakCU’s Chief Officer of Strategic Services to learn more.
With recent changes in North and South Dakota law legalizing cannabis, many of our credit unions are wondering how that will affect their credit union. So, it was no surprise that Frank Drake, credit union law expert, had a large audience for his session on “Reefer Madness Meets Modern Business.” His second session, “Fool Proof Board of Directors” provided information that board members can use to successfully perform their job and avoid the risk of personal liability.
Last but not least, since credit unions are still dealing with the effects of the pandemic, particularly in the area of human resource issues, we engaged HR Consultant and Trainer Dan Oakland to provide his expert knowledge in the areas of supervision, leadership, customer service, and workplace communications. His session, “HR Lessons from the Pandemic,” was particularly useful to credit unions that do not have a full-time human resource manager.
Once again, thanks to all our Summit attendees – we hope you enjoyed the show!
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