Having just wrapped up my 13th GAC, I think back at all the changes that have happened within the financial services industry. As the world around us continues to rapidly evolve, it’s great to see some of the progress that credit unions have made. We see organizations with complexity and sophistication that have stepped up with great effort to compete at building sustainable organizations. What was once a pretty wide gap in compensation from banking to credit unions, is now a more market driven philosophy around executive compensation-(in many cases, but not all). We are seeing leadership positions evolve with creativity to meet the demands of a new marketplace. On the downside, increased regulatory burden, the challenge of building true economies of scale, and the continued evolution of non-traditional players in the banking sector all continue to test today’s leadership.
GAC is always a great opportunity see old friends, make some new contacts and check out the innovation that’s happening with the many service providers. Being in the “people business”, the great value for us at GAC is seeing those we know and meeting those we don’t. The conversation that inevitably comes up is a discussion around the “wave of retirements” that’s been looming since I joined O’Rourke in 2002. While I can say I’ve been to 13 GACs, I know there are many that can easily top this number. This year in particular, I was left wondering why we aren’t seeing more of the industry’s next generation at this significant event. I understand we are all watching expenses, but we’re missing an opportunity for emerging talent to collaborate with peers and expose these future leaders to what I’ve always found to be a highly motivating atmosphere. It would be great to look out at some new fresh faces, eager for the opportunity to participate on a national scale. Leadership development is a key component to individual credit union success and industry wide sustainability. Every organization must determine how best to position their credit union’s emerging talent- hopefully national participation and exposure will a component of that development moving forward.