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In 1844, a small group of weavers from Rochdale, England created the blueprint for how their newly-formed cooperative would operate and serve the local community. These values, known as the Seven Cooperative Principles, serve as the operating guidebook for credit unions and cooperatives throughout the world. This blog was created to honor that legacy and to showcase the everyday efforts of credit unions in the Carolinas that embody the cooperative mission and purpose.

 

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Zach DeMoya recaps successful CUaware Columbia meeting

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Tuesday, March 01, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, March 01, 2016

(Editor's note: Zach deMoya, a 2015 CUaware Protégé Competition Finalist, is organizing a CUaware Council in Columbia. Zach serves as a lending assistant for Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union.)


"As credit union professionals we all may represent
different organizations, but should share the same
passion and zeal to strengthen the financial wellness
of all those we serve and work together to spread the
good message of the credit union difference."

Credit union professionals from a variety of Columbia-area credit unions gathered together for the first time for the launch event for CUaware Columbia on August 24th at Liberty Tap Room in downtown Columbia. The goal of this event was to promote unity and collaboration among our local credit unions to better serve our members and advocate the credit union difference more prominently in the Columbia-area. 

This event served as an informal way for those interested in being a part of the movement to connect with one another and start forming relationships that will hopefully be the building blocks to a much larger, unified effort at truly cooperating with one another to be people helping people.

Roughly thirty-five to forty individuals representing five credit unions and the Carolinas Credit Union League, in addition to representation from our local partner Enterprise, came together for a night of fun, fellowship, and networking. I had the privilege of getting to spearhead the organization of the night, and heard nothing but positive feedback from attendees and a shared desire to continue to gather together and take our group out into the community to make a more concerted effort at bettering our city. 

I got to witness both friendships being built and ideas and feedback being shared amongst individuals coming from various credit unions. This was extremely cool to watch considering one of the ultimate goals of CUaware is to learn, share, and grow together, and work to cooperate rather than be in competition with one another for the same members.

As credit union professionals we all may represent different organizations, but should share the same passion and zeal to strengthen the financial wellness of all those we serve and work together to spread the good message of the credit union difference.

The overwhelming takeaway from the night was a spirit of wanting to work together as a team to grow the CUaware movement and continue to build long-lasting collaboration among our local credit unions. Our next event will be at a to-be-determined location in early April, with more of a focus on being present out in the community through service and advocacy. Especially if you are a part of a Columbia-area credit union team, but even if outside the area, I would strongly encourage you to be a part of your local CUAware chapter and work to make our credit unions stronger and carry a more powerful message, both internally and externally in your local communities.

For more information on CUaware Columbia, feel free to contact me and I would love for you to be a part of our growing movement!

Born and raised in Lexington, S.C., Zach deMoya graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s in education. He has a passion for financial planning and aspires to provide financial counseling to high-risk areas. He also encourages the movement as whole to take a deeper look at this often underserved demographic.

Tags:  Columbia  CUaware  Palmetto Citizens FCU 

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Acting out: CUaware Lowcountry to learn pioneer stories

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, February 24, 2016


The event features volunteer actors who
dress in period costume and read a
first-person account of key events that
shaped their credit union experience.
(Pictured: Terri Hendrix of Carolina Foothills
FCU as "Louise Herring.")

The Lowcountry Council of CUaware will learn more about credit union history thanks to some volunteer actors from among their ranks. The event takes place Wednesday, March 16 from 8:00 - 10:00 am in North Charleston at the South Carolina Federal Credit Union headquarters location on Rivers Avenue. 

The learning event features a series of volunteers who dress in period costume and read a first-person account of the world their credit union pioneer lived in, as well as the key events that shaped their credit union experience. "So often our look at history focuses on the results of the pioneers' efforts rather than their motivations," shared Jeff Hardin, the CCUL director of cooperative initiatives. "By focusing on the events taking place in their lives and in the lives of the people they knew and loved, we get a better view of how powerful the cooperative model is and why our pioneers saw cooperation as a way to help humanity."

This living approach to history was conceived by the volunteer Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) in North Carolina and South Carolina, who tried it for the first time at the 2015 Principles & Philosophy Conference in Greenville, SC. The National Credit Union Foundation later used this same method at the Winter CUDE event in Dallas, TX earlier this year.     

Hardin will facilitate the event in order to tie the stories together and to share how the credit union system was evolving through the course of time. "The overall objective is for people to connect with the pioneers more fully and be invited to consider how we might follow their examples in our own credit union careers." 

This event is just one way the League can provide customized training on the Credit Union Principles & Philosophy, as well as a creative and fun approach to history. If your credit union or chapter would like to learn more about customized training programs of this type, please contact Jeff Hardin at 919-457-9063.    

 

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Guest post: are millennials really the next best thing?

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Tuesday, February 09, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, February 09, 2016

(Editor's note: Akira Jacobs is the 2015 CUaware Protégé. She will be sharing her thoughts and experiences throughout the year. You can learn more about the CUaware Protégé program by clicking here


"I was under the impression you
had to work your way up the
corporate ladder to be heard.
The CUaware Protégé Competition
completely breaks that barrier of
fear and offers a platform for
Millennials to convey their ideas
with the leaders of the credit
union movement."

Many people believe that millennials are the generation that will be next to take over the workplace. We have been called the next best thing, rising stars, and futuristic. Our generation is currently under the microscope for many different reasons. While everyone in corporate America is praising millennials, they have failed to realize the real perception that is being created. The baby boomer generation thinks we are going to come in with our ideas and change everything. While the millennials think they have everything figured out and run things more efficiently.

In the midst of all the back and forth, I had to ask myself, “Are millennials really the next best thing, or do we still have a lot to learn before moving into the role of leadership”? My conclusion is this: While millennials will be the next generation to take over the work force, we are not ready just yet. The reason why people say we are the rising stars, and the future generation is because we are just that, rising. When you are building yourself to become a leader it is done over time, with patience and the help of the current leaders.

The Carolinas Credit Union League went against the divide that was created and created an atmosphere that included both millennials and the current leaders. They created the Protégé Competition. This competition allows millennials the chance to speak about their ideas in a setting where the leaders of credit unions are there to listen.

Millennials have a lot of innovative ideas to bring to the table. In the past, I always thought I had to wait my turn to share my thoughts, ideas and passions. I was under the impression you had to work your way up the corporate ladder to be heard. The CUaware Protégé Competition completely breaks that barrier of fear and offers a platform for Millennials to convey their ideas with the leaders of the credit union movement.

One of the benefits of being involved in this competition is the Mentorship Program. This program parallels with Principle Five: Education, training and information. Everyone who participates in the competition is paired up with a mentor who is a leader of the credit union movement. These mentors assist the protégés with reaching their personal and career goals. The mentorship program has become a very valuable asset to my career. I have been paired with Mark Curran, who leads the way for one of my passions, the community. Mark knows what my goals are and is able to offer insight on how he has been able to incorporate Principle Seven: Concern for community within his current role in the credit union. The opportunity to work with someone from another credit union, and gain insight and encouragement from them is priceless.

I truly believe this competition has set the tone for the future of the credit union movement. It is important to help future leaders gain the knowledge and skills that our current leaders already have. The Protégé Competition bridges any divide between leaders and rising leaders. It allows them to collaborate their best practices and work together for the common good of the credit union movement’s future.

Being a part of the Protégé Competition has been an amazing experience for me. I highly recommend anyone who falls into the 35 and under crowd to take advantage of this opportunity. It not only enables you to grow in your career, but also allows you to see the importance of the credit union movement in its entirety.

Akira Jacobs is the benefits coordinator for South Carolina Federal Credit Union. She has worked at SC Federal for more than seven years and aspires to become an executive director. She is currently studying business administration at Strayer University. Akira, who serves as vice chair for SC Federal's foundation committee, also enjoys doing outside charity work.

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Guest post: The Nehemiah Principle

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Monday, February 01, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Editor's note: South Carolina Federal Credit Union COO Troy Hall recently earned his Credit Union Development Education (CUDE) certification from the National Credit Union Foundation. Hall recounts his experience at CUDE and the impact it had on him in this guest post. For more on the Winter 2016 class Hall was a part of, please click here.  

 
"Leaders engage individuals in
accomplishing results often beyond
the individual’s own perception of what
is possible or even probable. Leaders
successful in these endeavors model
behavior in accordance with high
standards of morality, decency, and
honesty. Leaders of social change
ignite passion for a vision greater
than themselves, challenge the status
quo, enable the heart, and encourage
the follower."

My DE experience helped define my role as an agent for social change. Looking beyond philosophy, I became acutely aware of how important it is to blend feeling with doing and to care for others regardless of conditions, circumstances, or culture. This self-discovery empowers me as a global leader to impact helplessness, hope, and humanity by positively changing one life at a time.

Throughout the ages, leaders have been charged with the responsibility to motivate, influence, and enable others to attain a positive outcome within the group of which they belong. Leaders engage individuals in accomplishing results often beyond the individual’s own perception of what is possible or even probable. Leaders successful in these endeavors model behavior in accordance with high standards of morality, decency, and honesty. Leaders of social change ignite passion for a vision greater than themselves, challenge the status quo, enable the heart, and encourage the follower. Combining these five leadership perspectives together with personal attributes and experiences solidify the power of one or what I will now call “The Nehemiah Principle."

As historically documented, Nehemiah was successful in leading the rebirth of the fallen wall of Jerusalem. Prior to Nehemiah’s plan, the daunting task of rebuilding the wall paralyzed the people, and the lack of strong leadership contributed to confusion and apathy. These feelings of inactivity were present even though the people knew the wall was a symbol of safety and soundness, and it’s presence represented a secure future. Without the wall, the people were vulnerable to attack. So, knowing the benefits of the outcome was still not enough information to change one’s behavior. Nehemiah realized he must inspire a change in how the people thought and reacted to the situation. Understanding education alone was not enough to break the cycle of helplessness; Nehemiah’s plan involved reducing the very complicated engineering task into a simple concept of one. He engaged each family unit to collect the tools and materials needed to construct their own portion of the wall. Before Nehemiah’s plan, the task of rebuilding the wall was so great the people failed to do anything about it, although there was a great need to do so. When Nehemiah focused the families’ actions on the singular activity of restoring their portion of the wall, they were able to complete the task and rebuild it. They did so one stone at a time, one row at a time, and one section at a time. Through this activity, many shared a renewed sense of community, as some families after completing their portion of the wall, reached out to help their neighbors. The Nehemiah Principle reflects the power of one.

Looking more closely into the history books of credit unions, the example of Louise Herring emerges. In the early days of building the credit union network, Louise Herring, the mother of credit unions, embodied the concept of one. While helping to create hundreds of credit unions, she could see the needs of many immigrants and their plight to overcome poverty and adversity. Louise looked beyond the many and took the time to help one immigrant worker provide funding for his son’s education. Louise’s singularly-focused efforts resulted in the young man’s successful education that would lead to a prominent role as a medical professional. As time passed by, Louise’s health waned and she found herself needing medical attention for a heart condition. The surgeon who saved her life was, in fact, the son of that immigrant worker she had helped over thirty-years ago.

From a historical perspective, both Nehemiah and Louise Herring understood how to be good agents of social change. They shifted the overwhelming social and development needs of all humanity to solving the immediate concern of an individual. These leaders addressed the social philosophy of people helping people using the power of one. And, by doing so, forever changed how to successfully engage leaders in solving the humanitarian needs of the world.

Troy Hall, Chief Operation Officer for South Carolina Federal Credit Union, is a global leader of senior managers with almost 40 years of strategic experience and more than 20 years serving on staff, and as an outside marketing consultant for the credit union industry. As an international speaker, Hall’s "Not Your Grandpa's Conference Sessions" influence and enable leaders in the areas of leadership, group dynamics, diversity, and critical thinking.

Tags:  Credit Union Development Education 

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CCUL rolls out cooperatively-focused blog site

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Principle Six: Cooperation among cooperatives. Credit unions serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative principles by working with other cooperatives through local, state, regional, national, and international structures.

In an effort to better connect the cooperative movement in North Carolina & South Carolina, the League proudly announces the debut of The Bridge. This new blog site aims to showcase the impact cooperatives have across communities in the Carolinas, as well as share news and opinions from the cooperative sector.

"The League is keenly focused on maintaining and building the cooperative community in the Carolinas," shared Jeff Hardin, CCUL's director of cooperative initiatives. "Carolina credit unions have strong ties with one another and work together on areas of mutual concern, but we are just one part of a larger cooperative movement. By focusing on the activities of the wider cooperative sector, we can all look for better connectivity and a stronger cooperative community. The Bridge will help provide that focus."

Credit unions are invited to subscribe to The Bridge via email using the menu option located at the top of the right-hand side menu. The blog features the ability for you to comment on stories and news items using many commonly-used social media accounts.

The Bridge also has social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. "We invite everyone to give the blog and its accounts a follow and share your stories, pictures and news," said Hardin. You will find The Bridge at http://thebridge.coop/.     

Tags:  Cooperatives  Principle Six 

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