Thank you to everyone who joined us for the League and Synergent’s Annual Meeting and Convention. It was a busy two days in Portland full of networking, inspiring guest speakers, awards, and connection.
David Desjardins, the League and Synergent’s Board Chairman called the 85th Annual Meeting to order to begin the day. Evergreen Credit Union’s Brenda Pollack sang a beautiful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner before John Doe, League/Synergent Board Director, delivered the moment of reflection.
With a quorum present, committee reports were shared. The Nominating Committee recommended that Joe Gervais serve another three-year term, and he was unanimously re-elected to his at large board seat.
Christine Devine presented the Board’s Audit and Finance Report as well as the Treasurer’s Report. Desjardins and Todd Mason, President/CEO at the League and Synergent, followed Devine with presentations of their respective reports. Mason commended the strength of Maine’s credit union movement and the importance of advocacy and service. With continued 100% affiliation, Mason applauded Maine’s cooperative spirit and how that leads to success in efforts like community service, ending hunger, statewide awareness, and workforce development.
Before the meeting adjourned, contributions were made to CULAC and Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger. The Aroostook Chapter of Credit Unions, KV Chapter of Credit Unions, Norm Nolette Chapter of Credit Unions, Community CU, New Dimensions FCU, and CUES all provided donations to support these critical initiatives.
Upon adjournment, members were encouraged to hold the date for next year’s Annual Meeting and Convention, noting how the League and Synergent already are looking forward to coming together again on May 17 and 18, 2024.
Charlyn Delano, Account Executive at TruStage Financial Group, introduced the morning’s speaker Naval Commander Mary Kelly, Ph.D. Her keynote, Pivot Through Change, was both insightful and inspirational. She shared stories of how she trained more than 40,000 military and civilian personnel and offered her thoughts on how the geopolitical events and the economy are impacting today’s workforce.
She encouraged credit unions to create value by “focusing on your people,” and to use the right technologies and tools to make members feel safe and empowered. Because she views credit unions as a “source of goodness”—insight she’s gained from being a credit union member since 1983—she encouraged credit unions to help their members manage uncertainty.
“Surf the tide, have good ideas, and have forward motion,” Kelly shared. She also warned about leadership blindness and noted the free resources credit unions can utilize from her “vault” following her presentation to help build resiliency and more productive teams.
She reminded her audience that good leaders pivot and adapt in times of crisis and work cooperatively to find solutions. She outlined what she views as the six stages of a crisis:
- Re-alignment (the stage where true leaders reside)
Kelly closed her remarks by encouraging people to remind others of their value—both at work and at home.
“When someone is doing a good job, let them know it; and if people aren’t okay, offer resources to help them improve their situation,” Kelly emphasized.
She also challenged everyone in the audience to check in with three people in 30 days to see how they were doing.
“Don’t be afraid to show people their value,” added Kelly.
Convention attendees heard from Kevin Hancock, the CEO at Hancock Lumber, during lunch. Kevin discussed the concept of shared leadership and highlighted the importance of making sure employees feel valued, respected, and heard.
Vendor Networking & Breakouts
Breakout sessions in the afternoon allowed attendees to learn more about financial well-being for all, the evolving workforce, mentoring, and the importance of being a visionary organization.
The vendor hall and reception allowed for plenty of networking and enabled credit unions to hear more about the latest products and services that can help them better serve their members.
Awards Dinner and Entertainment
The first day of Convention finished with an awards dinner recognizing several outstanding leaders and volunteers in Maine’s credit union movement. Special recognition was given to credit unions and supporters of CULAC. Robert Caverly, League Vice President of Advocacy & Outreach, honored UCU’s April Gleason with the 2022 Political Involvement Award. “April is a tremendous resource to the Governmental Affairs Team. She is quick with her thoughts and information on any inquiries we send her, and she regularly shares bills and issues she thinks the League should be aware of. April’s contributions are greatly appreciated and valued.”
Caverly also announced top CULAC fundraisers which included:
- Top individual donor: Scott Chretien, CEO at Atlantic FCU
- Top credit union donor with over $100 million in assets: Dirigo FCU
- Top credit union donor with under $100 million in assets: Community CU
Following the awards portion of the evening, entertainment was provided by mentalists Larry and Raven. The duo’s mental demonstrations added humor and enchantment to the end of the busy day.
Day two of Convention featured a keynote by Jason Kotecki. Jason, a talented artist, helped wrap up the event with a presentation featuring his colorful paintings. He shared how his art has been collected and licensed all over the world and his insights have been featured in publications like Inc. and Woman’s Day.
The League and Synergent’s staff would like to thank all the 2023 Convention sponsors, vendors, and participants for joining us in Portland this year. We look forward to connecting with you again at the 86th Annual Meeting and Convention in May 2024!