President’s Blog

Feb 2013

Eleven years after its unveiling, the “Fraternal Vision” report still evokes some strong responses. While only a couple of individuals posted comments here on the blog, I received a number of emails from members who wholeheartedly supported bringing some of the report’s long-forgotten findings and recommendations to light. But that support was combined with warnings to proceed cautiously. Here are some excerpts from member responses to last week’s posting:

  • “I think you will find two sides: one where leaders want to change and can’t;
 » Read more about: Fraternal Vision Report – Back......

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Jan 2013

In 2001, the Board of the American Fraternal Alliance (then known as the National Fraternal Congress of America) appointed a group of staff members, consultants, and member society representatives known as the Fraternal Vision Subcommittee to “determine whether structural changes are necessary to preserve the uniqueness of fraternal benefit societies while making them more relevant and responsive to member needs in the 21st Century.”

On November 8, 2002 – just over a decade ago – the subcommittee presented its report to the Board.

 » Read more about: "Fraternal Vision Report” Contains Some Inconvenient......

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Jan 2013

One of the most interesting takeaways from Jim Collins’ presentation at the Alliance’s 2012 Annual Meeting was the notion that great companies aren’t always those on the “bleeding edge” of innovation, but more often follow closely behind the innovators – learning from their missteps and improving on their processes. The message to me was “you don’t have to be there first; but you better be there second or third.”

How do business leaders give their organizations the best chance of long lasting,

 » Read more about: Make Mid-Year Meetings Part of Your “20......

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Jan 2013

We’re still early enough into 2013 for it to feel “new,” and before the days slip away from me, I want to introduce you to a new member of the Alliance staff and a new service that makes membership in the organization even more valuable to member societies – particularly small and mid-sized organizations.

Jeff Mitchell is the Alliance’s new Director of Public Affairs and he’s hit the ground running. Jeff is spearheading the overhaul of the Alliance’s website (we’re going to spruce up the overall appearance of the site and make it......

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Jan 2013

Perhaps the most important among the many positive findings from our 2011 consumer research projects was the power of both the word and the concept of “community.” Folks who didn’t have the slightest idea what a fraternal benefit society was (or whose notion of one was based on reruns of “The Honeymooners” or the toga party from “Animal House”) immediately warmed to the “community” aspect of the fraternal business model.

After only the most basic description of who fraternals are and what they do,

 » Read more about: Expanding the Fraternal Community  »...

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Jan 2013

The Alliance Board of Directors and staff have spent much of the past couple of months fine-tuning the organization’s 2013 Strategic Plan and Budget. As we all know, making plans is the easy part. Successfully accomplishing the important goals contained in those plans? Well, that’s a bit more difficult to accomplish.

I want to share some of the highest priority goals in the Alliance’s Strategic Plan with you, so you’ll have a better idea of the Board’s priorities and what you can expect from us this year.

 » Read more about: It’s All......

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Dec 2012

Christmas – the holiday season – is a moody time. Experts attribute this to the ever-shrinking amount of daylight as we approach the winter solstice (the “winter blues”); the tension surrounding gatherings of extended family (“If Uncle Mike’s going to be there, then I won’t be”); the financial pressure of gift giving and receiving (“I’ve created my own personal fiscal cliff when those credit cards come due in January”). Whatever the reason, those six weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year can be tough.

 » Read more about: Thoughts on Christmas 2012…......

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Dec 2012

We talk frequently about the “fraternal difference” – the characteristics that separate our unique business model from other financial institutions and charitable organizations. Traits like:

  • We’re there to deliver long-term, lifetime values to members; not quarterly results to Wall Street investors;
  • Our community service activities represent “accountable altruism” because the funds that drive our charitable contributions and fuel members’ volunteerism are a result of our ability to manage our financial services operations wisely;
 » Read more about: Give the Gift of Separation – from the Herd  »...

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Nov 2012

There’s still one month left in 2012, but I’m already excited about the coming year. The Alliance staff and Board are committed to making 2013 a year of inspirational leadership for fraternals.

We’re going to start by offering a new member benefit – Compliance PLUS – to help fraternals manage the increasingly complex regulatory environment in a cost effective way. You can learn more about this by participating in a free Webinar on 12/6/12.

 » Read more about: 2013 – The Year of Inspirational Leadership  »...

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