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6 things I learned at the Alliance’s Executive Summit

April 27, 2015
1) Effective innovation does not rely solely on “lightning bolt” ideas that strike the CEO, said innovation guru Robert Tucker.  The most innovative companies – including organizations that have been around for over a century – make innovation everyone’s job and incorporate processes to foster innovation at every level, from the mail room to the board room. 2) Innovation is not limited to organizations with deep pockets.  As the members of the Monday afternoon “innovation panel” demonstrated, smaller societies with modest financial resources can be leading innovators in both the financial services and community services arenas.  In fact, smaller organizations with greater flexibility may actually have an advantage over larger companies when it comes to experimenting with innovations in their operations. [caption id="attachment_2478" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Jim Brown, Consulting Partner, STRIVE! Jim Brown, Consulting Partner, STRIVE![/caption] 3) The primary responsibilities of a society’s Board of Directors, according to governance expert Jim Brown, come down to two words: DIRECT and PROTECT.  The Board charts the course for the organization (Directs) and ensures the financial health of the society for its current and future members (Protect). 4) Engaging the individual members of your society in advocacy activities (like the Alliance’s recently concluded “Fraternals GIVE Back” grassroots campaign) is good for business.  Ryan Donovan of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) reported that 82% of credit union members who participated in CUNA’s most recent advocacy campaign reported that they felt a stronger connection to their credit union and were more likely to purchase additional products from the organization. 5) Low interest rates are the “new normal” for the foreseeable future.  That’s the opinion of Andrew Paone and Marc Mercurio of Wellington Management, who delivered a thorough presentation on domestic and global factors influencing the interest rate environment.  The bottom line for life insurers – fraternal and commercial – is that a careful balancing of your portfolio’s yield and duration is critical to squeezing a profit from razor thin margins.  If you are interested in learning more about the current investment landscape, you should consider attending the Alliance’s Investment Mid-Year Meeting – click here for more details. [caption id="attachment_2477" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Top Row:  Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA); John Andrzejewski, Polish National Union; Mary Jo Savidge, Ladies Penn. Slovak Catholic Union Front Row:  Joe Evanish, Slovene National Benefit Society; Irene Jugan, PNU; Theresa Kluchinski, LPSCU Top Row: Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA); John Andrzejewski, Polish National Union; Mary Jo Savidge, Ladies Pennsylvania Slovak Catholic Union
Front Row: Joe Evanish, Slovene National Benefit Society; Irene Jugan, PNU; Theresa Kluchinski, LPSCU[/caption] 6) Alliance executives are advocacy rock stars.  I mentioned this in last week’s post, but it’s just too important not to give one more shout out to the dozens of CEO and senior executives from Alliance member societies that spread the good word about fraternals to Members of Congress and their staff last week in Washington, D.C.  The 2015 Executive Summit marked the third time in six years that we’ve incorporated a “Day on the Hill” event into the program and the results are more impressive every year.  More members participating, more meetings with legislators, more congressional champions identified, more assurances that lawmakers are aware of the value of the fraternal tax exemption and willing to do everything they can to ensure it remains in place so we can fulfill our unique financial services and community services mission. THE 2016 EXECUTIVE SUMMIT IS SCHEDULED FOR MAY 11 - 13 AT THE SHERATON CENTRE TORONTO HOTEL IN ONTARIO.  THE MEETING WILL BE HOSTED BY THE ALLIANCE’S CANADIAN SECTION.  SO DUST OFF THOSE PASSPORTS AND SAVE THE DATE TODAY!