The Fraternal & Communications Mid-Year Meeting: A Restoration of Faith
April 7, 2014This may not ever happen to you, but I occasionally have moments of professional doubt. I wonder if the Alliance’s advocacy, education and information initiatives can really have a positive impact on the future of the fraternal system. I wonder if fraternals can transform the beauty of the cooperative business model to attract the next generation of members. I wonder if doing things “the way we’ve always done them” is leading the entire life insurance industry (not just the fraternal sector) toward a “Napster moment” (that peer-to-peer internet music file sharing service that seriously threatened the music industry). Are we on the verge of an almost overnight transformation of the way our financial products and services are bought and sold that leaves the current players scratching their heads and wondering what hit them? And then almost invariably in the darkest of those moments of doubt, I will have a “Saul on the road to Damascus” event that restores my faith in the fraternal system. Such was the case with last week’s Fraternal & Communications Mid-Year Meeting. If you attended the meeting, or know someone who did, you understand what I’m talking about. Over 60 fraternal and communications professionals participated in the meeting. Many were first time attendees and many more were “Millennials” – young employees who dream of making a difference in the lives of others. I was thrilled to have no idea who two-thirds of the audience was. I was even more thrilled by the quality of the program that the Fraternal Communications Advisory Council put together – from keynote speakers to hands-on workshops – and by the enthusiasm displayed by all the registrants. After each session Advisory Council members would remind folks to jot down not only what they had learned from the presentation, but how they were going to use it in their organizations. The positive energy was contagious – and I want to thank each and every attendee for making the meeting such a terrific success. The Fraternal & Communications event kicked off this season’s Mid-Year Meetings. Next up is Fraternal Operations and Presidents in Savannah, Georgia, later this month; the Canadian Section Annual General Meeting will take place in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, in mid-May; and the Investment and Actuaries Mid-Year Meetings will be held in Chicago in late May and early June, respectively. I urge each of you to find the meeting that best fits your discipline and register today. You’ll gain new insights from the incredible speakers that grace the agendas of each meeting. And, more importantly, you’ll develop connections with a network of fraternal professionals that will serve you and your society for years to come. Quote of the Week “We’re talking about your future. If we don’t change, you won’t have one.” Herb Kelleher, retired CEO of Southwest Airlines, in comments to Southwest employees who want things to be the way they always were.