When I think about the CUFinHealth21 Conference, the first thing that comes to mind is…
I am the new Financial Empowerment Manager at BALANCE, and attending this conference early in my tenure was perfect. Last week, my first lesson was to NEVER miss the CUFinHealth Conference!
What an amazing event! The CUFinHealth21 Conference was informative, thought provoking, and communal. I immediately checked out the Cornerstone Foundation calendar for upcoming events. The hosts were familiar and the speakers were smart and transparent. It felt like dinner night with family and an opportunity to ask questions and discuss obstacles.
Day 1 — Financial Well-Being During a Pandemic
Let me just say, we got familiar. We sat down at that “dinner table” and made time to vent about all the things going on in the world over the past year—how they have impacted us, personally and professionally, and those we serve. This was not a “woe-is-me” moment. Instead, it launched a conversation complete with statistics, which allowed us to take a true look at the disparities. We must open our eyes, be honest with ourselves, and understand the reality of poverty and an unfair world.
We even had the opportunity to listen to a panel of consumers who were not shy about telling us their thoughts on credit unions, including what they need and what they are missing. This was invaluable for anyone who truly wants to meet the needs of their members, potential members, and community. There were statistics that made you cry and hopefully sparked a fire in you to work with your team to change the trends, rewrite the narrative, and impact lives. We were encouraged to focus on financial health and well-being by starting internally to normalize the conversation around money.
Day 2 — It’s All Connected
What I learned from the second day of the conference was that there is a bigger picture and there are people in the CU industry who truly get it. We must consider the health and wealth of people. You cannot have one without the other. In addition, many resources, organizations, and people are available to help you reach your goals. I learned that it is not necessary to be in the financial services industry to help people socially. But it is our responsibility. The speakers taught us there are many ways a credit union can connect with groups and meet the needs of the people they serve. Even if that means creating that resource you may be looking for. We learned, you do not stop at listening. You go that extra mile to meet their needs. In addition, we learned about tangible things that have contributed to financial wellness and the research that supports the positive impact that changes can have. This defends our requests to policy makers, financial professionals, and the public who are willing to support the cause. Lastly, we were reminded of the people right here in our industry’s community who have put research and words into action and are open to being mentors to help show you the way.
Day 3 — Putting Finhealth and Well-Being for All at the Heart of Your Strategy
This was an action day. Days one and two pointed out the WHAT and WHY, day three was when we encountered the HOW! If you were inspired and motivated to change things and get moving, this was the day to overcome information overwhelm. The conference and speakers refused to send you away without a drafted plan. Day three provided potential solutions and examples of EXACTLY what to do.
Overall—this was a teaching conference. I never felt my time was wasted. I met no stranger. And I left comfortable enough to reach out to say hello and HELP, if needed.
To the hosts, speakers, and attendees:
Thank you genuinely for the wealth of knowledge you were willing to share during this conference.
To all the attendees:
Thank you for participating and allowing me to learn from you.