Live From The 1: Cooperatives – A Better Kind of Corporation

This entry was posted by Tuesday, 13 July, 2010
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I am pleased to report that there are many young people at this conference! This is a very good thing. It means that many credit unions are recognizing the importance of providing leadership and training opportunities to their youthful employees. Soon, these members of Generation X, Y and Z will be at the helm of the credit union movement.

This year “Crashers” from all over the world descended upon the 1 Conference. Comprised of fifteen credit union professionals under the age of 30, the Crashers (led by Brent Dixon of the Filene Research Institute and sponsored by PSCU) have built their own conference around the “proper conference.” Besides attending the general and breakout sessions, the Crashers have scheduled conversations with industry thought leaders.They also have the benefit of building relationships with other under-30 credit union professionals like themselves, from around the world. The enthusiasm and excitement that these men and women bring to the movement is awesome.

Yesterday afternoon I sat in on one of the Crash sessions. Led by Paul Hazen, CEO of the NCBA, the session focused on selling the cooperative nature of credit unions. Hazen shared some enlightening information with his captive audience. Here are some of the key points:

  • There are 29,000 cooperatives in the United States;
  • There are 120,000,000 members of cooperatives worldwide (representing 70% of the adult population); and
  • Cooperatives account for 1% of the total GEP.

Cooperatives range in size from “small store-fronts to large Fortune 500 companies.” Some famous cooperatives include: Ace Hardware, Associated Press, Group Health Cooperative, Land O’ Lakes and REI.

Cooperatives form when a group of people unite for a variety of social and economic reasons. They form when individuals recognize that they can get much more done by partnering with others, than they can going it alone. The beauty of cooperatives is their openness, their honesty and their transparency. These themes really resonate with today’s young people, who relish the power that collaboration and community bring.

Are you educating your members on the cooperative difference?


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