Back to School
From Ann Peterson:
I recently purchased my husband’s birthday gift: a ticket to fly on a World War II B-17 bomber, which makes a tour stop at the EAA AirVenture Convention in Wisconsin later this month. The convention is an international gathering of aviation enthusiasts. This plane is definitely a military treasure: Of the more than 14,000 B-17s built, fewer than a dozen are airworthy today.
With the price of that ticket, he could have flown round trip to San Francisco instead of 40 minutes on this 66-year-old aircraft, dripping oil from its engines (affectionately known as “bomber’s blood” by the crew). And I’m expecting it will be Indy-car loud inside the “Aluminum Overcast,” but he’ll be fine, ear plugs securely in place. If he’s bold enough, he’ll experience part of it from the bombardier’s seat, in the transparent nose of the plane.
Life is about experiences, after all. Sit back and enjoy the flight, I told him.
He’s pumped. It’s an exciting step back in time and a tribute to our heritage, he said. And I understand that. Because as he’s anticipating the flight of his lifetime, I’m anticipating my own adventure: Next week I begin my first year in CUNA Management School, a credit union movement tradition entering its 57th year.
After more than 20 years serving credit unions through CUNA’s training, public relations, and now–for 16 years–publications departments, I’m going back to school.
I’ve attended numerous educational events with so many of you over the years. But our focus clearly was different: You may have been listening for advice on how to boost loans, deal with the effects of corporate assessments, or design a sales culture. Chances are I was on deadline–zeroing in on succinct quotes for my articles, brainstorming a headline, or writing the lead.
I’ve heard it said that journalists know a little bit about a lot of subjects. I’m no exception. I’ve written a lot of articles on topics critical to credit union operations–risk-based lending, ATM security, board development, data processing, succession planning, legislation and compliance, loan participations, debit interchange. Yet, did I really have a complete understanding of the leadership skills and knowledge necessary to manage a credit union today? And wouldn’t I be a better writer and editor if I did?
So I’m excited for classes to begin, to meet my fellow students, and to honor the school’s tradition. We’ll finally have a shared focus—and the same deadlines.
But, I admit, I’m also a little anxious. As a writer, I can always come up with questions: What if I miscalculate my ratios? What if I can’t speak the ALM language? What if I fail?
Then again, what if I just sit back and enjoy the flight?
Ann Peterson is the Managing Editor for the Credit Union National Association.