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CUNA’s Annual Conference Recognizes the Work of Outstanding Credit Unions

By April 18, 20234 min read

Beautiful Florida weather plus credit union leaders and marketing professionals from across the country equals a great time had by all! That’s exactly what happened at this year’s CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council Conference, which came to a close March 29th in gorgeous Orlando. The conference brought together credit union leaders from all corners of the country to share ideas, discuss industry trends, and celebrate the accomplishments of outstanding organizations and individuals in the space through a number of awards and accolades. Here’s a quick recap of our time in Florida with our CUNA friends.

Connecting & Collaborating

The conference offered a variety of engaging and informative sessions on a range of topics, from member activation strategies and business development to what’s on the horizon for digital transformation. Attendees had the opportunity to engage with thought leaders from across the industry, share best practices with peers, and learn from some of the most innovative and successful credit unions in the country. Among the most discussed topics was the importance of reaching members and potential members on the channels they frequent with memorable and inspiring content. 

The event welcomed Meow Wolf Co-Founder Vince Kadlubek, who challenged members of the audience to think creatively about the work they do and break out of their default approach to solving problems and advancing innovations. He drew on his experience with Meow Wolf, an arts production and media company that aims to create immersive creative experiences. In short, Vince argued that new perspectives help us harness our imagination… no matter what we’re creating. 

Breakout sessions dove deep on everything from current events to the state of digital marketing and what credit unions can do to better serve their members across channels. A panel discussion prompted some of the most senior leaders from credit unions across the country to share their personal journeys into leadership. 

“It’s always great to hear from the inspiring leaders in this space,” said Social Assurance’s Jordyn Swanson who, in her role in business development, works closely with a wide range of credit unions to help them execute on social media, marketing management, community impact, and other core marketing and communications initiatives. “I was especially inspired by the insights shared by Paris Chevalier of South Bay Credit Union,” she added. “She said yes to things she normally wouldn’t so she could learn all the different areas of the credit union and, in doing so, now feels more prepared to lead with all the knowledge she gained through diverse experiences and different perspectives.” Her foremost piece of advice, noted Jordyn, was one that resonates across many teams and individuals: Take on responsibilities and projects you might otherwise shy away from and leverage them to grow your skillset.

Recognizing Outstanding Work

Two hard-hitting days of sessions and keynotes culminated in an awards dinner and ceremony aimed at honoring the outstanding recipients of both the Diamond Awards and the 2023 Recognition awards. 

Unique to the credit union space, the Diamond Awards honor credit unions in 35 distinct categories that recognize outstanding and innovative work across the sector. Categories include but are not limited to: website marketing, video work, social media, and direct mail. This work is evaluated across seven core criterion: strategy, design, production, creative concept, copy, communication, and results. In aggregate, the 2023 Diamond Awards received more than 1,200 entries; in total, 159 credit unions received awards for their outstanding work. 

Diamond Awards Chair Marella Nardotti explained the awards as a way to recognize the best of the best. “They recognize innovation and creativity,” she noted, “while tying in impact on organizational profitability, growth, and brand awareness.” 

The ceremonies also included the announcement of seven Recognition Awards: Business Development Professional of the Year; Community Outreach Professional of the Year; Marketing Professional of the Year; Lifetime Achievement Award; Rising Star Award; Top Community Award; and Volunteer of the Year. 

“We were especially thrilled to see LaShanta Green win the Business Development Rising Star Award,” said Social Assurance’s Jordyn Swanson, adding that she is incredibly deserving of the honor. “I’ve really enjoyed working with LaShanta at Dow Credit Union and am excited to see her commitment to innovation and serving members as well as the community.” 

Inspired for More Impact

Ultimately, credit union leaders walked away with fresh perspectives, new relationships, and powerful enthusiasm for the important work they do to serve members and communities. Special thanks to our friends at CUNA for all their hard work in planning another great event. We’ll see you next year! 

Miss us at the conference? We’d love to catch up. Drop us a line and let’s connect.

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Jess Doerr

Jess Doerr is the client services manager for Social Assurance where she develops and oversees client projects. If she's not at the office, she's probably on her boat, on her bike, or in her garden.