Marketing

Morrow’s Vision Lives On at Coopera

‘Hispanics need CUs as much as CUs need Hispanics,’ former Coopera CEO would say.

March 07, 2012
KEYWORDS coopera , credit , hispanic , unions
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Few people are fortunate to have a truly inspiring mentor. Fewer still are those who also call their mentors friends.

Warren Morrow, founder/CEO of Coopera Consulting, was both for me. Warren was an admirable person from whom I learned a lot, and his sudden passing last month has made me reflect on many things.

Warren dedicated his life and career to helping others. He touched countless lives along the way, leaving an indelible mark on many of us.

He believed deeply in helping underserved Hispanics receive dignified financial services. By bringing financial stability to a home, Warren believed, you could begin to address other social issues.

It was through Warren’s passion and vision that Coopera was created in partnership with the Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL). His heartfelt conviction drove me to work for Coopera nearly five years ago.

I could not pass up the opportunity to work for such a mission-driven company like Coopera and with someone like Warren, who was one of the most genuine, selfless, and visionary people I have ever met. Warren’s drive made Coopera the well-respected, successful entity it is today.

The Coopera team and our supporters, including ICUL and other state leagues, CUNA, and countless members of the credit union movement, are steadfast in our commitment to achieving each of Warren’s goals.

Warren had big plans and an amazingly positive attitude, and he always applied a collaborative approach to the challenges before him.

In addition to our consulting efforts, Coopera has introduced several new products and partnerships designed to better equip credit unions to serve Hispanics, as well as to attract Hispanic consumers to credit unions, including:

* The Hispanic Opportunity Navigator  [pdf], an industry-accepted strategic planning tool to help credit unions launch or enhance a Hispanic outreach strategy;

* El Poder es Tuyo (The power is yours), a consumer website created by Coopera and CUNA and adopted by more than 40 credit unions nationwide; and

* The Coopera Card, a reloadable prepaid card built for Hispanic cardholders and powered by Coopera’s sister company, The Members Group. Nine credit unions have already signed on to make the card available to Hispanic members in 2012.

As well, Murray Williams, our interim CEO; Anna Haug, client account coordinator; and I have a full travel schedule over the next several months.

We look forward to sharing our memories and our plans for the future with you at upcoming CUNA events, including the Marketing and Business Development Council Conference, Governmental Affairs Conference, America’s Credit Union Conference, and Community Credit Union and Growth Conference. We also look forward to attending the 7th Latino Credit Union Conference.

The sudden loss of Warren was stunning, yet it has not shaken our resolve to follow through on his mission. In fact, it has bolstered our passion for bringing more Hispanic members into the credit union fold.

Warren would always say that Hispanics need credit unions as much as credit unions need Hispanics. There’s a lot of work to be done and we will push on, knowing full well that Warren is with us every step of the way.

MIRIAM De DIOS is vice president of Coopera Consulting, Des Moines, Iowa.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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