A United Front

New CUNA chair knows the value of political advocacy.

February 26, 2013
/ PRINT / ShareShare / Text Size +

The importance of advocacy is something that new CUNA Chairman Pat Wesenberg has learned over many years.

During her General Session address Tuesday, Wesenberg said that early in her career, “I wasn’t too focused on political advocacy. I didn’t think it was an important aspect of the job.”

But in time that changed, said Wesenberg, president/CEO of Central City Credit Union in Marshfield, Wis.

She learned the value of connecting with her legislators regularly—not just in Washington, but back at home.

“I don’t look at political involvement as a chore, and I know you wouldn’t be here at the GAC if you didn’t feel the same way,” she said. “Recent experience has shown that as a credit union movement, however, we’ll have to get politically engaged on an even larger scale if we’re going to advance our legislative goals.”

That was a major takeaway from the member business lending fight during the last Congress. “In this divided Congress,” she said, “getting anything passed is difficult, especially when the banks are fighting you every step of the way.

“But policymakers can’t just hear the bankers’ side of the story, or else the bankers will end up defining us. We’ve got to unite, work together, and tell our own story,” she continued. “When we do, we get results.”

The opportunities for credit unions have never been greater, Wesenberg said.

And politically, she added, the stronger and more united our front is, the more likely the banks will be to find common ground on legislation rather than work against us.

Post a comment to this story


What's Popular

Popular Stories

Recent Discussion

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.

Your Say: Who should be Credit Union Magazine's 2014 CU Hero of the Year?

View Results Poll Archive