Gentile: Continue to Tell the CU Story

CUs are no longer under the radar in the media.

January 02, 2014
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Paul Gentile’s tenure as CUNA’s executive vice president of strategic communications and engagement may have been short, but his impact on the association’s communications efforts will undoubtedly be long-term.

His proudest accomplishment during his year at CUNA: “Telling the great story of credit unions to the media,” says Gentile, who’ll succeed Dan Egan as president/CEO of the Massachusetts Credit Union League January 6.

Gentile recently discussed his accomplishments with Credit Union Magazine Editor Walt Laskos.

During his time at CUNA, Gentile helped launch a number of new national communication vehicles, including The Cheney Report and Inside Exchange.

Prior to joining CUNA, Gentile was president/CEO of the New Jersey Credit Union League.

“Credit unions have such a great story to tell,” he says. “We’ve been under the radar for a number of years, and I really think that’s changing. We can’t say that anymore. If you look at the mainstream press, we’re out there. Credit unions should embrace that, and the best way to do that is to tell their story in the local market.”

Another key to success: Doing the right thing for members all the time.

"People are frustrated with big business and with banks," Gentile says. "People are more values-based today: Going green, going lean, organic locally grown foods, and all that. We fit right in there. That’s who we are: Locally owned institutions that do good things for the community. More people want to join credit unions when they hear that great story."

Do you agree?

December 30, 2013 10:09 am
Is communicating who you are, what you're about and what you do, particularly in the community, important to your balance sheet performance? Does this explain why many may be reticent about engaging their publics with their stories?

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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 ( 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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