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September/October 2018 Issue: Front Page > Feature

In Case You Missed It... 2018
Jeff Merry August 22nd – 24th we had the opportunity to convene for VolCorp's Annual Meeting and Forum'18. Many who attended offered feedback that this year's Forum was the best one we have had to date. It is all of you who make that possible, so thank you for that. A part of the festivities was, of course, the President's Address. This year, I tied everything we have talked about over the last 3 years together as a sneak peek behind the curtain or a glimpse at the heart of VolCorp. If you would like to see the presentation in its entirety, the video is archived here. As an alternative, I started this annual 'series' entitled 'In Case You Missed It' in 2016 for those unable to attend the event. I think it is important for all of you who support us and whom we support to have a good sense of the current state of your corporate. With that, please enjoy In Case You Missed it...2018:

After briefly covering a few key statistics highlighting our capital strength, I recapped the first two questions from the last two years. As you may recall, in 2016, I answered The WHAT – what is it VolCorp strives to be for our credit unions? I explained the definition of what a Trusted Strategic Partner looks like and how empowered we can be if we all align together; much like the Canadian Geese who can fly 70% further when in alignment than they can when they go it alone. I then reviewed last year's question – The WHY – why do we do what we do? I reminded everyone that we view each of you as an Essential Piece of what we do and that we do it so we can better empower you to empower your members. We may not see your members, but you do, and we know we are helping you, and them, build something every time we serve you. It is for you and your members that we do what we do. I then introduced this year's focus – The HOW & WHEN – How and when do we want to demonstrate this commitment to you?

The How & When

To explain the how and when, I used a couple of personal stories that have framed that vision for me from an early age and into this season of life. I showed a slide of my children and explained that they are a key part of the story. I then rewound to where it all started and told of how my grandparents met and were married after just 2 weeks. They were married for 52 years before my grandfather passed away. The key, though, was that my grandfather told me a fascinating story at their 50th wedding anniversary when I was just 15 years old. When he told me the story, I said to him that they must have been really good at handling all of life’s big challenges. He placed his hand on my shoulder and said, "No son. We were really good at the little things, because when you can handle all of the little things together, you learn to trust each other more when life throws the big things at you." That has stuck with me for 26 year...and counting.

I then went back to where we started and the picture of my girls. The story I told of them was a couple of questions I have been speaking into their lives since before they could even speak back. I assured the crowd that if they were there, I could ask either my 9 year old or my 3 year old these two questions and guarantee you the answers they would give me. If I asked them, "How much does daddy love you?", they would respond, "soooooo much!". And, if I then asked them, "and when?", they would reply, "Always, no matter what!". I do this because I am always working to build trust with my little girls so that, when they get older, and life throws bigger challenges at us than the little arguments we may have at this age, they will know that daddy loves them soooooo much, always, no matter what.

From there I spoke of a conference I attended a couple of weeks prior where I heard a very different, yet remarkably similar story or way of thinking. Tripp Lee was one of the speakers, and as he spoke his message about our Christian Faith Journey, I couldn’t help but see the resemblance in our service to our members. Tripp was in no way speaking of credit unions, but his message resonated with me. To paraphrase, he basically said Faith in Christ is a lifestyle, not an event. And, if we treat it as a finished product rather than a work in progress, it will be neglected. If we think we are already at a destination, then we relax too early. My translation of this to our mission of service was that VolCorp's service to our credit unions is an on-going journey where we must excel in all the little things, always, no matter what, to ensure we consistently build that trust and never get relaxed so you can turn to us when life, competition, and business throw the big things at you.

I then quoted Steven Furtick who recently said, "One way you can tell when something is important is when it is repeated." Just after hearing this comment and Tripp's message, I heard the song, Dream Small. To quote just a short portion:
It's visiting the widow down the street
Or dancing on a Friday with your friend with special needs
These simple moments change the world.
Of course there's nothing wrong with bigger dreams
Just don't miss the minutes on your way to bigger things
'Cause these simple moments change the world.
It is ok to have a vision for the big things, but do the small thing exceptionally well throughout that journey.

So what are we doing differently?

Robby Gallaty recently said "If you never "go" with the story God gives you, then the story is useless." With that, you can bet we will be better telling our story. It is a story of protecting our members' capital as one of the Solvent 5 during the financial crisis and of never losing focus of the fact that we are here to empower you in your mission to empower your members...to serve as your Trusted Strategic Partner as you serve those members that so desperately need your help that we never see, but you do. Some organizations lose sight of that focus and just want to be the biggest, or have the most capital, or a myriad of other potential motivators. That's not us. We simply want to be the healthiest corporate we can be for you to align with you and help propel you ahead.

I spoke of more exciting things we are doing currently, and in the year ahead, and of how to get to the real reason WHY we do anything. I gave an example of how you ask Why 5 times in order to really answer that question and showed how that 5 WHY approach answers, in a very meaningful way, why we do what we do how we do it and when we do it.

Finally, I wrapped it all up by having everyone look around the room and realize that, when we serve one of you, we are not just empowering you and your members. But rather, when we serve one of you, we are empowering the collective members of everyone in our membership. Serving you in one small way, has that kind of ripple effect and that is something of which we are proud and of which you, too, should be proud. My final thoughts provided were a simple summary of the 3 past year's sentiments in aggregate: Always, no matter what, we want to be excellent for you in all the little things, building trust, to propel us all to achieving big things together. We appreciate the opportunity to support your business, your mission, your purpose...because doing so, is ours. And why does all of this work? Because when we are in alignment, each of you is an essential piece to everyone's success and we truly are better together.

This, essentially, encapsulates the President's Address I gave at Forum'18. You now have a little insight into The What, The Why, and The How & When. We are proud to do what we do for you and look forward to doing it for many years to come. As I do annually, I just wanted to get this information in front of you for your review...in case you missed it.

Passionately committed to your success,

Jeff Merry

Jeffrey W. Merry

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