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    CEOs and Secretaries join forces to hit one out of the park…

    I’m still coming off the adrenaline buzz from last week’s Presidents and Secretaries/Human Resources Mid-Year Section meeting in Washington, D.C.  Thanks to all those executives from Alliance member societies who engaged in the meeting.  The dialogue between members and the interaction between fraternal leaders and the line-up of diverse speakers was the primary contributor to the meetings’ success.  And thanks also to our sponsors, whose support of the Alliance helps us bring such outstanding education programs to members at the most affordable price possible.  Here are a few highlights of last week’s meetings.  Members can access the various PowerPoint presentations by clicking here.

    • Attendees got their first glimpse of the sometimes surprising results of the Alliance’s survey of member societies’ governance practices and heard Berit Lakey of BoardSource provide detailed instructions for ways fraternal leaders can effectively address educating their organizations’ board and members to support governance modernization initiatives. The BoardSource-Alliance on site Bookstore was open and helped attendees find the right tools to improve governance.  (Click here to hear a snippet of the session.)
    • Mei Cobb of the United Way told fraternal leaders that “volunteerism just doesn’t  happen” and urged them to invest in organizing their members’ community service activities and partner with other groups to maximize their societies’ volunteer programs and enhance their appeal – and value – to  members. (Click here and here to hear snippets of the session.)
    • Secretaries Section participants engaged in a no-holds-barred roundtable discussion on a variety of issues affecting fraternals.  Executives’ willingness to share the ways – good and bad – they are attempting to address the operational, financial, and fraternal challenges facing them is what made this session worthwhile.
    • Gary Strohm and Heather Hafeman of Strohm-Ballweg gave attendees a preview of Alliance’s annual “state of the fraternal system solvency report.”  The bottom line is that while the overall fiscal health of the fraternal industry has improved over the last year, there are a few persistent trouble spots that could negatively affect all societies.
    • Following up on the fraternal solvency report, a regulatory panel featuring Steve Johnson of the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance, Susan Real of the Ohio Department of Insurance, and Dave Brummond of the Treasury Department gave society executives their candid views of the future of fraternal regulation.  Real unveiled the key components of a legislative proposal – drafted in conjunction with the Alliance’s Ohio-domiciled members – that could serve as a model for fraternal solvency regulation across the country.  Johnson expressed a view that any society with less than $100 million in assets should seek merger partners to ensure that organizations have the financial strength to secure a healthy financial future for their members.  And Brummond, the former general counsel for the Alliance, expressed dismay over how long it has taken for many fraternals to adapt to a changing environment.
    • Representative Patrick Tiberi (R-Ohio) delivered a stirring address praising the work that fraternals do in communities across the country on a daily basis and encouraging societies to take our message to members of Congress before the fraternal tax exemption is on the chopping block.  “If you don’t tell your story, no one will know what you do.”
    • Joshua DuBois, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships, delivered a similar message and also urged societies to partner with his organization to expand the impact of their community service activities.  Alliance members interested in joining forces with DuBois and First Lady Michelle Obama to assist military families should plan on participating in a conference call on Wednesday, May 18, at 2:30 p.m. CDT (call in number: 866-615-1885; and passcode: 204772).  More information on the call will be posted soon on this blog: www.whitehouse.gov/partnerships/blog.

    Joshua DuBois, Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships, (left) shakes hands with Kenny Massey, President and CEO, Modern Woodmen of America.

    • And Alliance members rose to the challenge by spending Tuesday afternoon on Capitol Hill meeting with more than 40 members of Congress and their staff to spread the good word about who we are and what we do.  The meeting was capped off with a reception in the Capitol building for attendees, members of Congress, and legislative staff in which a message from President Obama wishing fraternals the best on our efforts to provide members financial security and improve the quality of life for individuals and families was read to the group.
    • Next year… Be sure to save the dates for next year’s meetings in Charleston, South Carolina.  Secretaries/Human Resources Sections will take place on April 14-16, 2012, and Presidents Section will be held on April 15-17, 2012, at the Charleston Marriott.
    • Your comments… If you attended the recent Section Mid-Year Meetings in D.C., I’d love to hear from you.  Post your comments to this blog and let me know what you thought about the meetings.  Tell us about your experience!
    • Upcoming blogs – Next week I will share some incredible JOIN HANDS DAY success stories, and after that, we’ll revisit the “agitation” posting and your responses to the mini-survey.

    2 Responses

    1. Hi Joe: This was the 15th Presidents Section I have attended and by far it was the best. Credit has to go to you and your staff for the outstanding meeting. I really hope those in attendance got the message and will follow through in an effort to grow their Societies. Anytime you need my services please call. Look forward to seeing you in the not too distant future.

      Ed Carroll

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