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    Eleven things I loved about the Alliance’s Annual Meeting…

    1. Getting put on the spot – along with a few member society executives – as Frank Luntz challenged us to explain (in seven seconds!) who we are and what we do in a way that’s relevant to consumers…
    2. The incredibly positive demographic information presented by Joe Coughlin that verified fraternals have a very large sweet spot with millions of potential members who want what we have to offer…
    3. The fact that almost one-fifth of the audience were “first-time” attendees – a great indicator that the meeting program resonated with individuals from all sectors of the fraternal industry…
    4. The fact that more than 90% of attendees rated the overall meeting as “excellent” or “very good”…
    5. The enlightening news about the power and influence of women when it comes to purchasing financial services and, even more critical, the appeal of fraternals to this increasingly important segment of the market…
    6. Workshop sessions full of members furiously taking notes on the results of the Alliance’s recent consumer research project and discussing ways to put this information to use in their marketing efforts…
    7. The “real-world” examples of collaboration between societies – in areas such as commercial banking, asset management, IT platform development, private label product development – and the willingness of members to do more than talk about further cooperative programs…
    8. 60+ member society executives willingly giving their time to spruce up three local Salvation Army facilities during the Thursday community service project…
    9. The support for the fraternal system from our Associate Members and sponsors – we could not have conducted such a successful event without you…
    10.  The subtle humor of Father Gawronski’s homily at the Saturday afternoon Mass: “God asked Abraham to sacrifice his 12-year-old son because if He had waited another year it wouldn’t have been much of a sacrifice…”
    11. The not-so-subtle humor of Installation Banquet emcee Buzz Sutherland and his two partners, “Puddin” and “Cupcake” (you had to see it to believe it)…

    We’re compiling the results of your on-site evaluations now, and I’ll share the feedback we received from attendees in future posts. The PowerPoint presentations from many of the Annual Meeting speakers will be posted to the Alliance Web site later this week.

    I’m going to take a “blog break” for the better part of the next two weeks as I head out for vacation on Gilligan’s Island – no phone, no light, no BlackBerry. In the meantime, I invite you to share your comments on the Annual meeting – both what you liked about it and ideas to make next year’s meeting (September 13-15, 2012, in New Orleans) even better. Don’t be shy, now…

    8 Responses

    1. #10 is funny! I’ve often wished for wit such as that.

    2. Thanks for a great meeting, Joe.
      enjoy your well deserved holiday!
      Kate R

    3. Congrats to you and your staff for an oustanding event. I smiled on my way to work today remembering many good conversations and special fraternal friends. It is an honor to be part of this amazing industry. While we might not always use the right words, we will continually work on ways to retool our societies to be relevant. Our brand is strong and what we stand for is good. Thanks to all of you for making a difference!

    4. As a First timer, I enjoyed the “Networking” compontant. Thanks for the chance to meet so many amazing people!

    5. I’ve already had discussions with staff and my “board of advisors” aka female friends about six of your 11 bests. My department will be discussing Frank Luntz’s “Words that Work” during the next few weeks. His 11 words are already posted and the gauntlet has been thrown down to see how we can use them.

      Thanks to you and your staff for another great meeting. Enjoy your time off!

    6. Joe: Once again a great meeting. One of the best networking meetings held in the industry, including the insurance industry.

      Ed Carroll

    7. My list adds…

      12 – The Board taking the time to meet with vendors/sponsors, expressing their views of the important needs and issues that fraternals are facing. Some really good things can come out of such focused and intentional exchanges.

      13 – A featured speaker wearing sneakers and a shirt with more wrinkles than mine. Call off the fashion police – Turns out I am a trend setter.

      Chuck Ritzke

    8. As an affiliate member, I signed up for the community service project this year and was so glad that I did. Not only did I get to participate in helping out the Salvation Army get ready to assist its clients at the cold weather emergency shelter, but I got to meet a lot of new friends in the Alliance and kicked off my annual meeting with a real bang! Thanks for making this opportunity available. It was a real blessing.

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