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How the Game Has Changed

More from our Annual Meeting guest blogger, Jill Regester, Director of Marketing Communications, WoodmenLife:

I’m back y’all! Your blogger on the scene … reporting in from day one of the American Fraternal Alliance 2016 Annual Meeting.

The theme today was CHANGE. And not the customary, “be the change you want to see in the world” (thanks, Gandhi) topic of change you’d expect from our group of dedicated fraternalists. Rather the … We’ve got to think differently people and disrupt the status quo kind of change.

It started with Joe Annotti, American Fraternal Alliance President & CEO, who opened the meeting on the topic of change and carried it through during the general session including changing our approach to how we advocate, and expanding our footprint with legislators. He played a clip from the “What is a Fraternal Benefit Society?” video, and reminded us how vital it is that we all stay engaged and continue to move the awareness needle about who we are and the importance of what we do – not just with millennials but with all generations.

Pat Dees, Executive Vice President, Fraternal for WoodmenLife, and the current Chair of the Board of the American Fraternal Alliance, continued the topic of change. Pat recognized the noticeable increase in a younger attendee demographic at this year’s annual meeting, and encouraged member organizations to continue encouraging their younger associates to get involved. Pat echoed Joe’s sentiment that every one of us must share in the responsibility of spreading the word about all of the good work fraternals are doing and the dramatic impact that work is having in our communities.

Pat introduced us to Tatum Allsep, founder of the Music Health Alliance (MHA), this year’s Community Partner. Music Health Alliance’s mission is to Heal the Music by providing access to healthcare through services that PROTECT, DIRECT & CONNECT music professionals with medical and financial solutions. Similar to WoodmenLife’s RedBasket.org, 100% of all donations to MHA go to those in need. And something Tatum shared that I thought was pretty amazing – they’ll turn every $1 you donate into $30 of healthcare resources. Follow them on Twitter @musichealthall and facebook.com/MusicHealthAlliance. They’re selling a really cool T-shirt, go check it out – and hey, on a side note… if you’re visiting Nashville, they’ll hook you up with some cool non-touristy tips on places to go and things to do.


The keynote today was Billy Beane (@billybeanball), the Oakland A’s Vice President & General Manager. For those who are not aware, besides being the A’s head guy, Billy is the inspiration behind the movie Moneyball. What I took away from Billy’s talk was that we’ve got to think differently and disrupt the status quo – rise above those who are bigger and better funded – and realize that we’re not going to do it by playing their game. We also have to eliminate the noise, and in this instance I am not talking about our competition – I am talking about the naysayers, the “but that’s how we’ve always done it”ers or the “we couldn’t possibly do it that way”ers. The noise within our own organizations and industry that is holding us back, preventing us from thinking differently, from making the changes we need to make to grow.

We also have to surround ourselves by really smart people and get good at seeing talent where others don’t. Then we have to allow that talent to do the work that needs done … not stand in their way … let them get on base.

More tomorrow y’all!

PS: Mr. Beane – The University of Nebraska is a real football school, too. Go Big Red!

2 Responses

  1. Thanks, Jill.

    Great meeting.

    Jon Tehven
    Sons of Norway

  2. Agree Billy Beane was insightful! We just need to see how we can take the existing information we have in our financials and statistics and apply some creative thought into turning things around and replicating the things we’re doing right. First and foremost, the BUSINESS needs to survive so that the FRATERNAL can thrive.

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