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15 things I learned at the Alliance’s 2016 Annual Meeting…

1. Jill Regester of WoodmenLife is a terrific guest blogger who managed to get more comments posted in three days than I have in six months!                                                                                     afa16-3922

2. Billy Beane’s message of “challenge accepted norms by being willing to look at everything differently” hit a home run with fraternal leaders.

3. Guy Messick, of Messick & Lauer, spelled out the pros and cons of the fraternal shared services concept being explored by several society leaders in as clear a way as I’ve ever heard it.

4. I’m sure Ken Frino of A.M Best at times felt like he was on the witness stand during the Spanish Inquisition when explaining the new BCAR rating formula, but members appreciated his willingness to answer every question – even if they did not like some of the answers.

5. If you think your society is exempt from the Department of Labor’s new fiduciary rule seriously, you might want to disabuse yourself of that notion – quickly.

6. Fraternal conventions don’t have to be stuck in the 1950s! Get rid of the two-tiered head tables and fire up the educational programs that will infuse your members with enthusiasm about what your society can do!

7. Fraternal branding campaign – lots of excitement, many questions to be answered, unlimited potential for building an image that will resonate with consumers.

8. I’d go back to Nashville for a long weekend in a heartbeat. Food, music, and wonderful people – what a combination!

9.  There is no better community service partner than the Music Health Alliance!  afa16-0121They raised $7,000 on site for their amazing cause, gave attendees the scoop on Nashville hot spots, helped us find local musicians to play the sweetest rendition of the anthems I have ever heard, secured the best Chair’s gift ever – a signed tour jacket from George Strait, and sent our staff cookies last week from a company that uses the founder’s grandmother’s recipe. We are considering making them our permanent partner!

10. Technology IS going to change the way your members and prospects interact with your society. Time to get off the platform and board that train.

11. The Innovation Forum was not only one of the most popular sessions at this afa16-1370year’s meeting, it proved that the fraternal system has a bright future if we provide the young professionals in our societies with the opportunities to change the way to “look at everything differently.”

12. Folks had strong – and mixed – views about Linda Wertheimer’s remarks. But the message I took away was that a disturbingly small percentage of voters decide who gets on the ballot and who gets elected, and perhaps we need to re-think the whole process.

14. The “Diversity” Workshop (Embracing Diversity Among Your Employees and Board Members) should be mandatory for every fraternal C-suite executive and board member. Diversity is not just a moral issue, it’s a business ussue. Look for this program to be on the agenda of the 2017 Executive Summit, April 3-5, in Chicago.

15. If you loved Nashville and the Omni Hotel (how about that for a venue!), you are going to be crazy about the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix, the site of our 2017 Annual Meeting. Mark the dates on your calendar RIGHT NOW – September 6-8, 2017 – and, for goodness sake, plan to register early. We’ve lined up two terrific keynote speakers: Shabnam Mogharabi, CEO and Executive Producer at SoulPancake, an award-winning media and entertainment company that explores ‘Life’s Big Questions’; and Dr. Robert Cialdini whose book Influence: Science & Practice is a New York Times best seller. Also, next year’s meeting will end at noon on Friday, September 8. We know it may be difficult for many of you to get home from Arizona that afternoon, so we’re planning an event or two to entice you to stay over another day and enjoy the desert sun. And at $139 per night for a resort like this, how can you afford not to! In fact, why not do what several societies did this year: bring your whole Board of Directors to the Annual Meeting and conduct a Board meeting on the Friday afternoon or Saturday morning following the event?

3 Responses

  1. Fantastic event this year, and yes, the Omni Nashville was top notch! I learned that 2 days still isn’t enough time for me to wrangle introductions to people I only know through phone or email conversations.

  2. Here are a couple of my thoughts as first time attendee:

    As Joe was describing the describing the challenges, I immediately thought of the Stockdale Paradox in Jim Collins book, Good to Great. Admiral Stockdale was the highest ranking officer in the Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam War. He said the prisoners who survived were the ones who faced the brutal facts and at the same time believed in the end game. Facing the facts is key to long term growth and survival.

    The workshop on shared services left an impression. Small to mid-size fraternals are dealing with limited resources, both financial and expertise. It is a challenge to focus. Shared resources have potential to access expertise and reduce costs. More importantly, shared services would enable the smaller to focus more on growing membership and providing more value for members.

    I am passionate about what you are doing. You are creating a sense of community. There is a need for community. Just look at Facebook. Second, the middle income market needs life insurance and many major life insurance carriers have written off that market.

  3. Excellent show. Thank you. I think the thing I was reminded of is how musical our industry is. In conversations with Lino and others, I was able to hear some great perspectives on the music scene in Nashville which if you think about it, is a good analogy of the fraternal companies I met: innovative and individualistic but wildly passionate about what they are doing and willing to collaborate.

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