Saturday, May 1, 2010

2010 Canadian Conference for Credit Union Leaders

Going to Winnipeg!

In early 2010, I wrote a paper discussing Leadership and Innovation; in particular, how my leadership has inspired innovation within my Credit Union. This March, I was selected as one of five winners of the National Credit Union Young Leaders Award. I found out about this exciting news via email, as I happened to be in Malawi at the time; a cumbersome time where Paul and I were scouring the city of Blantyre trying to track down a SIM card for our cell phone. Ahhh, memories… J

I am absolutely thrilled about being selected for this award. As a byproduct of being selected, I get to travel to Winnipeg and attend the 2010 Canadian Conference for Credit Union Leaders. That is where I'm headed today! In fact, I'm typing up this blog entry on the 2 hour Calgary à Winnipeg flight. In addition to getting to attend the conference, I get to compete with four other Young Credit Union Leaders for a scholarship to be used towards further education. The five of us have created a workshop that we will facilitate on Tuesday, May 4th. Our workshop topic is focused on Relationships – specifically looking at what Credit Unions can do to strengthen their relationships with four key stakeholders. Our presentation has really come together and I think it's going to come across great! As part of the competition, we will be evaluated on our workshop and on our responses to three questions that we will be asked in front of a panel of Credit Union Leaders.

I referenced my experience working with SACCOs in Malawi both in my paper and my piece of our workshop. I am looking at how Credit Unions can strengthen their relationships with Members, and speaking directly to looking at ways we as Credit Unions can communicate a differently with our members by:

  • Defining, educating and selling the "Credit Union Advantage"
  • Using appropriate methods or communication channels to get our message out to different target markets and demographics
  • Actively listening to, which will serve to engage, our members
I specifically reference DWASCO SACCO in my presentation and speak to how Davison, the General Manager of DWASCO, worked to define and educate his community about the benefits associated with being a member of his SACCO before selling products or services to the members. I learned so much having travelled to Malawi and worked with Malawian SACCOs, and I am extremely grateful for the experience I had in the two years I participated in the Canadian Cooperative Association Coaching Program.

That's all for now!

Robert Christiansen

Davison and I
Livingstonia Beach Hotel in Salima, Malawi (2009)

Updates from Malawi!

Exciting News!

I heard from Paul the other day with some updates from Malawi. He had received a letter from Chifundo Centre 2 Orphanage thanking us for our visit and our financial donation to their Orphanage. I wanted to post this on my blog and once again thank all of my friends, family, members and staff for their financial donations and support.

I also received some very exciting news from Abigail – the MBC SACCO Manager Paul and I worked with this year. MBC SACCO had merged with another SACCO a couple of years ago and opened their bond from only Malawian Broadcasting Corporation employees to all members working at a company that get paid via payroll deposits. Since the merger, however, the SACCO name remained the same (MBC SACCO). This made it difficult to attract new members from other organizations, because the name of the SACCO made it seem that it was only there to serve MBC employees. Abigail informed me through an email that the member's officially voted to change the name of their SACCO from "MBC SACCO" to "Future SACCO". What a great name!

It sounds like my Malawian friends are doing really well, which is awesome!

That's all for now! Blog ya later,

Robert Christiansen