After a year of studies that including coming up with projects that could actually be used at credit unions, executives recently became the first graduates of NACUSO's Designing and Implementing Collaboration and Business Network program at Pepperdine University.
The 10 graduates were celebrated at a ceremony Oct. 20-21 on Pepperdine's campus in Malibu, Calif. Students participated in a 12-month applied team project via distance learning to present to their program peers and Pepperdine faculty for evaluation. The program began in October 2009 and included classroom sessions, distant learning sessions and group projects. Upon completion of the program, CU and CUSO participants were certified in collaboration, network business design and implementation.
NACUSO President/CEO Tom Davis was adamant about keeping the spotlight on the program's graduates. He did say the learning initiative exceeded his expectations.
"It's gratifying to see the kind of effort [the graduates] put in throughout the year," Davis said. "With just 6% of the industry's assets, we are a speck in the marketplace. The solution to sustainability is coming together to create scalable platforms. There is no unifying vision out there."
The program included courses such as "principles of networked businesses and networked business design" and "building the skill sets to manage collaborations and networked businesses," and "trust: the key to establishing and maintaining collaborative relationships."
Gary Perez, president/CEO of USC Credit Union, was one of the program's graduates. He was involved in the creation of CURoots Cooperative, a CUSO launched in August to provide back-office services to credit unions (See story on p. 8).
"This idea is founded on the same cooperative ideal of credit unions," Perez said about the new CUSO. "It will be a cost savings center and lower costs for small- to mid-size credit unions who are struggling with high operating costs."
Davis said he was wowed by the level of sophistication and implementation potential of all of the graduates' projects. One from Jean Trainor, president/CEO of Veridian Credit Union explored an open technology solutions model. Another from Tom Pisano, chief financial officer at UMassFive Federal Credit Union, offered product and service solutions to smaller credit unions.
Going forward, the NACUSO/Pepperdine program is set to continue beyond Davis' tenure. After 20 years of service on NACUSO's board and nearly four years as its CEO, Davis announced July 30 that he will leave the organization Dec. 31 to become the CEO of CUSO Development Co. LLC. An East Coast version of the collaboration program is set to kick off at the College of William and Mary in the future.