A recent column from Mike Welch (CU Times, July 11) correctly points out that the major components of a successful association conference are its commitment to education and value for attendees. And in terms of those requirements, I feel strongly that CUNA’s Symposium and Annual General Meeting more than successfully measure up. Mike’s criticism of the Symposium and AGM fails to take into account great strides we’ve made to improve the programming and venue. The Symposium has become a highly focused educational event that provides sessions on topics of everyday relevance to credit union volunteers and staff that attend. Tom Peters, Robert Kriegel, Daniel Burrus and Ron Zemke – all highly regarded, internationally known business and service authorities – have recently appeared at Symposium general sessions to provide credit union attendees with the best in information and presentations on today’s and tomorrow’s financial services marketplace. In recent years, an overall focus of the Symposium has been on technology, with individual sessions zeroing in on the bottom line of lending, ATMs, member education, fraud protection, Web service development and emerging technologies, among many others that stem from discussions we have with our credit union members to discern topics of greatest interest. This September in San Francisco, sessions will explore what members are asking for, what technology can meet their needs and how credit unions can continually adapt to change. Just a few of the sessions to be offered include those on negotiating vendor contracts, how to combat check cashers, CEO compensation strategies, Web security and privacy, and employee turnover. And the general session will again feature terrific speakers in the persons of consultant Alex Sheshunoff and author Mark Victor Hansen (“Chicken Soup for the Soul”). Since the Renewal initiative remade CUNA into a direct membership organization with 50 leagues and over 9,000 credit union members, the Annual General Meeting, which formerly saw the election of CUNA directors, has become a smaller component of the event. This year, however, the AGM will feature the CUNA Board’s consideration of the Renaissance Commission report, which as Mike’s column also recognized, has the entire movement talking! I invite credit union people from across the country to attend this year’s meeting and experience the high quality program, presentation and venue the CUNA Symposium and Annual General Meeting offers. I promise you’ll like what you see and experience. Daniel A. Mica President and CEO Credit Union National Association, Inc. Washington, D.C.

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