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AUSTIN, Texas – Two credit union strategic consultants – Buddy Gill, president, Gill Consulting and Research, and Gretchen Fox, president, Gretchen Fox Consulting – plan to jointly launch Credit Union Movement Strategies this month to assist credit unions with developing communications and political positioning strategies. Most credit unions and leagues have probably worked with Fox or Gill individually. Fox is a media specialist who has worked on media campaigns and developed strategic communications plans and grassroots materials for credit unions such as Truliant FCU and Latino Community CU, CU leagues such as the North Carolina Credit Union League, national corporations, and non-profit organizations such as the North Carolina Credit Union League Foundation. Buddy Gill has worked with credit unions for six years. He was the former H.R. 1151 campaign manager, and prior to that he was a political consultant and worked for a Washington-D.C.-based public affairs firm. He is a consultant to CUNA and Truliant FCU and has also worked with several state CU leagues. Fox said she and Gill have “kicked around the idea” of forming the company together for awhile. She’s worked mostly with credit unions on the east coast, especially in North Carolina, and Gill has more national experience. But many of their clients overlap, she said, “and we often bounced our ideas off of each other.” Gill emphasized that, “In our work with existing clients, we continually hear there is a broader need for expert strategic communications advice to help promote credit unions and the movement at the state and local level, so external audiences, like the media, policymakers, and the general public, truly understand the credit union difference. Our firm’s mission is to help our clients build on the American Association of Credit Union Leagues/CUNA blueprint for political involvement and for community relations, partnering with credit union movement leaders to implement effective and creative ideas at the sate and local level, in a way that is sensitive to the uniqueness of each state or region, and making sure that the umbrella message on the credit union difference gets heard at all levels.” One area Gill said he and Fox are interested in working with credit unions is helping them implement CUNA’s Political and Legislative Action Network (PLAN) to help credit unions make regulators and elected officials better aware of credit unions’ mission and to understand the impact of their decisions on CUs. He added that neither he nor Fox believe in a `one size fits all’ strategy. Rather, while there may be an encompassing credit union idea or position that needs to be conveyed, strategies and tactics have to be customized depending on a league’s and credit union’s demographics and geographic uniquenesses. “You can’t make generalizations about all credit unions in all states. I don’t believe in one size fits all, you have to customize your tactics,” Gill stressed. -

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