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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – In a state that is known for its cutting edge workplace legislation, HRD Network has been helping California credit union human resource professionals stay afloat for the past 15 years. The affinity group became the first credit union specialized networking group committed to bettering the application of human resources to improve the credit union workplace. According to HRD Network Founding President Patti Reid who ironically enough is now in charge of marketing at Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, the group started in a chance meeting at a NCUA Training Conference. “About six or seven of us started talking about how sometimes we have similar issues in our field that we couldn’t discuss in depth at these big conferences,” said Reid. “So when we got back we kept in touch and thought it would be great to meet on a quarterly basis to just talk about training and HR. A group of four or five large credit unions here got involved to support the effort and from there it just grew.” From the beginning the organization welcomed any individual in charge of the human resource function in any size credit union, regardless of if they had an HR title and reached out to small credit unions in the state. “We never looked at it as a competition,” said Reid. “It was more of a way to help each other while bringing value to the smaller credit unions. It sounds so simplistic but credit union people are always willing to help. The problem was that at that time many of us didn’t know where to go for answers and often had to go through hoops just to find out who the right contact would be at a particular credit union.” Today, HRD Network has expanded to include credit unions from Utah, Nevada and Hawaii and membership has swelled to 150. In addition to annual meetings, educational conferences and quarterly newsletters, the group offers members a number of HR tools (see sidebar). Continuing the tradition that credit unions of all sizes should have educational opportunities, HRD Network has created the Patti Reed Scholarship, which is given to an employee whose credit union has less than $50 million in assets and the Suzanne Carlisle Trainer’s Scholarship, which recognizes a professional who is dedicated to education and to the human spirit, demonstrating the philosophy of “people helping people.” Kern Schools FCU and AEA Credit Union sponsor the scholarships respectively. In addition, the group has provided small credit unions free HR manuals that cover in detail how to set up HR functions at a credit union. For those credit unions in other states interested in developing a similar network, HRD Network Administrative Director/ MyDAS Marketing Inc. President Susan Mitchell says time is the greatest challenge. “It is more and more difficult to commit the time to get out and network, yet it is critical to organizational development,” said Mitchell. “We’ve grown primarily by word of mouth. Yes we have an affinity with the California Credit Union League and we are in the process of forming an alliance to share resources with the CUNA HR Council, but never underestimate what can be accomplished through grassroots.” Reid adds that to be successful there must also be a core group of people at large credit unions willing to support those individuals and be truly committed to the effort. “In the early stages of HRD Network I had to fly to the northern and southern parts of the state for educational activities and to attend board meetings. It would impact my credit union but they really believed in what we were doing,” said Reid. “You know some of my best friends are people that I met in HRD Network and I know that even now, if anyone asked me about an HR or training question I could call one of them or look in the directory and have an answer or comment within minutes.” [email protected]

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