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COLUMBIA, Md. – Volunteer advocates who for months have been pushing a higher profile for elected directors in trade group leadership will get to air their concerns and map strategy during the annual meeting of the newly-reorganized Maryland & D.C. Credit Union Association June 14-17. The annual conference being held in Ocean City will feature for the first time a separate “Volunteer Forum” on June 17 preceding the annual business meeting. “This will give volunteers at small credit unions which ordinarily don’t have the money to send their elected officials to meetings at expensive hotels in Hawaii and California a chance to give their input, exchange ideas and take part in educational programs,” said J. Wesley Bone, vice chairman of the Maryland/D.C. League and also chairman of the Volunteer Forum. The forum will allow for open discussion with a list of hot topics ranging from compliance to executive compensation and to be followed by breakout sessions with the smaller groups sharing ideas and conclusions, according to organizers. “We will be looking at outreach issues,” said Bone noting the agenda will also include a discussion “of how to get involved in CUNA, NAFCU and other groups and how to run for office.” In these and other areas, “we are just getting our feet wet.” The Maryland/D.C. League has an estimated 1,500 directors among the 180 CUs though it was uncertain what kind of turnout this event would get. The forum session is an outgrowth of a newly formed 12-member Volunteer Advisory Committee announced in January and which joins the traditional league committee structure. The first meeting of the Volunteer Committee was held April 4. David H. Gilbert, a member of the committee and a volunteer advocate at the national level, said he was heartened by the recent interest of directors both in Maryland and in other states in participating in Hike the Hills and in various league meetings and caucuses. He said also he was encouraged by the interest nationally regarding a separate group of elected officials in Maryland with the same name, Maryland Volunteer Forum. That group holds quarterly evening meetings for directors to review common concerns and discuss leading CU issues. Gilbert, who is chairman of Aberdeen Proving Ground FCU and who has long counseled fellow volunteers on the best way to run for trade group office, is the lone volunteer serving on the nine-member NAFCU Board. Until last month, Gilbert shared the volunteer distinction with Brian McDonnell, the retired CEO of Navy Federal CU. McDonnell resigned from the NAFCU Board ending his term on March 20. It was noted that Gilbert is perhaps now the highest ranking volunteer in leadership ranks having been elected to NAFCU’s executive committee and was also named secretary at a recent board meeting. As he has in the past, Gilbert urged fellow volunteers to “start early in developing credentials before throwing your hat in the ring.” “I think volunteers are mistaken to think that others will vote blindly for them because they are volunteers,” he said. Contributions from volunteers have to be solid. “We can’t just have something in the window,” he concluded. -

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