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L-R: Michael Steinberger, Dean of Western CUNA Management School (WCMS); Richard Johnson, long-time credit union leader and board director of the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation; John Tippets, former CEO of North Island CU and American Airlines FCU; and James Likens, President of WCMS

TIPPETS AT WCMS: 'LOVE WHAT YOU DO'
updated 07/23/13 10:41 AM
Former CEO Addresses Colloquium
Western CUNA Management School (WCMS) brought together a group of credit union leaders, professionals, and WCMS students for the annual Richard Myles Johnson Colloquium in Credit Union Philosophy event at Pomona College on July 17, honoring Richard Johnson, one of the industry's most iconic and influential legends.

Johnson sat in the front row and received a stand-up applause from both Dr. James Likens, president of WCMS, and the audience for his decades of leadership in the credit union movement.

Attendees also heard from keynote speaker John Tippets, former CEO of North Island CU in San Diego and American Airlines FCU in Texas. Tippets—who has long served the credit union movement as a leader, speaker, and mentor—is more recently known for "turning around" North Island CU during the most recent economic downturn. The credit union's success story has reverberated throughout the industry.

He presented his philosophy of how to be a successful credit union CEO and positively impact the lives of employees and members. "You measure your life by the positive impacts you have on others' lives," he said. "Credit unions have historically thrived by this philosophy."

Tippets also waxed on about the lasting principles that have guided credit union leaders throughout the ages, and how those principles are being put to use today. "Today's financial services landscape is very much a moving and difficult space, compounded by a changed world," Tippets said. "But we can still be—and should be—the consumer's very best friend."

His guiding principles represent the moral compass of the credit union movement, propelled by honesty, integrity, and trust between members and leaders. They include:

  • Remember: It's the member's money. Credit unions are here to protect their financial welfare, and act as good stewards.
  • Love what you do, love the people you do it with, and love the people you do it for.
  • Act with integrity, and be open to disagreements.
  • Build trust.
  • Be happy.
  • Higher happy employees.
  • Walk, talk, and live your principles honestly.
  • Engage your management by walking about, throwing yourself on the frontlines with staff, and extending into areas that might be uncomfortable.
  • Cultivate a family that's a team.
  • Have peripheral vision, and know what's going on around you and in other industries that could affect the credit union movement and your institution.
  • Communicate with your staff, members, volunteers, and personal family.

The annual colloquium takes place one week before WCMS graduation, which is held on July 25.

 
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