REACH 2023

Catch the highlights from a power-packed week at REACH 2023​

Cassi Chandler — Keynote Speaker and CEO of Vigeo Alliance — at REACH 2023.
Cassi Chandler — Keynote Speaker and CEO of Vigeo Alliance — at REACH 2023.

Cassi Chandler: How Will You Lead ‘the Human’ for Tomorrow?

Cassi Chandler, CEO of Vigeo Alliance, delivered attendees of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ REACH 2023 conference a compelling discussion of how emerging advances in technology — along with changing global, social, and economic factors — present unforeseen challenges for organizations and employees as credit union leaders move toward the future of work.

(View and download event photos from the REACH 2023 Photo Galleries)

In “Show — Don’t Tell: What it Means to Be a Leader for the Human for Tomorrow,” Chandler opened by telling attendees: “When we say things and don’t back it up with what we do, it really has no relevance. You don’t just tell — you have to show.” Her dynamic presentation focused on the everchanging work-corporate environment, which she describes as a “perma-crisis.”

Your average corporate worker or leader today has the following pressing in around them, psychologically and emotionally: political tribalism, evolving globalization, work-life balance, work overload and burnout, emerging government regulations, supply and demand pressures, cybersecurity, responding anytime to work (all the time and anywhere), and work-from-home dynamics.

“Are you starting to feel it? We’re in a perma-crisis,” Chandler said. “As leaders, you need to know that the people working with you are experiencing it too.”

She noted how the “new norm” is characterized by, “nothing is normal.” Current and future evolving changes and challenges in the average leader and worker’s psyche include the potential for more pandemics; economic, social, environmental, and political impacts; international regulatory expectations; new global competitors; controlled markets; a lack of skilled resources; internet dependencies; uncontrollable digital and social media impressions on society; and progressive human reasoning and intelligent artificial intelligence.

“It’s fascinating — all these things we’re seeing will have an impact on someone, somewhere in your office,” Chandler said. “How are we going to work? That’s the question — and we don’t know. Reskilling and upskilling are huge. What does it all mean for the human impact? How will you lead with confidence?”

She said that when credit union colleagues instill confidence in each other, they can face change and difficulties with a positive expectation. They become “explorers.” As leaders in a perma-crisis, they need to think about how they are representing themselves to others around them. Are they displaying confidence amid the change?

“What is it about leadership that gets others looking that way?,” Chandler asked. “It’s when they get personally involved. It’s not just them seeing a CEO of a company. When they start seeing themselves as personally involved in the lives of others, they become committed. Commitment plus intentionality equals “it’s personal.”

She calls it “Inspirit-3,” which should be harnessed for encouraging and enlivening superiors, colleagues, and employees. “Enliven someone,” Chandler said. “Not yourself — but someone else. That’s what great leaders do during times of change.”

Chandler gave three pieces of advice:

  • Know your power — “Be willing to step back and know how others see you (be self-aware). Get thoughts from others, and act openly and transparently. Leadership is about everything you do and everywhere you go. It’s the process of influencing. Leadership is not something that’s preserved at the top — leadership is spread throughout an organization even if you don’t have one person reporting to you. Every opportunity you have to interact with others is an opportunity to lead. Are you giving people hope every day? How are you influencing them? With confidence and hope? Are you in a perma-crisis? Do you have high expectations but you’re producing fear? Understand (have a vision), know (know how others see you), determine (find ways to enhance), and exude (exude confidence). It gives confidence to others when they see confidence in you.”
  • Extend your power to others — “Get in their shoes and recognize when employees feel unaccepted or experience fear. When they fear, they cannot thrive. Understand how others see themselves. Are employees familiar with your credit union’s values? Do they share these values and feel that they belong? Are they aware of the changes that may arise? How will emerging changes impact them individually? How will you influence and inspire during these changes? People will rise after they feel understood. Someone must be the anchor in the workplace, and that’s you. The anchor is prepared to predict problems, take initiative, and offer solutions. Mentor, network, and sponsor. Share your experiences, your talents, and your skills. When you mentor others, they will be your ears when you are not present to hear, and they will be your voice when you are not in the room to speak up.”
  • Embrace the champion within you — “If you cannot be the champion in your office, look around you — there is a leader among you who can. Champion the champion. If you can’t be a champion, there are others out there. Do we have enough courage to seek, find, move up, train, and build those next leaders? If you embrace the champion within you, that’s what you commit to do. Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality. Champions do the difficult thing. They are willing to stand alone, take a stand, and do the right thing. Champions create a culture of belonging. A champion recognizes they must build the coaching for everyone when they’re building a culture, the champion communicator, and more. Champions are the people who inspire hope when sometimes hope seems to be gone. They take a position and are servant leaders. Champions are passionately committed, feel a sense of purpose, and are compassionate. They speak to inspire, believe, understand, and support.”

Chandler ended by noting that if you respect your team, you will communicate with them and be transparent about what’s going on — and in turn, you will be respected. A shared and inclusive vision will motivate and influence others to action and get them thinking: “I belong.”

“Show — don’t tell,” she added. “How will you lead the human for tomorrow? Know your power, extend your power to others, and embrace the champion that’s within you. If you do that, you will lead with confidence and courage.”

Stay Engaged During REACH
Attendees and League staff will be sharing photos, comments, and memories through X (@CANVleagues) and LinkedIn (#CUatREACH).

REACH is one of the credit union industry’s premier annual events, attracting leaders and system partners from across California, Nevada and the United States. This year it’s held from October 22 – 26 at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in Las Vegas, NV!

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