2018 CUES Distinguished Director James Sackett joins the show to discuss his own onboarding as a millennial director at $1.3 billion Firefly Credit Union, Burnsville, Minnesota—and to offer additional ideas you can use for your own efforts.
Now vice chair of the board at Firefly CU, Sackett’s interest in credit unions started early. His father was a credit union director while Sackett was growing up—and still is to this day. “There was always CUES swag and credit union swag around the house,” he quips. “I’ve always known about them (credit unions) and loved them. Taking next steps in my career, I knew I wanted to be involved in some way and also thought I had a lot to offer. When I moved to Minneapolis, I joined Firefly Credit Union … reached out and inquired about the board and started the process.”
In the episode, Sackett shares quite a few reasons CUs can get by having younger board members:
· Diversity of perspective—diverse thought generates more robust strategies
· Bench strength—longer tenured board starts to move on
· Future leadership—companies that really have success in the long term bring future leaders in a level or two below where they want them to ultimately to be working
· Other value: representation of a target market—the millennial demographic is a very large group!
He also shares his thoughts about the value of board members with a great deal of experience, like his father: things they’ve seen during their tenure such as the impact of the economic cycle.
What else does Sackett recommend when it comes to recruiting younger board members?
· Do something!
· Begin with the end in mind—know what skills and perspective you’re looking for
· Use tools like LinkedIn and local universities to locate people
· Contemplate what it’s like to volunteer for your credit union’s board—is it conducive to younger board members?
· Re-examine your meeting materials—are they online? Should they be?
· Get the message out that people can get involved in volunteerism at your credit union
· Talk about the mutually beneficial nature of the role—the credit union benefits from good leadership, the community benefits from a strong credit union and the leadership experience can aid a younger director’s career development as well
Interestingly, being a millennial is not on Sackett’s list of critical traits for directors. If a credit union is recruiting young people just to check a box, it’s not worth the effort. Having life experience, being able to do critical thinking and having perspective that a person is ready to offer up at the board meeting are fair more important. Intellectual curiosity is also helpful, he notes.
“You need to be … willing to learn and see what’s coming down the pipe,” he explains. “It ties in with the perspective piece in having that interest in looking ahead and learning.”
The show also gets into:
· Where to find younger board members
· Biggest challenge credit unions face in recruiting younger board members
· Board assessments
· Board orientation and retention