We’re Headed to Wharton

It all begins in less than a week.

This Sunday I will be arriving at the University of Pennsylvania to attend the CUES CEO Institute. This week-long program is the final chapter of the entire Next Top Credit Union experience. I can’t believe the time has already passed so quickly. I look forward to sharing this opportunity with you.

I’m grateful that four of the six finalists will be at Wharton. Ronaldo Hardy, Jodi Chambers, and Amy Stanton will all share in this experience with me. They will be there because of the spirit of our cooperative movement. Donations from other CEOs and business partners combined with matching contributions from CUES and support from each of their credit unions helped to get them to Wharton. What an inspiring example of cooperation among cooperatives. It’s gratifying to see our movement rally to support the next generation of leaders. On behalf of all of us I want to thank you.

The other two finalists will be with us in spirit. Amy Grothaus is on maternity leave and Kelsey Balcaitis is unable to attend. If you followed Amy’s project during the competition you know that she is doing amazing work that capitalizes on her life experiences. I just saw Kelsey at GAC. She’s actively involved with the Crash network and using her strengths to impact other future leaders.

I know our week at Wharton will become a career defining experience. I am looking forward to the sessions on Strategic Thinking, Leadership and Decision Making, and Strategic Vision. I hope the learning in those areas will help to make me a more effective collaborator and leader. I have also heard there is a credit union simulation towards the end of the program that is challenging. I like the simulation aspect because that doesn’t happen often in other learning events. A past participant told me she got more “take-home” value in this CEO Institute than in her MBA program. I anticipate the program will be intense and rewarding.

We have a lot to do in the next week. As we get ready, each of us will be reading over 200 pages of pre-work in the form of case studies, reports, and environmental overviews. Personally, I’m also interested in learning about the other 50 participants. It looks like our group is incredibly talented and diverse.

I’ll be sharing updates with you throughout the course of the week. I hope to bring in Ronaldo, Jodi, and Amy so you can hear their impressions, too.

It’s going to be awesome.