From John: 3 Ways to Win The War for Board Talent

line of wooden board members elevating one
John Pembroke Photo

2 minutes

How can your credit union stand out?

There’s an old adage that if you want to get something done, find someone busy to do it. And there’s a limited supply of those busy people.

Put those two ideas together and you’ve got a pretty clear picture of credit union board recruitment today. CUs must recruit directors from the limited pool of busy people who get things done that every other organization and company is also targeting.

The million-dollar question is: How can your credit union stand out? 

I suggest taking the following steps:

1. Assess your current board and know your strategy for the future.

Study the expertise you have now, define the expertise you need to lead your credit union to future success—and look to close the gap. When you know what you need, you can communicate it to potential directors and, hopefully, boost their enthusiasm for joining you. Notably, CUES offers a director skills assessment that can help.

2. Up your governance game.

Just as employees hate working for a company with a bad culture, potential directors are more likely to accept an invitation to join your board if you’re known for applying governance best practices. Use our Board Governance Assessment to gauge how you’re doing now—then invest in board learning and development that will bring you along the curve.

3. Get creative about where you look for directors.

The knee jerk reaction in board recruitment is to look to people you already know—but that may not always be the best approach. Connecting with community organizations, asking your staff and visiting local college campuses can all be ways to find new directors. If your credit union is trying to diversify its directors to match its diversifying membership or open your credit union to new membership opportunities, it’s even more important to expand your vision of recruitment. CUES Unlimited and Unlimited+ membership includes the Director Onboarding Tool Kit.

Compared to boards overall, I’d say credit union boards are more progressive and already stand out. But the bigger question is, “Are they where they need to be to advance credit unions into the future?” No. They need to continue to evolve to ensure CUs achieve their missions and visions—and match the diversifying market opportunity.cues icon

Since joining CUES in March 2013, John Pembroke has played a leadership role in developing and launching a new direction in CUES’ strategy, branding and culture. Under his guidance, CUES has revamped its membership structure, launched new institutes and introduced Elite Access™ Virtual Classroom, an innovative blending learning offering. Additionally, CUES has expanded its market further into Canada and the Caribbean. Pembroke’s experience includes 25 years in financial services, marketing and e-commerce. He also has served as chief marketing officer at PSCU Financial Services, St. Petersburg, Fla. Pembroke holds a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Marketing and Policy Studies from the Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago. Pembroke also serves on the board of directors of the Goodman Community Center, Madison, Wisconsin, whose mission is to strengthen lives and secure futures. 

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