Los Angeles Police FCU holds a three-day education conference for its board and executive management team.
The CEO and board chair work together to identify conference topics.
The session continues to evolve as the scope of the conference widens its definition of “education.”
CU QUICK FACTS
Los Angeles Police FCU
HQ: Van Nuys, CA
Data as of 03.31.19
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 1.7%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 13.8%
Los Angeles Police Federal Credit Union ($964.7M, Van Nuys, CA) has held a spring education conference for its board of directors and executive management team for more than 25 years. The credit union typically holds this annual three-day event in April in addition to its traditional strategic planning session in September.
The entire board — including associate members who are learning about the board’s roles and responsibilities should a seat become open — along with the executive management team participate in the conference. In all, 26 people come together to learn about the latest trends in financial services, provide updates on the credit union’s current key projects, and discuss the credit union’s future.
Notable for more than its spring timing and collection of attendees, the education conference doesn’t delve into the credit union’s priorities, resources, operations, or goals. Instead, it focuses on providing attendees with the information and education they need to make smart, solid decisions for the credit union.
The makeup of Los Angeles Police FCU’s board reflects the members it serves — current and retired law enforcement officers, their immediate family members, and select groups related to law enforcement. Although these are people accustomed to positions of authority, they do not determine the agenda of the education conference.
Conference planning begins up to a year earlier through general discussions between the board and executive management teams. From there, the executive team creates an outline and narrows down the topics based on the issues raised during strategic planning. The executive team members continue to modify topics and sessions for several months as they find the right speakers to fit the needs of the conference.
“The education for the spring conference can range from economic news and trends to specific topics such as cryptocurrency,” says Norma Feder-Dong, vice president of human resources and support services for Los Angeles Police FCU. “Our CEO and board chair work together closely to ensure we’re delivering information the board needs.”
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The conference typically includes a mix of internal and external speakers. In recent years, expert speakers have included investment specialists, futurists, economists, and strategists from within the industry as well as outside it.
“It’s important for us to pay attention to what the next generation of consumers wants and gain a different perspective,” says Matt Dalton, vice president of marketing and business development. “For example, disruption is one recent topic we considered.”
The conference has on occasion included an outside facilitator; however, with the amount of legwork that goes into event planning, such a resource is not necessary to maintain the flow of the conference.
Of note, the event does not cover basic finance and accounting education required by the NCUA. Board members must complete those educational modules prior to serving on the board or becoming an associate director. In fact, education is an ongoing initiative, and board members aren’t off the hook with a one-and-done annual conference. In addition to the spring event, the credit union offers online training and brings in speakers as needed throughout the year. The CEO also presents educational sessions to the board, and the credit union offers education for special projects at the committee level.
It’s important for us to pay attention to what the next generation of consumers wants and gain a different perspective.
Holding a stand-alone event dedicated to education, however, enables the board and management to get down to the business of planning in the fall. The spring event, which requires as much of a time commitment from planners and attendees as the fall event, sets the groundwork necessary for well-informed decision-making and gives the board and management time to discuss the latest trends together as a group.
“We typically begin on a Thursday and end on Saturday afternoon,” Feder-Dong says.
The group comes together for a kickoff reception and board meeting on Thursday, then spends all day Friday in general sessions that cover different topics. The conference officially concludes on Saturday afternoon with a lunch, but the group has been known to come back after lunch to participate in breakout sessions or to discuss additional information.
Regardless of the end time, the spring education session is an opportunity for the board and executive management to learn more about the industry, stretch their collective imagination, and broaden their scope by looking at important questions from different perspectives.
That push to look bigger means the session continues to evolve, too. The credit union is now building upon previous conferences to delve into more complex issues — such as brand identity and the direction of the cooperative — instead of solely using the time for education.
“Ultimately, we’re looking for the best ways to serve the members we have and ensure the cooperative’s future growth,” Dalton says.
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