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Credit Union Professionals Celebrate the Centennial Anniversary at the 89th Annual Convention and Expo

The Tennessee Credit Union League hosted its 89th Annual Convention and Expo in Gatlinburg, May 17-19. More than 350 credit union professionals and credit union services vendors attended the 3-day event—the most in recent years.

Wednesday Highlights
The event began last Wednesday with the League’s golf tournament to benefit CU4Kids. More than 65 golfers played at the Gatlinburg Golf Course. Despite heavy rains on Tuesday evening, golfers had to stay on the cart path. However, Wednesday was an absolutely beautiful day for golfing and supporting CU4Kids. In total, the tournament raised more than $8,500 for CU4Kids.

The conference officially began Wednesday evening with a Welcome Social and Reception in the Exhibit Hall. The evening networking was followed by a 1920s-themed Awards Banquet and Program in celebration of the centennial anniversary of Tennessee credit unions. Among the awards, the League and Volunteer Corporate Credit Union inducted two credit union professionals into the Credit Union Hall of Fame.

Craig Peters, retired president and CEO of Enrichment Federal Credit Union, was inducted after working in the credit union industry for 40 years.

“What stands out above all of the services he provided to so many credit unions, are the countless credit union employees and leaders he has provided advice and guidance to over the years. He has been a mentor to so many and a true visionary in the credit union community,” Craig’s nominee wrote in the application.

Wanda Roberts, CEO of Tennessee River Federal Credit Union, was also inducted. Wanda has worked in the credit union industry for 45 years.

“She goes over and beyond to help our members. Even when she is having a bad day, she puts a smile on her face and waits on members. She puts the members first and the rest can wait. There are many hats she wears since there are only four of us here,” Wanda’s nominee wrote in the application.

And new this year, the League also recognized the TriStar Advocate of the Year. This award was presented to David Smart, president and CEO of Trust Federal Credit Union, for advocating for CDFI credit unions who are serving their underserved communities, and more transparency within the CDFI certification process.

The evening concluded with entertainment by Nashville’s Rock & Roll Pianos.

Thursday Highlights
Thursday’s sessions opened with a keynote presentation by Mark Mayfield with tips on how to overcome stress. Other professional development sessions included Kevin Smith, consultant and publisher with TEAM Resources, who discussed credit unions and the infinite game. Labor and employment attorneys from Woods Rogers Vandeventer Black PLC gave an employment law update. Nick Henrichsen, founder of WithClutch, spoke about how to recapture in a rising interest rate environment. Thursday concluded with a happy hour in the exhibit hall and a free evening to explore Gatlinburg.

Friday Highlights
Friday opened with the League’s 89th Annual Business Meeting and the installation of a new officer. Karen Climer, board secretary and president and CEO at Enlighten Federal Credit Union, concluded her board term, and the board welcomed Carter Ridgway, president and CEO of Kemba Delta Federal Credit Union, to the board. The Annual Business Meeting was followed by a keynote presentation by Colonel Robert Darling as he described spending 24 hours inside the President’s bunker on Sept. 11, 2001. Fred noted that his presentation was so intriguing that no one checked their phones during the presentation!

Young Professionals
And for the first time ever, the League hosted a Young Professionals Track at this year’s Annual Convention. Nearly 20 young credit union professionals attend the two YP sessions. The first was the Credit Union Movement 101, which gave an overview of the movement, credit union principles and how the League advocates for credit unions. The second was an interactive panel discussion on how to grow within the movement with panelists Chris Boler, president and CEO at 7, LLC, Ben Johnson, president and CEO at US Community Credit Union and Kelsey O’Daniel, marketing director at Bowater Credit Union. All participated in the League’s young professionals program called tnmic pre-pandemic. A special YP networking dinner was hosted on the rooftop patio of the Gatlinburg Convention Center. The dinner was sponsored by 7, LLC.

Save the Date—April 16-18
The League appreciates everyone who took time to attend the 89th Annual Convention and Expo! We have already begun planning for the 90th Annual Convention and Expo. Mark your calendars for next year’s event, April 16-18, 2024, in Gatlinburg, Tenn.!

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