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Working Together – Addressing Issues as a Team

NJCUL’s N.J. Director and Volunteer Networking Alliance (NJ DNA) keeps credit union directors and volunteers informed, connected and involved.

By Marissa Anema

Credit union directors and volunteers are the DNA that this industry is built upon. And now, perhaps more than ever, a progressive, forward-thinking board is essential to effective credit union governance and leadership if credit unions wish to continue to be of value to their members, and grow as an industry. In light of this, the New Jersey Credit Union League recently developed a group–the NJ Director and Volunteer Networking Alliance, or NJ DNA– for directors and volunteers to work together and address issues facing volunteers today.

In an effort to give directors and volunteers the ability to work together and obtain necessary resources, NJ DNA provides credit union directors and volunteers a forum to meet, network, and ensure they meet current and future challenges head-on.

“Credit union volunteers are at the essence of what credit unions represent: a group of people pooling their own
resources for the common good of all involved,” said New
Jersey Credit Union League President/CEO Paul Gentile. “Credit union volunteers are members like those they represent and have no more to gain than any other member. That is truly the cooperative spirit. I want to see more New Jersey credit union volunteers get involved with our league so they can share their insight and work with us for our common goal of advocacy.”

A Three-part System That Works

To keep directors and volunteers informed, connected and involved, NJ DNA hosts in-person meetings, offers an onlineResource Center and Online Forum, and publishes a monthly NJ DNA newsletter.

To keep directors and volunteers informed, connected and involved, NJ DNA hosts in-person meetings, open to all credit union directors and volunteers.

In-person meetings are open to all credit union directors and volunteers, opening the floor for discussion of a wide range of topics and challenges. Each meeting is facilitated by an industry expert, who covers hot industry topics of which directors and volunteers should be aware. NJ DNA has hosted two in-person meetings so far this year. Paul Gentile facilitated the inaugural meeting in January, providing information on the purpose of NJ DNA and giving information on the resources available through the league. The second meeting, which was in April, featured Michael Dougal, director of HR consulting for HR Value Group, who spoke about CEO compensation trends and CEO contracts. A third meeting has been scheduled for June, which will feature Director Emeritus Michael Clinton of Affinity FCU, to discuss the pros and cons of a director emeritus program.

The NJ DNA online Resource Center provides members with documents and links ranging in topic that are useful to directors and is continuously updated. Included with the Resource Center is the Online Forum, an area for directors and volunteers to discuss topics and to post questions and challenges, giving them the opportunity to receive feedback from peers.

NJ DNA also publishes a monthly newsletter, NJ DNA Network Connect, which is posted to the NJ DNA Resource Center and e-mailed to each member. The newsletters include the latest in regulations and policies effecting boards and credit unions, useful resources, calendars of upcoming educational sessions, and announcements of upcoming in-person meetings.

“Between the in-person meetings, the NJ DNA Network
Connect newsletter, the ever-updating Resource Center, and the Online Forum, NJ DNA is the one-stop shop for credit union
directors and volunteers to stay up-to-date on relevant and pressing issues facing boards,” Gentile said. “Members get the opportunity to network and share experiences, establish a unified voice to address regulations and legislation, share best practices, and much, much more.”

Marissa Anema is the marketing and communications assistant for the New Jersey Credit Union League. This article was submitted by Peter Carpena, director of Pinnacle Federal Credit Union, in Edison, N.J.

About the New Jersey Credit Union League:

Formed in 1934, the New Jersey Credit Union League is the statewide trade association representing credit unions and is committed to the development of the credit union movement in New Jersey. Its mission includes a full range of services, programs, products and money-saving opportunities specifically designed to satisfy a credit union’s operational, financial, training, compliance and overall growth and development needs. For more information visit New Jersey’s credit unions serve 1.2 million members throughout the state with financial products and services. They offer a popular alternative to traditional banks with better rates and lower fees than other institutions. For more information visit

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