rimualdoOne Year

Ralph Rimualdo, CCE

In one way, a year can seem like a long time; but then at other times, it goes by so fast that it is hard to believe. My year as NACM Chairman seemed to go by very fast, maybe because the job does consume so much time and energy that time passes quickly. Even though the time moved rapidly, I feel that some important milestones were reached in the past year.

We, as an organization, completed a task through the Strategic Initiatives Task Force that took over two years to complete. A new Affiliate Agreement, discussed and re-discussed, was finally put to the test at the local Board level. To the dismay of many, it was defeated. When thinking about the outcome of the agreement, I asked myself whether the time invested in creating a new agreement was time well spent. In searching for the answer, I remembered that as my children were growing up, I always told them that they learned from everything that they do in this world. The Agreement was no exception.

The time spent to create and prepare an agreement for 50 Affiliates to sign was a major task, but the lessons learned and the details discussed are valuable to this organization. It will help us move into the future with a greater understanding of the need for solidarity of effort and ideas. Some of the ideas generated were good ones... and can be used as building blocks for a strategic plan leading us to the future of our Association.

There is no doubt that the organization is faced with many changes and challenges as a result of new technologies, changes in the workforce environment, and bigger and stronger competitors: all the more reason for a stronger union between the various members of the NACM family.

We need to raise the bar on the level of services we supply and continue to educate and provide viable services to our affiliates, subsidiaries, associates and most importantly—the members. In order to do this, we must work together, not act as lone rangers, trying to beat our own drum. We need solidarity and consolidation of effort in order to compete. We need to keep challenging ourselves and our organization to new levels.

Someone once asked if the problems would ever cease. I simply reference the message I delivered to this Association as Chairman: This is not a perfect world and, as long as it is not perfect, we will always be challenged and there will always be problems to confront. The important thing to remember is to keep the goals that we set for ourselves and the organization in the forefront: listen to those around us and to those who our decisions will effect. The more perfect solution is the one that will work for all of us—not for just one of us. It is the union of thoughts and ideas and the execution of those unified ideas that will lead to success.

Working together works.

As Chairman I did a fair amount of traveling and enjoyed meeting many of the NACM members all over the country. It is great to see the spirit and enthusiasm that exists within NACM! In our members I see a desire to learn and be a part of this Association—the same reasons that brought me to NACM over 30 years ago. It was wonderful to see and meet the members of CFDD and attend some of the great programs that they work so hard to prepare. It is good to see that FCIB has shown some very encouraging success with their new online course; the response has been overwhelming from the international sector of members. I hope that we can continue to move forward in improving our working relationship with CRF by melding the strengths of both organizations to help us in our mutual growth plans.

Robin Schauseil—what can I say? She has spent a tireless year working to fulfill and to accommodate all the requests that the National Board, Affiliate Managers, members, staff and I have—as well as dealing with day-to-day problems and plans for the future—and she still finds time to sleep. She has displayed strong leadership qualities and has a tremendous love for NACM. She has solidified relationships where there was strain. Her honesty and openness to discuss issues impresses me. If I asked her a question or if she volunteered information, it was right to the point. She did not circumvent facts that could be detrimental to her leadership position: she tells it like it is. I respect that, and I respect her for her abilities and the code of ethics she lives by.

Leaving a topic for last does not mean that last is not first in thought. The NACM staff is very special to every member of NACM—and especially to me. Without their exceptional talents and dedication to their jobs there would be no support for our ideas and direction. In order to carry out the duties and responsibilities of a Chairman’s position that only lasts for one year, the one very critical requirement is a competent staff willing to work together as a team, dedicated to the Association’s cause and to each other. I could go on and on as far as individuals are concerned, but there are so many that it would take up more time than I have to spend. All I can say is, thank you for your outstanding support and dedication.

Finally, I want to thank every one of you for allowing me to serve as your Chairman and leader. We are never sure what positions we may find ourselves in as we journey through life. This one was surely a very special one for me. When I first stepped into the Chairman’s spot, I told the Board that I needed and wanted their ideas—I wanted their input, their diversity of thought. I got what I asked for; it proved to be the recipe for success for many decisions that the Board made last year. Thank you for your participation! Working together through the diversity of thought is power, and the execution of those thoughts moves us forward. Continue to prepare yourselves for full participation and you will realize the rewards in the self-esteem that you feel.

My closing is simple. As Debbie Fields, founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies said, “good enough never is.” To bring us full circle, as I said in my commentary one short year ago, my Mom always told me to “aim for 100.” That’s our charge: as credit professionals, as NACM staff, and as leaders of a world class organization.

Ralph Rimualdo, CCE Chairman of the Board, NACM June 2003 - May 2004