Kelly Shock, CCRA, CCE

Reunited, and it feels so good
Reunited 'cause we understood
There's one perfect fit
And, sugar, this one is it
We (all) are so excited 'cause we're reunited, hey, hey

Yes, I'm singing the song by Peaches and Herb in my head. It was wonderful to see so many members of our CFDD family at Credit Congress in Grapevine, TX. Overall attendance at the conference reminded me of the good old days—you know, the ones before COVID-19. As you'll recall, our 2020 Credit Congress in Las Vegas was cancelled due to the virus, and pandemic-related travel restrictions greatly reduced the number of attendees in Kansas City and Louisville in 2021 and 2022. The CFDD National Conference in Oklahoma City was delayed by two years, with attendance also down when it was held last fall.

But in 2023, We're baaack! And wasn't it grand? Attendance at the CFDD Luncheon in Grapevine almost doubled from the luncheon attendance in Kansas City and approached pre-pandemic numbers. CFDD was once again in the spotlight with the "CFDD at Credit Congress" educational track, featuring nine sessions presented by 15 of your fellow CFDD members, including the popular "Speed Learning" session with books given away at the end. Thirty-nine CFDD members attended Credit Congress after being awarded CFDD National Scholarships, which this year included the full-registration fee and the CFDD luncheon. Next year, Credit Congress attendees will be singing Elvis Presley's "Viva Las Vegas." We'll remind you when it's time to apply for a CFDD National Scholarship to attend, so save the date (June 9-12, 2024)!

At the CFDD National Conference last September, Alaina Worden, CCE, presented "Building Relationships with Your Customers." One of her slides contained this statement: "Family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, customers, and strangers—we are created for relationships. It is literally built in our DNA! Building connections in all areas of life is vital to our overall mental health, happiness, and the sense of belonging." Immediately, Michael Franti's song "People Need People" popped into my head (songs are always playing in my mind, no ear buds necessary).

People. People are what make the CFDD organization so special. We gain knowledge through educational presentations, classes and seminars given by people. We network with other CFDD members—people and we are mentored by and mentor others—people. I'm sure it's true for you as it has been for me, that people throughout our careers are an integral part of the foundation upon which we have built our careers in the credit profession.

I am honored to serve the CFDD organization and its members as National Chair in 2023-2024. I have chosen "People Need People" as my motto for the year, with an emphasis on networking and mentoring. Both are strengths for which CFDD is well known; strengths that are part of the foundation for your success as a credit professional.

I challenge every CFDD member to make this the year that you foster relationships with other CFDD members and build your network. Networking is defined as "the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts." Yes, it takes effort and sometimes requires stepping outside of your comfort zone, but you and the people you build relationships with will benefit from the effort. Become actively involved with your Chapter by serving on committees or on its Board; you will grow from the experience, get to know other members better and your chapter will benefit from your efforts. Participate in one of your local NACM affiliate's industry credit groups, build your network with credit professionals within your industry (and invite them to attend a CFDD meeting with you). Add to your network with people from other CFDD Chapters by attending their Chapters' virtual meetings. And don't hesitate to add a speaker or two to your network, as well.

Mentoring. The Oxford dictionary defines mentor as "an experienced and trusted advisor." How do you find mentors? Think of people around you: do you have a role model, or perhaps a "subject matter expert" in your company or industry? Ask them if they will be your mentor. Mentoring doesn't have to be formal or time consuming. Make a connection with people you can speak with about what's going on, can answer questions and provide guidance. You will want several mentors, both inside CFDD and out (and for those not already CFDD members, invite them to a meeting). It will probably fall on you to keep the mentorship going, so even if you don't have something to ask about … pick up the phone now and then and give them a call. Also, embrace the opportunities when you can mentor others, it feels good. The more you give, the more you get back.

As CFDD helps you build your network, remember that PEOPLE NEED PEOPLE.

Lyric excerpt from "People Need People" by Michael Franti:

We are all on the same road
Walking different directions
Through the reach of a hand or a smile for a while
You can feel the connection
Even in the times when you think you're all alone, don't
'Cause people need, people need, people need people
We're all righteous and humble, we climb and we stumble
The strong and the feeble
No matter where in the world that you go
Don't you know that people need people?

Kelly Shock, CCRA, CCE serves as the National CFDD Chair. She is a proud member of the CFDD Oklahoma Chapter and is a Credit Analyst for Continental Resources, Inc. in Oklahoma City, OK.


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