Out of Many, One

Sam Bell, 2021-2002 CFDD National Chairman

The past year has been a crazy one for all of us.

Although I’ve read articles talking about how 2020 was “a lost year,” I like to think that 2020 was a steppingstone for all of us as we made not only ourselves better, but as we also found ways to strengthen CFDD.

Most of our Chapters were able to host meetings virtually. Although none of us would have imagined looking forward to a virtual meeting a year ago, they have managed to keep us connected during this fractured environment. With a little luck and a lot of planning, we’ll be able to incorporate virtual into future meetings, long after the pandemic has passed.

Our 2021-2022 leadership year promises to show us how to recover and grow as not only individuals, but within our local chapters as well as at the national level of our organization.

In April 2015, I became a member of the Louisville Chapter. At the end of the first meeting I attended, I was asked if I would consider running for Chapter Vice President or President. During that meeting, I had engaged in the discussion bringing in different perspectives. My point in telling the story is to illustrate that the amount of energy you exert is directly related to what you’ll absorb.

I am so excited that we will have representation from every Chapter on our Board. We will count on our directors to tell us how we can better support both our Chapters and our membership. How can CFDD make you more successful personally and professionally? What can we do to help your local chapter? As a CFDD member do you feel the National board is effective for you and/or your chapter? We want to hear your honest opinions. By hearing from you is how we become the most effective for you as a member.

I have learned from serving on a variety of volunteer boards that all volunteers are in service to the organization’s membership. Volunteer leaders are the direct links and conduits to the membership.

As much as the CFDD National Board would like to promise being able implement a solution to every problem or idea brought forward, we are also not crazy. My hope is to work on as many as we can and implement a plan for the remaining to become part of a continued agenda to be completed by future boards.

CFDD has always had great leadership, and we continue to exist in service because of the past leadership along with support from NACM’s staff. I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to DeLinda for working so hard over the past year to make sure that we were able to stay connected.

Your National Board met monthly by Zoom, and we hosted our awards ceremony virtually in January. While DeLinda didn’t have the year as Chair she had hoped for, she did an excellent job rolling with the punches and figuring it out. DeLinda, thank you for your leadership during a difficult year that brought us many obstacles.

Currently, a majority of our Chapters are meeting virtually. The benefit to virtual meetings is that presenters are also participating virtually, allowing most Chapters to host speakers not located within their geographic reach.

As we are hopefully on the backside of the pandemic, it’s my hope our Chapters will continue to provide some type of virtual component to their meetings. Being able to offer a virtual component may increase membership and meeting attendance.

That brings us full circle to our goal: increase CFDD membership and increase meeting attendance.

I would like to offer a challenge to all of you: Over the next year, invite at least one nonmember to a Chapter meeting. After the meeting, follow up is key. Ask them what they thought and if developing a strong relationship with the network could be beneficial to their career goals. Ask if they might consider joining your local Chapter.

We would like to see our membership grow—plus one is a great goal. If every Chapter could add just one new member, we’d stop the loss trend. And, we could proudly brag about our growth. This can happen with your help by showing your excitement and enthusiasm.

Talk with potential visitors and members about scholarship opportunities that are available for Credit Congress and our national conference, but more importantly, scholarships to help them with their own educational and professional growth. CFDD is a wonderful way to network and get to know others in their field. Your passion for your chosen profession and about CFDD might inspire membership growth.

In closing, this next year is about growing CFDD and helping ourselves grow. Together we can do this.

My favorite motto is the one proposed for the first Great Seal of the United States by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson in 1776—E Pluribus Unum. It means “out of many, one” or “one from many.” This strong statement speaks to our organization: Many CFDD members make up one CFDD organization.

CFDD is one from many. Our determination has resulted in us building a single organization, focused on education and networking.

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A CFDD Chapter is a group of credit professionals organized with a focus on education, networking and professional support for employees of member firms of the National Association of Credit Management.

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