Agents of Change

A couple of weeks ago, while racing fans around the globe celebrated the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, I was heading to Florida for a week’s vacation with my two children, son-in-law and four grandchildren. It had been several years since any of us had been to Disney World and, except for me, none had been to Universal Studios. Predictably, a great time was had by all. Though exhausted when we returned home, we were all grateful to have enjoyed this precious time together. My 9-year-old granddaughter was particularly fired up about the trip, as she could remember nothing about the last time she had been to Florida at the age of 3.

Over the years, I have traveled extensively with my children, but not so much with the grandchildren. In retrospect, this trip marked a turning point in my relationship with my son and daughter. In past trips, it was assumed that I would be the adult leader, taking responsibility for everyone and making sure that everyone had a good time. This time, though, it was obvious that my daughter, son and son-in-law were now in charge. I must admit that I had never thought about this changing of the guard until I experienced it on this trip. I am proud of this next generation in my family.

As I prepare to retire next year, the same phenomenon is occurring at the IBA offices, as my successor Amber Van Til assumes more authority and leadership daily. It is the natural order of things, and I am fully supportive of this timely shift in leadership. She, too, represents the next generation.

On the national front, there was potential last week for a similar shift in leadership. Forty-year-old Taylor Griffin challenged incumbent Walter Jones Jr., age 73, in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District Republican primary race for the U.S. House of Representatives. Many of my state association colleagues and I supported Mr. Griffin in his effort to defeat Jones, through our affiliation with Friends of Traditional Banking. FOTB is a non-partisan grassroots effort which selects two pivotal races each election and asks its 15,000 followers nationwide to donate money to candidates who support banking. FOTB sought to unseat Mr. Jones in his bid for an 11th term, due to his history of backing the credit union industry and voting against banking positions. In fact Jones is the last remaining Republican in the House of Representatives who voted for the Dodd-Frank Act! By contrast, Griffin showed promise as a supporter of banking. In the end, however, voter turnout was low, and our candidate did not win. Thus there will be no changing of the guard in this instance, at least not at this time.

While the Friends of Traditional Banking has been around only since the 2012 election, this is the first time it became involved in a primary election. That, too, is a changing of the guard, so to speak. Overall, FOTB has been successful in its brief existence, and it will soon be selecting a couple of races worthy of support for the fall general elections. I urge you to look up Friends of Traditional Banking, and sign up to become involved.

Whether it is family dynamics, workplace leadership or elections for political office, change occurs. Often that change comes through the next generation, and most of the time it is for the better!

 – S. Joe DeHaven

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