With a nine-member board, and directors based in different locations across North America, CUES sought out board portal technology to ensure its board operated with optimal efficiency, engagement and security.
As John Pembroke, CUES President/CEO explained, “CUES chose Aprio to take advantage of industry-leading technology to streamline communication, simplify meeting preparation, and strengthen the engagement with our directors.”
Recently our team interviewed Ruth Shirley, CUES Executive Administrator and Board Liaison to ask her about the impact of using Aprio board portal software to manage the organization’s directors. Here are some insights from that interview.
Q: Tell us about your board – what are the board’s main needs?
Ruth Shirley: CUES board meets four times a year – twice along side our major conferences and two independent meetings. We strive to meet in person at least a portion of the time, and other times members join by conference call. Like many boards, our goals in adopting better board technology were to provide directors with convenient and secure access to board information, achieve efficient board book and meeting preparation, and to offer access to the best possible tools to support engagement and strong governance.
Q: Before using Aprio, how did you manage board meetings and communication?
Ruth Shirley: Historically we used SharePoint to store and access board information. It worked, but there was a considerable amount of rework if we had last minute updates. With updates there was always confusion with directors getting different versions of information. Also, we were doing the basics of providing data security, and access wasn’t really convenient for board members, which meant extra administration work.
Q: What was one of the first things you noticed was different using Aprio with the CUES board?
Ruth Shirley: It’s so much easier to make changes, slide in updates, and complete the board book process. Having our information in Aprio makes changes easy, and an email quickly updates board members. Simpler meeting preparation and directors having easy access to accurate, current information has changed my life dramatically.
Q: Can you give a day-in-the life example of what’s different with Aprio?
Ruth Shirley: I can share two stories. At a recent board meeting, a VP realized they needed to make a change in the slides that were one component of the meeting’s board book. He made the update, uploaded the new version and we had assurance everyone was instantly looking at the current, up to date version.
Leading up to the board meeting, I also noticed less confusion as directors prepared for the meeting. I used to get board members contacting me frustrated because logging in was difficult. They may have lost their password and there was no easy way to reset it. Or, they could login but how to find things wasn’t always clear. With Aprio, it’s simpler. Information is organized exactly like a board runs and if you forget your password there’s a secure way to instantly request a reset directly from Aprio.
Q: When the CUES board made the decision to adopt Aprio – what were some of the outcomes you were seeking and what has been the impact?
Ruth Shirley: Here’s a run down of our goals and what we’ve achieved:
Q: What was the experience like moving over to Aprio?
Ruth Shirley: We’ve been impressed with how quickly the Aprio team got us up and running, and how simple it is to use the portal, which mirrors how we already manage our board. Live training helped us quickly gain some pro skills in meeting set up and board package prep. One director familiar with another portal didn’t even take Aprio training – they just dove right in, it’s that easy.
CUES’ mission is to educate and develop credit union CEOs, executives, directors and future leaders. For information, please visit www.cues.org.