LivingPower Newsletter, Jan./Feb. 2023
During the first week of November, North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees’ Association held five district conferences. More than 850 members attended and heard from a variety of presenters what the association is doing for them, what state services are available to assist them, and what sponsors can provide them with to make their retired years less stressful.
The conferences were held in Concord, Shelby, Winston Salem, Fayetteville, and Morehead City in order to reach members from throughout the state.
“We had three goals for each conference, and I’m happy to say we met each of them at every meeting,” said Tim O’Connell, NCRGEA’s Executive Director. “The first goal was to learn from our presenters, our NCRGEA team, and from each other.”
Thirteen different organizations were present during the conferences and had information tables set up where members could get help and information about the services available to them. Before the conference formally began and between breaks as well as during lunch, the representatives were busy assisting members.
North Carolina’s Department of Insurance and the State’s Treasure’s Office were present to help members on a one-on-one basis to solve issues they had. Service representatives from Humana, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, the State Employees’ Credit Union, the Local Government Federal Credit Union, and NCRGEA’s partner AMBA answered countless questions about their services. Many of the organizations also spoke to the group about issues they saw members facing, such as fraud schemes, and how they can assist in legal and financial planning matters.
“The meeting, information tables, and presentations were very informative,” wrote one attendee at the Fayetteville conference. “I learned new things that I can use.”
The second goal of the conferences was to make friends.
“One of our goals as an association is to bring retirees together,” O’Connell said. “This way they can share ideas about retired life, about ways we can make the association stronger and responsive to their needs, and what they need us to concentrate on on their behalf. From the table talk I heard and the feedback we got from members; we were successful.”
The last goal of the conferences was to eat good food. To ensure this was accomplished, each event was catered based on the head count of those who responded to the invitations.
In addition to meeting the three goals of the conferences, the feedback from the surveys was overwhelmingly positive.
Seventy percent of those responding to the survey said they attended the conferences for educational purposes and were satisfied with the results. Of those surveyed, just over 55% came to
find out about their benefits. Asked if they would attend another district conference, more than 86%
of those surveyed said they would.
One attendee in Winston Salem wrote, “I am fairly recently retired and wanted to learn more about the organization. The conference was very well organized and informative.”
Another attendee in Concord said in his/her survey, “Gained insight, and motivated me to be more active in seeking information and supporting this group.”
“From the results of the surveys, speaking to attendees, and feedback from our presenters, I feel confident we met most of the needs of our attendees,” said O’Connell. “We learned a lot, too, and will make a few changes in order to make conferences in the future even better. One of the changes we’re considering is to open the conferences up beyond district borders and allow members from throughout the state to attend any conference, regardless of where it’s located. Along those same lines, another possible change is to hold three conferences in the Spring and three in the Fall with one each in the Mountains, the Piedmont, and the Coastal Plain.
By making these changes, we hope to reach more members on a face-to-face basis so we can
get firsthand knowledge on what our members’ needs are and what they want from us.”