A Few Words from Jim – April 2020

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All In…

Gene Pelham retired as CEO of Rogue Credit Union. It grew 10X during his tenure because of a simple strategy he had adopted when he became CEO.

“Our strategy was to create the most loyal members in the nation.”

He used poker chips to explain his idea. The board, the exec team and all the staff needed to be “All In” in order for it to work.

I interviewed him and in his calm voice he gave me a master class in building loyalty, board and team buy-in and reminded me about something that I knew but didn’t know I knew, until I interviewed him. Southern Oregon has been built by people born and raised here. He also threw down a pile of leadership gems and basic business fundamentals that everyone of us should read. Over and over again. The class is free and starts on page 6.

On page 26, I try out a new technology called Otter.AI. It listens to videos on YouTube or your zoom meeting and transcribes it on the fly. I used it to transcribe SOU President Rick Bailey’s March video address to the community. It’s a great message he gives and the Otter.AI did a pretty good job transcribing it.

I toured the new Ashland Co Working space and I loved it. I started Oregon’s first co-working space back in 1998. I called it “Thinkubater.com” – It was just too far ahead of it’s time. Abigail Schilling is the creator of the Medford Cowork Collective and the Ashland space is her third. Her story is amazing. She launched in January 2020 and was shut down in March because of the pandemic yet somehow she survived and grew. She also hosts free masterclasses on her site virtually the 3rd Wednesday of each month. Check it out on Page 5.

Finally let me say thank you. Last year we grew to 22,000 readers of the journal for 2021 and in the 3 months of 2022 we have grown to 44,000 readers already. I’m nervously excited about this. But I don’t want to get too excited. I don’t think these are all business owners or dreamers and policy makers. I think that February and March had articles that attracted a much wider audience. Now I think it will settle down and get back to normal. But now I know what all those “influencers” feel like when they get so many likes. Maybe I should post a celebratory TikTok or something. No, I’ll just keep finding stories about businesses in Southern Oregon to inspire us. Thanks for reading.

Looking forward,



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