What Credit Unions Can Learn from that Guy on Oprah

This entry was posted by Tuesday, 8 June, 2010
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Source: oprah.com

I am one of the millions of people who watched Bernard Lachance fulfill his dream on the Oprah Winfrey Show last year.  If you haven’t heard Bernard’s story check out his message to Oprah and then watch his invitation to her show.  Watching his story is so much better then me rehashing the background here.  Even after a year, the story still makes me choke up.  So how lucky do I now feel to be working on a session for the upcoming 1 Credit Union Conference with Bernard!  He is going to share how credit unions can tap into the things that have helped him to continue to make his dreams come true.

Whether you are trying to reach a personal goal that seems out of reach or if you are looking to take your credit union to new heights – there are lessons to be learned from Bernard’s amazing journey.  His successes haven’t come without hard work, but his unique approach has helped him go beyond his wildest dreams.

While we’ll have to wait until Bernard’s Innovation on a Shoestring breakout session July 13th to learn how he suggests we utilize his strategies, there are some things about his story that make all of his success no surprise to me.

Nurtured Strengths:  Bernard was born with a great voice, but on top of that he was surrounded by a musical family, his father a music teacher and his sister a piano player.  His environment helped to fuel his ambition to succeed in the entertainment business.  Is your credit union a place where strengths are identified and continually nurtured?

Legwork:  Bernard didn’t just jump into show business, he was formally educated and then spent a few years taking voice lessons and observing the industry.  He even would attend various TV show tapings to help him to begin understanding the ins and outs of the business before he fully made his jump in to entertainment.  Are new hires expected to have any knowledge of the credit union philosophy when they start at your credit union? 

Buzzworthiness:  This guy knows how to create buzz.  The marketing strategies he uses are different from anything I’ve ever seen.  From mailing a copy of his demo tape to every citizen in a community he is trying to make his name in to his clever t-shirt design to sell out his theater tickets, he knows how to get people talking.  What are you doing to get people to want to tell their friends how great your credit union is?  

Passion:  I think this is the key to Bernard’s story.  His videos capture how truly passionate he is about the dreams he has for his future and that translates into creating an emotional reaction from those of us who encounter his story.  Without a passion for what he’s reaching for he’d likely fall short on all of the creativity, hard work and determination needed to succeed.  What about your job motivates you to keep reaching for those nearly impossibly goals?

Bernard has shown that big things are possible.  What are you dreaming big about and what are you doing to make it happen?

8 Responses to “What Credit Unions Can Learn from that Guy on Oprah”

  1. Great post and takeaways Meghann – I also like that you watch Oprah and thought, “Hey, this relates to credit unions!”

    Sort of related, your title makes me think of this great post that Matt Davis did last year:


  2. Thanks Christopher! That was a great post from Matt Davis. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Meghann,

    Ideas often times begin with asking why not? or what if? But true innovation doesn’t happen until we take that first small step.

    You’ll hear Bernard say, “you have to start somewhere”…

    Is today the day to take that first step toward making something happen?

    Bernard — what are your thoughts?


  4. Hi Denise –

    So true – I think the hardest thing is often making the decision to just take that first small step. If we can commit to that first step the momentum will make the next steps much easier!

    Thanks for your feedback – and for suggesting Bernard as a speaker for The 1. We’re so excited for his session!

  5. Katie Walton

    Meghann – Thanks for sharing such a thought-provoking post. Any possibility of you providing a quick summary/follow up of what Bernard says at The 1? Thanks

  6. You’re welcome Katie! I’m really excited to see Bernard’s session so I’d be happy to do a follow up post with some insights provided by Bernard. Thanks for the suggestion!

  7. I was planning on doing a follow up post on Bernard Lachance’s session at The 1 CU Conference but my friend Carla Day summed it up really nicely over on her CU Chat Up blog , so if you’d like to learn about some of the key takeaways from the session check out her post You Gotta Start Somewhere. You can also hear a discussion about the session, as well as other conference highlights, in the recording from Carla’s recent radio show CU Chat Up – The 1 CU Conference Takeaways.

    For me personally, Bernard’s session was one of the best breakouts I’ve ever attended. It was a great story told by an outstanding presenter, who had me laughing and crying through out our 75 minutes together. His enthusiasm and passion to reach his dreams is just so unbelievably inspiring. Successes haven’t come over night for this guy, but that didn’t stop him from keeping his eye on the things he wanted most in his life. Bernard continues to take the necessary steps to keep moving forward toward his goals, even when his dreams seem impossible to many. He doesn’t always succeed as quickly as he would like, but that doesn’t stop him from progressing forward. It also doesn’t stop him from enjoying the journey towards reaching his goals. From Bernard I learned that even if your wildest dreams seem completely out of reach if you take just one small step forward you’re already closer to making it happen and you might just have a little fun along the way. You gotta start somewhere, right?


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