Posts Tagged The 1 conference

Live From The 1: Backstage with Kevin Carroll!

Posted by on Wednesday, 14 July, 2010

Books, Balls and Human Beings

In less than  an hour, the 1 Conference is going to blessed by Kevin Carroll’s presence. Kevin will be wrapping up what has been an absolutely wonderful week in Las Vegas. I can think of no better way to close.

I have known Kevin since 2003, when he joined us in Reno for that year’s annual meeting. Not only is Kevin an amazing speaker, he is an amazing man. When Kevin speaks to you, you feel like you are the most important person in the world. I love talking to Kevin and I always consider myself so lucky to know him.

About an hour ago, I joined Kevin backstage as he prepared for his session. As he carefully wrapped his “props,” we talked about where he has been, what he has been up to and what is inspiring him on a daily basis.

One of the first things he told me about is Katalyst: Confections for the Curious Soul. Built specifically for the web, this “one man show” invites viewers to see what happens behind the scenes.  I can’t wait to check it out.  Of course  I also had to ask what he is listening to and what he is reading.

On Kevin’s iPod:


Kevin’s Favorite Reads:

Kevin’s Favorite Blogs:

Kevin is one of those people who finds inspiration everywhere and passes his energy on to everyone he meets. He is a Katalyst, a Change Agent and a Teacher, among other things. He is also a huge supporter of credit unions! Kevin has been a proud member since 1980, and currently belongs to First Tech Credit Union in Beaverton, Oregon. I would tell you more about Kevin… but I don’t want to miss a minute of his session!!!

Live From The 1: Cooperatives – A Better Kind of Corporation

Posted by on Tuesday, 13 July, 2010

I am pleased to report that there are many young people at this conference! This is a very good thing. It means that many credit unions are recognizing the importance of providing leadership and training opportunities to their youthful employees. Soon, these members of Generation X, Y and Z will be at the helm of the credit union movement.

This year “Crashers” from all over the world descended upon the 1 Conference. Comprised of fifteen credit union professionals under the age of 30, the Crashers (led by Brent Dixon of the Filene Research Institute and sponsored by PSCU) have built their own conference around the “proper conference.” Besides attending the general and breakout sessions, the Crashers have scheduled conversations with industry thought leaders.They also have the benefit of building relationships with other under-30 credit union professionals like themselves, from around the world. The enthusiasm and excitement that these men and women bring to the movement is awesome.

Yesterday afternoon I sat in on one of the Crash sessions. Led by Paul Hazen, CEO of the NCBA, the session focused on selling the cooperative nature of credit unions. Hazen shared some enlightening information with his captive audience. Here are some of the key points:

  • There are 29,000 cooperatives in the United States;
  • There are 120,000,000 members of cooperatives worldwide (representing 70% of the adult population); and
  • Cooperatives account for 1% of the total GEP.

Cooperatives range in size from “small store-fronts to large Fortune 500 companies.” Some famous cooperatives include: Ace Hardware, Associated Press, Group Health Cooperative, Land O’ Lakes and REI.

Cooperatives form when a group of people unite for a variety of social and economic reasons. They form when individuals recognize that they can get much more done by partnering with others, than they can going it alone. The beauty of cooperatives is their openness, their honesty and their transparency. These themes really resonate with today’s young people, who relish the power that collaboration and community bring.

Are you educating your members on the cooperative difference?

Live From The 1: Using the Power of Social Networking to Build Your Credit Union

Posted by on Tuesday, 13 July, 2010

Everyone knows about social media, and talks about being hands-on and interactive. But what does this mean and how do you do it? Some people (& credit unions…) sensing a huge business potential throw money at new online opportunities. But speaker Tara Hunt says, “Money isn’t the capital of choice in online communities, it’s social capital, known as ‘whuffie,’ that drives these new engines.”

Tara, the author of The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business, says that in the social media space, market capital flows from having high social capital. Without high levels of “whuffie” (I can say that word all day BTW), you lose your connections to online communities, and any recommendations you make will be seen as spam.

The first part of her presentation echoed Brent Dixon’s yesterday. Viral social media content is mostly emotional, positive…awe-inspiring. People are sharing personal information and feelings like never before via social media (even their location – gasp!). The social web is growing and changing the way we interact with each other.

One particularly interesting finding she mentioned is that social networking affects the brain like falling in love – if a company or brand raises our oxytocin levels, we are more likely to connect with them.

Some great examples and videos Tara showed the group:

Tara’s final words – “This stuff is important. All you need is love. May the force be with you.”

Live From The 1: Your Business Brickyard – Getting Back to the Basics

Posted by on Monday, 12 July, 2010

This morning I had the pleasure of introducing Howard Mann, the President of  Brickyard Partners Inc.  Howard’s experience in leading his company out from under extremely difficult circumstances (following an economic downturn), is particularly applicable for credit unions today. How did he do it? By returning to basic principles.

During the session he recalled the rise, and subsequent fall, of his alma mater’s football team. Led by a new coach, the team had started out the year well by focusing on the basics: blocking, tackling, running hard and catching the ball. As their wins added up… their egos grew. Suddenly, they were dropping balls and fumbling passes; their winning streak ended. When asked how they would recover from the loss, the coach told reporters that he was sending his receivers “back to the brickyard.”

The “brickyard” he was referring to was a practice drill where receivers stood 20 feet apart and tossed an old, red brick, back and forth. The idea being that, “If you don’t pay close attention to the very basic skill of catching a brick, it will hurt–a lot.”

The same metaphor can be applied to credit unions. We need to go back to the basics and focus on executing them perfectly. One of the first steps in doing so, is to reconnect with our purpose. “Your purpose should be a true reflection of why you do what you do and what makes your business more fun to run. It should live at the intersection of what you truly do better than anyone else AND what your clients truly care about.”

As leaders in the movement, I turn this question over to you: What IS your credit union’s purpose? I look forward to hearing from you.

Live From The 1: Youthful Products for a Younger Membership

Posted by on Monday, 12 July, 2010

Viva Las Vegas! I’m excited to be blogging live from the 1 Credit Union Conference in Las Vegas with Courtney and Meghann over the next couple days. We’ll be posting some highlights and takeaways from key sessions right here on CUNAverse (Note, they’ll be a little looser than our usual posts). Also, for more live conference coverage, you can check out News Now’s updates, CU Grow, and of course a twitter search of the conference hashtag #the1cuconf for real-time information from conference-goers.

This morning I had the pleasure of introducing Brent Dixon, Young Adult Advisor at Filene Research Institute (USA), and Ross Lambrick, Regional Manager at Credit Union Australia (Australia), for a very relevant and important session – “Youthful Products for a Younger Membership.”

Ross kicked off the packed session with information on the demographic and the current Australian environment. For example, Gen Z, Y and X together make up 61% of the Australian population but only 20% are credit union members.

What I found most interesting were his examples of what both banks and credit unions are doing right in Australia. Highlights:

  • Bendigo Bank partnered with a college to mentor students which exposes them to issues and practices in the finance industry as career development.
  • Commonwealth Bank has a vision to have every child be financially literate – they offer and extensive school banking and financial literacy program.
  • Community First Credit Union has an online greeter, Lisa,  you can interact with on their website.

What do Gen X & Y want from their financial institution?

  • Convenience
  • Control
  • Problem resolution
  • Friendly, courteous and knowledgeable staff
  • Interested in the values of the brand they buy

Ross ended with his creed – “Change the life of a member for the better.”

Brent opened it up with the landscape – “credit unions need Gen Y.” Highlights: 

  • 47 is the average age of membership
  • From 1985-2005, Gen Y members declined

So what do you do? Cosmetics aren’t the answer and it’s not just about being “edgy.” You need an oustanding product to begin with – master the basics first.

Some successful product ideas he mentioned:

  • Give your product a customizable face
  • Debit card rewards
  • Prize-based savings
  • First credit cards (relationships last on average 15 years) are key. Hint: market to parents.

Think Twitter and social media is just about what people had for lunch? Wrong. Twitter can also be used for real change and political action in places like Iran.

It’s also changing our idea of “now” and we’re always “on.” He mentioned a statistic that 48% of people check online activity when waking up in the middle of the night. What can your credit union do? You need to listen and interact with members in real-time because it is becoming the expectation.

For your content to go viral (or to even be watched), you need to be original, creative, emotional, and awe-inspiring. Luckily, credit union stories are all of those things.

An Annual Meeting by Any Other Name

Posted by on Wednesday, 9 June, 2010

With the 1 Credit Union Conference right around the corner, we take some time to examine the history of CUNA’s annual credit union meeting, a meeting that goes by many different names.

From 1934 to 1984 the annual meeting was simply the annual meeting.  Granted, all had catchy themes and slogans, many of which are keystone quotations in the credit union movement.  The meeting was a business affair for a select few of credit unionists.  While the meeting grew and changed to meet modern expectations; including an expanded attendee base, educational sessions, keynote speakers, and tours, the meeting was fairly basic.

Attendees of the 5th Annual Meeting, Hotel New Yorker, May 11-13, 1939.

In 1985, the annual meeting became the CUNA National Convention & Exposition in order to highlight the growth of the meeting and add a “convention” component complete with vendors.  By now, the conference was a large and raucous affair complete with entertainment, tours, a spouse program, and social event held in of some of the best cities in America.  Additionally, the conference moved from the spring to the fall.  The highlight of the first convention was a $1 million kick-off campaign for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty.

The CUNA National Credit Union Symposium & Annual General Meeting or simply Symposium held sway from 1995 until 2002.  The change reflected a philosophical shift toward focusing on education and increasing the educational value of the event (Credit Union Magazine, August 1995, p. 26).

In 2003 the Future Forum was introduced as the credit union movement as “an energizing experience,” with attendees encouraged to think beyond the present and look toward the future.  Once again, the conference was re-tooled to provide attendees with as Dan Mica noted, “the innovative programming, idea sharing, and expertise credit unions tell us they want and need” (Credit Union Magazine, May 2003, p. 66).  It was more than just a conference it was a venue for discussion and a platform for exploring new directions.

Since 2007, the annual meeting has gone by America’s Credit Union Conference & Expo (ACUCE, now ACUC).  While the educational, idea sharing, and program features were retained, the ACUC seeks to highlight the “social responsibility” of credit unions.  Specifically, as Dan Mica notes, “how credit unions can operate in ways that are responsible to members and staff, respectful of the environment, and supportive of the community” (Credit Union Magazine, June 2007, p. 20).

This year the combination of the CUNA Annual Meeting with the annual meeting of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) will make this event one of the biggest in years.  Credit unionist from around the globe will meet together and share the global vision of credit unions.  The 1 Credit Union Conference will be held July 11-14, 2010 at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada. Hope to see you there!

What Credit Unions Can Learn from that Guy on Oprah

Posted by on Tuesday, 8 June, 2010


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?