Experiencing the CU Water Cooler Symposium.

CU Water Cooler - Annual SymposiumAnother Credit Union Water Cooler Symposium has come and gone, and it has matured into a thoughtful and even brave event. For me, it was a highlight of 2012 so far, and I think fair to say one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended.

I have this experience a lot at CU conferences where the things that seem like the most important things we as financial cooperatives need to discuss are far from the things that actually get discussed. We stick to what’s safe, and don’t get into the challenging issues that credit unions face, or, more importantly, the challenges that people in our communities face. Problems that credit unions were formed to address.

The people who are drawn to come to the Symposium for a variety of reasons were ready to talk about some of those big important issues and stay with them. From the first presentation right through to the final wrap up, discussion after discussion about the soul of credit unions kept emerging. They took a variety of forms. Superficially, the discussions may have been about branding, or leadership, or getting employees on side, but down deep they were all really about our mission and purpose. That was the great throughline to the Symposium this year.

And for so many of the presentations the audience was so present, you could hear a pin drop.

I’m going to work on a post for the CU Water Cooler site over the next couple of weeks in which I’ll formulate my thoughts and go into more detail. I just felt the need to put something out there to wrap up while the experience was still so fresh.

Thanks to all who were there.

My upcoming CU Water Cooler talk.

CU Water Cooler - Annual SymposiumThis October at the CU Water Cooler Symposium in Nashville I’ll be giving a brand new talk called Everything I Learned About Leadership, I Learned From Filmmaking.

This week at the Credit Union Central of Canada conference, I delivered my last presentation on social media. It’s been 5 years since I started talking about social media, and it’s time to hang up that topic and start something new. The influence filmmaking has had on my career is a topic I’ve been wanting to speak about for a long time now.

Check out my post about my new presentation on the CU Water Cooler site. And hopefully I’ll see you there in October.

My guest speaker at CU Water Cooler Symposium.

CU Water Cooler SymposiumThree years ago I attended what was then known as the Partnership Symposium (here’s a video of my presentation). It was an outstanding conference on issues affecting credit unions, held at the innovative and welcoming FORUM Credit Union in Fishers, Indiana. For those of us at credit unions who were early adopters of social media, it was a wonderful opportunity for us to meet up in person, sometimes for the first time.

Last year, I was disappointed that I didn’t get to go, (two years ago it was cancelled due to the weak economic climate), but in partnership with the CU Water Cooler, it was renamed the CU Water Cooler Symposium, and each editor of the Water Cooler chose a speaker to present at the Symposium. I chose my colleague in Strategy at Vancity, Bill Corbett, who spoke about how Vancity embraces the co-operative model.

This year’s event is September 29th and 30th, again at FORUM in Fishers, Indiana. I am so pleased to announce my speaker for this year’s event: David Gouthro, President of The Consulting Edge. I have been working with David for a few months now, and know his work with credit unions in Canada as a facilitator and leadership development consultant. I chose David for his good humour, unique perspective, deep experience, commitment to the co-operative model and his facilitation skills.

Listen to the episode of the CU Chat Up radio show with David and me.

Here’s what I hope will come of the session: I go to conferences, meet some amazing people, learn some great stuff, but often am left wondering how I can bring new perspectives to my job once I’m back sitting at my desk. David will be facilitating a 90-minute wrap up at the end of the first day of the CU Water Cooler Symposium amongst all presenters and attendees, to discuss what we’ve learned and how to bring it back to our organizations and keep it active. Should be an amazing session.

I’ll also be speaking to Vancity’s five-year journey engaging members and the community via social media – the same topic I’m speaking to at this year’s World Credit Union Conference.

So, plan on coming to the CU Water Cooler Symposium this year. It’s September 29th and 30th in Fishers, Indiana. It promises to be a great event, and I hope to see you there.