I spent the majority of this past weekend finishing multiple assignments for my online MBA program, playing a little Words with Friends on the iPad and watching hours upon hours of both college and NFL football. But even those less than a block away, however, were not so lucky.
As I write this post, there are still 100,000 families without power here in New Hampshire after this weekend’s Nor’easter snow storm. Yes, that’s right, a snow storm; in October. A snow storm that brought in truckloads of wet, heavy, power line-snapping snow. Trick-or-treaters came calling in snow boots and knit hats. Come on, kids, how do you expect me to be the slightest bit scared when your rusty, bloody axe is being held by a hand clad in a cute little Old Navy mitten? I’m far from sold that any sort of gory punishment awaits me if I withhold from you my Butterfinger Minis. Sort of how I’m definitely not buying into the idea that just because Bank of America has a zillion branches and ATMs across the country, that anyone (even Freddy Krueger himself) should be subject to paying $5/month to spend their own money.
All of this absurdity calls for a trip. And fortunately for three fellow Crashers and myself, the destination is The Big Easy. We head to New Orleans this weekend to Crash this year’s annual CUNA Lending Council conference.
Our group of Crashers is scheduled to arrive on Saturday, November 5th for this exciting event. Conveniently, this happens to also be Bank Transfer Day, something the protestors of Occupy NOLA have been looking forward to for quite some time.
While the official conference events don’t start until Sunday, I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of the same passion and “realness” that I’ve seen in Boston and New York on Saturday, and I’m sure we will. I’ve seen and heard of credit unions setting up tables near protest areas to sign up new members, and I’m interested to see how that all goes down and how CUs in the major cities handle it. And in a “costume friendly” city like New Orleans, I’m sure there will be plenty of Guy Fawkes impersonators hanging around the Bayou on Saturday.
Aside from the non-conference related events of Saturday, this CLC event sure has a lot in store for us Crashers. From workshops to breakout sessions to roundtables, there looks to be plenty of opportunity to network and learn from some of the most experienced lending professionals our industry has to offer. While some people don’t appreciate the ideas of big conferences, I always seem to take so much from them. They facilitate learning and foster innovation, and let’s face it, how can you learn what’s working in any industry if you don’t hear what everyone else is doing?
Moreover, we’re getting the chance to pay it forward at this event, too. Most of my Sunday mornings in the fall involve lots of SportsCenter and strategizing over my fantasy football lineup. Some call this laziness, I call it decompressing. This coming Sunday will be much different, however. The four of us Crashers (myself, Maggie Camacho, Don Emmer, and Rachel Richard) and some fellow conference attendees will be up bright and early, helping to clean up a school outside of New Orleans. Volunteering in this area is something I never had the opportunity to do during the post-Katrina recovery efforts, so I’m looking forward to kicking off the conference by contributing to such a good cause.
There’s a message somewhere in all of this, a moral to this story. Whether is a reinforcement of the “people helping people” philosophy, paying it forward through cooperation, teamwork, and selflessness, or something deeper, I’m not sure yet. What I am sure of, though, is that we’ll all have a LOT more to discuss during and after next week’s CUNA Lending Council Conference and Bank Transfer Day in New Orleans. Hopefully by then, some of this darn snow will melt and everyone’s lights will come back on…
Bye for now,