1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar


Blog

CFO·Cooperative Economy·Crash·Crash Event·Ideas·Leadership·Meetups·Mentorship·Professional Development

Recap of Crash the CUNA CFO Council 2014

By great Odin’s beard, was #CrashtheCFO14 and incredible experience!! I’m going to try and do the best I can to recap this for you with a couple of takeaways that we experienced.

Check out the Storify:

And continue below….

Day 1 – Saturday, 17th May.

“I had an amazing experience at crash the CFO. I made connections that will last a lifetime. I gained new insights and ideas that I can now bring back to my credit union. But most of all, I gained a sense of confidence that will help me in years to come and help me follow my dream of becoming a credit union CFO.”

All but one of our Crashers arrived the day before our conference. We had dinner and had planned to take them to the hotel ‘party and dance establishment’. However, this establishment had requested 90 of your fine American Dollars, per male, to enter. At which point, we took the gang to town and found a place we could enjoy. We danced the night away and had a great time getting to know each other before we really kicked things off on the Sunday!

Day 2 – Sunday, 18th May.

After a morning gathering pool side, we kicked off at about 1pm. We had our own room just off the main conference area and we gave the Crashers a simple task of introducing themselves before we asked them to set their own standards of what success would look like for them that week. So, what would make Crash the CFO a success for our group? They wanted to: learn new ideas, network, be heard. We also asked the group to set their own standards; how would they represent themselves, their credit unions and The Cooperative Trust. Following all the great discussion, the CFO Council Executive Committee came to spend 30 minutes with us, where we asked each one for their horoscope sign, their current position and an embarrassing story. I won’t repeat the things we heard… We always had our group sit in a circle with our speakers. No presentations. We had conversations, on the same level.

Straight away, you could tell that our Crashers were accepted.

We then had first time attendees orientation where we played a version of ‘people bingo’, where we had to meet others with certain attributes, the first 10 to complete their sheet would win a Target (ironic following their problems?) gift card. Three of our Crashers won!

After orientation, we stayed around with the rest of the conference attendees for the first reception of the week. A short 90 minute vendor reception. We let our Crashers go off and do their own thing and meet with vendors.

Following the evening festivities, we walked ALL THE WAY down the strip in Vegas to find food, we didn’t sit down until 10.30pm to eat! I, at least, was hungry!

Day 3 – Monday, 19th May

Early Monday morning breakfast followed by the Keynote Speech! This was incredible. John Foley, former lead solo pilot of the Blue Angels took us through the ‘framework’ of what he and his fellow demonstration pilots used to become high performers. He called this the Diamond Performance framework. Now, John himself admitted that this wasn’t an inherently new framework, but one which had been adapted in order to help people take their performance to the next level. This talk was engaging and inspiring and I’d advise you to check John out at: http://johnfoleyinc.com. The Blue Angels motto is “Glad to be here”. Each member of the team would remind themselves of that each day. At the end of the talk, we could tell that our Crashers were #gladtobehere

Then the breakouts began. The Crashers had been tasked for the week to make sure they have one key point / one key theme they can takeaway with them from breakouts.

At lunch we were recognised in front of the entire conference delegation by the CFO Council Exec Committee.

Between the breakout sessions, we had our own sessions… Our first Crasher session was with Texans CU CEO; Kevin Durrance and his young CFO, Andrew Swoger. Kevin’s passion and energy about hiring the right person for the job, regardless of age – was inspiring. Each Crasher walked away from that believing they could ‘make it’ too. Kevin backed up his words by bringing his CFO, Andrew, with him.

Following more conference breakouts, we closed the day with 4 guests:

  • Suzanne Weinstein, CFO at Orlando FCU (AND I3er! WOO!)
  • Jay Scrugio, CFO at Freedom CU.
  • MJ Coon, CFO at Ent Federal CU.
  • Peg Lamb, CFO at Co-Op Services CU.

They all had inspiring stories and each had a different perspective which gave our Crashers something to think about! Amazing session and really, we probably didn’t have enough time with these great people.

The evening took us to a reception in The Shark Reef at the hotel. Cool reception at the aquarium. Following that, Crashers had time to do their own thing. Some went to the strip, some stayed to network.

Day 4 – Tuesday, 20th May

Well, breakouts continued! Our Crashers excited as the returned from each one that they had gained some great insights. We also had some great guest speakers on Tuesday – including:

  • Steve Rick from CUNA
  • Scott Knapp from CUNA Mutual Group
  • Richard Reed from National Cooperative Bank

All three made an incredible effort to welcome our Crashers, and all three were highly highly intelligent.

This day flew by with not a minute to spare. And before we knew it, it was night time again. We made an active decision that the Crashers needed a ‘real Vegas experience’, I’ll leave the rest of the story there….

Day 5 and final day – Wednesday, 21st May.

So, final day. What felt like a slow start to the morning quickly turned around with Mick Schenk from CUNA presenting on risk-based capital. The group took a tremendous amount away from the session. Our keynote who also became our last minute guest Crash speaker for the day was Jon Wolske, Culture Evangelist at Zappos Insights. I don’t want to ruin Jon’s great keynote, so instead - here’s him presenting at TEDx. Also – my fingers are a little tired from typing this post!

Mike Schenk was supposed to be our guest speaker but had to run as duty called, so Jon stepped up to the plate and gave our Crashers a great closing session with 15 minutes just talking about culture. He gave some great advice on managing up, on creating a culture and also on keep culture when you’re on the road.

Finally, we closed our day by asking our Crashers: So, was this a success? We got a resounding YES! And tied back to day 1 where we discussed how our week would be successful. We touched upon our new connections, our new ideas and whether we thought we had been heard by the industry. Chris gave some great closing words, before handing over to me who ruined it by finishing with a card trick… Well… When in Vegas, right?

 

Collaboration·Community Development·Cooperative Economy

Southern Grassroots Economies Project Wants YOUR Support!

Are you ready to show your support for southern grassroots co-operative organizing? If not, it’s time to consider.

Why?

  • The South has been home to intensely exploitative and dehumanizing economic structures since the founding of this country.
  • The declining US economy heightens the importance of this work, but it did not create it.
  • Southern Grassroots Economies Project came into being to bring the energy, idealism and justice orientation of the southern freedom struggle to the current needs for economic development along cooperative lines of democratic ownership and control.
  • We need your support. We know that as cooperators we should all uphold principle 6 of cooperation among cooperatives. This should extend to building and strengthening the cooperative movement.

How did it start?

  • We began with a meeting at Highlander Research and Education Center in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee, then after much working and planning we held a much larger gathering called “CoopEcon 2012” at the Rural Training Center of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives in Epes, Alabama.
  • Since the spring of 2011 there have been growing numbers of southern social justice activists and cooperativists who have gathered to talk about building a new economy in the South that is rooted in ideas of cooperation and justice rather than competition and greed

Who does Southern Grassroots Economies Project work for?

  • Our work is consciously centered on engaging directly with those most affected by the economic crisis and least likely to benefit from any efforts at recovery
    • Women, youth, African Americans, poor whites, immigrants and native Americans in rural and urban settings in the South form our core constituency.

What is CoopEcon 2013?

  • We are now working to organize CoopEcon 2013 to be held October 4-6 again in Epes, Alabama.
    • This year we are planning to have 125 folks from the 14 state areas of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia

Who is CoopEcon 2013 for?

  • We will have two tracks of participants: those who already are engaged in cooperative economic enterprises and want to strengthen and expand them on the one hand and those who are looking to learn how to start such enterprises on the other.
    • This is not a conference for developers, although we are sure some will come. This is mainly meant to get down with how to go home and do the work of building in our communities for jobs and community wealth.

How much should I and/or my organization give?

  • We need you to help spread the word, and we need your material support. If you are a small and struggling co-op or credit union, we need $25. If you can afford it we need $2500. Any contribution helps build our solidarity and makes this movement possible and worthwhile. You can make your payment online here or check by mail to: Southern Grassroots Economies Project, 2769 Church Street, East Point GA 30344.

Contact us through our website, Like us on Facebook, and Follow Us on Twitter to stay up to date.

Cooperative Economy

Cooperative Economy: A Call for Support

By Matt Epperson

This note is to tell you about some important work we are doing in the US South to build and strengthen the cooperative movement and it is to ask you to support an important piece of that work. Since the spring of 2011 there have been growing numbers of southern social justice activists and cooperativists who have gathered to talk about building a new economy in the South that is rooted in ideas of cooperation and justice rather than competition and greed. The declining US economy heightens the importance of this work, but it did not create it.

The South has been home to intensely exploitative and dehumanizing economic structures since the founding of this country. But the South has also been the home of transformative social and economic justice struggles that have inspired the nation and the world. The Southern Grassroots Economies Project came into being to bring the energy, idealism and justice orientation of the southern freedom struggle to the current needs for economic development along cooperative lines of democratic ownership and control.

We began with a meeting at Highlander Research and Education Center in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee, then after much working and planning we held a much larger gathering called “CoopEcon 2012” at the Rural Training Center of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives in Epes, Alabama. Our work is consciously centered around engaging directly with those most affected by the economic crisis and least likely to benefit from any efforts at recovery. Women, youth, African Americans, poor whites, immigrants and native Americans in rural and urban settings in the South form our core constituency.

We are now working to organize CoopEcon 2013 to be held October 4-6 again in Epes, Alabama. Last year we had about 100 people gathered from 11 Southern states. This year we are planning to have 125 folks from the 14 state area of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. We will have two tracks of participants: those who already are engaged in cooperative economic enterprises and want to strengthen and expand them on the one hand and those who are looking to learn how to start such enterprises on the other.

This is not a conference for developers, although we are sure some will come. This is mainly meant to get down with how to go home and do the work of building in our communities for jobs and community wealth.

We need your support. We know that as cooperators we should all uphold principle 6 of cooperation among cooperatives. This should extend to building and strengthening the cooperative movement. We need you to help spread the word, and we need your material support. If you are a small and struggling co-op, we need $25. If you can afford it we need $2500. Any contribution helps build our solidarity and makes this movement possible and worthwhile.

Thanks for your consideration.For more information and to contact us, check out our website: SGEProject.org and Like Us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/southerngrassroots.economiesproject#!/pages/Southern-Grassroots-Economies-Project/443837869019831).

Collaboration·Cooperative Economy·Crash the GAC

Crash the GAC 2013: What’s Ahead

This year’s Crasher projects have been in full swing the past few weeks.  Since we returned from DC, (four) groups have been working like crazy to prototype their ideas on creating more accessible lending options for cooperatives, through a cooperative fund. You’ll find their individual recaps through the links below on the steps they’ve taken so far.

The Projects

LoCoSo (local, co-operative, social)

Team members: Chris Friederich (team lead), James Marshall, Jennifer Tebbe & Meghan Storck

The Cooperative Bucket

Team members: Ashley Dietz (team lead), Amanda Brenneman, Olivia Rockers, Mitchell Michiels & Liz Weger

Community Cooperative Catalyst (CCC)

Team members: Sean Flynn (team lead), Justin Mouzoukos, Lindsay Estok, Blake Woods & Josh Smith

CU Grow Foundation

Team members: Danielle Frawley (team lead), Erin Ballard, Brittany Hilton, Chad Holz & Ashley Pierce

The Judges

We’ve been lucky enough to secure four well-respected judges to provide feedback and direction to our teams.  Over the next several months, each of the judges will be piping in with their thoughts on how the teams can improve their projects and refine their focus.

Bryan Sims
Entrepreneur
Tansley Stearns
Impact Director
Tim McAlpine
President & Creative Director
Todd Marksberry
Executive Leadership

Next Steps

As you can see, the teams have jumped in with two feet and already have plans for what they’ll revise for their second round of prototyping.  In early May, each group, along with our judges will be meeting up through a Google Hangout to review more in-depth results from their first round of work.  Here’s a glimpse for the rest of the steps they’ll be taking towards a successful cooperative fund:

Round 1: Prototype 1 – Due April 2nd
Round 2: Prototype Results – Due April 30th
Round 3: Prototype 2 – Due June 4th
Round 4: Prototype Results – Due July 9th

 

Collaboration·Cooperative Economy·Crash the GAC

Crash the GAC 2013: CU Grow Foundation

Team members: Danielle Frawley (team lead), Erin Ballard, Brittany Hilton, Chad Holz & Ashley Pierce

Our prototype consisted of images of different pages of our website that we would be running our CU Grow Foundation through. Brittany was in charge of putting the images of the website screenshots together and we all provided input for revisions. Erin was responsible to provide strategic insight for the website due to her background with content management software. Ashley was in charge of putting together our business plan through Google Docs so that we could all provide insights and revisions as we saw fit. Chad was in charge of putting together a database of different grants and programs already available to cooperatives. I was in charge of putting together a brief survey that our group could send out to cooperatives to gain more insight into changes we might need to make to our prototype. We were all responsible for getting survey feedback and feedback on our prototype.

We hit quite a few roadblocks in accomplishing our tasks. The largest roadblock was the difficulty we had in communicating with the cooperatives. It was difficult to find contacts at cooperatives and once we did find contacts the contact information we had normally only consisted of physical mailing addresses and phone numbers. Thus, it really slowed down our progress because we had assumed that we would simply be able to email our surveys to local cooperatives. Chad and Ashley were planning on presenting the prototype to a local cooperative group in Austin, but the group didn’t meet in March, so they had to reschedule for April.

Formally writing out the business plan has made us question a lot of the variables that has been unanswered when we first left DC. We’ve all been working together to come up with solutions to those variables. We’ve also learned through contacting Adam Schwartz that there are credit unions out there lending to cooperatives, so rather than recreate the wheel, we will be contacting those credit unions to find out how they handle the risk management of lending to cooperatives and use their insight to help us build our CU Grow Foundation.

Collaboration·Cooperative Economy·Crash the GAC

Crash the GAC 2013: Community Cooperative Catalyst

Team members: Sean Flynn (team lead), Justin Mouzoukos, Lindsay Estok, Blake Woods & Josh Smith

Based on initial interviews with a few cooperatives who responded to our initial survey, we found that all of the co-ops used alternative means to initial fund their operation.  We also found that some had applied for business loans, with only one being able to secure business loan funding (from a credit union, too).  A third conclusion was that all of our co-ops who responded would like to see a line of credit product that could help them with cash flow/budgetary restrictions.

With this information, we attempted to raise a pool of funds to create a very rudimentary line of credit, but were only able to raise approximately $100 from our own events.  We encountered a few obstacles with our crowd funding idea because we found it difficult to sell the idea without an actual co-op being represented in our pitch.  We are currently in the process of reaching out to individual cooperatives that responded to our survey to identify their specific needs, with the intent to use their story as part of our fundraising pitch that will fund the prototype.

From our initial discovery and research phase, we’ve learned that co-ops and small businesses are busy!  While we already knew this was going to be a challenge, but with limited (three) responses to our survey, it was difficult to make generalized assumptions about coops needs overall.  We also have found (as we expected), that coops are not liquid.  Cash is not always readily available, and having relatively inexpensive access to cash would help coop directors manage and even grow their organizations more effectively.

We know there is a market for a cooperative line-of-credit.  What we really want to know now is how big of a market it is and what kind of barriers or competition will our product face?  We also want to know how will this product perform once delivered and what will it be used for?  And perhaps most importantly – will it provide a creative, competitive, and affordable solution for cooperatives?  Raising even another $400 will allow us to offer a $500 line to a small cooperative and see how it behaves.  These are the questions we will answer and obstacles we will address in the coming weeks.

Collaboration·Cooperative Economy·Crash the GAC

Crash the GAC 2013: The Cooperative Bucket

Team members: Ashley Dietz (team lead), Amanda Brenneman, Olivia Rockers, Mitchell Michiels & Liz Weger

The goal of our prototype is to discover if there is a market for a cooperative fund and if so, is this initiative something that cooperatives would want to be a part of? To find the answer, we have been conducting a series of phone, e-mail, and Google Hangout interviews with a diverse group of cooperative leaders in two cities with reputations as trailblazers in the cooperative movement – Portland, Oregon and Madison, Wisconsin. After in-depth interviews with these leaders, we will have a better understanding of what Portland and Madison area cooperatives want and need from their financial institutions.

Choosing our two cities was easy, as was finding several thriving cooperatives to interview. The hardest task thus far has been pitching the idea of a cooperative fund to cooperative leaders. Many of them are skeptical that we are working to find them new ways to gain access to capital without there being some sort of catch, so we have encountered some resistance from our interviewees. With a little reassurance from our teammates tasked with building a relationship with these cooperatives, several of these leaders have come around and have either agreed to be interviewed or have already submitted their responses to our questions.

The insights we’ve gained from these interviews will allow us to tailor the cooperative fund concept to fit the needs of our partner cooperatives. Our final step will be to walk our chosen cooperative leaders through the model once it has been further developed.

To start connecting please log in first.