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.
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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?