I’m home now relaxing on my couch, and mentally reviewing the 2013 CUNA Lending Conference. I’m sure everyone’s expecting this article to be a little gushy, incredibly biased, and a little “Hooray, Crashers”, and that is exactly what you are going to get. What a blast it was!
I met up with the Crash team (Mike London, Ellen Kohout, Allison Kretovic, Stacey Johnson and Brittney Wensley) early Sunday morning for breakfast, introductions and to receive our volunteer T-shirts and ball caps. We boarded the bus with other conference attendees and vendors, and made our way to the ICM Food & Clothing Bank. “ICM” formerly “Interfaith Cooperative Ministries” currently serves 150 families six days a week. We had individuals from cooperatively-owned credit unions from across the nation converging in a single spot to help out another cooperative. This stuck with me as I am a big fan of the cooperative movement – not just the credit union movement. Cooperative Principle #6 was in full effect, y’all!
After the volunteer event we made it back to the resort and Mike London instructed us “rookie” Crashers to prepare for the orientation that evening. I took “prepare” to mean “nap it up,” and that’s exactly what I did.
Orientation arrived and everyone was well-rested and still buzzing from the feel-good vibes the volunteer event created. We were introduced to a roomful of CEO’s, vice presidents and other upper management credit unionists, and then played a little Human Bingo – a fun break-the-ice game. The festivities spilled into the adjacent ballroom where dinner and drinks were served, and the mingling continued.
Day Two & Three
Breakfast was served at 7am each morning promptly followed by keynote addresses from Josh Linkner who shared five ideas to drive creativity (Day Two), Mike Schenk who provided an economic forecast (Day Three) and J.B. Orrechia of SavvyMoney who provided insight into household financial management and how it relates to credit unions. The breakout sessions commenced, and everyone would scatter to sessions ranging from MBL’s to mortgage lending to becoming a Jedi master in Excel (props to Mike!). Day two wrapped with a western-themed casino night which brought out a number of interesting cowboy and cowgirl costumes and photo opps (see above)! Day three wrapped with an evening on our own which meant a very nice dinner with the management team behind SavvyMoney.
From left: Ellen Kohout, Stacey Johnson, Brittney Wensley, Dan Roam, Zac Jones and Michael London.
Breakfast kicked the day off and then we were treated to a rather engaging General Session held by West Region Director Edwin Chow of the CFPB. He fielded a number of questions from the audience, and took questions after his presentation. This included my inquiry about the CFPB’s stand on Bitcoin to which he responded his agency is in “wait and see” mode.
After a brief break, Dan Roam, best-selling author and speaker, discussed solving problems visually, and using pictures to sell your solutions. Dan’s session, the final session of the conference, was captivating and enlightening.
The conference was adjourned, handshakes, hugs and smiles were exchanged and even a few photobombs were witnessed. All in all, this opportunity granted all attendees a few days of education, new experiences and most of all, ample occasions for networking.