CU Water Cooler


Our Keynote Speaker

Douglas Rushkoff

The digital economy could provide prosperity for all. But it hasn’t delivered—it’s only disrupted. Enter DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: world-renowned cultural philosopher who, in Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, argues that today marks a rare opportunity to reboot business, communications and culture from the bottom up. It’s time we use tech for human beings, he argues—and reconnect people with their own prosperity.

Media theorist, author, documentarian and world-renowned public intellectual, Douglas Rushkoff has spent his prolific career thinking about how new media and technology are impacting culture, business and the economy. Named one of the world’s 10 most influential thinkers by MIT, Rushkoff has written 15 bestselling books and coined such concepts as “viral media,” “social currency” and “digital natives.” His talks are a culmination of his pioneering work, and an infallible source of what’s to come.

Among his bestselling books, translated to over 30 languages, are Present Shock, an exploration of our instantaneous, always-on culture, Program or Be Programmed, a clarion call for digital literacy, and his newest, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity, a critique of the digital economy and a set of actionable principles for thriving within it. The Financial Times calls it “a brilliant, bomb-hurling critique of the flaws in our digital economy, identifying what has gone wrong and what can be done about it.”

All attendees will receive Rushkoff's latest book, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity

Distributed: A New OS for the Digital Economy

Synopsis: Digital tech was supposed to usher in an age of prosperity, but so far it has put industrial capitalism on steroids. Social networks surrender their missions to data mining, and banks abandon investing for algorithms—all to stoke growth. Startups sell for billions but destroy more jobs and markets than they create. 

Rushkoff will share a new economic program using the unique distributive power of the Internet to break free of the winner-take-all game defining business today. He will offer a series of practical steps to remake the economy from the inside out.

Headline Speakers

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

William Azaroff

Vancity, Executive Lead + Modo Co-op, Board Chair

Battling Goliath: Taking on the Giants

Synopsis: In Vancouver there is a car sharing co-operative serving the needs of 17,000 members with over 600 cars while successfully fending off global competitors. Hear the story of local co-op success, Modo and their path through a fluid, constantly disrupted environment while staying true to its mission and core values. 


LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

Mollie Bell

CUNA, Chief Transformation Officer

Therapy, Tough Love and Transformation

Synopsis: That the credit union industry, along with our three-tiered system, is being disrupted and needs to transform is not a new sentiment. The potentially precarious future of our credit union system is being shaped by many factors—including our ability to activate and advocate, to engage and evolve. During this session, we will discuss the tough love needed to evolve and the transformation required to move forward.

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

Gene Blishen

Mt. Lehman Credit Union, General Manager

We Are All We Need

Synopsis: After 25 years as the General Manager of Mt. Lehman Credit Union, Gene Blishen is set to retire in August 2017. Gene will share his take on the tremendous amount of change and disruption that he's witnessed over his career and where he sees the credit union movement going forward. The industry's continued success will require individuals to define from their own contexts what co-operation, collaboration and innovative thinking will mean to themselves and others.

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

Linda Bodie

Element Federal Credit Union, Chief Innovator

Leading by Example, An Underdog Story

Synopsis: The path to leadership doesn’t always follow the same route. Whether you believe it or not, you can blaze your own trail and create something unique and successful. Leaders of financial institutions should be diverse in multiple areas. This is a story of leading by example and using your entire personality and skill set to stand out and make a difference.

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

J. Michael Collins

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Associate Professor

The Financial Lives of Economically Vulnerable Families

Synopsis: As many as half of families face a high degree of financial fragility, which is made worse by a lack of liquidity. Research with economically vulnerable families shows how people manage their finances, the role of financial capability and the challenges for financial services providers. This talk is based in part on Professor Collins 2015 Book "A Fragile Balance: Emergency Savings and Liquid Resources for Low-Income Consumers". 

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

Kirk Drake

Ongoing Operations, CEO

CU2.0—Helping Credit Unions Compete in the Digital Age

The CU2.0 DREAM presentation teaches the key elements required for credit unions to become digital first organizations that create great member experiences and engender fierce loyalty.

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

George Hofheimer

Filene Research Institute, Chief Knowledge Officer

The War for Talent

Synopsis: What will it take to for credit unions to win the war for talent today and nt the future? his question is so important because we are in the midst of a huge demographic shift in the credit union industry as thousands repare for retirement. There are simply fewer post-baby-boom executives to replace the baby-boom exodus. n this session we will explore research, experiments an ase studies to enable your organization's future talent success.

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

Andy Janning

NO NET Solutions, CEO

The Night the Dog Exploded

Synopsis: A small dog, a fireworks show, and pork-based chew toys don’t mix. Andy Janning learned this lesson the hard way one fateful July 4th evening, along with hard truths that changed his marriage, his business, and his life. How can his boneheaded choices transform your relationships and your credit union? You’re about to find out.

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

Lois Kitsch

National Credit Union Foundation, National Program Director

Enabling an Army of Advocates

Synopsis: Passion is an old-fashioned word oftentimes overused and meaningless in the general day-to-day activities in credit unions. Yet, the value of creating genuine passion by credit union teams in the workplace is crucial to the on-going success of our movement. A passionate staff who care about the financial success of their members is good for business. As we think about getting credit union staff jazzed about credit unions we must ask ourselves, do our staff clearly understand why their work is so important? Or are they trained to focus only on the day-to-day chores associated with the job. If the “purpose” is missing in your staff development programs, your team will never discover their passion for credit unions which is really bad for business. Only when our purpose is clearly defined and shared with our people, will passion and progress transpire.

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

Mike Lawson

CUbroadcast, Creator & Host

Embrace the Power of Video

Synopsis: A mind-boggling 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video. More than 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube. And 70% of marketers say that video converts better than any other medium. So, credit unions, you can’t be afraid of the camera anymore. Not only do Boomers and X-ers love video, the younger generations, who we’re desperately trying to attract, thrive here. It's where they create and it's where they consume. It’s time to embrace the power of video—and we’ll show you how.

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

Nondini Naqui

Fintech Founder / Society of Grownups, Former President & CEO

Talking About Money

Synopsis: Talking about money is one of the last social taboos, but getting millennials to have this conversation is critical to their financial health. Encouraging and engaging with your customers to open up about their finances in a judgment-free space can make them better financial consumers. Nondini will convey help you develop a plan to create a safe space to discuss money, improve your members’ financial literacy and help your members get over the money taboo to improve their financial health.

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

Jill Nowacki

Credit Union League of Connecticut, CEO

Pretty Good for a Girl

Synopsis: At the upper echelon of credit union leadership, the “normal” executive remains a middle-aged white guy. Sure, there are exceptions: Outstanding women or minorities have challenged the status quo to prove they can also occupy the corner office, but these individuals remain the outliers. This “norm” needs to stop existing for credit unions to thrive. Leadership must be made up of people who represent our diverse memberships and who bring forth unique ideas to build a successful future. Individuals—from diverse backgrounds with unique frames of reference—must start showing up if we want long-term relevance for credit unions. 

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

John Waupsh

Kasasa, Chief Innovation Officer

Bankruption, How Credit Unions Can Survive Fintech

Synopsis: Credit unions can flourish in the face of Fintech and global competition with a fresh approach to strategy. This session will be a survival guide for credit unions searching for relevance amidst immense global competition and Fintech startups. John Waupsh draws on more than a decade in the industry to offer clear, practical advice for competing with the megabanks, direct banks, non-banks and financial technology companies.



Laura Woods

1st Financial Federal Credit Union, Vice President of Marketing and Community Presence

The Differentiator of Doing Hard Things

Synopsis: For what seems like forever, credit unions have been sitting on their laurels of being the financial difference maker in their communities. With a differentiator of “service” or “low cost products”, we’ve run our community development efforts with no more than a foldable card table and branded tablecloth, expecting the masses to come running. It may be time for a change. 

Your Hosts

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

Matt Davis


LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

Tim McAlpine

Currency Marketing
President & Creative Director


PechaKucha Speakers

In addition to our headline speakers taking the stage, we'll once again feature a number of PechaKucha speakers. PechaKucha 20x20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds.

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

Simeon Chapin

VSECU, Director of Community & Social Development

More Than a Credit Union

Synopsis: Reframe, reclaim, renew. What happens when thinking shifts and you can see things differently? What is possible? When we focus on the needs of our member communities, can credit unions provide more than financial services? Yer darn tootin'. Simeon will feature examples from history, business and the current credit union movement that inspire and motivate

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

Matt Cropp

Vermont Employee Ownership Center, Program and Outreach Coordinator

Workers to Owners: A Small Business Lending Opportunity

Synopsis: As the “Silver Tsunami” of Baby Boomer retirements builds, an increasingly pressing small business challenge is ownership succession. Millions of Boomers’ firms are expected to go up for sale in the coming years, many of which will struggle to find a buyer. However, a buyer can often be right under the owner’s nose: their employees! The conversion of businesses to employee-owned cooperatives has recently become a more established path, and supporting such transactions offers credit unions a powerful strategy to preserve good jobs, create opportunities for building wealth among lower-wage workers, and honor the principle of “Cooperation Among Cooperatives.”

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

Ronaldo Hardy

Southwest Louisiana Credit Union, President & CEO

The Elephant In The Room

Synopsis: We all know this can get a little awkward, but it’s a conversation we can’t avoid. What conversations do minorities in your organization desire to have with you? Does your leadership communicate exclusion or inclusion? Learn how to build a diverse team, and an organization where everyone feels both welcomed and a chance at equal opportunity.

LinkedIn Pofile

LinkedIn Pofile

David Klavitter

Dupaco Community Credit Union, Chief Marketing Officer

For Whom the Bells of St. Mary's Toll

Synopsis: Community charters can dilute the common values which traditionally bond a credit union's membership. This is about how a neighborhood revitalization project is helping one community credit union redefine and illustrate its values and strategic differentiator.

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

Nikhil Lakhanpal

Narmi, Co-Founder

Running a Credit Union Inspired Me To Become an Entrepreneur

Synopsis: NNikhil was the CEO of Georgetown University Alumni & Student Federal Credit Union (GUASFCU) during his time in school. After graduation, he and his co-founder decided to leave their well-paying jobs and tackle a problem they saw in the credit union industry. Nikhil will talk about the value of going after a problem you have experienced in real life.

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

Jennifer Laud

Jennifer Laud Consulting, Marketing Consultant

Specialization is for Insects

Synopsis: This is a defense of hobbies, additional pursuits and passion for all things life has to offer. Our world is set up to encourage us to specialize in so many ways. In school, we sit at desks, completing assigned homework and exams, led by a teacher. Once we join the workforce, we sit at desks, completing assigned job duties and reports, led by a boss. Even our commutes and evening hours tend to look the same— we've become efficient at our lives. Maybe a little generalized, but I bet you'd agree that's pretty accurate. But is this really the best thing for us, for society? We keep the world running, but at what cost? 

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

James Marshall

Filene Research Institute, The Cooperative Trust Manager

Heavy Metal Career Development

Synopsis: Professional development is something all of us 'millennials' aspire to have. "It's not the money, but the career opportunity", we shout from the hilltops. The funny thing about career development and opportunity: we have to build that for ourselves. James will detail what he learned about career development and being in the workplace, from spending five days in a mud-soaked field with 110,000 strangers and listening to live heavy metal.



Since Madison is the hub of the credit union industry, we expect tickets to sell out quickly. Attendance includes lunch, light snacks and beverages throughout each day. Breakfast and dinner are on your own. 

$649 CU Employees
$849 Vendors
$1,449 CU Infinity Ticket*


*CU Infinity Ticket: By infinity, we actually mean up to six (6) employees from your credit union (which is still an amazing deal). This ticket type is only available to employees of a credit union and does not include vendors, consultants or CUSO employees.

Cancellation policy: All ticket purchases are non-refundable and cannot be transferred to future events. If you cannot attend the event, you can transfer your registration to another person for the 2017 event only.