2013 Speakers

Your hosts

Once again, Tim and Matt will be your hosts for the CU Water Cooler Symposium. 


Tim McAlpine

President & Creative Director
Currency Marketing
Chilliwack, British Columbia


Matt Davis

6th Story

Madison, Wisconsin

Thursday, October 17

9:00 a.m.–9:50 a.m.


William Azaroff

Director, Business & Community Development
Vancouver, British Columbia

Your Members and What Matters

What makes a credit union relevant? Important? Meaningful? At one time, it may have been an affiliation with a stable, well-regarded company, but that connection and those days are gone. Now, if a credit union really wants to be a meaningful presence in its members’ lives, it may just have to get back to its core mission and figure out what its members really love. That, at least, is the story of the Vancouver-based Vancity, a highly successful credit union with a brand fully steeped in values-based banking, which includes philanthropy, volunteerism and social action. These values happen to resonate with many young, politically aware potential members living within the credit union's field of membership. 

In this session, William will not only explain Vancity’s “Good Money” brand and the credit union’s approach to values-based banking, but he’ll also make the case for psychographic segmentation, which means attracting members based on shared passion rather than shared employers or zip codes. He’ll explain how Vancity did it and how your credit union can, too.

9:50 a.m.–10:40 a.m.


Tim Vandenberg

Hesperia Unified School
Victorville, California

Monopoly Academy: Winning the “Game” of No Child Left Behind

Gamification has “Monopolized” Tim Vandenberg’s 6th grade classroom, as he has utilized the world’s all-time best-selling board game brand (Monopoly) to inspire and motivate his students to conquer the “game” of No Child Left Behind. Learn how academic gamification inspires and motivates his socio-economically disadvantaged students to perform at world-class levels, both academically and in actual Monopoly tournament play: his students have defeated both U.S. and World Champions multiple times in actual tournament matches and scored perfect scores on California State math examinations, all while setting district records on countless standardized tests!

Hear Tim’s inspiring story, as featured in the multi-award winning documentary film “Under the Boardwalk,” and learn how he uses Monopoly to motivate students to “Pass GO” and master key skills of mathematics, economics and social negotiation.

10:55 a.m.–11:45 a.m. 


Jimmy Marks

Creative Media Director
Fairfax, Virginia

Are You Earning Trust?

Using science, game theory and a little bit of "magic," Jimmy Marks will take attendees through the basics of trust from an emotional and psychological standpoint and get to the big questions that he's been pondering for years now. Are credit unions really more trustworthy? Are members really more loyal? What is loyalty as it relates to financial services? What is trust, really? Do we, as an industry, give our members any more cause to trust us than our bank counterparts?

1:00 p.m.–1:50 p.m.


Andy Janning

President & CEO
NO NET Solutions
Brownsburg, Indiana

Heroes and Villians

While they may not wear a cape or hide behind a secret identity, every credit union employee is a hero to someone: family, friends, teammates, and members. Too often, though, their desire to transform a small corner of the world is hamstrung by short-sighted and stingy attitudes toward employee and organizational development.

The solution to this problem doesn't lie in offering more training classes or forcing another meaningless team building activity onto the masses. The answer, instead, lies where you may not expect. It's woven into your favorite movie, into 4,000 years of stories from around the world, and it helped one credit union add $700 million in assets in 10 years. In this session, Andy Janning will discuss how to apply it at your credit union so you support your heroes and keep the villains at bay.

Introduced by Michelle Bloedorn from Member Loyalty Group

1:50 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

Making Big Ideas Happen

When you think of the credit union industry, innovation doesn't necessarily come to mind. But what if it did? In this panel discussion, we've assembled three credit union innovators to talk about the big ideas they're cooking and the broad implications that these innovations have on consumer finance.

Moderated by 
Tim McAlpine
Introduced by Alycia Meyers from CU*Answers


John Best

Chief Technology Officer
Wescom Resource Group
Colorado Springs, Colorado


Matt Davis

6th Story
Madison, Wisconsin


Denise Wymore

6th Story
Sante Fe, New Mexico

3:20 p.m.–3:50 p.m.


Brent Dixon

The Habdash
Austin, Texas

Collaborative Consumption

Even on the heels of the great recession, nearly 88% of 18- to 34-year-olds say they earn enough money now or are optimistic they will in the future (Pew Research). Why? When the economy cracked, the world reacted. Inflated education costs sparked open ed. Dried up small business capital birthed crowd funding. Necessity drives disruption, and legacy industries like consumer finance are being disrupted. A new kind of consumer is embracing collaboration, technology and activism to create the next generation of economic and social development. 

3:50 p.m.–4:10 p.m. 


Tim McAlpine

President & Creative Director
Currency Marketing
Chilliwack, BC

Canada and the United States Credit Unions—What’s the Diff?

A fact- and fun-filled ride exploring the differences and similarities between the U.S. and Canadian credit union systems

Tim McAlpine is 100% Canadian, yet U.S. credit unions represent 80% of Currency’s client base. Every page of Tim’s Canadian Passport is filled with temporary work permits and stamps. He’s also the board chair of a small credit union in British Columbia. Wrap all of this together and you end up with someone who spends a lot of time thinking about credit unions and their challenges on both sides of the 49th parallel. U.S. and Canadian credit unions may look the same but the differences are huge!

Friday, October 18

9:00 a.m.–9:50 a.m.


Robert Oxoby

Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Arts
Professor, Department of Economics

 University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta

Behavior, Savings and Borrowing of the Lifecycle: Insights form Behavioral Economics

Rob will discuss recent research focusing on the way individuals make trade-offs between current and future consumption and how these decisions affect savings and borrowing behavior. Particular attention will be paid to how these decisions differ over the life cycle (i.e., young versus old) and across income groups. He'll also explore how this research can inform product and service design for financial institutions.

Rob's primary research focus is on the ways in which individual psychology and market incentives feedback on one another. This research is an outgrowth of his interests in poverty, development and the ways in which individuals adapt their attitudes and beliefs to their circumstances. He is the director of the University of Calgary's Behavioural and Experimental Economic Laboratory. Rob is also a research fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, IZA and the Institute for Advanced Policy Research.

9:50 a.m.–10:40 a.m.


Shari Storm

Senior Vice President
Verity Credit Union
Seattle, Washington

Capturing the Most Powerful Market: Moms

Moms control 85% of all household spending. Moms hold the biggest influence on where their children will do their banking. Moms have strong online networks and rely on referrals from other moms. Make a mom happy and you’ve got the whole family plus all of her friends as new members. What is your credit union doing to capture this crucial market segment?

Shari Storm will share how Verity Credit Union has harnessed the power of the mom market. Learn how Verity lowered the average age of their new member by targeting the most influential person in banking decisions—the mother of the household. Hear a case study that involves branch design, online campaigns, product implementation and tremendous public relations.

Introduced by Sandy Pitkethly from Currency Marketing

10:55 a.m.–11:45 a.m.


Matt Monge

Chief Culture Officer
Mazuma Credit Union
Kansas City, Missouri

Servant Leadership

Most would probably nod in agreement if someone said that serving your team is an extremely important component of leadership. It sounds fairly agreeable to say that serving your team is a noble means to a nobler end, with that nobler end being leadership.

We all know what servant leaders are. They’re leaders who enjoy serving others within the scope of their role as leaders. Then again, maybe it’s not what you think it is. To quote the renowned academic Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Matt Monge will challenge attendees with what he’s been challenged with himself over the past several months—wrestling through what real-deal, raw, imperfect, servant leadership really is. And it’s probably not what you think.

1:00 p.m.–1:40 p.m.


Gene Blishen

General Manager
Mount Lehman Credit Union
Burnaby, British Columbia


Linda Bodie

Element Federal Credit Union
Charleston, West Virginia

Just Do It

You will never hear the phrases, "We can't innovate because we're too small" or "We can't do anything because our core is holding us hostage" from Gene Blishen or Linda Bodie. These two credit union executives from either side of the 49th parallel have courageously lead their small credit unions with tech know-how and positive can-do attitudes. After hearing the Mount Lehman and Element success stories you'll be fired up to just do it. 

Moderated by Matt Davis
Introduced by Alec Gustafson from MoneyDesktop

1:40 p.m.–2:40 p.m.


Sarah Snell Cooke

Credit Union Times
Washington, D.C.

Not For CEOs Roundtable

The Not For CEOs Roundtable will delve into what we as an industry need to rethink. It's about questioning the whys behind what we do to get us to relevant solutions. Join in as our panel of experts cover topics ranging from human resources, marketing and payments to getting real about big data.

From left to right: Amy Ethridge, electronic marketing coordinator, Robins Federal Credit Union; Andy Janning, CEO NO NET Solutions; James Robert Lay, CEO, PTP New Media;  Jimmy Marks, creative media director, DigitalMailer; and Ron Shevlin, senior analyst, Aite Group.

2:55 p.m.–3:15 p.m.


Matt Davis

6th Story
Madison, Wisconsin

Optimizing Feedback Loops

3:15 p.m.–3:45 p.m.


Matt Davis

6th Story
Madison, Wisconsin


Tim McAlpine

President & Creative Director
Currency Marketing
Chilliwack, British Columbia

Now What?

After two days of great talks, lively discussion and fresh ideas, Tim and Matt will take to the stage to distill what we've learned and also to talk about upcoming plans for the CU Water Cooler.

We'll make sure to get you out on time since we know some of you will need to head to the airport.