2012 Symposium Rewind

The third-annual CU Water Cooler Symposium is in the books. This quote from William Azaroff's blog sums things up nicely:

Another Credit Union Water Cooler Symposium has come and gone, and it has matured into a thoughtful and even brave event. For me, it was a highlight of 2012 so far, and I think fair to say one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended.

For the third installment, we did a number of things differently.

We moved it: We moved from suburban Fishers, Indiana to the heart of downtown Nashville. While the FORUM Conference Center in Fishers was excellent, the combination of the beautiful space at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and the proximity to hotels, restaurants and entertainment in Nashville was amazing.

And speaking of moving it, check out the impressive jamming by all (well, most) of the attendees.

We internalized it: The format of the Symposium for the past two years was an outgrowth of the original idea behind the CU Water Cooler itself with the editors "tagging" (inviting) one speaker each. This year, we choose instead to have all of our editors speak plus we invited eight additional guest speakers. In my opinion, the level of thought, presentation and conversation exceeded past events.

We celebrated our presenting sponsors: We had seven presenting sponsors including Geezeo, Member Loyalty Group, Micronotes, MoneyDesktop, PTP New Media/CU*Swag, Raoust+Partners andTrabian. All of them gave great demos and we saw a number of new products and services introduced on our stage. This year, each of the presenting sponsors were also competing to win our new Best of Show award. All non-sponsor-affiliated attendees were given a ballot and instructed to vote for the two presenting sponsors with the product or service they felt had the most potential to impact the credit union industry. After the ballots were counted, Money Desktop andPTP New Media/CU*Swag were deemed the winners. Congratulations!


We gamified the conference: To amp things up even further, we added a social game element to the Symposium and offered some awesome prizes. Each attendee was put on one of four teams and then encouraged to undertake a number of missions and report them on Twitter. The results? The #cuwcshashtag was used more than 4,000 times and a lot of fun ensued.


And the winners:

  • With 3,705 points, Team Green won Brent Dixon's new Cradle to Cradle album
  • With 760 points and 5th place, Adam Monteith won an Apple TV
  • With 870 points and 4th place, Rebecca Alcorn won a set of Bose in-ear headphones
  • With 1,130 points and 3rd place, Blake Reynolds won a JamboneJambox
  • With 1,210 points and 2nd place, Charles Parr won a 2013 SXSW Interactive Pass
  • With 2,015 points and 1st place, Amy Etheridge won a one-year term as a CU Water Cooler editor including an all expenses paid trip to the 2013 CU Water Cooler Symposium

We announced new editors: Matt Monge, Rob Rutkowski, Shari Storm and Sarah Snell Cooke were announced as new editors from the stage. 


We also thanked the past efforts of retiring editors, Carla Day, Christopher Morris and Kelley Parks. We appreciate your work over the past few years and wish you well with your future endeavors.


This event is collaboration at its finest. I'd like to thank everyone involved including:

  • Our editors: William Azaroff, Gene Blishen, Ed Brett, Matt Davis, Brent Dixon, Andy Janning and Jimmy Marks.
  • Our guest speakers: David Baker, Austin Chapman, Kylie Keene, Keith Leggett, Matt Monge, Ron Shevlin, Sarah Snell Cooke and Andy Wright
  • My event planning partners: Matt Davis and Sara Dyer
  • Our title sponsor: Currency Marketing
  • Our friends of the Symposium: FORUM Credit Union and Mount Lehman Credit Union
  • Our presenting sponsors: CU*Swag, Geezeo, Member Loyalty Group, Micronotes, MoneyDesktop, PTP New Media, Rauost+Partners andTrabian
  • Our supporting sponsors: Card Analysis Solutions, eDoc Innovations andOMI
  • Our media sponsor: Credit Union Times
  • Everyone who attended and participated

Until next time,


Posted on October 7, 2012 .