It's a Wrap!

Ahh, where to begin? 

This quote from Brandon McAdams' CUAware blog sums things up nicely:

CU Water Cooler Symposium is a welcome balm from the apathy apocalypse. Everyone there is so jazzed about credit unions and helping members and making a difference. Mahatma Ghandi said “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” If the doers at FORUM this past week don’t embody that quote I don’t know who does. Kudos to everyone.

Let's start at the beginning. I broke the rules a little by picking Ron Shevlin as my speaker. You see, we're supposed to pick someone the crowd probably hasn't seen before. But Ron's talk on Quantipulation was a great way to kick things off and to set the tone. Ron's recap post is a must read.

Other highlights included Jayson Halladay from PiggyMojo describing his journey and the bad ideas that led to the good ideas. Great collaboration examples from the Indiana Ignite group and from Chad Helminak of the Wisconsin Credit Union League. David Gouthro getting us out of our seats and more familiar with our noses. Charlie Trotter succumbing to the "You-Should-Not-Show-a-Slide-of-Your-Kids" curse and then persevering through with one of the best presentations (Charlie's thoughts). William Azaroff and Jeff Russell presenting like old pros. Jim Craig somehow working in a Princess Bride quote. And, of course, Denise Wymore bringing the house down and calling out the Boomers for their oppulent destruction of the American Dream. 

System, Industry or Movement?

You may have missed it, but Gene Blishen's introduction of Joanne Westwood was one of my favorite parts. Gene talked about his recent immersive trip to Bologna, Italy to learn about the thriving cooperative economy. From that trip he learned the true meaning of the word movement and urged the attendees to stop using the terms industry and system.


I've started a CU Water Cooler Symposium Flickr group. Please join and add you photos. Matt West (the other guy snapping tons of pictures) will be uploading his (likely much better) shots later this week.

I also found a new visualization tool recently called Erly. Here's the photos in a cool layout.


Since we started using the #cuwcs hashtag in 2010, it's been used more than 3,600 times. The tweets say it all.


My co-host, Matt Davis left a comment on Ron's post:

One thing that really stuck out to me this week was how our collective tone has changed. In 2007 the tone was "look at these cool new things…they're going to change everything." This week it was closer to "things are changing, and if we don't keep up or get ahead we’re screwed." I heard very little boo hooing about the economy, regulators, and other factors largely out of our control. Instead it seemed like we were all challenging one another to do better, take more chances, solve problems for consumers, and work together to make it happen. Call me crazy, but I think that group will ultimately be credited for righting our ship.

Some other take-aways for me:

1. We need to have more roundtable discussions
2. 144 attendees is a perfect size
3. Reasonable minds can disagree…and still be friendly
4. Theme: By avoiding risk, credit unions risk becoming irrelevant
5. We may have too much content, and not enough time to digest, debate, and create
6. Canadians are smart
7. FORUM Credit Union hires the nicest and most selfless people on the planet

I’m short on sleep, so pardon my sloppy writing. Mostly, I just wanted to say thank you…to you and to everyone else that made this event what it was.


During Matt and my Symposium Rewind chat, he said I was to thank for the making the Symposium happen. He and the crowd caught me off guard and I was unable to come back with a response. The truth is, we all made it happen.

  • Our editors: William Azaroff, Gene Blishen, Matt Davis, Carla Day, Brent Dixon, Christopher Morris, Kelley Parks and Doug True.
  • Our speakers: Ron Shevlin, Charlie Trotter, David Gouthro, Chad Helminak, Jim Craig, Jayson Halladay, Denise Wymore, Joanne Westwood, the Indiana Ignite Team, Jeff Russell and William Azaroff.
  • Our support team: Cameron Piercefield and Sara Dyer
  • Our title sponsors: FORUM Credit Union, Currency Marketing, Mount Lehman Credit Union
  • Our presenting sponsors: Continuity Control, CU*Swag, Geezeo, Member Loyalty Group, Secure File Exchange, 
  • Our supporting sponsors: CU*Answers, DigitalMailer, Indiana Credit Union League ServiceCorp, National Credit Union Foundation, Ongoing Operations, Software Engineering Professionals
  • Our media sponsor: Credit Union Times
  • Everyone who attended and participated

Discount Codes

Two of our sponsors have graciously provided discount codes for their products.


  • Offer: Free shipping on bulk order shirts
    Code: CUWCSbulk
    Expires October 31, 2011
  • Offer: 10% Off Individual Shirts
    Code: CUWCS2011
    Expires October 31, 2011


  • Offer: 50% off any plan for the first six months
    Expires November 1, 2011

Until next time, don't stop believing!


Posted on October 3, 2011 .