CU Water Cooler

What I Learned From Filmmaking

William AzaroffComment

For the last several years I've spoken at lots of conferences. Mostly I've spoken about my journey with social media at Vancity. And it's been an incredible time.

But now that I'm not accountable for social media anymore, I have hung up my social media dancing shoes and have retired my ever-evolving talk on the subject, and am focusing elsewhere.

A year ago at the beloved CU Water Cooler Symposium, I was inspired by the words of Charlie Trotter, who spoke about Demystifying Creativity, and I started making notes on a subject I'd long been wanting to talk about: The powerful lessons I learned when I used to make films – lessons that I apply to my work every day.

So when this year's Symposium was first being planned and I was asked if there was anything I wanted to talk about, I mentioned this topic. And it was accepted. Uh oh.

I'm more nervous and excited about this talk than I have been about giving any talk for a long time. Which is a very good thing.

I'm looking forward to sharing all kinds of nuggets of wisdom and advice, chief among them are all the amazing lessons I learned from directing actors. Every actor likes to be directed differently – some like line readings, some hate them, some like to talk at length about a character's inner motivation, some just show up and get it done with little fanfare – and figuring out how to get the best performance from each different actor taught me a lot about leadership, and helping people as individuals. By adapting to the kind of leadership and communication style they need from me I can help them be most successful. Not just actors need clear direction. Here's the write up of the session:

Everything I Learned About Leadership, I Learned From Filmmaking Making films is such an obvious way to get your start in senior management at a credit union – perhaps as many as 80% of our CEOs were once independent filmmakers, aiming to show their work at Sundance. But seriously, what are the true lessons one can take from making films and apply to leadership? Former filmmaker and current credit union business and community development director, William Azaroff shares his experiences, insights and half-baked notions about how his current career owes a huge debt to his early background making films.

So if you're going to be at this year's Symposium in Nashville (and I hope you will be, it'll be from October 4-5, and it will be great!) I will be unveiling this brand new talk for the first time. I hope it'll be awesome!


William Azaroff lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He is Director, Business & Community Development at Vancity, Canada’s largest credit union. William works on a team overseeing Vancity's entire granting slate to develop members' communities, improve financial literacy, develop new businesses creating positive impact and, ultimately, to grow the Vancity brand and business.