CU Water Cooler

Four CU Water Cooler Symposium Talks I'm Looking Forward To

Tim McAlpineComment

The CU Water Cooler Symposium 2013 is fast approaching. In fact, it's three months away from today. 

The two biggest changes we made last year were moving the venue from Fishers, Indiana and having our CU Water Cooler editors speak. In hindsight, both were good moves. The Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville is an amazing space and has just the right vibe. Plus, our editors really brought it last year. This year, we're continuing with the same recipe and building on it.

We recently put a video together to capture the tone and excitement of the event.

With 16 speakers from all corners of the credit union industry, there will be something for everyone. I'm quite excited about all of the sessions. Here's four that I'm really looking forward to.

Your Members and What Matters

William Azaroff is a really strong speaker and always produces thought-provoking talks. This year, we've moved him to the opening keynote spot to kick things off and to really set the tone. From William's summary, "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."

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

Matt Davis first spotted Tim Vandenberg at the GSummit in San Francisco last year and knew he would be a great fit for our Symposium. 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!

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

Rob Oxoby is a very interesting guy. While his super-long title—Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Arts Professor, Department of Economics, University of Calgary—may predispose you to thinking he's a dry academic, he's far from it. To give you a taste of Rob's interesting perspective, here's an opening line from a recent research paper titled On the efficiency of AC/DC: Bon Scott versus Brian Johnson. "We use tools from experimental economics to address the age-old debate regarding who was a better singer in the band AC/DC. Our results suggest that (using wealth maximization as a measure of ‘‘better’’) listening to Brian Johnson (relative to listening to Bon Scott) resulted in ‘‘better’’ outcomes in an ultimatum game. These results may have important implications for settling drunken music debates and environmental design issues in organizations."

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. 

Capturing the Most Powerful Market: Moms

I first saw Shari Storm present in Fishers in 2007. These were the early days of social media and credit unions and Shari spoke about Verity Credit Union's experiences as the first financial institution in North America to have a blog. It was a very good talk. Since then she's written a best-seller and has gone on to speak all over the place including a recent TEDx event.

I can't wait to see Shari back on the stage at the Symposium! Here's a overview of her talk, "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?"

And that's just four! What talks are you most interested in hearing?

Make sure to get in of the Earlybird tickets before July 31. Also make sure to use the promotion code "cuemployee" to get an addition $100 off. See you in Nashville! 


Tim McAlpine lives in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. He is the President and Creative Director of Currency Marketing, an integrated marketing agency specializing in helping credit unions attract the next generation of members. Tim is best known as the creator of Young & Free.