CU Water Cooler

Reflections on the CU Water Cooler Symposium in Kansas City

Gene BlishenComment
Photo by Gene Blishen

Photo by Gene Blishen

This was probably one of the best Symposiums put on. Why?

The venue and weather were great which always helps. There was some people that haven’t been there for awhile so it was good to see them. But it was the speakers. They spoke with such a degree of earnestness, thought and pragmatism.

There is a term that is commonly used now—passion—but most people who are leaders in the financial co-operative world have a large degree of this. Passion does not equate to relevance or knowledge. Passion is an attribute that drives noticeable elements forward.

The speakers history and experience pointed to what was seriously important. That importance and the dialogue around it was noticeable at the Symposium. You want something that is important and not trite. Earnestness was there.

The speakers were extremely thoughtful in their remarks. There wasn’t a firm stance offered but a well considered point for reflection. There wasn’t a challenge that you must agree, only a challenge that you produce some mental activity around the idea or notion. It really was a thinking person’s Symposium. As they touched on so many points that tied into your experience you saw that their ideas were simple and pragmatic, not complex and undoable. They made simple sense. Much of what was offered you could see taking back to the credit union.

I think Jim Blaine put it in the most profound term when he stated his credit union’s mission statement, “Do the right thing.” Four simple words that can do so much for any credit union.

See you next October somewhere in the U.S.A. 


Gene Blishen lives in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. He is the General Manager of Mt. Lehman Credit Union. This is a single branch credit union that started in 1942. It is one of the few single branch open-bond credit unions left in the Lower Mainland of B.C. Despite its small size, Mt. Lehman is known for being one of the most innovative credit unions in the world.