Well, BarCampBank NewEngland finally happened. It was an incredible occasion, and a huge thank you to the 15 people who made the event everything I’d ever hoped for it, and then some. Fifteen people from all corners of New England, and other parts of the globe (Ontario and British Columbia), made the trek to America’s Credit Union Museum. I’m glad we held the event here, because prior to it, all but one camper did NOT know of its existence. Which is especially surprising considering that the CU movement in the U.S. originated here in Manchester, New Hampshire, and the first CU law, the first CU league, etc. were all established in Massachusetts.
Since this was a small gathering, I’ll say a few words about each of the special people who came.
Peggy Powell – Director of America’s CU Museum gets major karma points on at least four counts: 1.) normally only official CU orgs get to hold events in the museum, but she made an exception for us; 2.) she came in on a Saturday because she’s the only employee; 3.) she gave us a tour despite earlier having a bum wheel requiring ice and elevation, and 4.) she put up with us temporarily converting the 3rd floor into a concert arena for a game of Rock Band on the dual projector multimedia system.
Ron Shevlin contributed wonderful insights as always, and wrote a terrific blog entry about BCBNE here. My favorite quote from Ron came at dinner afterwards when we were discussing bankers in the CU movement: “Just because you change churches doesn’t mean you change religions.” During the day, my favorite insight was that it’s not about your story (meaning the business or organizations’ story), it’s about the story that members/customers tell themselves, and how you fit into that story. And social media is about creating new stories with them. Ron is writing a chapter for the book Age of Conversation Two, and I can’t wait to read his contrarian take on web 2.0. I am eagerly devouring Ron’s first book, Everything they’ve told you about Marketing is wrong.
Gene Blishen – I heard about what a great person Gene is from following BCB Seattle remotely, tweets, and blogs. Now I understand why. Gene is a treasure of the CU movement, is genuine, profound, and walks the talk. His blog is called Tinfoiling. Gene also wins the “furthest travelled” award since he came here on the way back to British Columbia via vacation in Denmark. A really cool thing that Gene shared with us is that Mt. Lehman CU has two event tents available for members to use (for weddings, parties, etc.). It’s a small way that Mt. Lehman gives back to its membership and also weaves itself into those important events in its members’ lives.
David Inverarity – I didn’t know of David of Ontario before BCBNE, but I am very happy to have met him. Ron nailed it when he described David as a Tour-de-Force. He’s a whirlwind and provided the funniest photo of any BarCampBank EVAH. I love that David not only brought his PowerBook, but also his Macintosh Air and iPhone. (And made use of air-quotes frequently.) I’m still not sure what to make of his challenge to try to remove his MacBook Air from the building and he wouldn’t make a move to stop them. Perhaps it de-materializes if someone other than David tries to touch it? Ron thought it would make an excellent frisbee if thrown from the third story window.
Andy LaFlamme – I had been looking forward to meeting Andy ever since his outstanding blog, The CU Loop, came on the scene. Andy has a cogent write-up of the day as well. A special thank you to Andy for so many great photos and recordings of the day.
Adam Lueb – A special thank you to Adam for making the journey to Manchester from Western Massachusetts despite not feeling 100%. Adam keeps EverythingCU.com humming despite our best efforts to overwhelm him with new stuff to make that resource even better.
Ginny Brady – Ginny continues to delight me with her progressive thinking, and to be the beacon of truth and justice for board members to truly represent the members’ best interests. After a full year of blogging via The Boardcast, still the only board member to be creating online dialogue with members via a blog as far as we know. I hope her example paves the way for more board members to engage in dialogue via this avenue. And don’t even get me started about how awesome this photo of her and Louise is. Shout out to Ginny, Linda, Jody and UFirst FCU for sponsoring breakfast. Ginny gave a great description of the events at The Credit Union World’s Best Kept Secret.
Charlie Kroll – Came up from Providence, Rhode Island, representing online account opening and funding operation Andera. Charlie had outstanding questions and insights throughout the day. Here is Charlie’s blog entry on being pleasantly surprised by BCBNE.
Dave DelVecchio – Thank you to Dave for coming to the camp, also from our area of Western Mass. David saw me give a talk to the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the MA CU League and does tech implementation and support for many F.I.s in the region. He gave us some insight into the big I.T. issues organizations are wrestling with.
Mark Vautour – Another young CU marketing professional learning more about the movement every day, who was not aware of
the Massachusetts/New Hampshire CU movement’s origins the existence of America’s Credit Union Museum despite working at a Boston area credit union. I got to visit Mark at halftime of my first-ever in-person Celtics game at Boston Garden because we both have the Celtics fan Facebook application. Props to Mark for setting up and handling the event’s registration on Eventbrite.
Debra Trautman – Was the only camper who was aware of America’s CU Museum before the BCBNE event because she had received an award there for her work for the Maine Credit Union League. Debra, like many of us outside major cities on the East Coast, was not familiar with the BarCamp format, and now that she’s experienced BCBNE, is eager to share it with more Maine credit unions.
Jeanine Perrone – Represented Marquis software. It’s great to know there are people who work for CU vendors who are this interested in the movement. Jeanine is also formerly an employee of a credit union.
Christian Mullins – Provided wonderful and detailed insight into credit union mergers, and why they are happening at a rate of about one per day. (46 so far this year alone). He had detailed knowledge of a big one happening in his former area in Madison, Wisconsin
Joe Mello – Arrived in time to catch the second half of the day’s topics. I had met his brother, Steve Mello, in San Francisco the previous Saturday at BarCampBank SF. Joe and Steve are doing some exciting work in the world of wireless banking.
I hope that everyone enjoyed themselves, learned a lot, were re-inspired about this crazy CU movement experiment, and made valuable new connections with like-minded people. I know I did.
If you are an employee of a credit union or league, and want to continue this conversation with thousands of other CU professionals, check out EverythingCU.com. (Full disclosure: we created EverythingCU.com as a resource for you to connect with your peers nationally and worldwide, so we might be biased.)
Shameless self-promotion, part two: I was agog when I first visited America’s CU Museum nearly two years ago. I have since discovered that many in the CU movement don’t know about it, or the history of this amazing movement. To do my part in stamping out ignorance everywhere, I am available to deliver a concise, relevant presentation that connects the dots between this movement’s humble origins and how we came to be where we are today. Send me an email if you’re interested in having me deliver this presentation to your credit union, league chapter, or league.
For more photos of the BCBNE event and the museum, visit the BCBNE group flickr pool.
Please share YOUR thoughts on the day, and what you got out of it, here and on your own blog/twitter/flickr/facebook/crowdvine/wiki.