My Trip To The Holy Land (And A Credit Union Geek Challenge)

Warning: This post is dripping with credit union geek factor.

This week I had the pleasure of visiting the credit union Mecca of Madison, Wisconsin. (Special thanks to the WI CU League) For those of you that have never made the pilgrimage, I thought I’d share the inside view of some of our beloved Trade Organizations as well as issue a special challenge to any fellow credit union geek.

{CU Center} It’s a bit like the Vatican City, only instead of the Pope, we have Bill Chenney.  This is where CUNA, CUNA Mutual, The World Council, The Filene Research Institute and our Foundation all co-mingle in a Mad City stew of credit union goodness.

{CUNA} To any outsider it’s a bit like most any big American corporate office building – a maze of cubicles, offices, and Dwight Shrute bobble heads.  Only to any credit union geekazoid, it’s also a museum to our rich history, and behind every turn you’ll discover a new treasure.  For instance, I almost stubbed my toe on this brick from the credit union time capsule.  I hope I live to be 74 when they finally open this thing.  I’m dying to know what’s inside.

And here’s Christopher Morris in his last days at the CUNA Councils, where he plays listserv god.  On Monday he’ll head two floors down to the Foundation.  I was lucky that I had this rare moment with Christopher now that he’s a rock star. (The screaming fans that ran behind us on our tour got a little annoying.)  BTW – Christopher’s band is working on an album of all credit union related songs.  Check them out.

{The World Council of Credit Unions} It’s like CU Land’s Epcot. Flags from each participating World Council country greet you at the doorway. Offices and cubicles are adorned with unique treasures from all around the world.  In fact, here you can go around the world in 80 seconds.

{The Filene Research Institute} Nestled in CUNA Mutual’s building you’ll find our beloved Think Tank. When you enter the Institute, you are greeted by a bust of none other than Ed Filene himself. Rumor has it that his ashes are buried here.

For the amount of output our industry Think Tank creates in the form of research and innovation, you’d expect to find a small army here. But it’s actually a small office of just a handful of dedicated brains, many of which spend most of the time on the road as evangelists, taking our movement to the next level. Filene continually amazes me with innovative ideas, usable research and talent. However, I believe I have found the secret to their success – the motherload of NesQuik.

If you aren’t a member and using Filene to help you navigate the new normal, shame on you.  Go do it now.  I’ll wait here.

{CUES} Think of CUES as CUNA’s snappy well-dressed younger brother. He’s all grown up now and has his own pad in the burbs. CUES lives in one of those offices we all wish we could work. You’re greeted by a virtual receptionist, it’s impeccably maintained and every employee gets one day a week to work from home. As an organization dedicated to the professional development of our movement’s leaders, they do a great job of starting with their own staff. Plus, those CUES folks are just so darn nice.  Even Fred Johnson took time to chat.

Here is a rare Sara Dyer in her natural habitat.  Her office is just so clean.  You just have to see it for yourself. Call her for a tour or better yet, have your credit union’s strategic planning session there.  She’ll handle all the details.

The Official Credit Union Geek Scavenger Hunt Challenge:
If you ever find yourself in the Holy Land, here is a special challenge for you –   Snap pictures of all 10, send them to me, and you’ll receive the official Credit Union Geek certificate.  Plus, I’ll buy you a copy of the Disclosure’s New CD* (due to come out late fall):

1.  The Credit Union Time Capsule
2. A blue bird hanging on the wall (World Council)
3. Painting of Alphonse DeJardins
4. One of the Disclosure’s Band Members
5. Credit Union House
6. An Ed Filene Quote (on the wall)
7. The CUES Virtual Receptionist
8. Cheese Curds
9. The Round Building
10. Ed Filene’s Book, “Speaking of Change”

Thanks to my tour guides, Christopher Morris and Sara Dyer and the wonderful hospitality of the WI CU League, I had a great visit to the Holy Land.  Stay tuned for CU Holy Land East Coast edition one day in the near future.

*How ironic.  Here’s a Disclosure about the Disclosures.  This prize assumes that Chad and Christopher will be putting the album together and selling CD’s.  It may require some patience as it’s not due out until late fall.  And it applies to the first 10 people or until I go broke, whichever comes first.

About giraphcu

Greetings and salutations! Welcome to gira{ph}, a strategic marketing firm that helps credit unions amplify their greatness to create chemistry with consumers. The credit union movement has given so much to us. This is our way of giving back. Enjoy!
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4 Responses to My Trip To The Holy Land (And A Credit Union Geek Challenge)

  1. Diana Counts says:

    Kelley ~ You are amazing! Only you could make an office building field trip seem so exciting. You actually make me want to go visit. Now, to convince the husband and kids…

  2. Christy Fore says:

    As usual, entertainment with a dash of history! Popped over to check out The Disclosures–funny guys! And now, I have this strange craving for chocolate milk. I must know more about this….how does one go about getting a giant NesQuik bottle in their office? Does said giant NesQuik bottle contain actual NesQuik inside? Instead of meeting at the watercooler, what do the employees say? “Meetcha by the milk!”

  3. Matt Davis says:

    NesQuick is like steroids for innovation. For real. If Fileners were ever tested for this performance-enhancing drug, we’d be toast.

  4. Great post Kelly and so glad we could connect while you were here in Madison
    – also, thanks for spreading the Disclosures love!

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