The CO-OP THINK Conference is the most dynamic and thought-provoking gathering in the industry. If you have never attended before, first… where have you been the last 6 years!? This conference offers leading edge speakers (like Tony Hawk, Wozniak, or Sir Ken Robinson), innovative discussions, and some of the coolest networking opportunities (um, scavenger hunt in N’Oleans?).

I am stoked to see what 2015 has in store.

Each year to begin the conference, CO-OP THINK offers sessions with industry speakers focused on specific challenges and opportunities that impact the credit union industry. This year I led and facilitated the SOCIAL VALUES track. I discussed how credit unions as well as business partners are fostering a deep engagement with consumers by living and communicating their commitment to a shared social cause.

In the SOCIAL VALUES track, we…

  • Heard from John Lauck, CMN Hospitals CEO on his strategies to build a business surrounding a social purpose
  • Engaged in a spirited dialogue with industry leader and artist Sarah Bang
  • Discussed the impact of social media in a world of social values with experts Uwe Hook and Fabian Geyrhalter
  • Heard about the upcoming THINK Prize and the power of people in communities with Eliza Rosenbaum of OpenIDEO
  • And…. ME!

I was my pleasure to guide you and the speakers through the world of social values.

The cooperative spirit of credit unions stems from a deep relationship with a core purpose: Reaching members and communities of people that truly want to help one another. So in preparation for our upcoming sessions, I picked the brain of several of my credit union friends to find out their perspective on the importance of a social mission. Turns out, social mission and values impact on credit unions is multi-faceted. Here is what I learned…

In a world of regulatory pressure, rapid paced technological advances and a competitive financial landscape, mission driven growth and a strong commitment to serve is the only way to do business. Our credit union is an extension of our membership: What is important to our members is important to us. –Brad Houle, CEO, CAHP Credit Union

Marketing and outreach efforts should have a strong focus on community advocacy, no matter how you define the community. Social Media advertising tools should not be exclusively an avenue for your products and services, but rather a voice for social awareness. –Matt Reber, VP Marketing & Business Development, Columbine Federal Credit Union

Honestly, I can’t see how a business can thrive long term without a strong social mission. To me, the basic question every business needs to answer is what problem are you solving? If you can answer that, you are on the right track. We believe in the innate goodness of people, and want to help them out in any way we can. –IeChen Cheng, CFO, Boulder Dam Credit Union

Organizations should value hard work, integrity and delivering excellent member service… it is good business. I wouldn’t work somewhere without this focus on having a positive impact on people. The credit union industry is full of genuinely kind, good people who want to help others! –Felicity Guerin, CU4Kids Development Manager, CUNA

It was great seeing everyone in Colorado Springs.


Dr. Brandi Stankovic is an organizational change consultant and a senior partner of Mitchell Stankovic and Associates, a global strategic consulting firm. Brandi spends her time coaching CEOs and their teams, writing books and articles related to leadership, and energizing audiences from across the globe. She is a lover of credit unions, classic rock, traveling, learning, and smooching her boys.