by Ron Daly
Being based just a few miles outside DC has its advantages. Chief among them, we were able to pop in and out of the GAC and meet with our clients, our friends, and our fellow CUSOs. While we didn't hit any of the big talks or breakout sessions, we didn't feel out of the loop. Nor would anyone else, I would wager, as CU professionals from across the country that were attending the GAC were eager to share their thoughts via blogs, emails and social media outlets of all kinds. We thought we would do a service to our followers that might have missed some of the highlights of the week and try to bring all those links and stories together in one place. If you feel there's a link or two missing that might be vital to people reading along at home, leave us a comment with the link in it down in the comment section.
morrischris: For all you GAC attendees & burger lovers, there is a Five Guys about a block from the convention center. Thought you should know. #GAC10
A few enterprising CU professionals created a "hashtag" label for Twitter posts related to the GAC. If you want to see how the whole thing unfolded in 140 characters, go to Twitter's search page and search #gac10.
Certainly one of the most talked about parts of this particular GAC was the "Crashers", a group of young CU professionals dedicated to making their CUs better. Crash the GAC was started by Brent Dixon of The Haberdashery and Filene, who took the idea to CUNA. CUNA offered a number of scholarships so that attendees wouldn't technically be "crashing" in the traditional sense, and Palmetto Cooperative Services LLC sponsored a number of beds at the DC Hostel for attendees. As Crashers went about the conference, they wore their custom CU*Swag shirts with their slogan "Five Star Leaders, Two Star Lodging". Having received a CU*Swag shirt (Jimmy won one and gave me his - It's a nice shirt!), I can say they'd be great for any CU that wanted to deck out tellers in some custom gear.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE GAC:
aplusfcu: Packed crowd here at the GAC Opening Session. Lots of talk about job creation. #gac10 http://tweetphoto.com/12186755
The kickoff started with David Gergen, former presidential advisor and pundit, talking leadership in the Nation and in finance, and stating "The great American job machine is broken" and that innovation will be the key that gets it started again.
CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica was greeted by a standing ovation when he took the stage for what will be his last GAC in said position. His talk centered around raising the MBL, the hot-button issue this year to be sure. His talk seemed well received by the majority of CU citizen journalists in attendance. [Read Dan Mica's opinion column here]
The MBL echoed throughout the conference, with more and more breakout sessions and private meetings devoted to its discussion. Gigi Hyland, also of the NCUA board, spoke her mind on day two about raising the MBL cap and the forward momentum of CUs through 2010, which she admitted would be a "tough year". She also gave due attention to the Crash folks, much to their delight.
Debbie Matz, the newest chairperson from NCUA, took the stage to talk about what she felt should be key goals for every credit union in the nation, including expansion of online services and payday loan alternatives. [Some more thoughts from Matz in this article from cujournal.com]
CU_Ninja: RT @Paulsworld: Debbie Matz: 4 ways for CU's to succeed. Alt capital, biz lending, payday alternative and electronic services. #GAC10
There were quite a few impressive guests this year, including Joe Scarborough, Alan Greenspan, Ondine Irving, and even Reggie Bush snuck in at one point to the delight of attendees. Needless to say, if you weren't there, you missed out on a lot of interesting talk and a lot of insight.
robwright: Hike the Hill! #gac10 http://tweetphoto.com/12386760
Wednesday was the day for attendees to "Hike the Hill", visiting with representatives and lawmakers from across the country on CU matters. Representatives Barney Frank and Spencer Bachus (MA and AL, respectively) stopped by Wednesday morning for a chat with attendees on Interchange Fees (which Frank said was not on the table) and, of course, more MBL talk (which Bachus said would be a tough fight for CUs to push through). Attendees then met with lawmakers to talk credit union issues, racking up pictures and stories along the way.
Jimmy Marks, our CMD, and some of his Crashing buddies were also behind a "tweetup", a meeting of Twitter users in attendance. I'm told it was a big success and that there were some great conversations happening in the midst of all those young whippersnappers.
FOR THE FULL EXPERIENCE:
I couldn't possibly tell you everything that happened at the conference and around the conference - to do that, I'd have to start blogging Monday and not quit until the end of the week. Which the folks below did!
Carla Day of CU Chat Up was a one-woman GAC reporting supercomputer. She typed her poor thumbs right down to the knuckle on her Palm Pre, live-blogging and reporting events as they happened. To get a great recap of the whole experience, see her personal Twitter feed.
To read about the full day's worth of events through Wednesday, spend some time with Rob Rutkowski's "That Credit Union Blog" which did a day-by-day recap. Read all about it here.
The CU Water Cooler gang made time for a "Liquid Lunch" chat podcast, which can be heard here.
If it gets summed up much better than this, let me know:
Matt_Vance: At DCA getting ready to fly home. GAC has come to a close but the ideas, projects & action are just getting started #gac10.