Today and tomorrow, I will be attending the American Bar Association’s (ABA) spring meeting for business lawyers. The ABA has a Credit Union subcommittee, which, in turn, has more subcommittees. I recently became co-chair of the Credit Union subcommittee’s Technology committee, so I’m looking forward to presenting to the group as well as learning a great deal.
It takes a lot of time to stay current on compliance issues. By attending the seminars, we all teach each other different developments in compliance and other legal issues. All told, my best guess is that there are about 200 credit union lawyers in the United States. These kinds of conferences are a great value to me and provide material both for the blog and podcast.
Conferences available to credit union employees and directors can provide the same experience. The education is valuable in and of itself but they can also energize and motivate as well. Lots of the interaction that you get when you go to the conferences is priceless. How else can you meet people to collaborate with on new ideas? Everything I’ve done by way of marketing has been via meeting people at conferences.
So now that the economy seems to be improving, I recommend that credit unions beef up their travel budgets. Go out there and meet with people- talk about things that are happening with you or your credit union and share ideas and experiences. The credit union movement is an extremely collaborative industry. Really, it’s like no other that I know of. You’re in the position to share ideas and to learn from each other. It is a tremendous resource so get back out there and meet and discuss and collaborate.
Sure it is hard to get away. But nowadays, with technology, you can take your work with you. I’m a morning person. I’m usually in bed by 9 PM. So when I get up early on West coast time (Denver is on Mountain time), I am able to get work done before anyone else is even up. Just having a heavy workload really is no excuse for not traveling when you can take iPads and laptops and Blackberries (oh my) and accomplish almost as much as you could at the office.
As a speaker, I’ve done more presentations via webinar or audio sessions this year than ever in my career. In some ways this is nice. I get to sit at my desk as opposed to going through TSA. But again, the opportunity to meet new people is nonexistent via webinar. Someday, maybe we’ll have virtual conventions. These conventions could provide some sort of videoconferencing environments where every aspect of the convention/conference as we now know it is recreated virtually. But we’re a long way from that, so the only real option is to travel and meet people and exchange ideas.