15 March 2010

Don't Be Shy

Shyness doesn't accomplish much. The old saying "nice guys finish last" really should be "shy guys finish last." I saw this picture today that proves my point.

Ondine Irving has singlehandedly put credit unions in the national spotlight with her relentless efforts to get financial advice guru Suze Orman's attention about credit union credit card programs. It worked. Before long, Orman was singing the praises of (most) credit union card programs in places such as the Suze Orman Show, Larry King Live, and Morning Joe.

It all started with Twitter. Ondine tweeted to @SuzeOrmanShow tirelessly...to the point that I started to think she was a little bit off her rocker. I was lucky enough to interview her last December for my "Ideas in Action" podcast series and met her finally at GAC last month.

Here's what I learned. Ondine has consumer advocacy in her blood. Her sole focus is and has always been to help credit unions create the most consumer-centric credit card programs possible. She's built a career off of making card programs work for credit unions and their members, and passionately pursues the spreading of that knowledge. She refused to sit idly by when she watched Suze Orman talk about the shady practices of bank credit card programs without suggesting her viewers consider credit union programs as a better alternative.

Thank goodness Ondine wasn't shy.

The Financial Brand's Jeffry Pilcher tweeted the other day that Ondine "has done more for the CU industry than the industry has done for itself in the last ten years."

That statement seems hyperbolic, but it may not be. There are few things I can readily think of during that time period that carry the weight of Ondine's Credit Card Connection. For the credit unions smart enough to take advantage of it, it has meant millions of new eyeballs checking out their wares.

The purpose of this post is to sing the praises of Ondine, make no mistake about it. But more to the point, it's to encourage you to run with your idea. Sharpen your focus. Shamelessly pursue it.

Don't be shy.


Anonymous said...

This is an awesome post. I want to make a difference in the cu movement but don't know where yet. I will find my purpose in this industry soon. Thnx for the motivation with a great perspective and post. You rock! - Nicole Anguiano

Jeffry Pilcher | TheFinancialBrand.com said...

I think Ondine has -- primarily through her relationship with Suze Orman -- exposed more non-members to credit unions than any single thing in history. If there's something else that's been more effective, it predates the last decade I've spent working with credit unions.