This year has been one of the most hectic, rewarding, tiring, and exciting of my life. As I have a moment to reflect, I thought I'd share some of my proudest moments and biggest regrets of 2010. (Author's note: there's a 100% chance that I've left something important off of both of these lists.)
1. The birth of my son, Sullivan Cort Davis on January 5. The lost sleep, uncertain finances, hectic schedules, and almost overwhelming responsibility associated with welcoming home a child pale in comparison to the joy he has brought.
2. My Amazing Wife. All she did this year was give birth to a child, run like Forrest Gump, kick the GRE test's butt, work full time, and essentially be a single mother when I was on the road. I clearly don't deserve her.
3. The CU Water Cooler Symposium at FORUM Conference Center in Fishers, Indiana. This event proved what can happen when 20-30 like-minded people commit themselves to thinking differently and creating something special. The list of people to thank for this event is endless, but should start with the CU Water Cooler editors, FORUM Credit Union/FORUM Solutions (Cameron, Kristi, Leah, Jen, Andy J., and Amanda in particular), an amazing lineup of speakers who traveled from all over the continent, and the 140 or so people who decided this event was worth attending. At the very top of the list, however, has to be Tim McAlpine. No one put more passion or time into this event than Tim, and no one is more thankful for that than me.
4. Working with the Filene Research Institute. Few organizations on this planet, especially from within the credit union system, would be able to stomach my relentless focus on challenging status quo. Filene embraces that. I have learned so much this year from George's unassuming sagacity, Denise's endless creativity, Mark's relentless drive, Brent's magnetic quirkiness, and Ben's modest brilliance. But what's blown me away more than anything else is the ability for the people behind the scenes (Josey, Dan, Andrea, Monica, and Mallory) to keep our eccentric personalities on track.
5. Debt in Focus. The first i3 idea I was assigned to with Filene was an anonymous financial assessment tool called Debt in Focus. I love this program, and couldn't be more proud that it's already helped 250,000 consumers, many who have always been intimidated by traditional financial counseling, get the help they need to regain control of their debt.
1. CU Water Cooler Hasn't Gone Mainstream. The idea was pure, and the support I've gotten for the site has been heartwarming. But I haven't spent the energy (and money) necessary to put this site in front of the people we created it for. To break out of the credit union social media echochamber, we must find new ways to get the word out. This means giving current readers more ways to participate and more reason to spread the word about this resource, and finding the resources we need to take it to the next level. Changes are coming, but I waited too long.
2. "It's Time to Rethink Credit Union Conferences." I stand by what I wrote in this op-ed piece I wrote for the Credit Union Times (see the unedited version here). I should have known, however, that it would be misinterpreted. This piece actually wasn't directed at conference planners. It was written to credit union professionals, volunteers, business partners, trades, and membership organizations. We all need to be more efficient - with time, money, and the choices we make. My experience with the CU Water Cooler Symposium taught me how tough it is to create a quality, affordable event. We can only do that if we all learn what's important in an event, and what's not. This opinion piece was greeted warmly by readers, but often not for the reason it was written. I wrote a challenge for us to do better, not a condemnation of what is.
3. Not Taking a Bigger Leadership Role. I've stayed uncharacteristically quiet about some of the major developments in credit unions this year (corporate situation, mega mergers, NCUA actions, financial reform, etc.) This has been a conscious decision, and largely a good one. I haven't wanted to give commentary about this stuff because talking time is over. My regret is that I haven't been able to create solutions that well help credit unions deal with these changes. I'm trying, make no mistake, but I simply haven't made it happen.
4. I've Neglected this Blog. I've never been known to write very frequently on this site, but it seems like I'm writing less and less. I'll do better...I promise.
Thank you all for being such great readers for so long. I wish you nothing but the happiest of holidays, and hope Santa brings you everything you wanted for your stocking. What am I asking for this Christmas? Simple. At least 4 more wins for the Colts, 2 smiling sons, 1 happy wife, and the comfort of knowing I have friends like you out there.