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As many of you know I began my career as a serving wench at ‘Enry Beazely’s Fish n Chips in Portland, Oregon. Mr. Beazely had a profound impact on how I view the world. He believed that we are put on this earth to serve one another, and if you are serving someone, you are doing work that MATTERS.
I took that servant heart to the credit union world 36 years ago this month! Happy CU Anniversary to me! And yesterday I decided to do something that matters to the community I live in. I attended my first training session to become a Volunteer Firefighter and EMS.
I live in the town of Cochiti Lake, New Mexico, population 569. We are situated 30 miles Southwest of Santa Fe. The Cochiti Fire Department covers the Cochiti and Santo Domingo Pueblos as well as the town of Pena Blanca situated smack dab in the middle (pop. 661).
I had just completed 3 hours of classroom training that covered the operation of the Fire Trucks and the Ambulances. No behind the wheel stuff yet.
After classroom training they fed us lunch and then the rest of the volunteers showed up to clean the fire station and equipment. I offered to clean the bathroom, seeing as I was a newbie I felt I should start at the bottom. They gladly let me. So I’m literally scrubbing the toilet when the Chief comes in and says “We just got a call, wanna go?” Heck yes!! So I climbed into the ambulance on the passenger side, buckled up, and we were off. It was a Code 3 which generally means sirens and lights on. We were going only 6 miles down the road to Pena Blanca. A 23 year old woman, 5 months pregnant had a seizure.
Did you know that an emergency vehicle does not have the right to run a stop sign or red light? The sirens, lights and horn are asking “permission” to do this. Meaning, if someone decides not to pull over, and we are stuck – we are stuck. So please, if you see an emergency vehicle, please pull over. Do the right thing. Thankfully everyone on that stretch of Cochiti Highway had the good sense to pull over.
Out of respect for the young woman I won’t go into the details of her condition and cause, but it was very raw, and humbling and a bit frightening to willingly put myself in a situation of “not knowing.” You have very little information when you go out on a call. And it’s our job to get the story, assess the need quickly, and treat the patient appropriately. In her case she had to go to the hospital, and will likely be okay. And I got to drive the ambulance back to the station. It should be noted that I excelled at the interaction with the patient and failed miserably at backing up an ambulance into a garage. I need practice.
Yesterday, at 1:00pm my radio went off. It was a Code 1 call. All we were told was a group of kids were hiking Tent Rocks National Monument and ran out of water and a few were dehydrated. So in your mind what do you see? Kids parked in the shade, waiting for someone to bring them water so they had the energy to walk safely back down.
What we found on arrival was an 8 year-old girl, unresponsive, being carried down the trail. She was put in the ambulance immediately. We were told there were at least 10 kids still up the trail. So I grabbed as many bottles of water I could physically carry in a duffel bag and headed up the trail with another volunteer. Thankfully we found the rest in good condition, but hot and thirsty.
We rushed the 8 year-old to the hospital, and thankfully she will be okay but here’s the story. They were a group of kids in a summer program that had parents permission to go with 5 adults to hike Tent Rocks. None of them had ever been to the park before. One of the adults told me they thought they would have a guide, and they didn’t. They also thought they were doing the loop trail (short and easy) and they missed the turn-off so they ended up hiking up the steep canyon. To their credit they almost got to the summit, but, that’s when they all ran out of water and it was oven hot up there. Here’s the story of the 8 year-old girl. She has asthma. And did not have her inhaler.
A happy ending to the story but it could have been avoided.
What I’m learning about myself as I begin this adventure.
- When it comes to helping people, no matter what the situation, I am a spring into action person. I am not the “What do you want me to do?” kind of volunteer. Like I said, I’ll clean the toilet.
- Adrenaline is your friend. Yesterday I took a brisk walk in the morning, followed by a 40 minute work-out on the eliptical. Had a bowl of pasta for a late breakfast/early lunch. So lots of exercise, very little nutrition. I was not in the least bit tired hiking up the hill with about 20 pounds of water, in the brutal heat, I practically jogged up it. Last night I popped Advil like they were M&Ms.
- I don’t like to make mistakes, but I have to get over it. I tried to put the gurney in backwards, I had trouble ripping the EKG paper from the machine. I forgot to plug in the ambulance.
- I was born to do this. I feel like I won the lottery. Living in a small remote town is not for everyone. And if you’d asked me 10 years ago if I would ever move from Seattle to the desert of NM and drive an ambulance……no way. I can never picture myself retired, with nothing to do but read or watch television. That is when you die. I knew that I would volunteer somehow. And now I am motivated to stay in shape, and do this for as long as I physically can.
- Pearls go with everything. The best part about the Tent Rocks story is that without my knowing it I had pearl earrings and a pearl necklace on as I hiked up that trail. Even though I work from home I bathe and get dressed every day. And I like to look snazzy. So when the call came I changed my shirt and shoes and was out the door in 3 minutes. With my pearls on!
Some of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life didn’t pay me a dime. In fact, I’ve been told by many clients that I don’t charge enough for my services. And it’s because I would do it for free if I could. But don’t get me wrong CU people. I can’t do my consulting/speaking for free. But being a volunteer Firefighter/EMS completely satisfies my need to give back and serve. Work that matters.
Thank you Mr. Beazely.
This year I have the honor of teaching Strategic Marketing at not just one, but TWO Credit Union Management Schools. CUNA Management School at the University of Wisconsin and Southeast Regional Credit Union Schools at the University of Georgia.
In preparing for each class I like to get the student roster well in advance and take a look at their websites and social media efforts. Then, I like to weave in some of the best and worst examples in my teaching. A couple of years ago I had an attendee at a conference get a bit upset because I put their awful happy shiny people website on the screen. And this person wasn’t even in the marketing department. I told her that I was sorry she felt embarrassed by that but someone in her credit union put it on the WORLD WIDE WEB so it really is fair game.
I am still shocked at how many bad credit union websites are still out there. And with the average age of a credit union member holding steady at 47 it’s safe to say that the older members likely don’t care. But to attract the ever elusive Millennial? You better step up your game. They don’t know a world without smart phones and the internet. Facebook is how they get their news. For a long time I didn’t think credit unions should be on Facebook. But as my friend Matt Davis explained to me – Facebook has become the “yellow pages” so you really should have a presence. But here are my credit union social media pet peeves:
- Blatantly shlepping your “me too” products. Last week I saw a Facebook page that actually talked about “free checking” and had a picture of….wait for it…..a person writing a check. I had to check the calendar to see if it was 1995. Whenever I see a CU boasting about free checking today it’s like driving by a grocery store and seeing a banner that says “We have food.”
- My incredibly talented and creative friend Brent Dixon once said in a social media teaching session “If you talked to your friends the way your credit union talks in social media, they would punch you in the face.” Why must we use brochure jargon? Just talk to me. Twitter to me is like a cocktail party. Don’t be the jerk crashing it to sell your products.
- Shiny happy people. I looked at 45 credit union websites yesterday. Only THREE of them did not have shiny happy stock art people on them. This is shameful. Some of them even used the same stock art. This is a sure sign of zero differentiation. We are better than this people
- And finally, the “About Us” page. Tsk Tsk Tsk if I cannot read your history here. The majority of credit unions today have some kind of community charter or SEG based field of membership, and I get that. But what is wrong with continuing to give a nod to the pioneers of your credit union? Those disruptors to the banking industry in the 1930’s that dared to take their money out of the bank and give it to a co-worker who kept a ledger and most likely put the money in a cigar box or coffee can. That’s good stuff.
Okay – so what is a good example of credit union websites and social media done right? Well, I only have two I’m afraid. So here we go……. drum roll please.
The first Annual Flying Pig for Excellence in Website Development goes to: ORNLFCU. Even though they dropped in a few “shiny happy people” their navigation is superb. Their history page is amazing, and the boldness of the large photos is sexy. I especially love the home page for the acknowledgement that most people just want to get to home banking – big and proud and in your face. Nicely done.
The first Annual Flying Pig for Social Media Excellence goes to……drum roll again please…….Community Choice Credit Union. I came upon this Facebook page and clicked on their newest ad and laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. I also happen to love kittens, I mean, who doesn’t?
This credit union’s brand is fun, and a bit campy and I love it.
If you would like to nominate your credit union’s website or social media efforts for the Second Annual Flying Pig Excellence awards, please do here. I just made that up and I think I might just really do it. Now, where can I get a Flying Pig Trophy?
Oh, how I’ve missed you. So many times I have wanted to check in, say a few witty things, leave a picture behind. I’m not sure why I said good-bye. Must’ve seemed like a good idea at the time. You became a kind of diary for me. As I would wander through my days faced with challenges, observing the awkward things around me, experiencing the highs and lows of self-employment you were always there to help me make sense of it all.
Well. A lot has happened in the last year and I need to talk about it. So I’m back.
If anyone’s still out there listening – thanks. And stay tuned.
So I’m in the comment section of my blog (thanks Trey from Trabian for the comment) and noticed I had 71 items in the “Drafts” bucket. Those are 71 blog posts I never finished. I had no idea I had that many. Some of them are pretty funny, some are clearly duds, some were rants I didn’t dare publish, as in “I’ll never work in this town again” if I do. But here are a couple of random thoughts from the draft (trash) bucket of DeniseWymore, LLC.
Why Does Butter Need a Door? (not published on August 29, 2014 at 4:25 am)
I’m 52 years old, I am living in a 412 sqare foot apartment – no, let me preface that – at the end of the day I sleep in an apartment akin to a hotel room. I have no microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal or washer/dryer but I have a butter door in my fridge. It’s like a garage door…..for butter.
I feel obligated to join all dairy products in this exclusive space. So I also have my Tillamook cheddar cheese keeping the butter company.
But here’s where I am perplexed. Why does butter need a door? There has to be an historical reference to the coddlng of a stick of butter. You would have thought Paula Deen invited the butter door. I’m not sure of the total square footage of the average refrigerator but I’m going to guess that an inordinate amout of space is devoted to the preservation of a stick of butter.
I’m going to guess that it’s steeped in tradition. Some event in the past that defined a generation and therefore is passed down as folklore.
Why Pie? (not published on October 9, 2013 at 7:41am)
I’m in Vegas, went to MickeyD’s to get me some coffee (sorry Starbucks, I love me some cheap black coffee). And they asked me, at 6:30am, if I’d like Pie. And she asked it in a way that said “I hate you, I hate Pie, I hate my life.” I almost said yes.
Kindle Made a Run for the Borders (not published on February 17, 2011 at 6:11am)
Yesterday Borders filed for bankruptcy protection and announced they will close 1/3 of their stores immediately. They also said that they will basically begin to “copy” the Amazon model to stay afloat. That’s their strategy.
I know hindsight is always 20/20 but it would seem that Borders filed bankruptcy because they stubbornly hung on to a model that was violently disrupted by the e-book technology, AND the iPod AND Netflix….
I don’t know for sure but I image the conversations in their board room went something like this:
“Well not EVERYONE is going to want a Kindle or an iPod or the convenience of their movies delivered to their home or on their computer…..so I say we are okay. We still have some loyal customers that consider Borders a gathering place and have to have a book in their hand, a CD to put on their shelf and the latest Disney movie to add to their collection.”
Sounds reasonable. And it may be true. But disruptive technologies are aptly named. History has shown us that they destroy industries.
Some examples of disruptive technologies:
- The automobile (horse and buggy)
- The telephone (the telegram)
- The debit card (paper checks)
- Digital cameras (film)
- The original cellphone (the land line)
- The iPad (laptops, books, CDs, DVDs, photo albums)
You get the idea. In my previous blog post I talked about the gigantic disruptive technology looming….the closed payment system that Steve Jobs is creating.
Sure, not EVERYONE will want it……………at first.
Credit unions have a reputation of being fast followers – not innovative leaders.
Time to crank up our differentiator.
Thoughts from the Deep End of the Pool (not published on August 11, 2008 at 6:05am)
Last night I was lucky enough (to be awake) to see the Men’s 4 X100 freestyle relay team kick some French-trash-talking booty. It’s so cool to see those moments “live” with family so you can say….”Remember when….?”
I admit it. Until maybe last week I probably couldn’t have told you who Michael Phelps was. Until about 12 hours ago I had no idea we had a Men’s 4X100 relay team that included Phelps AND was expected to lose to the team from France. Only an hour before the race did I find out that the French boyz were all “We’re gonna smash the Americans.” But that was enough to get us on the edge of our seats, whooping and hollering for the home team and high-fiving when “we” won.
As I’m getting ready for bed last night, I started thinking about why that was so emotional, why did I care? And did I deserve to feel so good for something that I had nothing to do with? I know, just go to bed, right?
It’s because we love to be part of a group, a club, a spirit, a team. It’s in our nature, our DNA, our psyche. It’s common bond that makes us stand up and cheer.
So why are credit unions so quick to kill it? The common bond?
In most cases, the founders of today’s credit unions are probably no longer with us. We no longer tell their stories, or remember their victories of those early days. When 6 school teachers trusted each other with their paychecks and little more than an entry in a ledger book and a desk drawer for safekeeping of the money so they could help each other get through life. They dared to compete against the big banks, because they had a common bond.
And, if you’re lucky enough to work for a credit union today, you can say “we won.”
Don’t we owe them at least a “high five” for their efforts?
And…Wymore Out! (mic drop).
See you at 6thstory.
I learned how to blog in a bar in Golden, Colorado. That was August of 2006. All the cool kids were doing it. Trey Reeme, Matt Davis, Brent Dixon. They could not believe that I was not blogging, so I gave into peer pressure and started this blog. Pretty soon I was “thinking in blog.” I would be in the middle of an experience and think “This would make a great blog post!” If I was having an exceptionally bad experience it was always tempting to tell the person delivering me the fresh hell that I would blog about them. Alas, it’s a power I’ve always tried to use for good and not evil.
If you look at the time stamp of most of my posts they are before noon. I’m a morning person and do my best writing before lunch. In fact, if you’ve ever worked with me you know my creativity cell shuts down promptly at 3:00 Mountain Time. Seriously, you can hear it.
On May 12, 2010 I was featured on the “Freshly Pressed” site on WordPress. Each day they highlight 10 blogs out of the 450,000 new blog posts each day. Here’s the one they selected. This particular blog post I like to call the “one take.” When I get really passionate about something I can sit down and “knock it out” in one take. Took me about 10 minutes to write this one. That’s why I thought it was so funny it got selected. The ones I spent hours on…not so much.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have a handful of fans of my blog. And when i don’t blog regularly will actually reach out to me to find out why I’m not writing and when they can expect another one. If you’re reading this I’m taking about you. I can’t tell you how much that means to me. Thank you.
Now that I am the co-founder of 6th Story, I’ve decided to move my blogging to the “Stories” section of www.6thstory.com. Matt and I want to help credit unions tell their story. There are still so many people in the world that have no idea what a credit union is or what the difference is between a bank and a credit union. We’re talking about over 100 years of credit unions existing in America – that’s pretty sad. We aim to change that. So dear readers, please join me over here. There are three new posts over there I think you’ll enjoy. This is not the end….it’s only a new beginning.
The other day I was standing outside contemplating life, looking at the moon. And I thought, why do we call it THE moon. We don’t call it THE Mars or THE Jupiter or…..I have to say it THE Uranus. I just noticed my little fingers didn’t even bother to hit the Caps button on moon. It doesn’t deserve it…cuz it’s the moon. I’m not the only one that has pondered why we haven’t named the moon.
I love to name things (except changing the name of a credit union) I’ve never said let’s get in THE car. I say, “Let’s take Buttercup to the store!” See how fun that is?
When I was just a fetus in the credit union industry (in the 1980s) the first ATMs came on the scene. Part of my job was to balance the ATM. Notice how we referred to it as THE ATM. So I named the first one Eddie Money. Then I could find joy in feeding Eddie Money. Get it? The next one was Johnny Cash of course. And finally John Dough!
You can always tell the difference between pet parents and pet owners. Pet parents NEVER say “Feed the dog.” Pet parents say “Has Dexter had his dinner yet?” Only pet owners say “Where’s the dog?” Pet parents know where there dog is at all times.
In Portland we’ve named all of the freeways. It’s not THE 84 or THE 26 (like they are fond of saying in California), We give directions by saying “You’ll take the Banfield to the Sunset.” Names are fun.
There’s a lot of psychology around how we feel about our name. A wonderful motivational speaker Alyce Cornyn Selby had a session about such studies and how she felt about her name. She had lost over 100 pounds and more importantly maintained that weight loss for years. Part of her transformational process was to change the spelling of her name from Alice to Alyce. It was her brand, and it worked. I love my name. I have two older sisters, Daedre and Darcie – I definitely got the good name. Thanks mom.
But back to the Moon. I say we name him Monty. Then once a month we can look up in the sky and see a full Monty.
Remember when Ron Shevlin and I used to publicly spar about Net Promoter Score and member service as a differentiator? Good times. Nothing anyone can say will ever make me feel otherwise. We are in the service business, period. We cannot differentiate with unique products or packaging, we sell and move money. Boring. Banking is an errand. Members don’t GET to go into the credit union, sometimes they HAVE to. Boring. And most member’s expectations? Very low. Their goal is to get in, get out and no one gets hurt.
That’s why one “wow” experience can produce so much value. It’s not expected, so it makes a lasting impression.
Fred Reichheld, co-creator of Net Promoter Score said it best. We know loyal members do three things for us:
- They will buy more from us and are less likely to rate shop (increasing services per household)
- They will market for us. Word of mouth is, has been, and always will be the most effective marketing.
- They will tell us how to improve the credit union. When you hear “I’ve been a member for X years” know that that is a gift because you are about to get a loyalty lesson. Listen.
If you would have told me in 2007 when I was in NYC with America First, Baxter, and Educators credit unions at the Inaugural Net Promoter Score conference that 8 years later I would be the one responsible for putting ON the annual conferences in US and London AND that I would also get to resurrect Loyalty Live – well, I would have slapped you and then kissed you on the mouth. Because you never know where life is going to take you, right?
It is with great pride that I invite you to join me and all my friends in Phoenix on March 4th and 5th at the Arizona Grand Spa & Resort for Loyalty Live. We are going to share stories about success, failure and the challenges that come with truly listening and responding to the authentic voice of the member.
I love recruiting speakers for events because I basically get to bring in people I love and admire. Check out who’s going to be there:
- Jeanne Bliss, Author of Chief Customer Officer and I Love You More Than My Dog
- Jordan Austin Levine, Director of Field Marketing for Massage Envy Spa
- Sandy Anderson, Sr. VP Client Support & Sales Operations, Experian
- Sally and John Myers, CEO and President of c.Myers
- Gabriel Krajicek CEO, Bancvue (creator of Kasasa Checking)
- Sarah Canepa Bang, President/COO CO-OP Shared Branching
- Matt Davis, former Director of Innovation Filene Research Institute and founder of GameFI
- Stephen Owen, Chief Marketing Officer, First Tech Federal Credit Union
- Brad Barnes, CFO, Air Academy FCU and Filene i3er
Thanks to our amazing and generous sponsors we are able to offer credit-union friendly pricing. Give it up for Co-OP Financial Services, Kasasa by Bancvue, MARQUIS, Geezeo, CUNA Mutual and CU Direct Lending.
I hope to see all the credit unions who are passionate about service there because we’re getting the band back together!
I, like many of you am heart broken over the death of Robin Williams. Why? I never met him. I didn’t really know him, clearly. But I grew up with him and he made me laugh, he blew me away with his mind and when he yelled “Good Morning Viet Naaaam” I was transformed.
But this week he lost his battle with depression. Like cancer it can be fatal. And where we get confused is that his job, his gift, his vocation was comedy. So how can someone so funny be depressed. It’s not a weakness, it’s an affliction.
I come home every evening to my 412 square foot apartment – see last blog post – and turn on my DirecTv to watch Jimmy Fallon from the night before. He’s the comic of his generation. So talented, so funny and so kind. No ego. He has surpassed Johnny Carson in my opinion.
When I dialed up the episode tonight I was rooting for him. Jimmy, you cannot not acknowledge this passing, and he did not disappoint. The opening song, “Hey hey hey hey….” Love you Roots – and instead of yelling the episode number…. Questlove yelled, “Nanu Nanu.” Hell yes. That was enough for me. But wait, there’s more. When they cut to the first commercial after the monologue, they showed “Nanu Nanu” on the front of the drum set. Very classy.
Back from commercial. Jimmy took his seat at the desk and gave us the preview of upcoming guests with the glee of a child. He still can’t believe that he gets to host all of the greats, that’s why I love him. But then it happened. And it caught me off guard. He created a pause, and choking back emotion he acknowledged what we were all feeling. Those of us that need levity at the end of the day – that crave it like a drug are feeling the loss of someone who we counted on to give it to us. Jimmy showed a clip of Robin’s first appearance on the Tonight Show (with Johnny Carson) and then ended standing on his desk “Oh Captain, My Captain.” Cut to commercial. Thank you Jimmy.
Robin Williams is gone. His disease killed his gift. And we struggle with it. Because deep down we can relate. As my Nana used to say “God gave each of us a gift, and our DUTY is to give it back to the world,” And sometimes that becomes a burden we cannot bear.
Robin, thank you for sharing your gift for 63 years. That’s enough for me. I get it. When I say rest in peace I mean it. You deserve it man. You gave so much joy to so many people in every performance. You have to be worn out.
Next week I begin my new adventure with Satmetrix, the Net Promoter Score company. It’s a dream come true for me and it means I still get to work with credit unions through the Member Loyalty Group. Yay!
My office is in San Mateo so I’ve rented a studio apartment in the same town. Bay Area real estate is insane. San Francisco is the second most expensive rental market in the US (Honolulu is number one).
My sister Daedre (pronounced daydream – drop the “m”) is the Queen of “vertical” living. IKEA is only 12 miles away. Her plane lands at 7:45 this morning. She flies out at noon tomorrow, I fly to London at 7:30 tomorrow night (for my first week of work).
Our challenge: to create a gorgeous, comfortable, functional living space in 36 hours. We are starting from scratch. I arrived yesterday with my Mazda Millennia packed full of clothes, shoes, my favorite picture of Mark, bathroom stuff and one flying pig.
My sister has a process she uses for every move. She creates a scale floor plan using graph paper and makes little furniture pieces (also to scale) so you can play around with the room without breaking your back. The apartment is basically one big room, with a separate very small kitchen and bathroom. The main room is almost perfectly square and has a huge picture window on one wall with an amazing view.
Daedre asked me what my requirements were. I need a real bed and I don’t want to eat dinner on the couch. So we are going to try and get a bedroom, dining room and living room in 412 square feet. I am writing this from the Marriott Courtyard. And looking at this room, I think we can do it.
I have yet to meet a person in my travels that when asked “So what did you want to be when you grew up?” answered “A credit union employee.” And yet in my 34 years of adulthood I was blessed to be just that.
I have never considered myself to be a cog in a machine. A cube rat. Desk jockey. I will forever refer to credit unions as a movement – not a category. I publicly vowed that I would not let credit unions go down on my watch. And none of that has changed.
The big change in my life that my partner, friend and muse Matt Davis announced yesterday, is my move to Satmetrix. And to San Mateo, California.
I know what some of you are thinking. What? So let me say once and for all, Mark and I are still NOT married. Kidding aside, we are career people. We both chose years ago not to have real children – credit unions are our family and in may ways our children of the corn. A dysfunctional family to be sure. Mark loves working at SECU of NM. Cochiti Lake will always be our home. My office is going to be in California. United Airlines is my commuter tube.
Anyone who has heard me speak since 2008 or read my second book knows my devotion to Net Promoter Score. When my dear friend Rebecca Secor emailed me “You must read this book (The Ultimate Question) it’ll change your life.” Well, it did.
I have been steadfast in my belief that NPS is the missing link for marketers and business development. I mean how can you go tell the world how great your credit union is if you never take the time to find out, from the member/owners, if they agree?
Check it out. I get to manage the NPS community for the founders. If you have not already joined – come play with us – www.netpromoter.com. I also get to coordinate their conferences. The first one will be in jolly old London! I get to play in the sandbox with some of the biggest minds in the loyalty world.
Best part of my excitinb new world? The Member Loyalty Group is a Satmetrix client. Some really smart leaders (Baxter, BECU, San Francisco Fire, Educators (Racine), Addison Avenue and AmericaFirst) founded MLG 5 years ago. They brought the gold standard of NPS to credit unions. Today over 50 and counting have joined the fold.
Last year I found the following saying – it has been framed and sits in my home office. Now I get why it spoke to me.
I’m not worried about what could go wrong, she said. I wonder if I’m in a position where I could handle it if everything goes right.” – Brian Andreas
Sent from my iPad