Why Wharton Was Wonderful: A CUES CEO Institute Wrap Up

Just when I thought this year couldn’t be anymore stretching, I had the honor of participating in this year’s prestigious CEO Institute I at the Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia. The weeklong experience was incredible and a must for all leaders in the credit union movement.

As with every CUES event I’ve ever experienced, the CEO Institute was an amazing opportunity to 1) network, 2) learn and 3) look at things through a new lens. More on those three wins:

  1. Networking – This year’s Institute had more than 60 leaders in attendance from diverse communities across North America ranging from Los Angeles, to Boston, to rural parts of Alaska and my beautiful home state of Minnesota. Judging from my experience with the leaders at the Institute – the future of the credit union is in good hands. After finishing our lectures and projects each night we gathered for dinner and shared stories and built friendships. This continued upstairs at the bar on the 5th floor where leaders let their hair down and relaxed with each other.
  2. Learning – The professors from Wharton were top notch. The line-up included Wharton staff from a variety of disciplines, which created unique lectures. Richard Shell, an expert on the art and science of persuasion sent us into a negotiation where we battled a partner for a favorable settlement. Peter Fader, an expert on the science of Customer Centricity, challenged us with a group project where we competed against each other in 12 teams to grow our business the fastest through a unique marketing strategy (my team finished in 8th).
  3. New Perspective – One of the professors told us to examine our greatest challenges, because within them was our greatest opportunities. Over the week we discussed innovations, trends, ethics, risks, strategy and even what to do if you find a dying man on a mountain. My outlook on leadership is forever changed and my desire to grow as a leader has intensified.

Which State or Province Has the Brightest Future?
Last but not least I have to acknowledge a few of the many amazing leaders I got to spend some time with at the institute (which since we all lived, studied and ate in the same building together was actually a lot of time). 

The Alaskan CEO contingent of James Wileman and Helen Mickel was especially impressive. Both James and Helen are inspirational leaders who exude the mission of our movement and I gleaned a lot from them. 

Northern California may have the brightest future of all with both Jenn Lee and Shalini Narayan. Jenn and Shalini are brilliant leaders who pushed me over the week to grow and think deeper. 

I have to give the Canadians an honorable mention because they were all so dang nice. They also gave me some great stories about the staff of Currency Marketing in Chilliwack. Who knows what will show up on the next blog!

Until next time,

Geoff Bullock