CHICAGO – Two speakers from the worlds of politics and music inspired credit union executives attending CO-OP Financial Services THINK 2013 conference.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker outlined his career and described his upbringing as involved and surrounded, from a very early age, in a “conspiracy of love” that involved his parents, their friends and many others.
This conspiracy of love helped his father go to college even though he spent much of his life so poor he was effectively homeless, Booker recounted. It helped him launch his legal and political career with people who did not let the reality they were living limit the vision they held in their hearts and minds for what could.
“I wanted to be sure to talk to you because I knew you would understand that,” Booker said. “You understand what it means to make change every day in small ways, little ways that mount up to build something extraordinary.”
Credit unions as part of the conspiracy of love understand that they cannot give in to past failures or discouragement, Booker said, adding that credit unions can stand with their members and their communities by listening to them. Just as Booker gets messages on Twitter from Newark citizens who spot potholes and other problems, credit unions can listen to their members about their needs and issues.
Booker also acknowledged in the question and answer session that he will likely run for the U.S. Senate, but he refrained from formally announcing because, he explained, there is a protocol in New Jersey that considers it bad form to declare for an office when an election for another office is currently going on. New Jersey votes for governor this year.
Booker also said he and other students tried to start a credit union while he was in law school but never got it off the ground before he had to leave.
The next speaker was singer Daria Musk, who gave the meeting unmistakable proof that social media can become a powerful ally in making disruptive change.
Musk, an up and coming singer, owes her career in a large part to Google and social media.
Musk told attendees the story of how she came to be one of the first musicians to use Google’s new Google Plus service to reach at first 10 and then hundreds and then thousands and millions of listeners and eventual fans around the world. It was a dream she said she had even before she had a clue that it could even be possible.
“For me, the music industry felt like a party that I was not only not invited to but which was held in fortress with the drawbridge drawn up and surrounded by man-eating alligators,” she told the audience. “So I decided I had to crash the party and not only crash the party but leave the door swinging open behind me.”
Musk proved to be a positive and disruptive influence for Google, which found itself moving forward with innovations to accommodate musicians and others who wanted to present things to wide audiences via Google Plus. The Internet giant also rolled out a app that let musicians use higher quality sound on the site.
“I didn’t know I couldn’t do what I did, so I just did it,” Musk said, adding that credit unions should understand that authenticity is the new currency.
Musk performed three songs for the attendees as well.