Over the past 11 months as a contractor for the Filene Research Institute, dozens of credit unions, state leagues and national associations have blessed me with invitations to speak in front of their audiences. This has been an amazing opportunity for me to meet credit union professionals, share my stories and inspire positive change in our movement. Likewise, this experience has given me remarkable perspective on what works and what doesn't work in credit union education.

Location matters. But it shouldn't. Most conferences take place in gorgeous venues-beautiful resorts, exotic locales or exciting vacation spots with access to top golf courses, casinos, entertainment and sight-seeing. This is a great way to drive attendance, but some events have made educational content a sideshow.

I helped organize and host an independent credit union conference in Fishers, Ind., last month called the CU Water Cooler Symposium. Indiana is gorgeous in October, but it's certainly not a vacation destination (with all due respect to my fellow Hoosiers). So, instead of attracting attendees who wanted to sunbathe, golf or gamble, we hosted 140 credit union professionals who cared about one thing and one thing only: improving credit unions. The point is simply to say that location isn't the only attendance driver. Lead with content, and you won't have to be so concerned with expensive venues.

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