RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (2/16/11)--Three finalists have been named for the inaugural CO-OP THINK PRIZE, which offers $10,000 in seed money for an innovative idea to reshape the credit union industry. Judging is based on the entry’s potential positive impact on the industry, its creativity and its ability to be shared and implemented by all credit unions. The three finalists are:
* Shari Storm, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Verity CU, Seattle. Her entry is a business plan for the Squirrel smartphone application. * Candace Vogelsong, marketing specialist, Community Powered FCU, Newark, Del. Her business plan addresses social media. * Matt Weidler, information technology asset coordinator, Evangelical Christian CU, Brea, Calif. His business plan centers on cellular ATM access.
They will present their ideas at the THINK 11 Conference on May 17 in Anaheim, Calif. Voting will be conducted by a panel of judges from CO-OP Financial Services and the Filene Research Institute, and conference attendees. Credit union industry employees--even those not attending THINK 11--can view the entry videos and cast votes on-line at www.co-opthink.org from April 15 through May 6. The CO-OP THINK PRIZE was introduced last April at CO-OP’s THINK 10 Conference. Initial entries were required by Oct. 15, and from these, 25 semi-finalists were asked to provide business plans by Dec. 31. All semi-finalists received a $150 gift card from MasterCard, a sponsor of both the CO-OP THINK PRIZE and the THINK 11 Conference. Storm, Vogelsong and Weidler will work with a video production company provided by CO-OP Financial Services to present their plans online and at the conference. The $10,000 in seed money is being awarded to help bring the winning idea to reality for the benefit of winner’s credit union and the entire movement. Biographies of the finalists, capsule descriptions of their entries, and video presentations can be found online starting April 15. Registration for the THINK 11 Conference is free to credit union employees.