Human Behavior / Leadership / Operations / Policy / Products & Services / Strategy / Young Adults / Aug 01 '16

"Dog Days of Summer" Reading List from the Cool Cats of Filene

Holly Fearing
Holly Fearing
Marketing + Communications Director

Oh, August...the crown jewel of summer, the pièce de résistance, the month of vacation for Parisians...we love your long sunny days. Days that are warm and perfect for hiking, biking, beaching and reading. Here at Filene, we've all got our favorite Filene reads and our favorite places and people with which to get lost in a deep Think.Do.Change moment.

Holly Fearing
Holly Fearing
Marketing + Communications Director

For your last go at summer fun in 2016, we've provided a list of what's inspiring us these days, in hopes you may enjoy this brain fuel along with us!

George Hofheimer, Chief Knowledge Officer

"When I get lost in the woods, this Filene Research Report shows me the path forward."

Filene Read: Attributes of Middle Income Investors because I read everything written by Ben Rogers and think credit unions have a unique opportunity to serve this underserved market.

What else I'm reading: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson to gain a first hand look at America's justice system through the eyes of one of our generation's most talented young minds. His approach is instructive for all of us interested in redressing injustice in real and impactful ways.

Tansley Stearns, Chief Impact Officer

Credit Union Brain Fuel: My favorite Filene output right now is "Strategic Thinking and CreditUnion Leaders: Strategic Aptitude Assessment Findings" (PDF). This can be very helpful for credit unions this time of year when thinking about strategy. I love it because credit unions can use it as a discussion point with their senior team and/or board to determine where they are doing really well with strategy and if there are areas where they may need to improve. It’s a very practical piece. Of course, my other fave is Credit Unions 2025. It’s a powerful catalyst for conversations about where things are heading and how we can best prepare as an industry and as individual credit unions.

In terms of beach reading: I just finished, “What She Knew” by Gilly Macmillan. I loved it because it really demonstrates how damaging and wrong assumptions can be and the negative impact they can have on others. It also shines a light on the sometimes harmful power of our "always on” media. I’m not finished yet, but I’m also reading “The Pumpkin Plan” by Mike Michalowicz which is about successful entrepreneurs.

Ben Rogers, Managing Director, Research


"His brain is filled with Filene fuel."

Favorite Filene Story: My son grew up with "Linking Member Satisfaction to Share of Deposits." It's been his favorite bedtime story since 2013 because he loves learning about what drives members to use their credit union. Hint: overall satisfaction is just a small part.

Andrew Downin, Managing Director, Innovation

My reading list right now: The Network Credit Union: A Modern Alternative to a Traditional Merger. We all know scale brings strength. And, as an industry, we talk about collaboration but examples of true collaboration are becoming rarer and rarer. The network credit union model allows us to put this talk into action to remain sustainable and strong for American consumers.

What else: The Secret Life of the American Musical. I’m a huge musical theatre fan, and while I bleed credit unions my dream career is to be a dramaturg (look it up). This book dissects the strategic construction of classic musicals and has some practical lessons we can all apply to our own professional presentations that help direct the audience’s attention and impact their emotions. Plus, who wouldn’t want to learn more about the importance of the 11 o’clock number?

Marnie Gerkhardt, Innovation Manager


"I picked a good one...Filene report, I mean!"

Filene Pick: "The State of Data Technology in Credit Unions: The Sink-or-Swing Crossroad Ahead""The State of Data Technology in Credit Unions: The Sink-or-Swing Crossroad Ahead" because taking a deep dive into data analytics is an important but daunting task. This research gives credit unions a great place to start.

General Pick: Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, audible version highly recommended. I've had the chance to work with ideas42 twice now and had to read the book behind the name. 

Adam Lee, Incubator Director

Filene Pub: Microloan Feasibility Study: Can Small Business Lending Become Big Business for Credit UnionsI love small businesses and you probably do too--they fulfill the needs of the community and are a driving force of the economy. Small business lending can be a win-win for both credit unions and their membership. Credit unions have an opportunity to boost their loan portfolios and fill a huge unmet need in their communities: lack of access to credit is the #1 barrier to small business success. 

Let's do this: Hey, Filene happens to have an opportunity for you to test a program, Community Microfinance Small Business Lending, as part of our Reaching Minority Households Incubator. Join us to make a difference now!

Tiffany Niederwerfer, Communications Manager


"Reading this report on a laptop while multitasking at a conference about Digital Media -- how's that for synergy!?"

Filene Find: Member Effort Benchmarking: Measuring Ease of Use because providing a great online experience is critical for credit union growth.

General Read: Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan -- A fascinating memoir that chronicles a young journalist’s path to diagnosis of a newly discovered autoimmune diseases in which the body attacks the brain; an illness now thought to be the cause of “demonic possessions” throughout history.

Erin Coleman, Senior Impact Director

My Choice: Game Changers. 'Nuff said.

Elry Armaza, Impact Director & Analyst


"Gen Z future credit union leader learning about Minority Household Incubator before going to bed"


"Stormtrooper researching Member Effort Benchmarking to enhance own target aiming skills"

Stormtrooper Summer Reading: $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin, and H. Luke Shaefer

Brenton Peck, Impact Director

Filene Read: Reaching Minority Households: Learning from Minority Credit Unions because credit unions across the country can and should have a focus on underserved minority households to help them avoid negative long-term debt and help these consumers accumulate wealth.

Personal Read: Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich, reveals the reality low-wage workers face trying to make it in this country. Her undercover experiences illustrate the dark side of American prosperity.

Holly Fearing, Social Media Advisor


"Took the 'dog days' list idea a bit too literally"

Favorite from Filene: Blueprints for Innovation: The Latest Concepts from Filene i3. I'm a huge believer in the power of cooperatives that are owned and directed by their members. I'm also a creative thinker and love big ideas. So naturally I'm drawn to this report with nine concepts from the i3 teams designed to improve credit union members' lives. I love the inherent possibility that "one of the concepts in this blueprint might be the glue that binds your membership together." Go co-ops!

And finally...

Stephanie Galligan, Research Manager

What I'm Reading: Linking Member Satisfaction to Credit Card Decisions: A Wallet Allocation Rule Approach


"And don't forget to take some well earned rest!"

What are you reading lately? Leave your pick in the comments below!