The logo for The Illinois League of Financial Institutions

133 S. Fourth Street, Suite 206 | Springfield, IL 62701
P:  217.522.5575 / 800.237.1936 | F: 217.789.9115 

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Join Us On The Island!

June 19 - 22, 2018

"Be unconventional. If you must follow convention, you are doomed to conventional results.

                                                           An UN-Conventionally GRAND Opportunity at the historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island


Perhaps American Poet Robert Frost penned the most profound metaphor for UN-Conventional Thinking in his epic work The Road Not Taken. Faced with a proverbial fork in the road, the subject of his poem chooses the path less traveled … and that, he says, has made all the difference.

There's no question banking today is at a crossroads and that choosing the right path will take a great measure of UN-Conventional Thought. Making that choice based on what has been done in the past hardly guarantees success. In fact, conforming to the same old ways will more likely lead to failure.

Join us this summer as we contemplate what lies ahead on the road less traveled at this UN-Conventional gathering of nearly 700 banking industry executives and friends.

Early Bird Discount Deadline: April 30, 2018                       Registration Deadline: June 11, 2018

Please be aware that the Grand Hotel WILL SELL OUT! With only 393 rooms available and 3 associations vying for those rooms, they will be gone before you know it! The sooner you send in your registration form the better. We don't want you to miss out on staying at this historic, one-of-a-kind property. Please complete this hotel reservation form and email it to to complete your reservation. If you'd like to stay off-property, we have contracted with two beautiful bed and breakfasts just a short 10 minute walk to the Grand. You can review their information here


Keynote Speaker Lineup

UN-Conventional Wisdom

It’s Time to Build our Political Muscle
Ken Burgess, Chairman, American Bankers Association
To win on Capitol Hill, bankers must commit to bulking up the industry’s strength and flexibility. A career banker and current Chairman of FirstCapitalBank of Texas, Burgess knows first-hand the often UN-Conventional Effort it takes to engage each and every bank employee in that process – whether takes the form of a letter-writing campaign or a PAC contribution.  Burgess shares his perspectives on grassroots involvement, emerging leader development and the future of our industry. 

Flawless Execution: Developing Leadership through Execution
David “Finch” Guenthner, Executive Consultant, Afterburner
Fighter Pilot, F-16, T-38 Instructor Pilot, United States Air Force

Real success isn’t about perfection … it’s about the relentless pursuit of flawless outcomes. In a world where quick response to change is imperative for survival, a simple, scalable process that accelerates learning and performance is invaluable. Former fighter pilot and executive coach David “Finch” Guenthner, reveals the UN-Conventional Components of the Flawless Execution Cycle necessary to develop the teamwork, communication, accountability, and core leadership values critical to high-performing teams. Afterburner is a collection of former and current elite military professionals that has trained nearly 2 million executives across the country in continuous improvement processes built on proven military models.

Planning to Enter the Fintech Market?
Rob Morgan, VP/Emerging Technologies, American Bankers Association
America’s banks are innovating and establishing UN-Conventional Partnerships with startup companies to deliver the services that today’s customers demand. They are also looking forward to the next wave of technologies that could shape the future of the industry. Morgan offers a glimpse at the technologies driving bank innovation today—as well as a look ahead to the technologies coming down the pipeline that will change the way banking is done over the next 10 years.

How to Work & Lead with People Not Like You
Kelly McDonald, Founder, McDonald Marketing
The changing demographics of today's workforce bring conflicting viewpoints, perspectives, approaches, skills, habits, and personalities together in one place; whether that leads to synergy or catastrophe is up to you. Turning these potential hurdles into advantages takes a little UN-Conventional Leadership says Kelly McDonald one of the nation’s leading experts in multicultural marketing and consumer trends. Often called upon by CNBC, Forbes, BusinessWeek, Fast Company and, McDonald shares her insights on the skills you need to communicate, motivate and inspire collaboration so teams can do more, achieve more, and enjoy the ride.

The Grand Experience – A Case Study in Success
R.D. (Dan) Musser, III, Owner/President, Grand Hotel
Nothing about the Grand Hotel Experience says commodity, which is why you will find this 130-year-old summer hotel on the “bucket-list” for more than 150,000 visitors each year. In fact, the Grand Experience is so unique that Hollywood made its way to Mackinac Island in 1980 for the filming of the now legendary film Somewhere in Time. A true case study in creating UN-Conventional Customer Experiences, a stay at this spectacular property will leave you with indelible memories. Dan Musser is the engine behind that experience. This third-generation owner of the Grand Hotel works tirelessly with his team top to bottom making sure every guest enjoys the experience of a lifetime.

Welcome to the Experience Economy
James H. Gilmore, Founder, Strategic Horizons
Associate Professor/Innovation & Design, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University

Goods and services everywhere are being commoditized. But what consumers want today are experiences -- memorable events that engage each individual in an inherently personal way. To thrive, commodity driven industries like banking must embrace UN-Conventional Principles to stage ever-more engaging customer experiences. Jim Gilmore knows all about the Experience Economy … in fact he literally wrote the book (The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre & Every Business is a Stage) that spawned worldwide interest in experience design, customer experience management, and experiential marketing – a book Tom Peters called “a brilliant, absolutely original book.” Gilmore reveals the principles that matter most for your bank and shows you how to create greater economic value for your customers.

UN-Precedented Learning

Director's Workshop

Next-Generation Loyalty: Changing the Customer Engagement Paradigm
Tom Snyder, Executive Vice President, Buzz Points, Austin, TX
A new era for loyalty in financial services means consumers judge products and services not only against other companies in that sector but also against the best customer service they have experienced in any industry. Against this back drop, customers have become increasingly numb to traditional forms of loyalty. They now expect Relevance, Immediacy, and Instant access to the benefits of being a customer.  Learn the latest tips and techniques to successfully address today’s changing customer engagement paradigm.

Islands of Profitability that Create Success
Charles McQueen, President & CEO, McQueen Financial Advisors, Clawson, MI
Join us as we navigate the islands of the Great Lakes and stop on each of the five most influential profitability destinations: Island 1 - Deposit structure and generation; Island 2 - Loan portfolio structure and concentrations; Island 3 - Investment portfolio structure and concentrations; Island 4 - CECL preparation; and Island 5 - Overall balance sheet management and long term strategic actions.

Concurrent Breakout Sessions

John Waupsh, CIO, Kasasa, Austin, TX
Profound changes to the community banking model are forcing retail bank executives to re-examine their approach to consumer engagement. Waupsh, author of Bankruption, shares the aspects of banking that have changed, and how progressive community banks are successfully adapting to this shift. Discover quick, practical and long-term strategic moves that will set up your community bank for decades of success to come.

Cybersanity While Watching for Sick Birds
Dan Hadaway CISA CISM CRISC, Managing Partner, infotex, Lafayette, IN
Wouldn't it be insane to put a canary in a coal mine, and then ignore it?  With the canary metaphor, this light-hearted presentation uses the insane practices employed in past data breaches as teachable moments, highlighting the role that management and the board should play in Cybersecurity to avoid the insanity we have seen in breach responses such as Target or Equifax.

Building a People Strategy - If your people are your competitive advantage, then what is your people strategy?
Louis Rabaut, Partner, Warner Norcross & Judd, Grand Rapids, MI
A recent Watson Wyatt Human Capital Index study reports that a successful people strategy is linked to market value and is a leading indicator of increased shareholder value.  And while many banks believe their competitive advantage is their people, they often can’t articulate what that means. This session not only defines a People Strategy and its components, but also looks at how to align the People Strategy with your business strategy; how to identify key performance positions from key performance indicators; how to differentiate elements of the People Strategy for different positions within the organization; and how to assess your talent with the right metrics.

Large Bank Best Practices that Community Banks Can Implement Today
Brian Mischel, Partner, BKD, LLP, Cincinnati, OH
While the strength of community banks is their local presence and engagement; large banks often have greater financial and human resources to address pressing challenges. Though there are fundamental differences in how they operate, there are also great insights to be gleaned from how big banks approach strategies and issues. This session explores why community banks should consider incorporating some big bank philosophies including risk management related practices, financial related practices, innovation related practices and people related practices.

Turning Loan Applications into Journeys
William Leveson-Gower, COO, Valuescape Analyics Inc., San Diego, CA
With 70% of all adult Americans using Facebook and 53% of all Millennials most likely to share content on Facebook, 40% or more of new retail banking revenue will be attributed to social media in the next five years.  In fact, 86% of all closed mortgage loans last year came from Millennials and research indicates more are planning to purchase a new home in 2018.  The winners will be the lenders who migrate to managing nearly all interactions online and mobile, with social media becoming the preferred channel of interaction for clients. This session focuses on how to close the social media gap between lenders and consumers by providing a mobile customer-centric journey for loan application generation and market outreach; helping lenders to target, acquire, onboard and engage with the generation of mobile users.

Atrracting and Retaining the Next Generation of Emerging Leaders
Mark Angott, President, Angott Search Group, Rochester, MI
Attracting candidates to your organization, let alone retaining the next generation of leaders, can be a challenge. The key is bridging the generational gaps for an open dialogue on creative ideas among all all levels of employees. This session focuses on key timing methods and how to fully understand a variety of candidate needs to help get the right person on board. Real-life examples and solutions to these tough issues will be shared as well as strategies for tapping into social media when recruiting millennials.   

Bust your Brain-block about Blockchain
Dave Schroepfer and Girish Ramachandra, Partner and Senior Manager, Wipfli, LLP, Westchester, IL
Blockchain technology is exploding quickly and already a significant part of the global, national and local financial sectors.  Soon community banks will be faced with choices on whether to, or more importantly how to,  implement this technology.  This session is designed to introduce community bank leaders to the Blockchain and how it affects banks; as well as to explore the basics of Cryptocurrencies. 

Unconventional Ownership – How to Leverage Mutuality in a Stock-Oriented Environment
Kip Weissman, Partner, Luse Gorman, PC, Washington, DC
There are distinct attributes of mutual ownership which can both enhance and inhibit a mutual institution’s ability to compete in today’s marketplace. This interactive discussion will center on leveraging mutual ownership structures to achieve business objectives in lending, deposit taking, marketing, community relations and employee retention.

UN-Limited Activities

GUEST PROGRAM - Getting to know the Grand Hotel
Family-owned for three generations, this National Historic Landmark has always embraced its rich history. Join us for an engaging presentation of this historical gem led by resident historian Bob Tagatz, who was named Hotel Historian of the Year in 2014 by Historic Hotels of America. 

GUEST PROGRAM - The Power of Flowers
Join us for a fascinating demonstration by Grand Hotel florists on how they bring color and life to every room through the use of fresh cut flowers.

GUEST PROGRAM - Cooking on a Grand Scale
Imagine preparing up to 4,000 meals a day - or 300,000 meals over the course of a summer! Join us as we take a behind the scenes kitchen tour of this Grand operation.

Island Carriage Tour 
The gentle clip-clop of horses hooves is a familiar sound on Mackinac Island. Step off the front porch and into your horse-drawn carriage for a narrated island tour - stopping at points of interest along the way.

Pedal & Picnic
Hop on a bike with a packed lunch in tow and travel the island’s eight-mile perimeter, discover its inland beauty or meander the streets of downtown.


More than a “Conventional” affair, this assembly of the Midwest’s key industry decision makers is an opportunity for you to not only leverage your marketing dollars, but also make the most of your time by tapping into this unique tri-state partnership.   We invite you to collaborate with us in this joint initiative by becoming a Sponsor or an UN-Conventional Exhibit Partner. Interest in this event has already exceeded our expectations and only a handful of opportunities remain.  If you want to be involved, don’t delay and contact Cassie soon as possible -

                                                                       Click here to view the 2018 Sponsorship & Exhibitor Opportunities brochure    

How Do I Get There?

Sheplers Ferry Rates - $19/adult and $10/child roundtrip

To purchase tickets in advance the online promotion code is: TRI2018
The code is case sensitive and will need to be used as it is shown here.  This will lower the individual adult and individual child ticket rate to the discounted pricing listed above.  The code will become active beginning March 1st and can be used through the last day of the conference. Website: 

Mackinaw City Parking: All options are self-parking.
Day Parking:                      FREE
Standard Parking:             $5.00/night (off-site)
Premium Parking:             $25.00/night onsite at the dock

St. Ignace Parking: All options are self-parking.
Day Parking:                      FREE
Standard Parking:             $5.00/night onsite at the dock

                Grand Hotel Accolades                

USA Today "10 of the most beautiful places we visited in 2017" - Look who made #4!

US News & World Report "15 Best Hotels in Michigan" - Grand Hotel earned 1st Place!

USA 10 Best "Best Historic Hotel Winner"

AAA "Four Diamond Award Rating 24th Consecutive Year"

Travel + Leisure "World's Best Resort Hotels in the Midwest" - They made #2!


                                                           To view the full list of well over 100 awards received throughout the years, click here!

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