This year’s LEAD360 Conference was held November 20-21 at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells. The WBA worked together with the Marketing Committee, Retail Committee, and Financial Literacy Advisory Board to brainstorm hot topics and speakers to make this a conference their peers wouldn’t want to miss. Over 150 attendees and exhibitors attended this year!  

The conference kicked off on Tuesday evening with our first pre-conference networking event sponsored by Spencer X Smith, AmpliPhi. Over 30 bankers were there to network with their peers and meet Spencer and his team.  

On Day One at 9:30 am, the attendees dove right in as Garry McCann from Comhar Digital, explored the key barriers to digital sales success, why community banks must account for the emotional impact of their digital sales solutions and how to successfully achieve that return on their technology investment.  

Followed by the Retail Speed Networking and the popular “7-in-7 Session” where seven vendors/bankers shared a successful idea in seven minutes. Presenters included: Leap Strategic Marketing, Brown Boots Website & Marketing, BrandPoint Design, AmpliPhi, Siteimprove, and we even had two bankers from Tri City National Bank and Royal Bank share their success stories with the audience.  

Dave and Michael Neelsen from StoryFirst Media Group presented, “Why our Brains Cannot Resist Story” followed by a deep dive breakout session, “A Compass for Telling Your Story”. Marcia Bomberg, from Wipli closed day one with a discussion on Fintech.   

“Technology, storytelling, and culture are topics that are on all our minds. To have these experts present insights to our attendees over a 2-day conference was incredibly impactful,” said Jeff McCarthy, First Bank Financial Centre and Chair of the Marketing Committee. 

Day two started bright and early with the Excellence in Financial Education Awards Breakfast sponsored by the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation. The Financial Education Innovation Award went to Bank of Prairie du Sac and The Stephenson National Bank & Trust, Marinette. Over 30 banks received recognition for promoting financial literacy in their communities. From June 2018 through May 2019, nearly 500 bankers from across the state reported nearly 1,850 personal finance presentations. Those volunteer bankers educated nearly 33,500 consumers of all ages about the importance of saving and budgeting, how to use credit responsibly, the ins and outs of obtaining a home mortgage or car loan, and many more financial topics.  

After breakfast the attendees moved into breakout sessions including the Marketing Speed Networking, An Update on Hemp by WBA’s Scott Birrenkott and Financial Literacy Connect 4 panel.  

According to Amy Kauper from Port Washington State Bank, “This is my 3rd year at the WBA LEAD360 Conference and it seems the conference gets better every year. The breakout sessions were the most valuable to me as they spoke to the most pressing issues we face in retail. I walked away with actionable ideas around hemp, bank at work promotions, and training.”  

Ellie Reineck from IncredibleBank shared how River Valley Bank transformed and created America's First Online Community Bank. The cool bankers guide to relationships that matter was presented by Matt Middendorp, and more speed networking with financial literacy.   

Steve Loehr received a standing ovation after he shared how Kwik Trip became the leader in the convenience store industry and how they reached that goal by giving their loyal customers quality products and outstanding, friendly service. Truly a Wisconsin success story!  

Thank you to our Conference Exhibitors & Sponsors: 

  • Advertisers Press 
  • AmpliPhi 
  • BankBright 
  • Bankers’ Bank 
  • Banzai Inc.  
  • BrandPoint Design LLC 
  • Brown Boots Website & Marketing 
  • Case Financial 
  • Edge One Inc. 
  • Exclamation Services 
  • FIPCO 
  • Graduate School of Banking 
  • Haberfeld 
  • Leap Strategic Marketing 
  • Marquis 
  • VGM Forbin