Many trade organizations talk about endorsing industry health and wellbeing, but fall short in the end. Not at the Association for Financial Technology’s annual summits, as they are infused with the AFT theme of co-opetition which permeates every session, creating an open environment for sharing thoughts and ideas. This compels attendees to drop their colors in order to deal candidly with critical business issues and concerns.
This selfless mindset was once again evident at the 2019 AFT Spring Summit where attendees, representing multiple sectors of the financial technology industry, traveled to the El Conquistador Tucson in Arizona.
“AFT is the only organization that is primarily focused on helping its members succeed in an ever changing, exciting industry,” Steve Duperrieu, AFT’s President, and Vice President at Computer Services, Inc., said in his opening remarks. He also noted, “Everyone in this room has a very important job.” He added that is an underpinning of why the board takes their role very seriously in composing AFT’s characteristic lineup of informative presentations, numerous networking opportunities, and industry specific initiatives.
Mike Hannley, Executive Vice President, community relations at Pacific Premier Bank in Tucson, helped set the tone for the Spring Summit by explaining the importance of the technology to financial institutions. “You're the strength of the industry, without you, we wouldn't exist, especially in today's world.”
Hannley pointed out, “If you're thinking about what’s going on today (in fintech), or where it might be tomorrow, I hope that you're thinking, where are we going to be in five years? Where are we going to be in three years? This is what I'm trying to push in banking.”
The AFT 2019 Spring Summit agenda, much of which sponsored by member companies, also included a keynote address from Carey Lohrenz, the first female F-14 Tomcat fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy; and a CEO keynote from Chairman, Q2Holdings, R.H. “Hank” Seale, founder and Chairman of Q2. There were also presentations from Brian Uzzi, a professor of leadership and organizational change at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University; Dr. John Daly, a professor of communication at the Moody College of Communication, the University of Texas at Austin; Sam Maule, fintech insider and Managing Partner, North America, for 11:FS; Kurt Helwig, president and CEO of the Electronic Funds Transfer Association (EFTA) and Kimberly Ford, Vice President of Global Government and Public Affairs for First Data with a legislative and regulatory update; and a panel discussion about incubators, accelerators and fintech innovation.
Of course, adding to the conference’s great synergy was Derik Sutton, Vice President, Product and Experience, for Autobooks; who delivered his perspective as part of a AFT’s digital banking special interest group; and concurrent interactive sessions, one focused on general interest industry topics and a separate gathering focused on sales and business development, both aimed to stimulate open conversation about common challenges and opportunities to better the industry. Rounding out the summit were outstanding networking opportunities highlighted by welcome and closing receptions, and a western-themed special event.