Coming Home: NEFA’s 2021 Funding Symposium ‘Reimagines Everything’

by Blair Dawson Vol. 48 No. 7 2021

The National Equipment Finance Association’s 2021 Funding Symposium, built on a theme of reimagination, was the association’s first in-person conference since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing networking, education and more.

Blair Dawson,
Vice President of Marketing and Events,
National Equipment Finance Association

To many who attended the National Equipment Finance’s 2021 Funding Symposium, walking around the conference center at the event’s site, the Westin Charlotte Hotel in Charlotte, NC, felt like being transported back to pre-COVID-19-pandemic life. The halls were alive with conversation and there was a true sense of homecoming as equipment finance professionals reunited after two years without an in-person conference.

Focus on Innovation

The 2021 NEFA Funding Symposium took place from Oct. 13 to Oct. 15 with a conference theme of “Reimagine Everything.” Each engagement and event was carefully curated to ensure the conference was worth the time — and, frankly, the risk — to attend.

The symposium provided enhanced networking opportunities, new and inventive educational sessions and the introduction of the NEFA’s Practical Innovation Labs, allowing attendees to discuss tangible business issues with subject matter experts. Overall, there was an excellent turnout, including one of the largest first-time attendee numbers for the conference to date.

The board of directors of the NEFA challenged the event’s planning committee to find talent and never-before featured speakers. There was also a larger focus on change and innovation, which helped the committee in discovering the conference’s keynote speaker, Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer for Mastercard. Rajamannar addressed the group about his book, “Quantum Marketing: Mastering the New Marketing Mindset for Tomorrow’s Consumers,” and shared breakthrough strategies to navigate the challenges faced by companies looking to thrive in a modern business world.

Annual Meeting Highlights

During the NEFA’s annual meeting portion of the conference, new members of the associations board of directors were announced: Don Cosenza, CLFP, of North Mill Equipment Finance; Kim King, CLFP, of Navitas Credit; Shervin Rashti, CLFP, of SLIM Capital Services; and Bob Rinaldi of Rinaldi Advisory Services. They are joined by the other tenured board members, including Paul Fogle, CLFP, of Quality Leasing; Jacklynn Manning, CLFP, of AMUR Equipment Finance; Beth McLean, CLFP, of Northland Capital Equipment Finance; and Shawn Smith of Dedicated Commercial Recovery.

The NEFA’s outgoing board president, Laura Carini, CLFP, of Financial Pacific Leasing, is now joined on the executive committee by incoming board president James Jackson of The Alta Group along with Scott Wheeler, CLFP, of Wheeler Business Consulting as vice president, Adam Peterson of Channel Partners Capital as treasurer and Robert Hornby of Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi as secretary.

The NEFA’s executive committee also awarded the Chris Walker Memorial Member of the Year Award to Kristian Dolan of Northteq during the annual meeting. Dolan was the chair of the 2021 Virtual Finance Summit and worked tirelessly with the NEFA team and planning committee to create a unique, educational and accommodating experience for all attendees. He has also spent many hours working with the NEFA team to spearhead the association’s systems change. The NEFA is thankful for all the support Dolan has shown the association and are honored to have him as the 2021 Chris Walker Volunteer of the Year.

Until Next Time

Day two of the conference ended with an extraordinary reception and dinner at Fahrenheit Restaurant to raise funds for the Chris Walker Education Fund. The event featured amazing food, unparalleled views and a cigar bar, and it concluded with a comical karaoke silent auction that had all attendees singing along.

The NEFA’s next conference is the 2022 Funding Symposium, which scheduled for March 23 to March 25, 2022, in Newport Beach, CA. We hope you will join us.

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