The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association returned to its hometown of Washington, D.C. for its annual convention.
The The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association returned to its hometown of Washington, D.C. for its annual convention. Now in its 58th year, the premiere event for the equipment finance industry once again offered professionals the chance to learn, network and socialize for three days in October.
The first day of the convention focused on the latter. The Jim McGrane Charity ride gave early birds the chance to tour the city via bike, while those looking for a more leisurely experience could take in the sights and share some brunch on the Odyssey DC river cruise. Attendees who wanted to give back to the community could pack donations for Community Lodgings, an organization that offers affordable and transitional housing and youth education programs to homeless and low-income families in Alexandria, VA. Thanks to the generosity of member sponsors and volunteers, ELFA made a financial donation of $25,000 to the organization, along with $10,000 worth of supplies.
Evening receptions rounded out the day, allowing convention-goers the opportunity to mingle and check out the exhibitors in the Foundation Hall of the Marriott Marquis.
Day Two, the primary programs for the convention kicked off with a keynote speech from Michael Beschloss, presidential historian and best-selling author of Presidents of War, and the presentation of the 2019 Distinguished Service Award to Lori Frasier, chair of the ELFA Women’s Council. Attendees then split into four breakout sessions focused on, respectively, technology, cannabis financing, best hiring practices and fraud case studies.
After a luncheon with speaker Marci Rossell, former chief economist at CNBC, the afternoon sessions provided even more information for industry professionals to take home, including panels on mergers, how to diversify a workforce, how to transfer from pen and paper to e-documents and best practices to enhance the customer experience.
Day Three began with Jake Tapper, chief Washington correspondent for CNN, conducting a provocative presentation followed by a Q&A with United Leasing & Finance’s Martha Ahlers, the 2020 chair of the ELFA board and only the second woman to serve in the role since the founding of the organization in 1961. The general session also recognized Kristine Snow of Cisco Systems Capital as chair-elect, a role she will take on in 2021.
The educational journey then continued with morning breakout sessions covering how to maintain vendor relationships, the value of mentorships programs to nurture new and more diverse talent, what companies should do to prepare for the next economic downturn and further information on how to adapt to modern technological innovation.
After a lunch session hosted by Mark Scharenbroich, author of Nice Bike, the convention concluded its educational programs by exploring the modern regulatory environment, providing a step by step guide to integrating data analytics, covering the best practices for social media and discussing the ways equipment financing can create sustainable growth.
The convention ended on happy note, with attendees getting the opportunity to leave the hotel and decamp to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History for the closing reception and dinner.
Barry Shafran, President and CEO , Chesswood Group Limited
Barry Shafran shares the story behind Chesswood Group’s journey from a Canadian new car dealership business with automotive lease receivables of just $80 million in 1999, to a North American public equipment finance business with a portfolio of $1.0 billion in 2019. He says the one constant and key ingredient in Chesswood’s journey is its amazing team of tenured and committed people.
Whether you are a third-party originator or a funding source/bank, the responsibility lies with all parties to build partnerships based on mutual trust, mutual commitment, shared ideas and common goals.