NEFA’S New Executive Director Has Big Plans for the Association
by Rita E. Garwood Vol. 48 No. 1 2021
Monitor caught up with Chad Sluss, the new executive director and CEO of the National Equipment Finance Association, to learn more about his background and the plans he has for the association in 2021 and beyond.
Chad Sluss, MSA, Executive Director & CEO, NEFA
You are new to the equipment finance community. Can you tell us about your career path that led to your current role at the National Equipment Finance Association?
I started my career as a marketing manager with ARAMARK before going back to school to get my master’s degree at Central Michigan University. While in school, I worked for the Mount Pleasant Convention and Visitors Bureau, where I discovered my passion for working with associations and nonprofits.
Next, I served the State Bar of Michigan as the member services manager serving 29,000 members. I was president and CEO of the Associated Builders and Contracts until my role unfortunately ended during the economic crash of 2008.
For nearly 13 years, I served the International Society of Primerus Law Firms, where I spearheaded the development of a member benefits program that included services and opportunities to help engage the membership. Primerus has expanded internationally from the U.S. and Canada to more than 50 countries. While at Primerus, I had the opportunity to travel internationally to 21 countries. It was amazing to see so many cultures and meet great people.
As you take the reins at NEFA, what are your short- and long-term goals for the association?
In the short term, I am actively working to connect with each member to check in and offer our assistance. We want to provide as much value to our existing members as possible through excellent programming, member to member connections, best practices materials and the NEFA community.
Long-term goals are to further enhance member offerings, including virtual and in-person education. Offering enhanced education online and in-person events and updating and enhancing the experience at our two signature conferences also are long-term goals.
We know that networking is important to members, so we plan to expand regional events, host a monthly virtual exchange webinar series and have our team make personalized member-to-member connections and introductions.
We also want to provide as much value as possible through the NEFA membership, which we believe will help us both with retention and recruitment of new members. We plan to expand our membership by at least 20% per year.
The NEFA is a close-knit community. How have association members stayed connected during the pandemic?
Our team has been connecting with the membership and offering virtual introductions for their NEFA colleagues. Additionally, each month we are offering the NEFA Virtual Exchange Webinar and Networking series that offers 60 minutes of education and 30 minutes of networking. Members may use the NEFA Community to connect virtually or schedule video calls. •
WHAT CAN NEFA MEMBERS LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2021?
• Monthly virtual education and networking*
• Monthly NEFA e-Newsletter*
• Thought leadership opportunities for members to speak and join panels
• Committee and volunteer opportunities
• 2021 Partner Program Sponsorships (Enhanced)
• March 16-17, 2021 — Virtual Finance Summit*
This event will offer several keynote presentations, educational tracks for industry professionals within various functional areas and three hours of networking each day to connect with colleagues, exhibitors and sponsors.