Say You Want a Revolution

by By Amanda Koprowski Nov/Dec 2019

On November 6, nearly 100 equipment finance and leasing professionals came together at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia for Monitor’s inaugural conference, Equipment Finance Disrupted+.

On November 6, nearly 100 equipment finance and leasing professionals came together at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia for Monitor’s inaugural conference, Equipment Finance Disrupted+.

Attendees listen to speakers at Monitor’s Equipment Finance Disrupted+ Conference

“We couldn’t have been more pleased with how our first conference turned out,” said Lisa Rafter, Monitor’s publisher. “By taking a deep dive into the concept of technology and disruption, we were able to provide important information and lively discussions to help our industry prepare for what’s ahead.”

Keynote speaker Deb Reuben, president of Reuben Creative, kicked things off with a speech focused on the ways companies can reorient themselves to learn about, follow the development of and prepare for upcoming technological developments and advances. She provided a four-step process for integrating modern tech into an established business and encouraged attendees to concentrate on the six “Ds” of tech advancement: digitization, deception, disruption, demonetization, dematerialization and democratization.

(L-R): Deborah Reuben, Bill Verhelle, Rafe Rosato

“I think our industry’s waking up to the fact that we need to be thinking about digital disruption and what’s next for both us and the next generation who will be taking this industry into the future,” Reuben said.

After a Philadelphia-style luncheon, Bill Verhelle, president of Innovation Finance, took the stage to offer his perspective as the leader of a start-up. He noted that the biggest surprise over the course of Innovation’s development was the realization that the original business model he envisioned for a finance company had to be shifted to that of a tech company, a flexibility start-ups often have over their older competitors who have to build off of legacy systems.

Rafe Rosato, chief innovation officer at DLL, offered the counter perspective from an established 50-year-old organization. Rather than a complete root-and-branch re-think, Rosato spoke of the ways DLL and other legacy companies can use new products and software not to do more, but rather to do better. He suggested that sometimes the best place to look isn’t at past success but at other industries who may have already passed through their own disruption process.

(L-R): Rafe Rosato, DLL Group; Lisa Rafter, Monitor; Bill Verhelle, Innovation Finance

The afternoon sessions continued with two Innovation Challenge panels which included lively discussions and Q&A sessions. The first featured Steve Nelson of TD Equipment Finance and Don Bryson of Canon Financial Services, who provided their views from a bank-owned unit and a captive, respectively. Michelle Speranza of LEAF Commercial Capital then looked at disruption from marketing’s outward-facing perspective, noting that sometimes innovation isn’t about changing the tech but changing the mindset of those using it.

The second session featured an eclectic group from both inside and outside the industry. Jeff Lezinski of Odessa provided the perspective of a tech insider, while Yoshi Mua of MMedia lightly ribbed the audience from a distinctly social media-oriented and millennial viewpoint. Vanessa Flick of DLL then followed up with words of advice on setting clear goals for adaptation.

Verhelle and Rosato then returned to the stage for a “fireside chat” where they elaborated on the topic of disruption and provided insights into their unique journeys on the road to innovation.

“Everything that Rafe and DLL had a hand in [at the conference] I found educational and helpful. I really enjoyed the frank conversation around where the industry is headed,” said Sean Scampton, director of Sales & Marketing at Leasepath.

(L-R): Deborah Reuben, Reuben Creative; Steve Nelson, TD Equipment Finance; Dan Bryson, Canon Financial Services; Michelle Speranza, LEAF Commercial Capital

To end the day, Reuben engaged the audience in an interactive discussion about the the equipment finance industry’s vulnerability to disruption and the overall impact of new technology. Attendees then had the opportunity to network at a cocktail reception held on the Founder’s Terrace, complete with open bar and a spectacular evening view of Philadelphia.

Reflecting on the event, Kelly Furia, regional communications manager, Americas, DLL, commented, “It was really encouraging to see that despite size of the company or the length of time spent in the industry, everybody is passionate about innovation and the need for innovation to really drive us to disrupt. I think coming together to share knowledge and best practices is really what’s going to enable us to drive forward.”

Monitor plans to continue its conference series and Disrupted+ theme throughout 2020, with more regional events scheduled throughout the country. The next conference is scheduled for February 25th, 2020
at the beautiful Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Beach, CA. Registration is available at The magazine wishes to thank all of the attendees of its first conference and encourages its readers to keep an eye on its online events calendar to keep up-to-date on its future 2020 summits.

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