I have had the opportunity to participate in over 200 conferences in my 22 years in the industry, each with its own unique qualities and benefits to speak of. Some conferences are great for content, others for networking, some big, some small and a few that are exclusive. Participating in the industry is valuable no matter what the conference, but over the years and with more and more conferences beckoning our attendance, it has become increasingly difficult to determine which conferences to budget for and which ones to pass on. The similarities of the conferences are striking and can, in most cases, only be distinguished by the attendee list and venue. That is however, until now.
I had the extreme honor of being the opening keynote speaker and master of ceremonies for this year’s newly established CollectTECH19 conference in Ft. Worth, Texas during the third week of November. Without bias, I can tell you this conference was different in many refreshing ways. These are not just my thoughts and opinions, these are the sentiments of dozens of professionals that I had the pleasure of speaking with before, during and after the conference and I will share those sentiments throughout this article for those that were unable to attend.
For starters, the participation was second to none. Many conference attendees don’t understand or realize just how much preparation goes into the conference and the sessions. Not only is it a massive undertaking for those that are choreographing the conference, but it takes a great deal of “guts” for the presenters putting together valuable Information for the crowd. At many conferences, while those brave souls are on stage sharing their knowledge, the halls and foyers outside of the conference room are packed with attendees on their phones, laptops and tables doing what they could be doing right back in their offices. At CollectTECH19, this was not the case. Whether it was during the sessions, the receptions or the special events, the attendees were engaged, involved and participating right up to the last minute on the last day of the conference. To say this was “refreshing” is a true understatement. Technology is critical to the futures of almost all of the A/R organizations in America and it showed.
The conference layout was genius. The first day opened with the keynote, followed by two great tech presentations that included five AI/machine learning organizations and brought so much to light on this new technology and how it is utilized throughout the industry. This flowed right into the opening reception which kept the group together; and by starting the conference at 2:00, it allowed the participants an opportunity to arrive that morning and save them an extra night’s stay.
The next day was truly epic and well thought out. Buses picked everyone up at 8:00 a.m. and shuttled the group to Top Golf for a great breakfast as the technology vendors set up in the golf bays to display their products and materials. The day was filled with incredible presentations by industry experts in the conference area and the schedule was broken up with golf, tech demos and networking all day long. Again, everyone was in the same place at the same time and participating, learning and, most importantly, having a great time. The day flew by and was highlighted by an amazing awards presentation at the end of the evening where the top collection professionals and top tech companies were honored and recognized for their incredible impact on the industry.
The last day started with breakfast while I had the pleasure of having a “fireside” chat with John McNamara of the CFPB. As always, John did not disappoint as his insight and knowledge of the Bureau and our industry is second to none. The conference concluded with a bang as every technology company was present for the industry’s largestever technology round robin, the TECHtalk Roundtables. Each attendee got to choose five, twenty-minute round tables with any technology provider they wanted to learn more about. It was incredible to see everyone stay and participate even though the conference let out at noon. The amount of information available and the amount of knowledge gathered undoubtedly sent every company home with a greater understanding of what they truly want to do with their organization’s future technological advances, but more importantly, put them on a path to get there.
From the participation, incredible speakers, transparency of the industry professionals sharing best practices, conference layout, Top Golf day and awards and the incredible number of tech companies in attendance assisting the agencies in their technological needs, this conference stands alone on so many levels and is undoubtedly one that you won’t want to miss in 2020!
Gordon Beck is the President and COO of Valor Intelligent Processing, a new organization in the ARM Industry specializing in BPO and 3rd Party Collections. Gordon has 20 years of experience with expertise in the recovery of Wireless, Landline, Cable, Satellite, Internet, VOIP and Financial Institutions. Gordon is known as a motivator, educator and great public speaker in the industry; participating in panels, debates and several individual speeches at industry related events as well as contributing articles and content to several call center publications.