Many trade organizations talk about promoting industry fitness and wellbeing, but come up short in the end. Not at Association for Financial Technology’s functions. At the 2017 Spring Meeting at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation in Florida, for example, more than 190 attendees, including past presidents of this great organization; financial organization executives and fintech competitors came together for three days of collaboration and cooperation.
“All of the members in this room are really the core, the foundation of AFT,” Xan Kasprzak, and VP Risk Management & Client Relations at Ensenta, said. Once considered the best kept secret in the industry, word of AFT’s outstanding program and benefits continues to spread, as growth in the association continues to surge. Company representatives, who dropped their swords at the door, from some 115 member firms participated in comprehensive sessions filled with relevant information, motivating messages and positive interaction among financial services leaders rarely seen anywhere else.
The semiannual AFT meetings provide a safe harbor for those in the financial technology industry. A place where competitors, partners, and those nonaligned, gather to discover the current direction of financial technology wind, learn out how to navigate the troubled waters and maybe plot a successful future course.
“AFT’s actual vision statement is to be the premier source for networking, we’re here to network,” Kasprzak explained.
The speakers and presentations for the 2017 Spring Meeting centered on a growth theme. The agenda featured motivating and informative presentations such as the keynote from futurist Brett King about customer experience within today’s technological evolution; and a CEO keynote from former AFT president, and President and COO of Computer Services, Inc Stan Eckenberg. Other hot button topics focused on the challenger sale, financial services trends, the growth mindset, the post-election regulatory and legislative landscape, and a panel discussion with fintech leaders focusing on application programming interfaces, partnerships and best practices.
Of course, adding to the conference’s great synergy was its recognized interactive session covering a number of critical issues impacting everyone, and great networking opportunities at welcome and closing receptions, and a beach-themed special event complete with a bonfire, music, seafood, barbecue, beach games and s'mores.