Independents Conferences Pushes Attendees to #EMBRACECHANGE

AFSA Staff

The 34th Independents Conference and Expo was held before a record crowd from April 18-20 at the Encore at The Wynn in Las Vegas. The theme, #EMBRACECHANGE, pushed attendees to think about the changes that must be made within their companies in areas like technology, innovation, millennial management and outreach and policy. The theme also asked members if they are prepared for the changes that are out of their control, like last November’s election.

In both instances, sessions and networking opportunities coalesced around a single idea – what are you doing to harness the power that these changes bring. Are you prepared?

The week got underway with a variety of board meetings, including the AFSA Board of Directors and Independent Auto Finance Executive Group. Both the Women’s Leadership Council and Business Partner Board met and discussed key issues – a synopses of both meetings will be provided in next week’s edition of Newsbriefs. Attendees partied down 80’s style during Wednesday night’s welcome party and AFSAPAC auction.

Wednesday got underway with addresses from Independents Section Chairman, and COO, Tidewater Finance, Billy Fuller as well as AFSA President & CEO Chris Stinebert. Steve Schmelzer, Division President, Personal Finance Company, was awarded AFSA’s Outstanding Independent Award.

John King, CNN Chief National Correspondent, delivered an informative keynote speech, connecting what’s happening in Washington with the lives of attendees and ordinary Americans. AFSA’s EVP Bill Himpler and VP, Congressional Affairs Ann Carmichael spoke with Jason Rosenstock, Partner with Thorn Run Partners about the first 100 days of the Trump Administration and gave a bit of insight on what they felt was coming next.

The afternoon was dedicated to education sessions, including information on alternative credit bureaus, capital funding strategies and the presentation of RSM’s annual independent survey results. RSM will reprise the presentation during an AFSA Business Partner Webinar scheduled for mid-June.

Thursday morning kicked off with a look into the Trump era economy. Is the President the great disruptor? John Fund, national-affairs columnist with the National Review gave attendees a few great ideas on this key question. Ginger Herring, President of 1st Franklin Financial Corp. delivered an important update on the AFSA Education Foundation, detailing the foundation’s new three-year strategic plan and roadmap to growing the MoneySKILL program.

Thursday afternoon was again dedicated to education sessions, as well as the Champions Club Luncheon with the presentation of the Outstanding Employee Awards. Guest speaker Justin Constantine, who demonstrated that change is good and with the right attitude, anyone can find a way to succeed. Attendees rounded out the conference with AFSA’s Viva Las Vegas party.

Throughout the conference, attendees enjoyed networking in AFSA’s Exhibitors’ Marketplace, meeting with the association’s Business Partners on the products and services they offer.