CEO's Message—Second Quarter 2020
Parnell Black, MBA, CPA, CVA
NACVA's Chief Executive Officer
NACVA just completed its first Virtual Super Conference, June 15–19, it was phenomenal. I had envisioned that one day we would actually hold our conference entirely online and had even promised my HQ team that this was on the horizon, though what I did not plan for was it happening so soon. But like we heard growing up, necessity is the mother of innovation and boy did we have to innovate.
In this new world we live in, I think the writing is on the wall and that is never again will we look at this world quite the same. Just like what happened after 9/11, society is quite aware and vigilant against the scare of terrorism. Now, we can add pandemics to that list. You can expect that people will travel less, stay closer to home, pack face masks and sanitizers, avoid touching surfaces and wash hands more frequently, to list just a few behavioral changes. Where new behaviors will be most prevalent is in areas where safe alternatives are readily available. For instance, if you can conduct a face-to-face meeting online, why travel? But if you really want to see the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, you pretty much have to go there.
I expect training, which will always be a critical element in the professional world in which we endeavor, will very quickly move to a place where the vast majority of professionals will choose to get theirs online. And it is because of that, NACVA pulled out all the stops to be at the forefront with our technology and in-house expertise in executing the finest online training event I believe our members have likely ever attended, which has been confirmed by many glowing testimonials. This has been a true team effort, with hundreds of moving parts, all of which came together to create one seamless super event. In my humble opinion, NACVA’s HQ team, in creating and executing this program, has achieved its greatest accomplishment in its 29 year history.
With the gracious support of our fantastic presenters, their presentations which were originally planned for our face-to-face event in Philadelphia, all were presented over this five-day online super event receiving tremendous praise from attendees. Best of all for attendees, what was originally spread over three-days in Philadelphia was spread over five days online, meaning attendees had the opportunity to attend nearly twice as many presentations, and twice the CPE, doubling the value of the registration fee.
From what I observed and heard from attendees, the program was outstanding in all regards, and as our members have come to expect from NACVA, we exceeded expectations. With the abundance of education and wide variety of networking events and exhibitors, plus, lunch hosted by us through Grubhub, many attendees commented that our event felt like a real conference, and they had a good time to boot. And because this was our first virtual event, to coin another (and my final) phrase, you ain’t seen nothing yet, because our technology and staff will just keep improving.
We will be repeating our Super Conference in all regards—topics, presenters, exhibitors, etc.—the week of August 3–7, 2020, for those members that could not attend in June, and for June attendees who want to repeat the experience and attend presentations missed the first time around. The latter group can attend for free.
In concluding this message, I will leave you with a few comments from attendees.
Wow!!! What a marvelous conference. I have been coming to these conferences for almost 20 years, however, I probably picked up more valuable pointers from this conference than any of the prior ones. Here are my comments on the advantages of the virtual conference:
- The dashboard was fantastic
- It was easy to navigate and could change courses on the fly
- The help desk back at headquarters was instantaneous so any problems or needs were solved immediately
- I gleaned from members in the past that they do not bring staff due to the travel costs. With a virtual conference, it will be much more affordable to have staff participate.
Edward A. Bortnick, CPA, CVA, MAFF, CFF
I want to thank you for all of your patient and timely help this past week. I believe that your last few weeks/months helping to organize the virtual conference have been hellishly difficult. It did come off much better than I thought it would/could. Thank you and job well done!
Gregory M. Green CPA, CVA
First off, what an incredible job you and your team did this past week. My sessions were so professionally produced.
Ron Seigneur, CPA, ABV, CFF, MBA, CVA, ASA, CGMA
Wonderful job with the conference this week! I can hardly imagine the work involved in switching over to a virtual platform but you guys did it. From my perspective as an attendee and presenter, it was very smooth and easy. (BTW, nice touch with the Grubhub lunches. A pleasant surprise, great idea.)
Jeffrey D. Urbach, MBA, CFE, CVA, CPA, ABV, CFF
I hope to be seeing you soon.