The Commercial Finance Association brought together the next generation of commercial finance leaders for a full day of learning and development at the offices of Winston & Strawn LLP in Chicago. Over 100 young professionals attended from 15 different chapters to listen to insightful panels and an opportunity to network with their peers across the country.

“It was incredible to see over 120 attendees gather in Chicago for the first-ever CFA young professional conference, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of so many outstanding volunteers and supportive sponsors, said Robert Meyers, Chair of CFA’s National YoPro Committee and president of Republic Business Credit. “Building upon the success of 2018, we are planning a second Young Professional Leadership Summit in Chicago on September 12. Currently, we have 48 volunteers and will be planning on up to 250 young professionals from around the world to attend. We encourage every firm to support this dynamic education, leadership and discussion opportunity to support our future leaders.”

The summit kicked-off with a reception at Raised Rooftop Bar (photos below) within the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel. The venue provided a breathtaking view of the Chicago River and allowed attendees to network in a relaxed setting. The opening reception was followed by small group dinners at popular local restaurants including the Tortoise Supper Club, Hub 51, and Smith & Wollensky.

The next day started bright and early with breakfast and some opening remarks from Meyers where he outlined the goals and initiatives for the Leadership Summit and National Committee going forward. This was followed by small group discussions where attendees discussed various topics, including best practices and what does it mean to be a young professional. Groups then presented and shared their thoughts with everyone. (photo below)

Following the small group discussions, attendees listened to four panels, “Tips and Career Advice from the Titans”, “CFA’s 40 Under 40 Award Winners”, “Navigating Changing Times”, & “CEO’s/CFO’s Under 40”.

The “Tips and Career Advice from the Titans” was moderated by Mark Seigel, president, Veritas Financial Services and the panelists included Bob Shanahan, president, Wintrust Business Credit, Bruce Denby, managing director and group head, CIBC, Marty Battaglia, CEO, Encina Business Credit, and Gail Bernstein, executive vice president, PNC Business Credit. The panel provided insightful advice and tips regarding management, how to be a good leader, and the importance of mentoring among many other topics. (photo below)

The “CFA’s 40 Under 40 Award Winners” panel was moderated by Samantha Alexander of Wells Fargo Capital Finance and featured panelists Jason Miller, partner, Otterbourg P.C., Susanna Siskind, director of operations, SVP, PNC Financial Services Group, and Joseph Nappi, senior managing director, Phoenix Management Services. Please see Karen Marino’s article in this e-newsletter for an excellent recap!

The “Navigating Changing Times” focused on how to adapt and succeed with the constant change of the market with a focus on retail. The panel was moderated by David Baroni of Winston & Strawn LLP and panelist included Andy Babcock of Tiger Capital Group, Michael Egan of Monroe Capital, Christine Hutchinson of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, & Penny Fine of CIT Northbridge Credit.

The last panel “CEO’s/CFO’s Under 40” was moderated Bob Pabst, chief financial officer, HyperAMS and the panelists included Dan Serewicz, co-founder, Dock 411, Ben Van Zee, president, Commonwealth Capital LLC, and Bob Wilson, chief executive officer, Winestyr. The CEOs and CFOs on the panel gave advice on where they are today and what struggles they faced.

After the panels, the CEO of the Commercial Finance Association, Richard Gumbrecht addressed the room and provided the closing remarks for the first CFA YoPro Leadership Summit. Attendees were encouraged to join the Chicago Chapter’s Holiday Party that same evening at Venue Six10.

Pictured below: Karen Marino, North Mill Capital and Kat Parker of HYPERAMS; Alex Mazer, Big Shoulders Capital, Ben Colley, Citizens Commercial Banking, James Garlick, Midcap Financial and Barret Arthur of Big Shoulders Capital.

Special thanks to our YoPro Leadership Summit sponsors: Chapman and Cutler LLP, Crestmark, EQ Riskfactor, Hilco Global, MB Business Capital, North Mill Capital, Otterbourg P.C., & Winston & Strawn LLP. The YoPro Leadership Summit would have not been successful without the support of these firms.

Author: Representing the Texas Market for Republic, out of its expanding Houston office; previously, William Kemp previously spent more than four years developing the Midwest region. He is currently the Co-Chair of the Young Professionals Committee for the Commercial Finance Association in Houston, Co-Chair of the Communication Committee for the Chicago Turnaround Management Association and member of the Association for Corporate Growth. William is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

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