The American Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (AACFB) wrapped up its first hybrid conference on Friday, September 10 in Nashville, TN at the Grand Hyatt Nashville. While the attendance was slightly lower than previous years due to the pandemic, there were very few cancellations and the enthusiasm from attendees present was electric.
The three-day event hosted 242 in-person attendees and 39 virtual-only attendees. Those who attended in person enjoyed the full program of events, including a fantastic day at the Gaylord Springs Golf Links for the annual golf tournament and the Women in Finance Luncheon, which took place at the lou/na lounge atop the Grand Hyatt Nashville. Day one was capped off with the Opening Reception at the luxurious Grand Hyatt pool deck with live music and views of the city.
Both virtual and in-person attendees had the opportunity to attend 15 educational sessions, including a high-energy presentation by keynote speaker and well-known economist, Elliot Eisenberg, who truly made economics entertaining. All of the sessions were live-streamed and recorded, and all attendees will have access to the session recordings for the next year, which is a feature previously only available with fully virtual events. Session rooms looked a little different this year as they were formatted for social distancing. Additionally, masks, hand sanitizer and comfort-level stickers were provided for in-person attendees to promote health and safety.
The exhibit hall was in full swing on Thursday and Friday where 45 exhibitors were finally able to make those all-important face-to-face connections. Attendees were also treated to a margarita bar, Bloody Mary bar and ice cream breaks in the exhibit hall, courtesy of generous sponsors.
AACFB President Carrie Radloff stated, “We were extremely pleased with the turnout at our first in-person event in two years, given all of the hurdles and challenges this year has posed. It was heart-warming to see so many long-time members who were able to help us celebrate the AACFB’s 30th Anniversary. We were also thrilled to be able to offer a virtual option to those who wanted to participate but were unable to attend in person. We can’t wait for the 2022 AACFB Annual Conference in Charlotte, NC next May 11-13!”
The conference culminated in the Annual Business Meeting and Auction, where President Carrie Radloff thanked Immediate Past President Cindy Downs for her service as president of the AACFB. The presidency transitioned from Cindy Downs to Carrie Radloff in May of 2021. Cindy then honored Past President Paul Burnham and Past President Bud Callahan for their service on the AACFB Board of Directors. They rotated off the board in May. Secretary/Treasurer Roderick Knoll presented an upbeat Treasurer’s Report where he enthusiastically reported that the AACFB is in a positive financial position and has no debt. Immediate Past President Cindy Downs also presented the 2021 AACFB President’s Award to Buddy Zarbock with Commercial Funding Partners for his dedication to promoting educational opportunities for AACFB members.
Once the business at hand had concluded, Bobby Cowan with Y.E.S. Leasing took the mic to emcee the prize auction that is quickly becoming a favorite event at the conference. Attendees were able to collect “AACFB Bucks” during the conference for visiting with exhibitors or attending sessions. Bucks could also be purchased, with the proceeds benefiting the AACFB Scholarship Fund. Those in attendance had the opportunity to use their “bucks” to bid on prize packages worth up to $500 donated by AACFB sponsors and exhibitors.
After a busy week of networking and learning, attendees were finally able to kick back and relax at the Happy Hour & a Half hosted at the rooftop lounge at the Grand Hyatt Nashville. Many are already making plans to attend next year’s AACFB events taking place in May and September of 2022.