The Environmental Bankers Association (EBA) plans to take a progressive approach… a virtual two-day conference.
For many industries, conferences and trade shows would be in full swing this time of year with business representatives shaking hands, packing educational sessions, and engaging in close conversations. As certain aspects of normal life start to reopen that sort of interaction remains unattainable, or so it would seem. Next week, the Environmental Bankers Association (EBA) plans to take a progressive approach to this problem…a virtual two-day conference.
The EBA is a non-profit trade association that represents the financial services industry, including bank and non-bank financial institutions, insurers, asset management firms and those who provide services to them. Members include financial institutions, property and casualty insurers and brokers, environmental consultants, and attorneys. Under normal circumstances, the EBA hosts conferences every year in January and June. The meetings provide a forum to promote the exchange of environmental risk management and sustainable development lending information and technical expertise, as well as valuable networking opportunities.
EBA’s Virtual Conference 2020 will replace the canceled conference that would have taken place earlier this week in Charlotte, North Carolina. The virtual conference will include a series of interactive webinars covering topical industry information followed by virtual social events via video conferencing. The EBA has been ahead of the curve for this format – already hosting monthly conference calls and online seminars covering technical environmental risk management topics.
AKT Peerless spoke with Bill Sloan (Regions Bank), President of the EBA Board of Governors, to get his take on the reformatted conference.
After the conference was canceled, how quickly did the planning team switch gears, and move toward a virtual conference?
“It became clear fairly quickly that bankers weren’t going to be able to attend due to travel restrictions. From there the idea sort of grew organically. The entire effort was led by Georgina Dannatt (Bank of the West) and Sharon Valverde (JP Morgan Chase) and they’ve done a fantastic job.”
Did planning take a larger level of effort?
“Topics for the conference were already in the works. Of those topics we selected what we thought might provide the best content for a virtual conference. We already host online seminars, so this was not a great leap for EBA. We just needed to determine the mechanics of delivering the content to members in a conference format.”
What will you miss most about meeting in person?
“Seeing all your shining faces. The EBA conference is like going home. I get to see peers that have become friends. The content is also so good at the conferences that I get updates on technical information and go home feeling more confident to do my job. The other great thing about EBA is that competitors put a halt on competition for a few days, have fun, and share ideas. That is the heart of the EBA.”
AKT Peerless looks forward to attending this conference from the comfort of our homes and offices, but we will certainly miss seeing our EBA friends and colleagues in person.