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Leadership

FEI's 2022 Financial Leadership Summit: An Opening Night to Remember


A recap of night one of FEI's 2022 Financial Leadership Summit.

©Isabella Hilligoss/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Financial Executive International’s 2022 Financial Leadership Summit kicked off Sunday, May 15th with live outdoor music, delicious food and beverage, and all-access passes to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum.

When Attendees of the Opening Reception arrived at the Rock & Roll Hall, they were greeted with a series of six-foot tall letters “LONG LIVE ROCK.” In the middle of the “O” in the word “ROCK” was FEI’s logo. The instant I saw the letters and attendees from FEI’s more than 65 chapters across the United States standing next to and climbing onto the letters and logo, my intuition told me the experience would be beyond memorable.

The Rock & Roll Hall opened in 1995 and its mission is to engage, teach, and inspire. As I rode the escalator down to the Hall’s main floor, my heart became full watching hundreds of FEI members, staff, and their spouses and partners mix, mingle, laugh, smile, and come together in person for the first time in more than two years. I saw many familiar and new faces. I heard stories of personal loss, career transitions, cross-country moves, and celebrations of vacations in other countries, children’s graduations, and reconnecting more deeply with loved ones. The last two years introduced so much uncertainty into our lives that many of us are finally able to slow down enough to see the personal and professional opportunities hidden in unexpected societal events.

I saw FEI members wearing t-shirts displaying their favorite rock bands, jean jackets with images of Elvis on the back, a woman with her face painted like the band KISS, a couple folks wearing fedoras, and much more. My partner Tiffany and I walked through the Hall with a few friends from two of FEI’s California chapters. Personally, I loved seeing the tribute to Def Leppard and the pedals drummer Rick Allen used after he lost his left arm in a car accident in 1984. Singer and actress Ruth Brown, often referred to as the “Queen of R&B,” had a magnificent black and yellow striped dress on display that exemplified the energy and pop music flair she introduced to R&B in the 1950s. And, in honor of the 2022 Summit theme, “Come Together,” I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how wonderful the Hall’s groundbreaking exhibition and tribute to the Beatles was. From video of the Beatles final public performance atop the Apple Corps London headquarters, to Lennon’s Epiphone Casino guitar, to the 1969 Glyn Johns Diaries documenting important details from the Let It Be sessions, it was a fascinating trip through events that shaped rock and roll.

We headed back outside to the main stage to listen to the Opening Reception’s headliner, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. How fitting that FEI, headquartered in New Jersey, would celebrate its 90th anniversary with a musical performance from a band that got its start on the Jersey Shore in 1976. Not only was Southside Johnny’s performance spectacular, but there was a certain magic in the air with ideal weather, Lake Erie to our right, the downtown Cleveland skyline to our left, a full moon watching over us above, and friends, old and new, coming together.

Thank you to our private rock show Headline Sponsor Plante Moran and Opening Reception Sponsors BMO, EY, Ledgent, The Ohio Society of CPAs, Oswald Companies, and FEI Northeast Ohio.

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Author Michael S. Seaver has served as emcee of the Financial Leadership Summit for the last five years. To learn more about Michael, please visit michaelsseaver.com.