FEI's 2022 Financial Leadership Summit: Information, Influence, and Integrity

More than 90 years of different cultures coming together to fulfill FEI’s focus on meaning-filled interaction, learning ahead of it’s time Information, providing tools to help you influence your stakeholders, and doing it all by operating with integrity.

FEI's 2022 Financial Leadership Summit would not have been possible without the unwavering commitment of Bill Brodnick, President, and Nick Piszko, Director with Financial Executives International Northeast Ohio chapter. For six years, they spoke with leaders at FEI’s New Jersey headquarters, and across its 65 chapters, learning the best practices of designing and hosting a conference that led attendees to “Come Together” after two years of the annual event being facilitated virtually. Deloitte’s Lara Abrash closed day one, metaphorically comparing the coronavirus pandemic to Noah’s Ark. She suggested it ushered in a variety of rapid speed sociocultural transformations. We had time to question what we wanted out of life and to learn we’re far more capable of change than we may have previously believed. Many of us uncovered new ways to express ourselves. We deeply reconnected with loved ones. We were more intentional with where we distributed time. Because of Bill, Nick, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum, the Hilton Cleveland Downtown, tremendous sponsors and exhibitors, and FEI’s team members, we “got the band back together” learning from and investing in like-minded leaders with whom we share deep kinship.

Cory Hrncirik, Modern Finance Director of the Office of the CFO at Microsoft led the day’s first general session sharing that humanity has entered the fourth industrial revolution. This wave of digital transformation is likely to alter every facet of human life. Mastering disruption becomes simpler when we see in our mind’s eye that all business is personal and that transparency is a powerful antiseptic. Shining a temporary light on the inefficient or misaligned parts of your organization guides you to shape new 21st century strategies. Cory’s presentation displayed Microsoft’s six focus areas for achieving higher efficiency - business acumen, collaboration, growth mindset, technology intensity, data-driven action, and strategic enablement. I really appreciated Cory’s energy, the way he walked attendees through methods to create efficiency, and his reminder that the more we celebrate our and others’ successes, the easier it’ll be to find meaning in digital lifestyles.

Thank you to friends and sponsors Board International, Prophix Software, Sage Intacct, OneStream, and HighRadius for facilitating your breakout sessions. And, thank you Insperity for sponsoring the day’s networking break.
The iconic holiday movie A Christmas Story was in part filmed in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood. I’m guessing you remember that Ralphie desperately wanted a Red Ryder BB gun. His father wanted to win the leg lamp. Ralphie’s mom simply wanted everyone to be happy. My stepdaughter Aleah loves this movie and she has helped me see it as a truly American story about what defines culture, evokes our emotions, and remains in our memory banks as years pass. Because of 2.5 years of social transformation, finance leaders have more flexibility in defining their company culture and the way they engage team members personally and professionally. Thank you Bre Anderson, Angelica Dentinger, and Marissa Gerdes, all leaders with KPMG, for facilitating the next general session about ESG (environmental, social, governance) reporting. As organizations begin disclosing more information about their impact on the world, greater levels of transparency are likely to guide us in choosing what is material, significant, relevant, and important to our stakeholders. As ESG reporting becomes commonplace, communication will be more transparent and members of society will be more aware of their impact on the collective. My intuition tells me we’ll all feel a deeper responsibility to more sustainably use finite resources to accomplish goals.

This Summit’s final session was led Chris Wilkinson, Cybersecurity Principal with Crowe. Chris offered wonderful insights and stories into how attacks happen, ways you can prepare for a breach, protecting your organization against ransomware attacks, and use cases for cybersecurity insurance. Surrounding your organization’s digital assets with unique layers of protection - security audits, ethical hacking, bug bounties, hacking and reverse engineering services, online fraud monitoring, and more - is increasingly important in an uncertain world. Similarly, the city of Cleveland is surrounded by a series of metroparks called the “Emerald Necklace.” These 18 nature preserves encompass roughly 20,000 acres along creeks and rivers, through peaks and valleys, and entail biking and horse trails, golf courses, and more. Although each preserve on the necklace is quite unique - like the artists and styles enshrined in the Rock & Roll Hall, like the skills and experiences of each finance executive at Summit, and like the types of protection available to secure your digital assets - they exemplify the interplay of and connection between disparate things. They form a bond, a relationship, coming together for a purpose bigger than themselves.

That’s why we’re members of FEI’s 65 unique chapters. More than 90 years of different cultures coming together to fulfill FEI’s focus on meaning-filled Interaction, learning ahead of it’s time Information, providing tools to help you Influence your stakeholders, and doing it all by operating with Integrity. In 2023, the Financial Leadership Summit will be held in Nashville, Tennessee at the Gaylord Opryland. Nashville is home to The Country Music Hall of Fame, the Ryman Auditorium, and the Grande Ole Opry, so don’t miss the opportunity to reconnect with like-minded leaders in person and create life-long memories in the music city.

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.