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Diversify the Ways You Communicate

Here's how finance leaders are learning to be authentic in physically-distant networking.

© Suppachok Nuthep/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Authenticity can be defined as the ability to be genuine. An original. True to one’s own personality, spirit or character. I’ve loved how FEI has weaved a unique theme into each day of the 2020 Financial Leadership Summit. Day four was no different as sessions focused on how finance leaders can be authentic in physically-distant networking, serving on boards of directors, and nurturing long-term mutually beneficial relationships.

Executive coach and author, Ethan Chazin, shared the importance of diversifying the ways you communicate and add value to your key relationships. Whether you’re sharing pertinent articles, inviting them to events you’re attending, or making professional introductions, remain focused on solving their most pressing challenges. Chazin shared his multi-step process for finding clarity on your relationship-building goals, creating an authentic personal bio, and how to address others’ core needs. In the office, the community, or via social platforms, what is your value proposition as a leader?

Stephen Brown, Senior Advisor, Board Leadership Center at KPMG, shared insights for positioning yourself to be invited to a corporate board. For FEI members, this is a hot topic and that came through with the number of thoughtful attendee questions Brown responded to. He suggested the jury may still out on earning a board certification. But, if you choose to pursue one, it does show initiative and desire. If you’re considering using a fee for service board search firm, Brown urges you to have them share examples of the results they’ve garnered for others with similar professional backgrounds. He also stressed the importance of serving on nonprofit and advisory boards and converting those experiences into a strong “board resume” that will position you strongly when the right opportunity appears. As we all know, who you know and what you know matter immensely. Leverage your relationships to open the right doors.

In a hands on presentation, Larry Kaufman, Managing Director of Midwest Region, Jefferson Wells, encouraged us to open the LinkedIn app on our mobile devices and walked us through sending personalized connection requests, using the QR code, and following hashtags for new connections and education. His live demonstration of LinkedIn was fantastic. Kaufman suggested we become givers by continually asking “How can I help you?” to those in our network. LinkedIn is a tool to share our professional accomplishments, but it is increasingly important to authentically share personal accomplishments, traits, or fun facts. “LinkedIn Larry,” as Kaufman’s affectionately known, has more than 28,000 first-level connections. He also gave away copies of his book, The NCG Factor, to a handful of conference attendees.

Thank you to Deloitte & Touche LLP’s John Wilde, Derek Gillespie, Allison Patti-Oliveira, and Samantha Pietsch for their insights and Q&A into special purpose acquisition companies (“SPACs”). They guided us through current trends, actions to take post acquisition, and an overview of regulatory requirements. Thank you also to Kenneth Heaslip, Professor of Accounting at Seton Hall University, and with Kaplan Financial Education, for his in depth review of the financial reporting implications associated with credit losses as changed by the issuance of ASU 2017-13 (Topic 326). Day four closed with pop up discussions of pressing or conference-related topics.