Mark of a champion

Mark of a champion

Ever since I can remember, I’ve hated corporate conferences.  Ok, hate is a strong word, so perhaps strong dislike is a better term.

Many are nothing more than a holy amalgamation of talking heads, rubber chicken dinners, conversations borne out of intoxication, and military grade agendas. Nevertheless, I trudge through 7-8 conferences a year.

Perhaps it’s because I don’t have a choice. Perhaps it’s because of my desire to reconnect with old acquaintances and colleagues.  Who knows, but I go to conferences like clockwork despite my general feelings toward them.

As such, it’s a strange feeling to be someone that has led planning for a specific conference for the 3rd consecutive year (1st year at my new organization).   Wait, didn’t I say I usually hate conferences?

Last Friday, hosted by my employer First Republic Bank, our 1st annual finance NextGen conference for Private Equity/Venture Capital concluded in beautiful Monterey, CA,  remarkably replete with sunny skies.  Our host audience for the conference was Controllers, VP of Finances, and Early CFO’s employed by Venture Capital and Private Equity firms.

Despite my general distaste for most conferences, I absolutely love being at the center of planning this conference as it’s a cause that I feel incredibly passionate about.  Oh, and while we call it a conference, we do try our best to incorporate concepts that are fresh and different to make it less conference like.

One of the biggest problems that exists within any business or industry is the lack of effective generational planning and by extension, the lack of comprehensive development programs for the next generation of leaders and influencers.  It’s counterintuitive of course given that generational change is an inevitable course in all facets of life and business.

The singular mission of this conference to help address this issue.  Through a platform of differentiated programming and network building, we aim to hopefully do our (small) part in helping provide lift within the broader ecosystem while concurrently building valuable sub-communities.  It’s something we’re committed to and feel privileged to be a part of.

While success will ultimately be measured in years, not days or weeks, I’ve been thrilled to see some great early results.  Playing host to nearly 50 of the best and brightest minds firms from some of the top Venture Capital and Private Equity firms in the world was truly a privileged experience for us all and we are already looking forward to a better event next year.

Unbelievably humbling is the incredible support we received from like-minded partners and friends, including support from one of the greatest leaders of all time, Hall of Fame NFL player, Ronnie Lott.  From Limited Partner discussions to a CFO led discussion to many others, I want to thank all of our great partners in supporting the cause (in no particular order):

  • August Capital
  • Felicis Ventures
  • Founders Fund
  • Francisco Partners
  • Luminous Capital
  • Makena Group
  • Venture Investment Associates
  • Venrock
  • Gunderson Dettmer
  • Costello and Sons, Inc.
  • Rothstein & Kass

Most of all, I’d like to thank our great attendees, who represent the present and future  engine and backbone for this industry.

Perhaps I should re-think my conference hate dislike….

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