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The Executive Committee of the ELFA Board met on March 11 in Naples, Florida, under the leadership of Chairman Tony Cracchiolo. The Committee, which is the association’s primary management body, meets in person three times annually to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the association and make strategic decisions regarding programming, policy and budget priorities covering the near and long term. The following is a summary of some of the key issues considered by the Executive Committee at its March gathering.

ELFA President and CEO Ralph Petta reported that the association is off to a strong start in 2017 with solid membership renewal/recruitment and event attendance, and an active state and federal advocacy agenda. The committee reviewed and approved program updates in the areas of membership, business and professional development, public policy, research and industry information and communications. Petta reported that in September the ELFA headquarters will move to a new location a few blocks away from its current location in Washington, D.C., which will provide long-term savings for the association.

Lori Frasier of Key Equipment Finance, Chair of the Board’s recently formed Diversity Working Group, shared the working group’s recommendations to increase the engagement and representation of women leaders in the association and the equipment finance industry. The Working Group surveyed women in the leasing industry and came up with a number of suggestions including: inviting the full Board of Directors to Women in Leasing events; enhancing the Women in Leasing reception at the ELFA Annual Convention with more structured programming; having a keynote speaker at the Annual Convention on the topic of gender balanced leadership; conducting a breakout session at the Annual Convention on a similar topic; asking Board members to commit to sending at least two women from their companies to the Annual Convention; and holding Women in Leasing receptions at additional ELFA events. The Committee directed the staff to explore the feasibility of these suggestions.

Mike DiCecco of Huntington Equipment Finance offered an update on recent activities of the Emerging Talent Advisory Council. This group of up-and-coming employees from member companies is working to encourage industry employees to get involved in the association early in their careers and attract the best and brightest to the industry. The Council is hosting three Emerging Talent Regional Networking Events in 2017 (see for details) and is working to develop an Emerging Leaders Summit in 2018.

Rob Boyer of Susquehanna Commercial Finance informed the Committee on the activities of the Credentialing Working Group. Throughout 2016, ELFA collaborated with the CLFP Foundation to raise awareness of the credential among the association’s membership. ELFA will continue to support the CLFP program.

Representatives from the research firm McKinley Advisors briefed the Executive Committee on the results of the recently completed ELFA Member Impact Study. An ad hoc working group of members helped guide the direction of the study, which assessed how the association is meeting its members’ needs. The survey found that overall, ELFA’s member satisfaction is very high. However, the McKinley representatives identified a number of areas that ELFA might explore to enhance the value proposition offered to the membership. A vigorous and engaging discussion took place. Petta informed the Committee that results of the member impact study would be incorporated into the staff’s and Board’s strategic planning activities scheduled to begin in the summer.

Treasurer Rob Boyer reported that ELFA ended 2016 in a strong financial position, which enabled the association to make a healthy contribution to its reserve account. This helps to ensure the future viability of the organization and enables it to continue the development of meaningful, needs-based programming to the membership. Following a lengthy discussion, the Executive Committee proposed investing some of the ELFA reserves for the benefit of members in several areas, pending approval by the Board of Directors at their May meeting in Washington, D.C.

Bill Verhelle, Chairman of the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, reported on the recently completed strategic planning activities intended to develop a blueprint for the Foundation into the year 2020. He informed the Committee of ongoing work to build a comprehensive dataset of lease transactions to make available to researchers. He also announced that the Foundation is looking to build a database of internship opportunities available in the industry and explore ways of helping member companies start internship programs.

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