The Last Word

Written by: Laurel Egan Kenny, Turningpoint Communications

In the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we were forced to cancel Windy City Summit 2020. We could not move forward, however, without affording our gracious speakers the opportunity to have their voices heard on compelling industry topics at this unprecedented moment in history. We have decided to pass along our speakers’ thought leadership to our members, sponsors, exhibitors, and would-be attendees in the form of our first-ever “The Last Word” document. We hope our constituents will find this document provides insights into our speakers’ areas of subject matter expertise – and closure before we move and look forward to 2021.

The results of the “The Last Word” compilation were as diverse and varied as our speakers themselves: from professional development to treasury industry-specific mandates to regulatory requirements to faster payments. Some of our speakers even provided insights into freeing up cash and evaluating legal documentation in the wake of a pandemic.

Inside “The Last Word” document, find quotations from multiple perspectives about:

  • Modern Treasury metrics
  • Focus on maximizing cash flow and liquidity and minimizing risk
  • Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation, and Application Programming Interfaces
  • Cybercrime and fraud
  • International treasury management and global trade
  • Faster payments: same day and real-time
  • Relationship management for internal business partners, including Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable
  • Getting back to basics with investment and risk management policies
  • Industry mandates
    • ISO 20022
    • Transition away from LIBOR
    • FASB Hedge Accounting
  • Personal branding and career advancement using LinkedIn


As always, our speakers are our industry advocates and present best practices. It is important to follow up with individual speakers for more information about products and services. While we cannot provide speakers’ contact information, we encourage you to use LinkedIn to search for speakers. Please note, speakers’ companies are included with their names.

Thank you again for your support during these tough times. We feel strongly that better days are ahead. Mark your calendar for Windy City Summit 2021 at Navy Pier from May 18-20, 2021. In the meantime, we will be once again seeking thought leaders on hot topics. The coming weeks and months will bring new ideas and insights, so too will our industry-leading presenters. Also, for interested speakers, be on the lookout for our Call for Proposals coming out soon!

CLICK HERE to download and view all nine pages of the “The Last Word.”

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What’s your Style?

Written by: Laurel Egan Kenny, Turningpoint Communications

When it comes to conference education, what style of presentation do you prefer? A keynote? General Session? A panel? A single presenter? A Big Idea Talk? Presentation type preference is a personal one – and has a great deal to do with learning style, comfort level, engagement level, knowledge of the topic and so much more. The best conferences offer a variety of styles to engage audiences of all kinds for different reasons. Which presentation style “speaks” to you?

Typically presented over lunch, keynote addresses are best “served up” light, funny or motivational. After all, who wants to be weighed down by a heavy topic and a heavy chicken over mashed potatoes meal before 1:00 PM? Though a dark story with an inspirational outcome can be uplifting, like a soufflé or chocolate mousse dessert. I’ve heard many different flavors of the motivational keynote – from Mt. Everest’s survival to rags to riches stories to accounts of overcoming severe illness, disability or other seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

A strong keynote is a powerful tool. The right speakers can “sell” a conference, particularly those with star quality or corporate leaders who represent a well-known brand. It helps when a famous keynote uses the story of their rise to fame to deliver poignant messages based on their experience. I also enjoy a good adventure story – chronicling an adventure through time, one where the speaker provides wisdom and lessons learned. I have had the privilege of attending a number of compelling keynote addresses at treasury conferences throughout my career. Most memorable were “Life is Good” co-founders Bert and John Jacobs, whose tale of homelessness inspired their whimsical t-shirts and ultimately their philanthropy. Even Former Boston Police Commissioner, Ed Davis, brought an audience from tears of pain to inspiration, just one year after the Boston Marathon Bombings.

A fit kick-off to any conference, the general session brings together all attendees in a grand and impressive gathering (of hundreds or thousands) to formally welcome them, establish/reinforce the conference theme and set the tone of a conference before they set off on their own or in small groups to their chosen paths. A general session presenter with mass appeal (fame, brand, do-gooder, even a mysterious, protagonist) will draw a crowd. General Session topics best are high-level, weighty, inspirational, thought-provoking, innovative – and delivered by a powerhouse speaker supported by a multimedia show complete with slides, video, interactivity and fully rehearsed (yet extemporaneous), authentic speech. Equally as effective are “fireside chat,” interviews designed to intellectually transport massive audiences in awkward chairs in a cold, cavernous function room to a warm, comfortable living room complete with soft couches and pillows – and a crackling fireplace, of course. Actor and activist, Michael J. Fox; Former President Bill Clinton; Colonel Colin Powell and Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were the most memorable general session speakers I can recall from my treasury management industry career. Breakout session speakers are wise to tie their presentation back to the general session and theme of the conference to reinforce their relevance. Conference organizers and leaders can enhance or detract from the power of a solid general session with their own performance. I favor a warm welcome by a relatable conference chair to a robotic, awkward, teleprompter, overly rehearsed speech by a figurehead any day.

Panels, if they are done well, provide multiple perspectives on a particular topic. I have seen this done very successfully and I have seen them fail. In environments ripe for violations to the “No Sales pitch” rule, panels with representatives from both the sales and buy-sides provide balance. At treasury conferences, specifically, I find it helpful to have vendors bring a corporate / practitioner / buy-side client. This allows for a case study, successful storytelling format. Of course, no one believes a “super vendor man saves the day” story when it is one-sided and told almost exclusively by the vendor – with the client simply there as a figurehead. It is no surprise, I have also found the best panels are well-rehearsed so that each panelist knows what is expected of him/her – and knows what s/he and the others bring to the table, to avoid a choppy delivery or redundant information.

Subject matter experts are well-positioned to lead discussions and deliver education based on their skills, education, experience. However, a single presenter must “deliver,” not simply transfer information for his/her audience. In fact, when it comes to individual presentations, the sage words of the late and great Maya Angelou apply, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This means single presenters must subscribe to a higher burden of “edu-tainment” delivery. That is to be compelling, dynamic and engaging (in no particular order). It is imperative that the speaker involve the audience in his/her presentation. This comes in several forms. Instead of stating a fact, ask it as a question, then ask the audience what they think about that – or if they have had any experience with that. Also, it is imperative to cite sources. No one believes that a single person holds nor should one be expected to hold all of the information there is to know about a particular topic.

Popularized by the famous “Ted Talks,” the “Big Idea Talk” is set in front of a smaller, more focused audience set to be amazed by an incredibly poignant 30 minute or less highly rehearsed presentation of a unique idea. Built as a bridge between real-life and podcast, these discussions are typically video recorded for use in other media. Treasury and payment conferences have started to incorporate this format into their repertoires to keep things fresh and to appeal across generations.

Education can be served up in different ways. Varied presentation styles offer advantages and disadvantages – and may or may not appeal to audience members with particular needs or tastes. General sessions and keynote lunches have mass appeal, while one-to-many (single presenter) presentations, panel discussions and “Big Idea Talks” together offer enough variety that audiences ought to be able to find a style that they enjoy. What is clear though, is that speaker name, reputation or brand may bring an audience, but delivery, content, engagement are what makes them stay. An ability to make the audience FEEL is what makes a presentation memorable.

Capitalize on your Thought Leadership

Written by: Laurel Egan Kenny, President, Turningpoint Communications

Treasury professionals don’t appreciate how much knowledge and experience they possess. I have been on a mission to help treasury leaders express their thought leadership to benefit customers, junior staff, communities and the treasury management industry. Thought leadership is the result of capitalizing on the talent, experience, and passion inside your business, or from your community, to get in front of a defined target audience on a particular topic in a compelling way – and on a schedule that works for the presenter/writer and receiver. Ira Apfel, Editorial Director of the Association for Financial Professionals defines thought leadership as, “Articulating your experiences in treasury and finance as original, innovative insights to further your profession, your employer and your career.”

Industry publications provide opportunities for whitepapers, byline articles or other features. So too does social media – namely blogs, vlogs, YouTube, LinkedIn Articles, Wikipedia. A conference provides a great opportunity for an expression of thought leadership. A call for presentations allows thought leaders to offer up their subject matter expertise. Windy City Summit is one example of a conference at which treasury leaders can present their ideas. Why present at the Windy City Summit? It’s Simple! Showcase your thought leadership to Chicago and beyond-based treasury and finance professionals.


Don’t believe you are worthy? Don’t believe your expertise is worthy of sharing? Think about your experience.

  • Present a case study, success story, timeline of events
  • Discuss best practices
  • Present ideas for innovation, change, efficiency, productivity
  • Answer frequently asked questions
  • Discuss successes, failures


Still don’t believe anyone wants to learn from you? Think about this! According to Ira Apfel, the national AFP relies on outside authors to contribute:

  • 418 articles, 1,024 pages, 500,000+ words for its quarterly international publication+
  • 140 Sessions at its annual conference


Windy City and other larger regional organizations require support from outside contributors to produce:

  • 40 to 90 conference breakout sessions
  • 6 to 12 educational meetings a year


So, have we convinced you that your thought leadership is needed? We will soon be sending out the Call for Presentations for the 2021 Windy City Summit.

An Experience You Can’t Afford to Miss

Written by: Windy City Summit


Treasury professionals of all experience levels are invited to attend the Windy City Summit to maximize their potential, streamline processes and strengthen partnerships to excel in treasury management.  Windy City Summit is one of the largest treasury and cash management conferences in the country.  We consistently offer outstanding education, the newest tips and trends in the industry and an exhibit hall full of treasury management experts with information that benefit attendees and their companies.

We have three amazing featured speakers this year who will offer valuable knowledge that can be applied to your business and personal world.

TERRY SAVAGE: Author and expert on personal finances, the economy, and the markets. She was named a Top 5 Speaker of the year by Speakers Platform. She also frequently appears on TV and radio programs.

JOHN STOSSEL: Host @ Fox Business Network, is a 19 Emmy Award-winning journalist who has been honored 5 times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club.

ALAN ZWEIBEL: An original Saturday Night Live writer and best-selling author. Alan has won Emmy, Writers Guild of America and TV Critics awards. He is an author, playwright, screenwriter and producer.

This year Windy City Summit added the Technology Track to our breakout sessions including presentations on fintech, digitizing B2C payments, faster payments, blockchain and more.  We have 100 educational sessions to choose from including CTP exam review classes at no additional cost.  We are also an affordable way to earn continuing education credits for CTP, CCM, FP&A (Association of Financial Professionals), C.P.E. (Illinois Board of Public Accountancy) and AAP (NACHA).

We are also excited to announce the new Learning Lounge in the exhibit hall featuring short sessions on the latest innovations in treasury management.  These sessions will be another opportunity to earn continuing education credits.  While in the exhibit hall, attendees can speak with more than 60 exhibiting companies to review their products and decide which one will be the best solution for their company.

As you can see, Windy City Summit is planning an incredible meeting right here in Chicago offering affordable education and the chance to network with more than 1,000 treasury professionals and the best companies in the industry. This year’s summit is more than a conference, it’s an experience you cannot afford to miss. Register today!