CONVERGE20 is in the books, and I have now had a couple weeks to collect my thoughts on what made it the top compliance event in this seemingly never-ending year of 2020. The greatest thing about this conference was not the fabulous speakers or inspiring keynotes, but the engagement. It was like something I had never seen before, and presented attendees with some great opportunities for not simply networking but real engagement with their peers.
In every session, there were three conversations going simultaneously and overlapping. The first conversation was the speakers and their presentations. The second was the questions and comments posed to the speakers by the audience in the chat. The third was comments by the audience on the speakers remarks, the content and the audience experience. It was this third conversation which I found incredibly rich and powerful. It was if I was on a panel in an auditorium of 500 or more, making a presentation, answering questions while simultaneously the audience is having a conversation among itself.
I was watching the chat box while the talks were ongoing, and this third conversation was fascinating. It provided a level of engagement I had not seen at any of the virtual conferences in this or any other year. Attendees were able to raise questions to their peers and receive almost immediate feedback. Another function allowed attendees to contact each other for private chat follow-ups.
One standout example was Matt Galvin, Global Vice President, Ethics & Compliance, AB-InBev, who, in his panel on The ROI of Ethics & Compliance: The proof is in your program, talked about how he has worked to improve the BrewRight system each year. With each improvement, he has been able to demonstrate to management the return on investment (ROI) from the tool. In other words, creating the ROI of compliance is not a one-time change where compliance goes to profitability, but a slow, building process to achieve that goal. I had never heard any Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) talk like that previously. I found it to be a powerful message. As powerful a message as this was for me, it was equally powerful to the attendees, who not only posed questions to Matt but also started sharing their own experiences with him.
In this year of 2020, this engagement is what compliance professionals crave. It is not the lecture format of so many other online events, which are essentially webinars—but instead, real interaction with other compliance professionals. I virtually connected with many people I have not physically seen this year. Even virtually, it makes all the difference to interact with your peers, and when you can do so in a meaningful way, the experience is all the more powerful.
I asked, before the event, “What makes Convercent’s CONVERGE conference so unique and, indeed, so special? It is the Converge Community who attend the event. This year will be no different as you will have the chance to experience that Converge Community in the most unique way yet presented in a compliance conference.” This was more on point than I ever dreamed.
If you missed CONVERGE20 or would simply like to pick up where the conversations left off, fortunately the CONVERGE community is online year-round, and membership is free. Click here to sign up.