Cho! Co! (Wow!) - we had a magnifique (great) time in N'awlins at the 28th Annual Conference, October 11-14th! With over 60 sessions to choose from and 49 regulators from various states in attendance, it was no wonder we had 743 attendees make the Big Easy their destination of choice to help with Unmasking Compliance Mysteries. One lagniappe (an unexpected surprise) was that we had 222 First-Timers - the second largest number of first-timers to attend conference!
Starting on Sunday afternoon, there were over 60 sessions held for the next three days. There were plenty of choices for everyone - from beginners to the experts. There was a wide range of topics including the standard regulator roundtables and Q&A sessions - and adding some new hot topics such as drones, cybersecurity and ride sharing companies.
Our keynote speaker for the Monday breakfast was the energetic Bruce Wilkinson. He spoke of personal responsibility and included lots of laughter and good stories. Bruce also shared some insights on the motivation behind volunteerism at our Volunteer Recognition Lunch. He then spoke to a full-house about the Thermostat Leader - How to Inspire and Influence a Comfortable Team Culture and Climate to Achieve Personal and Organizational Success™.
Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler - and the good times did roll at the Gala Event on Monday evening! There was lots of dancing, good food - and even better desserts! And who can ever forget the Boogie Booth - people lined up to have their pictures in goofy hats, funny glasses - and with their friends - it was a great time!
On Tuesday morning the sessions restarted with our keynote speaker was Louisiana Commissioner James Donelon. Commissioner Donelon spoke about how far Louisiana has come since Hurricane Katrina and the advances the industry had made in his state. On Tuesday evening, the Chapters all found ways of exploring what the Crescent City had to offer - Bourbon Street, cooking schools and ghosts!
Every day of Conference offered sessions which would help individuals with Unmasking Compliance Mysteries. We started the 'unmasking' with the ever-popular Q&A sessions on Sunday afternoon - and for the compliance newbies there were '101' sessions which aimed to lay a foundation for learning and networking.
Monday started with the View from the Top sessions which always draw a crowd. This year was no exception with Louisiana Commissioner Jim Donelon, New Mexico Superintendent John Franchini, Maryland Commissioner Al Redmer and Iowa Deputy Commissioner Doug Ommen sharing insights, hot topics and lots of information with our participants.
All sessions delivered information, taught best practices and facilitated networking. Numerous state regulators were presenters along with other industry experts on such topics as advertising, cybersecurity, metrics and much, much more.
We had a lot of Solutions Providers from which to choose this year! All of them offered great ways to help people when they are Unmasking Compliance Mysteries. In the spirit of being in The Big Easy, we had a new game called Bayou Bingo which many people enjoyed. We welcomed back many of our regular Solutions Providers as well as a few new ones - all of whom we hope to see many times in the future.
Our sponsors are an integral part of our conference success - and we are very lucky to have so many who contribute to our success.
Merci Beaucoup to all of our Solutions Providers and Sponsors - we couldn't have done it without you!
This year the proceeds from our Silent Auction and sale of Conference Pins were donated to Joey's Hope for Hungry Children. This local charity was founded in honor of USMC Sgt. Joseph A. Bovia who lost his life while serving in Afghanistan on his third tour overseas. Due to the generosity of our attendees, we were able to present a check to Mrs. Teresa Bovia, Joey's mom for the amount of $5200. This donation was used to fill additional food bags for 450 children, buy school uniforms for 47 children and winter jackets for 100 children. Your donations made a HUGE difference in the lives of some very needy children. If you were unable to donate at conference, you can still make a difference by donating at Joey's Hope For Hungry Children directly via their website, https://www.joeyshopeforhungrychildren.org.
The energetic and very entertaining Bruce Wilkinson set the tone for our 28th Annual Conference by talking about personal responsibility. His ability to see humor in everyday activities - and to share stories energized the group and prepared us for the day ahead. Later in the day, he made sure that we learned a little about team culture and personal success in his session - The Thermostat Leader - How to Inspire and Influence a Comfortable Team Culture and Climate to Achieve Personal and Organizational Success™.
We had the second highest number of first-timers at this year's conference - 222! A large number of them attended our First Timers' Orientation on Sunday afternoon where they had an opportunity to hear from not only industry members of AICP but also regulator members. There was a lot of information shared, a lot of laughter and a lot of new friends made. Thanks to Karen Crooks and Jan Vitus for making our first timers feel welcome and energized for the rest of the sessions!
AICP's volunteers are the core of the organization, the people whose ideas, creativity and devotion are what make our organization into the premiere compliance organization it is. In honor of these special individuals and as a way of saying thank you, a volunteer luncheon was held on Monday. Our keynote speaker, Bruce Wilkinson gave a presentation about volunteerism and how meaningful it is to everyone - including the volunteer.
Providing learning opportunities is one of our Association's keystones and is embedded within our Mission Statement. Recognition of those of our members who participate and guide their continuing education to become more informed and more equipped to face the challenges within our community is natural to us.
The Education Committee reviews our Professional Designation Program each year to ensure that it is current and remains viable. Each year we award those who've earned their ACP, CCP and CE designations during the course of the year at our Professional Designation Breakfast. We understand the challenge to find time to pursue continuing education in our daily lives, and those who are able to work this into their schedules deserve to be recognized.
Congratulations to each of our new designees and CE recipients - 41 in total!
15 ACP; 1 CCP; 15 ACP & CCP and 10 CE
A hearty CONGRATULATIONS to those who have dedicated their time to study and to increase career growth opportunity through the attainment of our ACP, CCP and CE designations.
AICP National Conference is a great time to bring all of the new officers for both the National Board and the State Chapters together to meet with some of the current officers - to pass on information, learn about processes and procedures, as well as discuss new ideas.
Let the Good Times Roll! On Monday evening, everyone enjoyed some local cuisine, some fantastic desserts in the quiet room, the great music of the Troy Marks & No Idea Band - and let's not forget all of the fun we had posing and wearing funny hats for the Boogie Booth! It was an enjoyable evening of re-connecting with old friends and making new ones.
Each year the current and incoming Presidents hold a reception to recognize the outgoing members of the Board of Directors and outgoing Committee Co-chairs, as well as say "Welcome!" to the incoming members of the Board of Directors and Committee Co-chairs. The strength and success of the AICP resides with our volunteers, and this is especially true for those volunteers who step up to leadership positions within our organization. The Incoming/Outgoing Board of Directors/Committee Chair reception is one way we say thank you to those who have been national leaders and to welcome those who are coming on in various national leadership roles.
The current President also holds a small, informal reception for Past Presidents of the AICP. This has become a special way to say thank you to those who have helped form the organization and make it the premiere compliance organization it is today.
We held our Annual AICP Business Meeting during Tuesday's lunch. This was an excellent opportunity for us to get up to speed on some of the AICP's significant initiatives, activities, and achievements. The Secretary presented a report concerning the Board meetings for the past year and the Treasurer gave a brief report on the financial strength of the organization. The Chairs of the Membership Committee gave a synopsis of some initiatives which are being started to help our membership grow.
The 2014-2015 Board of Directors was recognized, and we were then introduced to our 2015-2016 Board of Directors. The President's gavel was passed from Sue Eckler-Kerns to Roger Osgood.
The Robert W. Lennon Award is the AICP's most prestigious award. The Lennon Award was named after one of our founding fathers who were not only instrumental in the initial development of our organization but contributed years of service. This year it was an honor and pleasure to present the Lennon Award to Katie Gurnett at our Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Katie has served in numerous roles within AICP throughout the years, both on the Chapter and National level. She has been a national and chapter officer and chaired many committees.
The inscription on Katie's award reads:
In proud recognition of your ongoing leadership and active participation in the Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals, achieved through your tenure as a National President, hardworking chair of many national committees including Conference Planning, Membership, Nominating, Website and Bylaws, and your tireless and enthusiastic involvement and leadership at the chapter level including President, Past President and Regional Director, we thank you for your many valuable contributions to AICP. You truly demonstrate the commitment, spirit, heart, and the drive which this award represents. Thank you for the countless volunteer hours you have given to the AICP, upholding its values, mentoring many along the way, and truly MAKING A DIFFERENCE!
Thank you, Katie, for everything you have done for the AICP and congratulations for receiving the 2015 Lennon Award!
The President of the AICP has the honor of presenting the AICP's President's Award. This award is presented to a member or members who exemplify volunteerism through their dedication, hard work, and service to the AICP. This year the President's Award was presented to two individuals.
The President's Award recipients were Donna Bernard and Maryana Grodnova-Ware. Donna's service over the years has been invaluable to the organization. She has always been willing to step in and help with a project when asked. Maryana is responsible for the conference website, as well as other activities with the Education committee. Both Donna and Maryana exemplify the best in our AICP volunteers.
Congratulations Donna and Maryana, the 2015 President's Award recipients!
As the 28th Annual AICP Conference came to an end, we were reminded by our very own compliance versions of Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia that it really isn't the end - because we will all be getting back together September 25-28, 2016 in Orlando where we will be Taking Compliance to New Heights! May the Compliance Force be With You!