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2020 Financial Leadership Summit



Day 1 - Thursday, October 29 | Day 2 - Friday, October 30

Agenda topics, timing and speakers subject to change.
Download conference brochure »


Wednesday, October 28

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Financial Executive of the Year Awards Ceremony*
Join fellow Summit attendees as we raise a glass to celebrate and recognize exceptional financial executives in their roles as corporate stewards. In its fourth year, the Financial Executives of the Year awards will be presented to peer nominated individuals who demonstrably make major impacts within their companies, ranging from increasing profitability to exhibiting exemplary leadership.

Awards will be presented for each of the following categories:

  • Public Company
    Sponsored by
    Robert Half | Protiviti
  • Private Company
  • Non-Profit Organization

7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Financial Leadership Summit Opening Reception*
Join us as we turn back the clock 100 years to a time filled with dimly lit speakeasies & gin cocktails! Dress in your best 1920s style attire and enjoy an evening filled with opulence reminiscent of a time gone by.

*Admission to these events are included in the cost of Financial Leadership Summit registration. Tickets for individuals not registered for Financial Leadership Summit are $200 and can be purchased by contacting


Day 1 - Thursday, October 29


7:00 am – 5:00 pm



7:30 am - 8:20 am


Breakfast Session (4 sessions/1 CPE Credit each)


A Practitioner's Guide to Financial Transformation
Sponsored by Workiva
True financial transformation will encompass all strategic initiatives aimed at improving finance and accounting. Initiatives can range from revamping the financial close process, to implementing new APIs, to automating work with bots and AI. Big or small, financial transformation requires a game plan.

During this discussion, panelists will share their experiences with financial transformation including the many benefits and efficiencies they realized such as time savings, connected data and reporting, and a reduction of manual work. Panelists will also cover challenges including how to get by-in from management, programming bots or AI, and system implementations and integrations.


  • Steve Soter Senior Director of Product Marketing l Workiva

Playing Monopoly
Sponsored by Cambridge Global Payments
How the concentration of wealth and power in an ever-smaller number of people, companies and places threatens the global economy.
Over the last four decades, technological and political changes have accelerated the flow of goods, money and ideas across borders - raising living standards and reducing global income inequality.

But these changes have enabled the rise of a "winner-takes-all" economy - in which most many players simply do not pass Go. Gaps have opened up between high school graduates and educated elites, consumers and owners of capital, governments and large corporations - and between major economies themselves.

In this session, Karl will trace many of today's economic headlines back to these imbalances, showing how weak growth, rising debt, geopolitical turmoil and trade wars are rooted in the way modern societies distribute wealth and power. New technologies and misguided policies in China, Europe and the United States have, through advancing the interests of elites over those of workers, unleashed forces that will shake the political landscape, distort financial markets and reshape the global economy in the years to come - while also setting the stage for a rebalancing process that changes the rules of the game.


  • Karl SchamottaChief Market Strategist l Cambridge Global Payments 

High Deductible Health Plans & How To Avoid Costly Health Plan Mistakes
Sponsored by Hays Company
If your company currently has a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) you need to know this. If you're considering a HDHP you should really hear this first. If you have no interest in implementing a HDHP, good for you, you should still see this. If you don't know what a HDHP is you will find this very informative. In this session, you'll learn:

  • How the industry benchmarks are wrong and driving the costs of your health plan higher
  • How to structure your medical plan offerings to increase the value of benefits and reduce costs
  • Why you shouldn't trust the solutions the industry is providing for increased Rx costs
  • 84% of employers offer a High Deductible Health Plan - the other 16% are right


  • David RossExecutive Vice President and the Director of Underwriting Services l Hays Company

8:30 am – 9:00 am

Welcome and Opening Remarks


9:00 am – 10:00 am

Opening Keynote Address
Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility
When it comes to recruiting, motivating, and creating great teams, Patty McCord says most companies have it all wrong. McCord helped create the unique and high-performing culture at Netflix, where she was chief talent officer. Sharing lessons from her new book “ Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility” our opening keynote presenter will share lessons learned from Netflix and elsewhere.

McCord advocates practicing radical honesty in the workplace, saying good-bye to employees who don’t fit the company’s emerging needs, and motivating with challenging work, not promises, perks, and bonus plans. She argues that the old standbys of corporate HR-annual performance reviews, retention plans, employee empowerment and engagement programs-often end up being a colossal waste of time and resources. Her road-tested advice, offered with humor and irreverence, will provide you a different path for creating a culture of high performance and profitability. "Powerful" will change how you think about work and the way a business should be run.

Patty McCord Presenter:
Patty McCord
Former Chief Talent Officer

10:00 am – 10:30 am

Networking Break in Exhibit Hall

Sponsored by

10:40 am - 11:30 am

Focus Tracks
4 Focus Tracks available - please choose 1 during registration:
Business Management & Organization, Human Resources & Staffing, Information Technology, & Leadership Development


Small Business Tax Planning Process Improvement
Business Management & Organization
Solid tax planning strategies, preparation and compliance activities are critical to running a healthy business and maximizing the bottom line. Join us as we explore planning ideas and tax-saving strategies to help you realize appropriate tax advantages.


  • Bruce Willey l JD, CPA l American Tax and Business Planning

Best Practices for Managing and Mentoring
Human Resources & Staffing
Mentorship is one of the best ways to promote diversity in the c-suite and at the board level, but some leaders need an extra push. Learn how companies are encouraging (and, in some cases, requiring) leaders to act as mentors and hear from mentors and mentees on lessons learned and success stories.


  • David Peters l Founder & Owner l Peters Tax Preparation & Consulting

Critical CIO/CFO Collaboration
Information Technology
CFO’s are feeling greater pressure and responsibility to realize and increase the ROI on technology investments. Yet, many finance executives struggle to understand the rapidly changing world of technology. In this session you will learn how to lead and influence your technology teams, how to identify what technology your organization would benefit from, and how to create a culture the embraces technology.


  • Heather Cole l Executive Coach/Business Analytics Advisor l Lodestar Solutions, Inc

Getting on a Board
Leadership Development
Being invited to serve on a corporate board is considered an enormous professional compliment. Corporations as well as non-profits need to carefully consider the professional attributes and expertise of their board candidates, as well as the candidates’ private and professional reputations. Learn how successful board candidates have balanced multiple priorities while positioning themselves for board consideration


11:40 am – 12:30 Pm

Focus Tracks
4 Focus Tracks available - please choose 1 during registration

Planning and Forecasting for Results
Business Management & Organization
Senior-level financial executives need the ability to plan for the future using what-if scenarios and forecasting. But this essential role does not come easy as new tools allow a vast array of data that can present a confusing view of the future. In this session you will hear some practical strategies to forecasting and how to turn it into real outcomes during budgeting.


How to Effectively Lead Different Generations in the Workplace
Human Resources & Staffing
Are your coworkers from different generations? Do they seem to have divergent thinking, learning or communication preferences? Maybe their values or the lens by which they see the world is different than yours? Today, there are five generations in the American workforce. How can you bridge the gap of differences, identify the similarities and begin to thrive on a team together? This session will show you how all generations are more similar than they are dissimilar; discuss employee/membership engagement - the causes of why it's so low and the ways you can build trust, have healthy conflict, drive commitment, increase personal accountability and better your outcomes. This session will help you navigate tough conversations, teach you hands-on tools to manage change and create structures that lead to an engaged and happy team.



Implementing AI and RPA in Your Operations
Information Technology
Organizations that are looking to disrupt and lead their industries are leveraging Robotic Process Automation (RPA) & Artificial Intelligence (AI). RPA leverages software agents to carry out business processes usually carried out by human beings. RPA leads to cost savings by replacing humans with robots as well as through the increased accuracy and consistency that robots can deliver. Artificial Intelligence takes RPA a step further and guides complex decision making based on vast amounts of data. Do you have a plan to leverage RPA and AI? Learn how companies are implementing RPA and AI today!


  • Bridgette Link  l General Manager, Finance Business Intelligence l Microsoft Corporation

Executive Presence What is It Why You Need It
Leadership Development
Any list of leadership attributes will include executive presence: the ability to effortlessly command and retain an audience’s attention. Developing this “soft skill” can significantly amplify a leader’s management capabilities in every environment, from building consensus behind new initiatives, to simply running an efficient meeting. Join us to discover methods to implement and hone executive presence strategies that compliment you and your personal leadership style.


12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

Networking Luncheon in Exhibit Hall

Sponsored by  
Sage Intacct


1:40 pm - 2:30 pm

General Session: CFO Roundtable
Failure is only an Illusion
Success isn’t always a straight path. Thomas Edison developed thousands of prototypes of the light bulb before finding the one that worked and Albert Einstein was unemployed for two years after he graduated college. In some cases, struggles can be valuable learning experiences. It was Albert Einstein that said “if you’ve never failed, you’ve never tried something new”. And he was right. Today’s modern CFO is expected to be a key driver of innovation, but to successfully innovate, failure is key. To breed business success, you’ve got to embrace failure. But how do you do it? A panel of CFOs will share their experiences, lessons learned from failure and how they used setbacks to push them forward.




  • David Johnson l  Founder and Managing Partner l Abraxas Group
  • Adam Remis l Owner l Remis & Associates, LLC
  • Donald McCree l Vice Chairman and Head of Commercial Banking l Citizens Bank   

2:40 pm – 3:30 pm

Focus Tracks
4 Focus Tracks available - please choose 1 during registration


How to Present Financial Information to Non-Finance Professionals
Business Management & Organization
Numbers don’t tell the story, people do. That’s why financial executives need to get away from spreadsheets and focus on the financial prose. Key financial leaders discuss how they were able to translate hard numbers into easily understood concepts to senior management and board members.


  • Matt Burley l Partner, Audit and Assurance l Deloitte & Touche LLP
  • Steve Barta l Partner, Audit and Assurance l Deloitte & Touche LLP

Strategies to Retain Your Top Talent in the Digital Era
Human Resources & Staffing
It’s no secret that the fight is on to retain top talent. With the growth in job opportunities for finance professionals, your best workers have figured out they are the top of their game in the hiring market. Employers will need to pull out all the stops to retain their best and brightest. Join the discussion on developing a strategy for retaining your top employees.



Cybersecurity: Building Resilience in Your Organization
Information Technology

The role of the CFO has expanded to establishing and executing strategy as well as ensuring the risks are identified and managed. Cybersecurity is one of the top risks many CFO’s face but many CFO’s lack the knowledge to get ahead of the threats. Cybersecurity if not managed is a material financial risk. Learn what strategic CFO’s know about managing cybersecurity.


Tips to Build a Powerful Personal Brand
Leadership Development

As much as we all seek to be considered the “ideal” representative of our company or industry, the fact remains that most people change jobs, roles, and even industries over the course of their career. It’s wise to consider – and manage – how you personally are viewed by your network, apart from ties to a particular company, leader, or background. Join us to develop an understanding of what makes a viable personal brand, how the best ones work, and what pitfalls to avoid along the way.


3:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Networking Break in Exhibit Hall

 Sponsored by  

4:10 pm – 5:00 pm

General Session: If You're Not in a Hurry You're Probably Too Late
Join Howard Tullman, a serial entrepreneur and investory for over 50 years in this fast-paced humorous, content-rich survey and analysis of the emerging trends, competitive considerations, new behavior drivers, and latest tools and technologies which are changing the face and the future of our lives and our businesses. Walk away with concrete details on essential system and process changes and actionable take-aways.


  • Howard TullmanGeneral Managing Partner l Chicago High-Tech Investment Partners

5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Networking Reception in Exhibit Hall

  Sponsored by

Day 2 - Friday, October 30

7:00 am – 2:00 pm



7:30 am - 8:20 am

Breakfast Session
(4 sessions/1 CPE Credit each)


CFOs: Planning for What's Next
Sponsored by Adaptive Insights, a Workday Company
In today's business climate, agility is everything. Companies that can respond to change in real time win big and have a true competitive advantage. And finance holds the key to business agility with modern planning processes that speed better decision making. Using a combination of scenario planning and insights from combining operational and performance data into a single source, leading CFOs are able to explore options, visualize the impact of their decisions, and optimize performance, regardless of what the future may hold. This session will highlight the critical changes that CFOs and finance leaders must make to deliver the business agility today's organization's need - or risk being left behind.


  • John Hugo l Vice President, Financials Products and Go To Market l Workday

8:30 am - 8:45 am

Opening Remarks


8:45 am – 9:45 am

Morning Keynote Address
Leadership in a Distracted World

Our communication preferences have a lot to do with our generation; what we experienced as children and how we were raised. As children our communication preferences were cemented, for most of us, those same partialities are the ones we rely on today as leaders.

We presume that others share our communication preferences; that others will want to exchange information the same way we do. Yet nothing could be further from the truth

In today's distracted world, with so much pulling at our attention at every moment of every day, our teams seek leaders who can cut through the clutter and get their messages through. Our teams seek leaders who are both empathetic and succinct. Who are both reliable and honorable. Each member of our team wants to boast that his or her boss "gets me." And communication plays a big role in that.

During this sessions we will explore the preferences of each of the five generations so that you'll know what each of your generations of employees needs from you. By the end of the presentation you'll have the insights and easy-to-apply tactics to quickly see results and successfully leads your teams.

Cam Marston

Cam Marston
Author and Corporate Authority
Generational Insights


9:50 am – 10:20 am

Networking Break in the Exhibit Hall


10:30 am – 11:20 am

Focus Tracks
4 Focus Tracks available - please choose 1 during registration:
Business Management & Organization, Human Resources & Staffing, Information Technology, & Leadership Development


Business Cost Saving Ideas
Business Management & Organization

Eventually every discussion in the financial suite comes down to controlling costs. During an anticipated recession, this skill will become even more valuable. Hear from key industry professionals about their approach to cost control and the strategies they found successful.



Building Successful Work Teams
Human Resources & Staffing

As is the case with most endeavors, the key to building an effective, cohesive team is leadership. Leaders must first have the self-awareness to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses before roles and responsibilities of the team are defined. Giving proactive, constructive feedback as well as proper accolades, and celebrating success are all the responsibilities of the team leader.



Lease Accounting Standards
Information Technology

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) voted on Wednesday, July 17, 2019, to propose delaying the effective date for portions of its major accounting standards, including ASC 842, Leases, for privately held companies and nonprofit organizations. With the deferral, private companies will be required to adopt for annual financial reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2020 (2021 for calendar year-end companies). The new lease accounting standard changes the rules that govern accounting for almost all leases, including property, plant, and equipment leases. Attend this session and gain an understanding of the complexities of the new standard as well as how to apply effectively in your own organization.


CFO 2020: How CFOs can Prepare for the Future of Business
Leadership Development

The role of the CFO is changing. Instead of looking backwards and focusing on what happened, real-time analysis of historical data allows CFOs to better shape, predict and optimize business outcomes. Advancements in technology are providing CFO’s the opportunity to play a more strategic role. But how does a CFO keep up on technology? Learn the future of technology and how it will impact every CFO.



11:20 pm – 12:35 pm

Closing Keynote
Get Ready to Rock

Rock stars have always had this elusive cultural mystique, this sort of omnipotence that transcends their individual accomplishments. In business, for example, the Rock star is the top performer: the one who cuts the edge, the one with the magical energy, power and ability to influence others and stand out from her peers. We’re all familiar with it, but can we capture it? Can we cultivate it? What defines a Rock star performer’s attitude? Our closing speaker, Mark Shulman, a drummer for some of the greatest music artists in history including P!nk, Foreigner, Cher, Billy Idol, Stevie Nicks, Beyoncé and others, will take you on a musical, passionate and revelatory journey through his experiences and provide insight on how to evolve your understanding and implementation of peak performance and joy! During this session Mark will give you the tools to literally change your relationships, improve your business and increase the happy moments you experience in your life.

Mark Schulman

Mark Schulman
Rock Star Drummer for P!nk and Author


12:35 pm – 1:30 pm

Networking Lucheon in Exhibit Hall


1:35 pm – 4:30 pm

Post-Conference Workshops

Transforming Your Financial Career Through Authentic, Powerful Relationships Intertwined with LinkedIn 2020
Join us as we welcome back Larry Kaufman, Author of the NCG Factor, Regional Business Leader and LinkedIn International Speaker and Trainer. Larry returns to FEI's National Conference to lead this FEI Boot Camp session for an action packed interactive program:

Larry will debut his book, The NCG Factor: A Formula for Building Life-Changing Relationships from College to Retirement. He'll share how financial executives can use the NCG Factor to build life-changing authentic and powerful relationships with your Board of Directors, internal colleagues, and FEI peers. Finally, he will conduct a hands-on LinkedIn 2020 demonstration to incorporate how LinkedIn can streamline the relationship-building process coupled with the NCG formula principles and best practices. Key items covered will include:

  • Defining the value and power of the NCG Factor: Networking, Connecting & Giving in your personal and business life as a financial executive
  • Building Life-Changing  Relationships - Inner & Outer Circles
  • NCG and Career Transformation at any stage of your financial career
  • How you can become a connector and giver as a financial executive
  • NCG and LinkedIn to help you build relationships with your Board and beyond
  • LinkedIn 2020 hands-on-demo, interactive exercises and more (Bring Your Laptop)


  • Larry Kaufman l Managing Director, Midwest Region l Experis Finance

Hot Topics in Human Resource Trends and Law
Whether it’s using the rules around the hot button issue of immigration and the role of the I9 and E-Verify system, compensation issues, legalized marijuana in the workplace, or new efforts around employee relations, workplace safety, and conflict resolutions, the rends and legal issues around human resources have never been more complicated. Join the discussion of the most important HR priorities for financial executives and their increasing role in HR.




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