On October 27-29, I had the privilege of participating in the ELFA’s 2019 Annual Convention in Washington, D.C.  It was amazing to be amongst a community of over 1,100 attendees – each passionate about issues, opportunities and technologies evolving equipment finance.   During the event, I also heard my favorite keynote address ever, given by Mark Scharenbroich.   Mark spoke to us about the power behind the concept of “Nice Bike” and how in using acknowledgement, honor and connection we can improve the power of our interactions and our asset finance community.  I can’t think of a better viewpoint through which to summarize my perspective on this year’s ELFA annual convention.


  • Acknowledgement – Understanding  what’s happening and what’s ahead of you, as well as the courage to make changes, even when there may be more popular or safer paths.   Whether it’s talking about bias and inclusion, monitoring the potential for a downturn, the perceived opportunities and threats of BOT’s and RPA on our workforce, or how to re-shape ‘failure’ into experimentation when applying emerging technologies, we had those meaningful conversations this past week.  ELFA attendees showed up with a willingness to share their points of view, use cases, trials and errors and most importantly learnings, which make us all stronger as a community.  One presenter suggested we simply write down (acknowledge) our actions, decisions and points of view as we take on new initiatives, so we can go back and retrospect on them to make acknowledgement a habit as we move forward.
  • Honor – Showing up every day with passion and commitment.  Early on in joining equipment finance and the ELFA, I heard so much about the tight community of people who make up this industry.  Now, five years in I better understand what that means.  Our $900B industry is strong because of the many people who passionately serve their organizations and volunteer across the ELFA to set vision, research, understand where change is needed and educate all of us.  In just my five years – the Women’s Council and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee have been formed, lease accounting has been overhauled, and technologies like RPA, cloud, and blockchain have gone from ideas to reality.   If you are facing any topic across our industry, there are passionate peers and experts willing to talk with you at the annual convention, including us at IDS.   Mark Scharenbroich also says we honor others by expressing our gratitude, so I’d personally like to thank IDS’ COO, Katie Emmel – a passionate industry leader and ELFA volunteer (currently serving on the ELFA Foundation Board of Trustees) for inspiring me to connect, grow and serve in industry areas where I am passionate.  This has truly helped make asset finance and the ELFA become my community.
  • Connection – Connection is about creating the experience for others – validating that who they are and what they do – matters.  You can see strong connections on full display at ELFA Annual – Whether it’s taking a moment to celebrate the success of a connection, listening to customers, discussing how solutions like IDScloud can help them achieve their business goals, engaging in a dinner conversation about how to understand diversity and inclusion, or sharing thoughts on how the digital vs. human mix may evolve customer experience…all of these play a part in forming long-lasting connections. When we connect with authenticity,  passion and presence, it makes our relationships and community better.  It can be as simple as asking meaningful questions, and truly listening to the answers.  Or as the saying goes – if you see something good – say something!  Given this was the 58th ELFA Annual Convention, and one of the largest ever, connection is clearly a top priority and benefit.

My ride through the 2019 ELFA Annual Convention was my best yet!  It’s an honor to represent IDS and to see customers and connections, meet new people, have meaningful conversations about where our industry is going, and see a more diverse group of conference attendees.   The team at IDS takes pride in our acknowledgement, honor and connection – through the solutions we provide, the relationships we forge and the work that we do.  We are excited about our future in the asset finance industry, including the role of IDScloud, and would love to engage you as a member of our customer community!

Looking forward to 2020 in Austin, TX!

Lisa Nowak, Senior Product Manager, IDS