More than 70 “next-generation” industry executives—mostly Millennials and a few Generation Xers, many just beginning their career in equipment leasing and finance—recently attended EMERGENCE 2018, the leadership event for emerging talent from ELFA-member companies. Travis Teal, 39 years old and only four months in at Madison Capital, fit right in.
“Nancy (Pistorio) urged me to attend to see the bigger world of leasing, and now I have a ton of new connections,” said Teal. Particularly impressive, he said, was that while all Emergence attendees belong to the same industry, they represent a wide variety of companies, many of which are not competitors. “It was eye-opening and very helpful,” he said. “I met people who have walked in my shoes and others who are there walking with me now.”
By hosting the event, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) aimed to provide education and networking opportunities for the industry’s next potential leaders. ELFA also wants to welcome the ideas of these newcomers and give them time to learn from members who’ve been at the helm for decades. Designed to help emerging leaders consider steps they can take to develop their careers and add greater value to the industry, the event promoted the theme, “Think. Act. Empower Like a Leader.” Conference sessions focused on “career mapping, networking, communications, the fate of the equipment finance industry and more,” according to an Association Facebook post. This was the first EMERGENCE event held in Washington, D.C. and it was organized by the Association’s Emerging Talent Advisory Council.
Teal was pleased to report back to Pistorio, Madison’s president, about all that he learned. In one discussion concerning artificial intelligence (AI), for example, someone suggested that with the right data points, it’s already possible to predict when a customer will be ready to buy.
Teal is a vice president and sales manager at Madison and, while he has more than 10 years of banking and financing experience, he says the equipment leasing and finance sales process is quite different from that of banks. In many ways, it’s easier. “There is less regulation [of independent finance companies], and the process is less rate-driven, so, it’s not complicated,” he says. “Almost every industry needs capital that we can provide, so we simply need to find out who needs it and where to find them.”
Beyond his own career development at Madison, Teal is focused on hiring quality people and organizing a team not limited to industry insiders. Teal said EMERGENCE 2018 was beneficial in helping to shape those hiring and development plans as well.
Fueled by his EMERGENCE experience, Teal said his networking will continue in earnest. He has already connected with new industry colleagues on LinkedIn and plans to stay in touch with others by phone.