Although the weather did not fully cooperate, the Southeast Acquirers Association hosted another successful conference in Orlando, Fla., March 4 through 6, 2013. A slight chill that moved into the area was not enough to dampen the spirits of over 640 attendees.
On Monday, Mark Dunn, founder of executive consulting firm Field Guide Enterprises LLC, presented the Field Guide for ISOs seminar. This series of educational sessions is constantly updated with essential information for merchant level salespeople. The session included topics such as navigating legal roadblocks, power networking and data mining. Old friends reconnected and industry newcomers made new friends and connections at Monday night's opening reception. An after-party was graciously hosted by SignaPay Ltd., allowing attendees more time to network.
On Tuesday morning, after a breakfast sponsored by First American Payment Systems, the keynote address was given by Eddie Myers, President and Chief Operating Officer of PayPros. Aptly titled Lessons Learned as a Leader, Follower and Friend, Myers shared insights gained from his many years in this industry. He pointed out that the best results can be seen when a person or company focuses on being valuable, not successful.
Myers also encouraged attendees to not follow their hearts, but rather lead with their hearts. He closed with a TED talk presentation by Louie Schwartzberg, which can be found at www.ted.com/talks/louie_schwartzberg_nature_beauty_gratitude.html. A quote from Brother David Steindl-Rast summed up Myers' message:
Following an American Express Co.-sponsored lunch on Tuesday, sessions were offered on myriad relevant subjects, including a state-of-the union roundtable that featured industry consultant Paul Martaus, SignaPay Chief Executive Officer Kevin Jones, Greg Boardman of Ingenico Inc. and Stephanie Lusher of Vantiv Inc. Next came a panel about aggregation and an update from Discover Financial Services. Onur Haytac, Chief Executive Officer of Benseron Inc., then addressed the issue of how the POS may help retain merchants, followed by a panel discussion about the Europay/MasterCard/Visa standard and near field communication.
Mary Bennett of the Electronic Transactions Association updated attendees on the new IRS withholding requirements and merchant surcharging now allowed in some instances as a result of a lawsuit against Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide. (For more information on surcharging, see "Are your merchants surcharging card customers?" by Patti Murphy, and "Checkout surcharging facts debated," both of which were published in The Green Sheet, Feb. 25, 2013, issue 13:02:02.)
The final presentation was by AmEx's John Hedlund regarding the digital transformation of our industry. As always, the closing reception allowed all to network. In keeping with the chilly weather, a final after-party was hosted by Benseron at a local "ice bar." Far from being cold, the SEAA provided all with warmth and inspiration for the future.
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