EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

At the beginning of time itself in 1995, there was only a Westport Chapter of The FENG. In fact, the name of entire organization was The Financial Executives Networking Group of Fairfield County Connecticut.

Over the past 25 years we have grown into an International organization with 37,000 members, 85 Chapters and 35 Special Interest Groups. Our first Special Interest Group was started by Bruce Lynn, one of our Co-Chairs who, in his modest way, suggested it would be nice if the Treasury folks could identify each other.

We are an army of volunteers. Bruce Lynn, Marty Latman (our other national Co-Chair) and yours truly are ALL volunteers, just like the other 200 folks who head up our organization.

The problem at all times has been finding folks with enough time to volunteer. Finding speakers, promoting meetings, and before Covid-19, finding a place to meet are all time consuming activities.

So, my operating philosophy has always been, “never let a volunteer get away!”

To make it possible for folks to be volunteers we have a staff of 7 Administrative Assistants 2 of whom promote our meetings and now host our Zoom events. To support our ability to send out our newsletter and promote our meetings, we lease a dedicated server that only sends out email. And now in the world of Covid-19, we hold 10 Zoom licenses. None of this is cheap.

When I was early in my career, a Human Resource type told me, and other new employees of the company the fable of the chicken and the pig who went into business making ham and eggs. As you can see, one of them was making a bigger commitment.

It has always been hard to find and hold onto volunteers. But here I am tonight asking for volunteers to help me fully launch our latest initiative, Tip Talks.

What is important to understand is, I’m not asking for a “pig” commitment.

To pick up on a thought from George H.W. Bush, what we need here is “a thousand points of light.”

Hosting a Tip Talk is a “one off.” I’m not asking for a long term pledge to have more meetings. As with our Job Search Teams, the host for a Tip Talk can and should pass the baton if the group that attends the first meeting wishes to meet again.

Zoom as an enabling technology makes this so easy that no one should hesitate. If you would like to “raise your hand,” please send me a note to: [email protected] (As if my address were a secret.)

Tip Talks should be narrowly focused. Is it possible those who have been financial officers of SaaS companies would like to get together to talk? If there are too many nationally who fit that description, you can narrow it to your city or even your time zone.

How about you Tax folks? There are lots of types of tax folks. Pick a specialty within tax and announce a meeting.

If you volunteer, all I can promise you is the proverbial 15 minutes of fame, by having your name listed below. Take a risk that you might actually get something out of this.

As they say, “Operators are standing by to take your call.”

Regards, Matt

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