Tom Bohn absolutely “brought it” during the opening session of IAPP FUSION 2010.  I have long been a proud member of IAPP, but Tom’s remarks really hit a nerve and left me feeling even better about the association.  Tom started his speech by taking us on a little trip through the five different music delivery technologies that most of us have experienced during our lifetimes: LP, 8-track, cassette, CD & MP3.  The point was simple… the times they are-a-changing.

Tom discussed change and pointed to several more eye opening things that will be changing in the coming years; China will become home to the largest English speaking population in the world (WHAT?!) and a computer will surpass the human ability to reason.  (Although he did admit that his intellect was likely outpaced by the 386.) 

Ultimately the point of his story was about the changes being experienced by major corporation around the globe.  An advocate for financial professionals of all departments and ranks Tom drew a straight line to how these new shake ups being experience the world over would effect the folks sitting in the room.  His answer to the problem was not simple, but I interpreted the spirit of his sentiments to be… “we rise up, we get resourceful, we attack the situation and we prevail.”  That is what FUSION is all about!  Tom actually said it outright, “IAPP/IARP/TAWPI Fusion is not the culmination, it is just the beginning of how we address the change in the world and the change in the workplace.”  OK I am paraphrasing, but you get the point.

This year’s Dallas conference is host to 1600 souls which is the second largest turnout for an IAPP event in the association’s history.  Where many other associations are suffering their worst attendance rates ever and trying with all their might not to dissolve from existence, IAPP is surging. IAPP is delivering one hell of a product.  That is a great road map for how to overcome obstacles as well.

I have walked around FUSION for the last two days I have attended many sessions and I have joined spirited discussions from the perimeter of many round tables in the banquet hall at breakfast and lunch.  I have seen it first hand…  more involvement and engagement from attendees, more workshops, more information & more services provider solutions.  IAPP even hosted a series of tours where financial professionals could opt in to take a guided walk through the exhibition hall and listen to high level 5-7 minute descriptions of  service provider solutions.   Contrast this to the typical interactions… at most conferences, attendees are forced to travel booth to booth to get a booklet stamped in hopes of winning a prize…  that is NOT strategic and that is NOT helpful, that is disrespectful to everybody’s time.  FUSION is creating an environment where attendees can actually view the providers as… well… providers.  What a concept.

We (Lavante) presented our solution in the “Emerging Technology Tour” and 87 people attended to hear our CEO discuss our Lavante Connect new product launch.  I actually heard one of the tour attendees say, “The technology tour has been the most useful hour of my entire 2010.”   (That is a majorwin for them) We set up over ten product demonstrations alone in just minutes as the touring mass scattered from our booth space.  Incredible! (That is a major win for us)

All in all, I am a believer and I think IAPP is on the right track.  I am proud to be involved with this group and I hope we can all follow the example and get motivated and adapt to the changing times and coming up with winning solutions.