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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The ETA, celebrating 20 years in style

In addition to providing exhibitors and attendees its unique cornucopia of educational sessions, ceremonies, parties, keynotes, panels, demonstrations, networking and business meeting opportunities, and more, the Electronic Transactions Association celebrated its 20-year milestone at the 2010 Annual Meeting & Expo held at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

Before introducing former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, keynote speaker for the expo's opening general session on April 14, the ETA recounted some of its many accomplishments. Industry leaders offered comments, via video, on what the ETA has meant to them over the past two decades. Some of the strongest themes were connections, guidance, innovation, influence, friendship, fun and the unparalleled satisfaction that comes with volunteering.

Certification and advocacy

Most recently, the ETA began formal development of a certification program for payment professionals, outgoing ETA President, Holli Targan, pointed out. This involves, among other things, defining the core body of knowledge to include in the program, the content and structure of the test itself, and how much material must be mastered for an individual to achieve certification.

The organization has also ramped up advocacy efforts to provide the payments industry a collective voice heard by federal and state congressional leaders and other parties that influence relevant legislation and regulations. Recently, the ETA's government relations committee submitted a position paper to Vermont legislators and was able to improve the state's interchange legislation (which was headed for passage with or without the ETA's input) from a payments standpoint.

A level-headed conservative

Guiliani's keynote speech touched on traditional conservative themes of reduced government spending, lower taxes and support for businesses that will provide jobs to get the economy moving again.

He noted that neither political party singlehandedly created the current economic crisis and emphasized that collectively we erred in forgetting that capitalist systems always fluctuate. And we were acting as though expansion would continue indefinitely rather than building reserves for the inevitable downturn ahead.

Leadership principles

Giuliani pointed out that leaders should rely less on polls and take actions that they believe will improve people's lives. This means being willing to be unpopular. He also presented six principles of leadership, as follows:

  • 1. Have a set of beliefs, a set of goals, because you have to know where you're going. 2. Be an optimist; nobody wants to follow a pessimist. 3. Have courage; be able to take risks. This doesn't mean be fearless; it means don't let fear paralyze you. 4. Practice relentless preparation. As a young attorney, Giuliani learned it takes four hours of preparation for each hour in court. 5. Use teamwork. Find people whose talents are different than yours to help get things done. 6. Be able to communicate. Care about the people you work with and share your ideas. Motivate and influence them. And give people feedback as you go along.
  • This is just a slice of what occurred at the 2010 ETA. Complete session recordings from April 14 and 15 can be ordered from the ETA's Live Learning Center. For more information, visit www.softconference.com/ETA . end of article

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