By Shane Halsey, WTW and ITFA’s Emerging Leaders Committee member

Whether it’s moving to a new city, starting a new job, or changing careers, it can be challenging to establish a professional network and form friendships within an organization and industry. Having started in the trade finance/credit insurance industry shortly after graduating college in 2014, I consider myself very fortunate to have had such an amazing group of mentors and peers who have played such an integral role in my career development and growth, particularly early on. Many of these individuals I either met or got to know better at ITFA-organized events and networking sessions. The networking opportunities and sense of community cultivated within ITFA has always been one of the most beneficial and important elements of the association from my point of view, serving as a platform to meet new people, share ideas, and bring the industry closer together. As a regular attendee of ITFA Americas events, conferences, etc. and having benefited greatly from the perks of membership, I became very interested in getting more involved with the organization and seeing how I might be able to help others in the early stages of their careers realize the same benefits that ITFA membership has afforded me.

In June 2019 I was presented with the opportunity to become the Board Secretary of the ITFA Americas Advisory Board, a position I still hold, and in June of this year I was honored to be appointed as a full Board Member of the ITFA Americas Advisory Board. With this appointment and with the guidance and support of the ITFA Americas Advisory Board Members, it was determined that I would help start and lead the Emerging Leaders initiative in the Americas, an initiative that has had incredible success across ITFA globally. With a well-established and consistently growing Emerging Leaders initiative already existing within ITFA, our objective is to bring the many attributes of this initiative to the Americas and to create a forum for newer members of the industry to connect, exchange ideas, and learn about industry and career topics that are of collective interest.

On 28th September I was very pleased to have helped organize and lead our ITFA Americas Emerging Leaders Kick-Off Event, which was very graciously hosted by Lloyds Bank at their offices in New York City. The intention of this first event was to present the initiative to individuals at ITFA member institutions with industry experience of 10 years or less, and to engage in an interactive session where we introduced ourselves and shared ideas about how we would like the initiative to best serve this portion of the ITFA community. Many thoughtful and creative ideas and suggestions were shared amongst the attendee group, which consisted of emerging leaders from several banks, law firms, fintech’s, insurance carriers, insurance brokers, and other member institutions of ITFA. We discussed the types of event formats we should look to focus on, offered ideas on the types of topics and subject matter that would be interesting to hear more about, and discussed the possibility of forming a sub-committee to focus on the organization and execution of future events in the Americas. Following this 45- minute open discussion, we transitioned to a 1.5-hour networking happy hour where we continued our conversations and got to know each other better.

I thought this event was an excellent start in developing the framework for what we’re trying to accomplish with the initiative, and it was great to see so much energy and enthusiasm in the room. As this was a new experience for all of us and the first ITFA event for many in attendance, it served as another reminder of how ITFA brings 2 individuals together and fosters connectivity and collaboration within our industry, which is something I’ve experienced with ITFA from the beginning of my career. I’m excited to see how the Emerging Leaders initiative continues to grow as we carry the momentum of this event into the rest of this year and beyond.

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