Jay Palter
Jay Palter Aug 13, 2018

The speakers speak out: Their picks for BAI Beacon 2018

Adapt. Grow. Thrive. Innovate. In the financial services sphere, action commandments like those get bandied about so much that no one would blame you if they populated the next version of “how many bankers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?”

But why bother with the lightbulb jokes when you can experience enlightenment instead? True to its name, BAI Beacon 2018 will illuminate a path for banking and financial industry leaders to follow as they explore a changing financial services landscape. Not only will attendees and speakers discuss innovative ways to move forward, they’ll show how their innovations got done and share their action plans for success.

With such an influential lineup of speakers not just telling but showing, we wanted to know what they were most interested in hearing at BAI Beacon. Here’s what they told us.

Jim Marous, co-publisher of The Financial Brand and owner of Digital Banking Report:

  • BAI managing director Karl Dahlgren and Mark Riddle, director of research and content delivery. “Can’t wait to hear Karl and Mark’s perspectives on the key trends for 2019.”
  • Kat Cole: “Looking forward to hearing from Kat as she discusses the use of digital channels to support physical store brands and how to acquire and retain the best talent.”
  • “Excited to hear from the consumer panel, where people off the street will tell us, in their own words, what they want from their financial institution.”

Marous participates in the “Humanizing the Digital Experience” session.


Titi Cole
, executive vice president and head of operations at Wells Fargo:

  • Mike Reardon: “Excited to hear from Mike on how Disney delivers a consistently exceptional customer experience across cultures and also about the impact of the gig economy on talent management.”

Cole is part of “Transforming Team Member Experience to Deliver for Customers.”


JP Nicols
, fintech influencer and a managing director at FinTech Forge. His top picks are:

  • Andreas Weigend: “He has worked with some of the most disruptive companies of our generation and the impacts will be felt for years to come.”
  • Tom Wujec: “His perspectives on the need for teams to have alignment, clarity and engagement are critical for the financial services industry today.”
  • Jason Henrichs: “OK, I’m biased on this one because he’s my business partner, but Jason was the co-founder of one of the world’s first ‘neobanks.’ And his work helping institutions build and leverage their own innovative capacity is groundbreaking.”

Nicols facilitates three BAI Beacon sessions highlighting the innovation achievements of the BAI Global Innovation Awards winners and finalists.


David Kerstein
, president of Peak Performance Consulting Group:

  • Jim Marous: “Jim is one of the most thoughtful leaders on the future of banking, and his Digital Banking Report is a must read. I always come away from his sessions with a better understanding of the challenges of digital transformation, and practical ideas on how to move forward.”
  • Nicole Lorch: “Most accounts are opened in branches, but we need to learn how to make digital account opening a bigger part of our business mix. I want to learn practical tips from First Internet Bank’s success.”
  • Deepak Kukreja: “Sales hunters for deposits, converting fixed costs to variable, and creating the bank’s fastest growing segment? Tell me more!”

Kerstein is part of the “Exploring the Universal Banker” session.


Esther Pigg
, senior vice president of product strategy at FIS:

  • Andreas Weigend: “Looking forward to Andreas expanding our thinking about how to engage and empower customers with creative-yet-trusted data strategies.”

Pigg participates in “Making Consumers' Identity Mobile and Safe.”


Terry Ammons
, systems partner at Porter Keadle Moore:

  • “Looking forward to the ‘Building a Culture of Compliance’ session with Karl Dahlgren, Marybeth McManus and Richard Fitzgerald. Building compliance into the business process/workflow of FIs with the right tools is very important for institutions of all sizes and it is certainly better than treating compliance as the enemy.”
  • “I can’t wait to hear from ‘Making Consumers’ Identity Mobile and Safe’ session featuring Chris Hamm, Esther Pigg and Sherif Samy. With the advent of mobile-first applications in banking, security is the first thing banks need to get right.”
  • “Looking forward to the ‘Who Will Regulate Fintech: Regulation of Fintech’ session to see how companies that chose to get a charter will have a significant impact on the competitive landscape for banks.”

Look for Ammons at the session “Getting It Right: Effective Vendor Risk Management.”


Melissa Musgrove
, vice president and head of social media at Regions Bank:

  • “I’m looking forward to the ‘Competing to Win Against Non-Traditional Financial Services Companies’ session. While our industry sits comfortably with traditional products and services, non-traditional companies we’ve never considered as competitors are gaining market share through innovation and seamless customer experiences. We must start thinking differently to win!”
  • Jim Marous: “Jim always brings a human, common-sense perspective to digital trends and services. Can’t wait for his insights, which are always rooted in data and consumer-behavior analysis.”

Musgrove takes part in “The Art of Storytelling to Drive Customer Acquisition and Loyalty.”


Randy Ross
, executive vice president at Kiran Analytics:

  • Debbie Bianucci: “As the president and CEO of BAI, Debbie has always had an accurate pulse of what’s really going on in our industry. It’ll be interesting to hear her insights about trends for 2019.”
  • Jason Epstein: “Jason is speaking in the ‘Designing Sales to Mitigate Risk’ and I’m looking forward to hearing his thoughts on client banking.”
  • Linda Garner: “Really looking forward to hearing from Linda in the ‘Branch and Digital Convergence … It’s about Time!’ session.”

Ross participates in “The Transformational Role of Analytics for Branch Efficiency and Customer Experience.”


Lisa Oliver
, president and CEO of The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod:

  • Linda Garner: “As a small community bank in a retirement market, this question is top of mind in strategic planning. There’s no question we may lag behind large city markets in altering our branch structure…but it’s coming!”
  • Marybeth McManus: “Finding the ‘right’ compliance culture is critical. The line between ignoring and overmanaging compliance is critical to effective and profitable outcomes.”

Catch Oliver at “High-Touch Coaching in a High-Tech World.”


Richard Crone
, CEO of Crone Consulting, LLC:

  • Jim Marous: “Looking forward to hearing from Jim because his insightful presentations are always data-rich and fact-based.”
  • Armin Ajami: “Looking forward to hearing about the hot topic, cross-channel integration with mobile banking from Armin.”

Crone will be at “Making P2P and Social Payments Pay.”


Jamie Frogale
, director of learning and development at Arlington Community FCU:

  • Mike Reardon: “Disney is a leader in customer experience and culture and these are topics that are very important to me.”
  • John Maniscalco and Randy Ross: “Interested to see how analytics can help the customer experience and learn what we could implement at my organization.”
  • Karl Dahlgren: “Interested to learn some new ideas for how to improve engagement around compliance training and how to get senior leadership support beyond annual e-learnings.”

Frogale takes part in “You've Found the Right People…Now, How do You Keep Them?!”


Chris Thurmond
, retail strategy and incentive manager at First Tennessee Bank:

  • Armin Ajami: “The notion of perceived convenience can be greatly aided by digital adoption. Hearing Armin’s insights around ways to leverage physical channels to grow digital adoption can help financial institutions of all sizes and footprints use existing capacity to improve the customer experience across the entire ecosystem of retail delivery.”

Thurmond appears at “Designing Sales to Mitigate Risk.”


Jason Henrichs,
 managing director at FinTech Forge:

  • Marybeth McManus: “We are in a new era where compliance is now a competitive advantage. The banks that can innovate, adapt and manage compliance are the ones that are going to be the most successful. Unfortunately, this is a difficult balance to strike and too often compliance is the business prevention department rather than an enabler.”
  • Bob Hedges: “Open banking cracked open Pandora’s Box for what has long been a competitive advantage for many incumbents: the data! With players such as Amazon and Google that have much deeper expertise, we’re entering a new era of competition and business models.”

Henrichs takes part in the “Agility and the Modern Enterprise.”



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Jay Palter is the chief engagement officer at Jay Palter Social Advisory, based in Calgary. 

Save 10% when you register for  BAI Beacon before September 28, 2018.

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