Skip to site content
The Group Travel Leader Small Market Meetings Going on Faith

Laura Schwartz headlines seminar slate

Laura Schwartz

Sometimes a Super Session presenter is just that — super.

That was the case on February 7, when Laura Schwartz officially kicked off the educational component of the 2012 BankTravel Conference in Memphis, Tennessee.

Schwartz, a former director of special events in the Clinton White House and now an accomplished author and television commentator, shared insights from her highly regarded book “Eat, Drink and Succeed” with nearly 200 bankers in attendance.

“Your job may be 9 to 5, but your career is 24/7,” she told the group. “In any social situation, whether it be for your bank or any other occasion, your attitude should be ‘What can I do for you?’ not ‘What can you do for me?’ Once you master this form of interpersonal communication, your career will kick into high gear.

“People take their money personally,” said Schwartz. “You are the bank’s ambassador for many of its best clients, and that makes you very important. And the more important you make those customers feel, the more valuable you are to your bank.”

Before Schwartz’s session, bankers attended one of two breakout sessions that were run by volunteers. Bankers chose from a veterans session and a session for first-time attendees.

“The turnout in our veterans breakout was huge,” said BankTravel partner Mac Lacy. “That room was set for 120, and it was absolutely full. When they broke an hour and a half later, everyone was talking about how valuable the session was. That’s a tribute to our volunteer moderators.”

The first-time attendee session also had a good turnout, as several dozen first-year-or-newer delegates learned the fundamentals for this conference that covers so much ground in just two and a half days.

On February 8, a banker panel discussion kicked off the morning’s activities after breakfast. Three bankers agreed to address several trends in the industry, among them the buy-local/bank-local movement, experiential travel offerings for newer groups, social marketing for banks and bank travel groups, and new means of measuring and reporting the worth of loyalty programs to upper management.

That afternoon, the final educational seminar took place as Maria McCall of Our Gang Travel of Santa Barbara Bank and Trust and her associate, Joel Scolavino, a security expert, discussed how banks can protect their older customers from financial fraud. They shared many tips about how to protect customers from identity theft involving their credit cards, checking accounts and online accounts.

“I always enjoy the BankTravel seminars,” said Nadean Meredith of Commercial Bank in Middlesboro, Kentucky. “Laura Schwartz was very good — she obviously had very impressive credentials, and I thought her information was excellent. I love the breakouts every year; and this year we were late getting registered, so I missed mine, and I hated to miss it.

“The bankers on the panel did a really good job,” said Meredith. “It’s very helpful to hear what other banks are doing — that’s one of the best things about the conference. And Maria McCall’s seminar on fraud prevention was something every bank should be familiar with.”