Founder member of FECMA

Advancing the credit profession

A blog by Jon Swan, Forums international Ambassador

I can remember quite clearly the first time I met Laurie and Lynn. It was the Autumn meeting in 1996 of the CMIG (Computer Manufacturers Industry Group) held at the Fines Bailiwick Hotel near Bracknell. I had joined Dell in September of that year and this was my first meeting. The only Credit Forums I had ever attended were infrequent credit circles run by major recording studios such as EMI which were a closed shop environment and all a bit secretive! Therefore this was a refreshing experience although in those days there was a slot given over for customer discussion which a couple of PC companies declined to attend.

Dell became one of the first companies to join the newly created European Credit Forum and although I couldn’t attend the inaugural meeting in Paris I did attend the second meeting hosted by Hewlett Packard in Switzerland. The ECF became a regular event for me as I could work the dates into my movements around the EMEA region as Dell’s European Credit Manager.

I left Dell in 2006 and three years later joined publishing giant Hachette. Very soon after joining I reconnected with Laurie and joined the CPF and the SMF. In 2015 it became clear that Hachette needed to invest in a new ERP system and given the likelihood it would be SAP chosen simply due to the size and scope of the project, I decided to join the SAP User Group which Laurie then ran under the P&A brand. This proved to be a great decision as we learnt much in advance of the implementation, not just about the functionality but also from member’s experiences of the overall project itself – what went right and wrong/ what would they do differently etc.

Throughout my ten years with Hachette we supported no less than four of the forums and several members of my team also attended meetings.

In April I left Hachette and was invited by Laurie to support Forums International by becoming its first “Ambassador” which I readily accepted. I see this role being a conduit for the partners and members to share their experiences of being part of FI but also one where I examine opportunities to improve the member and partner experience. I have enjoyed talking with some of the partners so far and it is good to encourage them to share their views.  Deciding on subjects for forums and getting the best speakers is always a challenge and another part of my Ambassador role is helping FI source the best presenters.

If you are considering joining any of the forums then please remember that the first one is free so you can sign up and attend and from there decide if it will be beneficial to you and your company.

FI has plans for further development in the coming months and into 2022 and I look forward to playing a part in that – a full 26 years after we first met at a quirky hotel in Berkshire!

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