California Dreaming at the 2019 Annual IFA Factoring Conference

The International Factoring Association hosts its 25th Annual Factoring Conference this year, and what better way is there to celebrate a silver anniversary than by enjoying the breezy beaches of San Diego? Heather Villa offers a preview of what’s in store for attendees, along with some of the perks a visit to San Diego can offer.

By Heather Villa

Heather Villa   Managing Director  International Factoring Association

Heather Villa
Managing Director
International Factoring Association

From April 3 through 6, attendees from all over the world will gather for high-level education and networking opportunities in the place known as “America’s Finest City” for the 25th Annual IFA Conference. With more than its fair share of sunshine, gorgeous beaches and a newly buzzing restaurant scene, San Diego is the ideal location for the most important event of the year in the commercial finance industry. 

Few people who have visited San Diego need convincing of its endless attributes. An ideal climate, 70 miles of coastline and diverse topography draw outdoor enthusiasts to San Diego year-round. With lively neighborhoods, an internationally renowned craft beer scene and one of the world’s most beautiful urban parks, there’s a whole lot of San Diego to explore. 

Conference attendees will stay at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, the tallest urban waterfront resort on the West Coast. The hotel also gives guests convenient access to many of San Diego’s top attractions and is located just steps away from the famous Gaslamp Quarter. Proving that the hip and historic are hardly incompatible, the Gaslamp Quarter combines beautifully restored 19th-century buildings with 21st-century nightlife, including 16 walkable blocks packed with over 180 restaurants, 50 bars and 10 nightclubs.

San Diego is also home to two Tony Award-winning theaters, a sports stadium, historic sites, public art, music venues, dance performances, film festivals, galleries, missions and much more to explore. 

Exciting things are also in store for this year’s conference. With twenty-five speaking sessions, the hardest part will be to decide which ones to attend. Different tracks are set up to maximize exposure to all aspects of the industry. Beginner to advanced, operations to management, young professional to seasoned veteran, there is something for everyone.



The Sessions

UNthink (Erik Wahl, The Art of Vision) — Creativity is in all of us. We simply need to rediscover the keys that will unlock our potential. This session will help reframe your thinking so that new creative actions become possible. Learning how to UNthink will inject your daily grind with new passion, allowing employees to see how their organization wants and needs all of their talents and energies, not just the ones they’ve been using so far. You’ll begin the process of rethinking your life as a blank canvas of limitless opportunity on which to create your masterpiece.

Recognizing the Technologies and Trends Transforming Factoring (Simon Anderson, Venture Foresight) — This session will look into the near future of the factoring industry. Simon will recognize and point out important trends and technologies that are reshaping factors, and provide new approaches to anticipate the opportunities and challenges that these advancements could create. Topics will include the impact of generational trends, workforce and workplace trends and a variety of important emerging technologies.

Searching in the Dark Web: Finding Fraud Online (Cynthia Hetherington, Hetherington Group) — The dark web is a den of inequity operated by the technically sophisticated. The more Google-dependent we have become, the less we understand what is going on behind the scenes and how to operate in this world. This session will introduce the dark web and channels that are used to institute private sales and exchanges.

The Current Economic and Financial Outlook (Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D., GraphsandLaughs) — Hear how the economy will affect factors by a nationally acclaimed economist and public speaker specializing in making the arcana and minutiae of economics fun, relevant and educational.

Blockchain: How Factors Can Utilize This Technology & Predictions for How it Will Change Factoring (Carol Van Cleef, Esq., LeClairRyan) — Carol is known as a go-to attorney for blockchain developers, virtual currency exchanges and wallets, fintech companies, payment processors, prepaid access providers and other software developers. This session will focus on what blockchain technology is, how factors can utilize it and predictions for how it will change factoring.

Ignite Brilliance in Your Culture (AmyK Hutchens, Business Strategist) — What skills must we develop to successfully take on tomorrow? Do we possess the behaviors necessary to create a leadership culture that fosters trust, innovation and generates long-term growth? In this compelling and energetic half day training session, leaders will be inspired and equipped to raise the performance and productivity of their teams. Through humor, insight and experience, AmyK will provide real-world, straightforward tools that have immediate practical application. 



Develop Your Sales Team by Overcoming Sales Challenges (Paula Hope, Coach & Author) — Paula is one of North America’s leading experts in the field of referral marketing and strategic networking and is the founder and owner of Booked Solid. Paula speaks, writes, trains and coaches business professionals on leveraging their relationships into referrals, resulting in enhanced revenues, fulfilled targets and very comfortable life styles. This session will help you reduce the gap between the revenue you desire and the revenue you generate.

Report from the Courts (Bob Zadek, Esq., Buchalter) — Hear the lessons learned from this year’s court decisions and how the courts treated IFA members.

Transportation Factoring (David Jencks, Esq., Jencks & Jencks) — Receive an update on the transportation industry as well as time for discussion on key topics related to transportation factors.

Factoring 101 (Brian Center, Liquid Capital) — Learn the nuts and bolts of factoring for beginners or enhance your previous knowledge with some refreshers.

Sales 101 (Mark Baker, BAM Worldwide) — With the rise of the internet and social media, the method of selling factoring services has changed dramatically in the last decade. During this session, Mark will be discussing some new ideas and methods to market and sell your factoring services.



Unique Challenges of Factoring in Latin America (Pedro Armada, CFE, Armada Risk Consulting) — Pedro Armada is an experienced investigator and risk consultant having worked in the investigative industry since 2009. He will be discussing topics such as: why does it make sense for factoring firms to investigate/conduct diligence in Latin America? What sorts of things should factoring firms be looking for/at when they investigate a prospect or another party in the region? What issues complicate the process of investigation/diligence in the region? What can firms do to mitigate those issues and to protect themselves when operating in Latin America?

If I Could Turn Back Time (Panel) — We have all made decisions that we wish we could take back. It is important to learn from those mistakes so that they are not repeated. Our panelists will be discussing some of their biggest factoring blunders, why they made those decisions, what they learned and what knowledge they can pass on to you. Some missteps they will be discussing include taking on a client that resulted in a loss, over-advancing to a client, mergers/acquisitions that went wrong and hiring decisions that did not work out.

Artificial Intelligence and the Factoring Industry (Panel) — Artificial intelligence and machine learning will modernize and streamline factoring, bringing new efficiencies to the industry. Factors will need to make use of this technology or find their operations have become outdated and inefficient. 

Bank-Owned vs. The Independent Factor (Panel) — There are advantages and disadvantages to running a factor department independently versus being bank-owned. Our panelists have operated factoring departments under both types of ownership. They will be discussing the specific pros and cons to each ownership type.

Supply Chain Finance (Panel) — Supply chain finance historically has been used by larger buyers and global suppliers. This type of financing is now being used domestically by smaller companies. During this session, we will be discussing how SCF works and the various ways that you can enter this type of financing.

Interactive Legal Panel at Lightning Speed (Panel) — This panel will address a wide range of legal issues and topics that constantly come up in relation to factoring and secured lending by responding to a series of rapid-fire questions. There will be interactive participation by the attendees who will be polled before a response is given by the panel members. The results of the polling will be displayed after each question has been addressed by the panel, so attendees will be able to see if the panel agreed or disagreed with their response.

Strategic Roles of Factors in Expanding the Frontier of Trade in the 21st Century (Panel) — Developing countries may have some trade difficulties due to infrastructure challenges and unfriendly/inconsistent trade policies. Factors can help address these challenges both domestically and internationally by building confidence and stimulating trade. 

Dealing with Canadian Litigation (Panel) — This panel will be discussing the recommended methods of dealing with litigation in Canada with emphasis on current legal cases.

The conference roundtable sessions will additionally give attendees ample time to network and learn from others with similar roles within the factoring industry. Each roundtable will be led by industry professionals familiar with the specific topic and will provide an open discussion forum between conference attendees. They include:



• Women in Commercial Finance

• Senior Executives

• Young Professionals

• Operational Issues

• Small Factors

“Tremendous networking opportunities,” seems to be the theme within all the conference evaluations we receive each year. The IFA not only takes pride in providing a forum for top quality education, but also in the valuable time devoted to networking. Attendees will be able to gain respected contacts, conduct business deals, learn from others and share ideas about how to succeed in the industry, all while enjoying fun activities such as golf tournaments, San Diego food tours, dessert receptions and more. 

There are endless possibilities to learn, grow and socialize with the brightest minds in the industry at the 2019 Annual IFA Factoring Conference. Although ranked as the nation’s eighth largest city, San Diego’s laid-back beach mentality creates a casual atmosphere, giving conference attendees the ability to relax and enjoy the company of like-minded professionals from all over the world. There’s always something exciting and thrilling to learn, do and discover in San Diego, so what better place to host the IFA Annual Factoring Conference than where you can experience the same.

For more information and to register, go to •

Heather Villa is the managing director of the International Factoring Association. She is responsible for managing and directing the IFA’s external communications as well as managing the business affairs of the Association. She assists with event planning, speaker selection and contract negotiations for all training seminars and conferences, including the annual Factoring Conference. She can be reached at 805-773-0011
ext 301 or