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Remember When We Thought We Understood Disruption?

Leader Board: Jeffrey C. Hampton

Remember when you sat through a conference session or read an article about managing disruption? Maybe you read in this very magazine about the impact of disruption and how it related to business planning, operations, and turnarounds. Before COVID, our understanding of disruption and its management was, frankly, adorable. I thought ride-sharing and online shopping were big deals. Now, having witnessed the initial and ongoing impact of the COVID-19 virus, we have genuine insight into what real disruption looks like.

But as I have stated in every Leader Board column I have written to you this year, managing these types of changes and disruptions is what turnaround professionals, like our members, do best.

Yet another victim of the disruption wrought by the pandemic is, of course, The Annual, one of TMA’s largest and best conferences every year. Some of my fondest TMA memories are from past Annuals in various cities, and trust me, no one wished harder than I did this year for an in-person Annual like all those that preceded it. However, COVID-19 had other plans.

But the good news is that in a professional turnaround power move among the best you have ever seen in any workout or bankruptcy case, TMA has pivoted toward a virtual conference that promises to be like no other. This experience will certainly be different, but it will be just as good as every TMA Annual conference of which you have been a part in the past.

Before COVID, our understanding of disruption and its management was, frankly, adorable.

Impact 2020: The TMA Annual Experience will be the most experiential TMA opportunity our organization has ever created, showcasing the people, power, and creativity of our industry and what we can accomplish together. This event will allow you to experience everything you have come to expect from our conferences, such as education, networking, landing your next case or deal, and walking away with a stack of relevant business cards (OK, maybe v-cards) with the contact information for the best and brightest in our industry.

The Annual Planning Committee and the TMA staff were charged with the not-insignificant task of turning an in-person conference with handshakes and finger food (remember those?) in Boston into a virtual experience controlled by you, your schedule, and your computer’s mouse. That committee lets me occasionally Zoom bomb their meetings, and the imagination, enthusiasm, and leadership shown by that group are overwhelming.

Special thanks to each of them for all of their hard work to ensure that The Annual Experience will be like nothing you have attended before. And a special thank you to all of our sponsors who have seized on this opportunity to be a part of the Experience. Finally, thank you to TMA’s staff, who are nothing short of amazing. Stop what you are doing right now (after you finish reading this, of course) and make your plans to attend, because you don’t want to miss out on the conversations and memories in our industry that are sure to follow this Experience for years.

Disruption brings about changes, and many are good or even great. Will our conferences forever be virtual from now on? Will this be TMA’s only Annual in this format? Will we look back on 2020 as a one-time, unique, and special Annual Conference, or will this Annual be so good that even future in-person conferences draw influence from it going forward? Either way, you don’t want to miss this Opportunity to Impact, and I look forward to seeing you there!

Derek Meek

Derek F. Meek

Burr & Forman

Derek F. Meek is the 2020 TMA Global President. He is a partner at Burr & Forman in the firm's Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama offices with a focus on bankruptcy and commercial litigation matters. Derek regularly represents debtors, creditors, committees, asset purchasers and other clients in matters related to insolvency, financial distress, and bankruptcy, both in and out of court. Derek also regularly advises clients in and around the automotive manufacturing space, including OEMs, tier-suppliers, financiers, and transportation providers.

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