As 2020 comes to a close, we look back on a year that started much differently than it will end. It started with a high at the 2020 DIC and in a strange twist of unexpected fate, will close on an even higher note because of TMA Innovation.
Few words can express my gratitude to a leadership, volunteer community, and TMA staff that seized the moment when the world seized, and with definitiveness and immediacy, took TMA in a new direction. Hence, our pivot with purpose was born.
We led through the crisis under the steady leadership of TMA Global President Derek Meek. We made hard decisions early to respond to what was foreshadowed to be a longer road back to “normal” than originally hoped. We leaned into our core strengths as an organization and became a virtual powerhouse demonstrating that we were going to be more visible and viable than ever before.
At a time when most membership organizations are hurting, TMA experienced year-over-year membership growth through the end of October. Along with assuring overall member value, we upped our game and innovated with a fresh direction that defined the moment.
The TMA Town Hall series was our earliest success, bringing in professional talent that addressed an array of topics spanning the traditional to the practical. Whether it was with a healthcare roundtable or a session on best practices in use of social media, we supported our diverse professional community with knowledge and engagement.
With so many new members in the Big Tent, the thirst for knowledge and the desire of many to seek our coveted CTA and CTP certification opportunities grew. Thus, the TMA Boot Camp was born. This program, led by esteemed Certified Turnaround Professionals and created by incoming TMA Global President Matthew English, CTP, proved to be pivotal.
That program has become the gold standard of basic knowledge. Next year, a storied faculty of seasoned professionals will lead from eight to 12 Boot Camps. This, too, will be expanded as the world of TMA Innovation allows us to grow.
But the crowning achievement in our virtual year was IMPACT 2020: The TMA Annual Experience. We were unafraid to take risks to create an online experience like no conference opportunity before. With a committee that exuded confidence in our effort, we built what many believed was impossible.
More than 500 attendees had over 90 opportunities to learn, connect, and engage over a four-day period. Sponsors skeptical of the kind of support we would receive from members were blown away by the visibility they received, particularly through our new and innovative networking opportunities. Over those four days of TMA magic, 268 private meetings and new business connections were created.
The virtual world has proven we are innovative, powerful, and creative. It must remain a part of what we do going forward because we have seen the benefits it has offered for so many in TMA Nation. We learned to serve more of our members and to highlight member benefits like never before because of the array of access to a variety of opportunities.
While 2020 was not without its challenges, it ends on a high note because of all of you—our leaders, members, and sponsors who stuck with TMA in a year that exceeded all expectations on almost every front. Now we enter the world of TMA Tomorrow, starting with our 2021 TMA Distressed Investing Conference, “From IMPACT to INNOVATION.”
As we end 2020, we see huge opportunity and promise ahead. TMA Tomorrow looks bright, and as we hopefully are able to reengage in person with each other in the coming year, what we have learned in 2020 has created a framework for new thought, new ways to support members, and a level of engagement that will continue to allow us to lead in support of our members worldwide. Thanks to each of you for your unwavering support and belief in us, which has been priceless. For that, we are all #TMAPROUD!
Scott Y. Stuart, Esq.
TMA Global CEO