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My goals for FEI.

One of my goals as the 1992-93 FEI chairman was to attend all six of the Fall Area Operations Committee (AOC) meetings in the U.S. and Canada. I had the opportunity to meet the new chapter presidents and directors and learn firsthand what they had on their FEI agendas. It also focused my attention on chapter issues and concerns that are very similar in all six areas. I want to take this opportunity to share with you some observations and thoughts from those meetings.

In all of these meetings, I was struck by the fact that many members are unaware of the many activities that involve our members and FEI staff on a day-to-day basis. This is in spite of our communications effort, which includes the revitalized Financial Executive magazine and the new Briefing, both of which receive very high marks, plus a proliferation of other correspondence.

Reflecting on why FEI is the best-kept secret both inside and outside the organization leads me to my second goal. For some years, I have felt that if we are truly to be "the leading advocate of corporate financial management" then we must establish a meaningful public relations program that communicates our involvement and accomplishments to the business press throughout the U.S. and Canada. Despite the absence of a significant public relations program, FEI's input and opinions are sought on a multitude of issues and its members are quoted much more frequently today than they were just a few short years ago. Just think what would happen if we had a more focused program to assure that our opinions and activities were being communicated in a meaningful way to the financial press.

Communications is closely tied to membership, which is the backbone of our organization. I believe that a public relations program that provides FEI with the press coverage it deserves will go a long way toward building membership. A successful program will have potential members seeking us out because either they or their CEOs continue to read about FEI and its activities. I'd like to meet a CEO one day who says, "Yes, I read about FEI and I told my CFO to join." This type of proactive program is much more successful than a reactive one.

Frequently asked questions are, "How is FEI serving its members? How do members benefit from their membership in FEI?" If you ever question the value of your membership, or want to know how you are being represented, you should talk to past chairman Jack Edman, who is most articulate on "the value of an FEI membership." FEI President Norm Roy addressed these subjects on this page of the May/June and November/December 1991 magazines.

FEI serves a large and diverse constituency--public and private, large and small, metropolitan and non-metropolitan. As a result, our members look to FEI for many different things--chapter operations and chapter networking, technical or other committee activities, professional development opportunities, and participation in the FEI leadership, while others choose to obtain their input through our various publications. Our mission is to represent all of our constituents and to provide them with the information and tools they require as financial executives. There is no easy answer to this representation, but we shall ever strive to serve all of our constituents.

Finances are generally not a matter of concern in the chapters. Except for the very small chapters, which continue to struggle, most chapters maintain substantial cash balances. Could we expect less of financial executives who are only comfortable when the cash flow is positive?

The 1992-93 FEI leadership hit the bricks running. To keep that momentum rolling, we are developing a training and education program for future chapter presidents and directors. This will enable them to be even more effective in carrying out their responsibilities, making FEI an even more effective and cohesive organization. I am extremely proud to be associated with these individuals and to have the opportunity to serve as your chairman for this year.

C.J. (Chris) Christie Chairman Financial Executives Institute
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Title Annotation:From The Chairman; Financial Executives Institute
Author:Christie, C.J.
Publication:Financial Executive
Article Type:Column
Date:Nov 1, 1992
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