If you’re like most of our listeners, you’re probably gearing up to travel to Las Vegas, October 21-24 to attend this year’s Money 20/20 conference. In seven years, beginning in Vegas but now globally, beginning with payments but now broadly fintech-minded, Money 20/20 has turned into the financial industry’s go-to set of events to stay on top of technology trends, to network, and to get deals done.
In anticipation of this year’s event, I’m talking to Tracey Davies, Money 20/20’s president to talk about how the event continues to evolve to better service the financial community. There are a few twists attendees can look forward to this year, including a broad inclusivity initiative that’s launching on the stage in Vegas.
If you’re going to be in Vegas, take a minute, locate Tracey, and introduce yourself — tell her you heard her on the podcast.
The following excerpts were edited for clarity.
What’s new on the program this year at Money 20/20 in Vegas?
The original show is now seven years old and this year, we’re debuting a really exciting program called Rise Up. It’s part of our inclusivity work and it’s an accelerator program for rising female talent. It’s a very practical program about changing the statistics we all know, about getting more women in senior positions across the industry. The accepted figure is that 25 percent of senior positions are held by women. That number drops to under 5 percent when you look at female CEOs.
We’re taking applications and in Vegas, we’ll announce the 30 women who will be going through the debut program. Once I was into my first full year in my new role at Money 20/20, this was something I wanted to do. I road-tested it at the show last year and it’s had a lot of support.
We have a cross industry advisory group championing the initiative. We know that businesses that are more inclusive are more successful businesses. It’s fact.
Who are these first 30 women?
First thing, we’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by the level of interest. We had over 500 women reach out to find out more about the program. By the end, I think we had 270 completed applications for these 30 places. That tells us there is a lot of thirst by a lot of women who want the support of an accelerator program.
We’ll unveil these 30 women ahead of the show. What we’re hearing from these women is that they have a struggle to be heard. They really want to build a community with other women. They want to build networks. They have a real ambition to get to the C-suite. We’re planning on taking this program global after Vegas.
What should attendees expect in Vegas this year?
The agenda is already out. There are over 500 speakers this year, 300 of which will be entirely new to our stage. Like last year, these are fresh voices in the industry. We’re bringing in new tracks, with a real focus on AI. We have an incredible lineup across blockchain and crypto. We have something like a 50 percent increase in banking coverage this year. The transformation of banks is a big trend we’re emphasizing.
Our shows are about learning, but our attendees are furiously booking meetings now, too. Our show is also about doing business, making new connections and reconnecting with old contacts. We’ll be debuting out AI-powered networking app which will make suggestions about who you should meet. We think a lot about how we can bring people together. So, we’re launching a series of meetups for like-minded communities to come together. We’re in the business of making this all easy to navigate. For example, we have programming and groups for first-timers to the show to help them navigate and get the most out of their event.
How do you think about stickiness of the event as it continues to grow?
It’s the challenge of our business. It’s about giving people who buy tickets the full value. That comes from what they can learn and who they can meet. We know we do a good job at doing that. We have evening events and a pool party. We think of all ways people can make connections in a fun way. We just announced T-Pain will perform at our party. We want people to have fun and do serious business.
I think we have an incredible speaker lineup. We always say the lineup is stronger than last year and I thought last year was really strong. It’s a year’s worth of work.