The 2008 Opportunity Finance Network Conference
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The 2008 OFN Conference, themed "Opportunity NOW. It’s a new era," spanned an incredible range of subjects to get conference attendees thinking, exploring, questioning, analyzing, and learning. Seven training tracks and the top issues of our times – the economy, the credit market, and the mortgage market – kept us busy all week long. We learned from Jim Collins and other invited experts, and we learned from each other.
- A Native American honor guard posted colors and traditional Native American dancers entertained us at the Opening Reception. City of Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez welcomed us to the 24th Annual Conference for opportunity finance.
- Mark Pinsky, OFN President & CEO, delivered his annual state of the industry speech "NOW! The State of Opportunity Finance."
- Jim Collins, a student and teacher of enduring great companies and author of Good to Great, inspired us and reminded us that "a crisis is a terrible opportunity to waste" as he provided thoughtful answers to the plentiful questions from the audience.
- Lance Morgan, President of Ho-Chunk, Inc., talked about this development corporation for the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.
- Authors of The NEXT American Opportunity met with conference attendees. The publication offers insight from 54 successful practitioners about everything from the CDFI Fund to the New Markets Tax Credit and is available at www.nextamericanopportunity.org.
- The Entrepreneur Marketplace featured two dozen small businesses and Native CDFIs with jewelry and other products from New Mexico and the Southwest.
- The Fifth Annual Native CDFI Gathering focused on Native asset building and opportunity creation.
- Attendees lingered in the Gallery of Member Profiles, reading about the accomplishments of their peers.
- The Rural Summit gave rural CDFIs a chance to talk to and think aloud with each other about the unique issues in rural markets.
- The Wachovia NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance gala event was suspenseful as ever.
- The Native Awards honored accomplishments of one Native CDFI and a Native CDFI leader.
- Tours featured one of New Mexico’s most unique Indian Pueblos, Albuquerque small businesses, and green homes in the Sawmill Land Trust.
- OFN’s Annual Membership meeting included a focus on OFN’s policy strategy in 2009 and resulted in the election of two new board members for OFN. Congratulations to Alan Branson of Enterprise Corporation of the Delta and Mary Rogier of Northern California Community Loan Fund.
- A conversation with the second annual Wachovia NEXT Awards recipients closed out the event.
We look forward to seeing everyone at OFN’s 25th Annual Conference, October 27-30, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina!