ATTENTION: Meeting is Fully Booked. No More Space Available.
Ever since I first became involved in debt relief in 1994 I always wanted to find a group of people, like myself, that had the consumer in mind and wanted to do things the best way possible. I’ve attended credit counseling trade meetings and conventions and always left a bit disappointed. And then over the past year we’ve all watched debt settlement trade associations seemingly put trade membership over consumers in an effort to continue unfair debt settlement sales practices. Those associations didn’t speak for putting truth first either.
Now that I am a full time journalist and not a debt relief provider I see things from a different perspective, from inside and outside the debt relief office. And while I think it might be possible to put together an association of debt relief provider and consumers advocates that want to do the right thing, I’m not even going to try to do that. Rather than an association with rules and dues, I’d rather help to foster an group of debt relief friends.
So what I’d like to do is invite debt relief providers and consumer advocates to what I’m calling the Rally in Raleigh on Saturday November 13, 2010 in Raleigh, North Carolina. My hope is the get together will result in like-minded individuals in debt relief to share ideas and make new friends in the field that share similar goals and perspectives.
Why This Meeting Will Be Exceptional
Rather than the typical trade meeting where participants come and are “spoken at”, my goal is to make this a gathering where I’ll facilitate the conversation but participants will be the ones heard from. Participants will share ideas and opinions on how to make the debt relief field better, how to sell services without breaking the law, what debt relief providers need to do to offer best practices, how to collaborate for the benefit of the consumer, etc.
My dream is to have people from credit counseling, debt settlement, bankruptcy, consumer advocates and others to come so multiple points of views can be heard and collaboration can be fostered.
10:00 – 10:30 Welcome and Who’s Here.
10:30 – Noon – Is There a Need for Honesty and Integrity in Debt Relief? How Does the Group Think the Reputation of the Debt Relief Industry Can Be Improved? Where is it Now?
Noon – 1:00 – Where to Start in Delivering Exceptional Debt Relief Services. What Does the Group Think is Required to be a Debt Relief Leader?
1:00 – 2:00 – Lunch
2:00 – 3:00 – Regulation and Compliance in Debt Relief. A Need or a Nuisance? Can It be a Benefit? Are Regulators to Be Feared?
3:00 – 4:00 – Advertising and Selling Debt Relief Services. What Works and Why. What to Avoid.
4:00 – 5:00 – What Does the Group Think Needs to be Done to Make Sure Consumers Continue to Have Access to Debt Relief Services? What Happens Next?
The First Thoughts
Here were the ground rules I initially brainstormed here.
- The group discussions needs to be recorded, open and public like an FTC hearing and I’ll put the video on the site.
- I’ll pay for the meeting room and people interested just need to get themselves there to meet other like minded debt relief participants.
- No vendors will be allowed.
- I will not be involved in the formation of any association.
- Low budget all the way.
While interested parties offered their town as the host of the meeting, I’ve decided to host it right here in beautiful Raleigh, North Carolina. Raleigh has a great airport and a lovely downtown area. It’s generally inexpensive and a town I’m really proud to call home. I selected a Saturday for the meeting since rooms and transportation will be cheaper for attendees.
More Information About Raleigh, NC
Here is the initial game plan, more details will follow.
Friday, November 12, 2010 — People arrive by planes, trains, or automobiles. Casual get together this evening at a local food establishment for people arriving on Friday.
Saturday, November 13, 2010 — Starting at 10:00 AM, about six hours of meetings and conversations broken up with breaks and lunch. Another group dinner for anyone staying overnight. Separate checks of course.
Sunday, November 14, 2010 — For those that stayed overnight on Saturday, you need to wake up and go home.
I have commitments to attend from the following people so far:
- Damon Day, Debt Coach
- Scott Johnson, U.S. Debt Resolve
- Andy Faria, Northeast Settlement Group
- Christopher Viale, Cambridge Credit Counseling
- Alex Viecco, New Era Debt Solutions
- Angelo Anzalone, Active Debt Solutions
- Jordon Olsen, SilverLeaf
- Sean Ryan, Active Debt Solutions
- Ashley Eichelberger, SilverLeaf
- Jason Byrum, SilverLeaf
- Dan Smith, New Era Debt Solutions
- Mike Croxson, CareOne
- Robert Zangrilli, Franklin Debt Relief
- Jim Buttonow, EasyIRS.com
- Michael Reilly, Emerge America
- Steve Anello, Emerge America
- Rod Ebrahimi, ReadyForZero.com
- Jenna Keehnen, USOBA
- Anisa Sharif, Personal Credit Solutions
- Sonia Garrison, Center for Responsible Lending
- Diane Chen, CESI Debt Solutions, CEO
- Lynne Weaver, North Carolina Attorney General Office
- Ignacio Thayer, ReadyforZero.com
- Linda Remsberg, NoteWorld, President
- Bard Luippold, NoteWorld
- Chris Schornak, Debt Solutions Network
Special Guest: Allison Brown, Federal Trade Commission
Only 26 registrations will be accepted. The reason space for this meeting is limited is because I’m essentially not charging for people to attend and so I’m not paying for a big or bigger room. If you are interested in coming and exchanging ideas with other likeminded folks, my suggestion is to register as soon as possible before I have to close registration.
The Saturday meeting will be held at the Raleigh Marriott City Center hotel. 500 Fayetteville Street
Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.
I will be sending out additional information to registrants but Raleigh’s airport, RDU, is a Southwest Airlines hub, along with some other carriers. Amtrak stops right downtown, RGH, and I-40, I-85 and I-95 are great ways to get in the area.
I’ve already promised my extra rooms to some so the Rhode house is all full. The meeting will be held at the Raleigh Marriott City Center so book your room here. I did not go for the meeting discount rate since I’d have to be on the hook for unbooked rooms. Typically the AAA rate is pretty good anyway.
In the interest of total disclosure I have never attempted to host a meeting so while this might appear informal it is only because I’m learning as I go here. People that register will receive regular updates from me with updated information and details as it becomes available.
You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.
Registration is going to be $20 and all the proceeds from registration will be donated to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. I’ve written about them before.