VBA Connect & Protect Experience
An Event for Marketing, Human Resources, Retail Banking, Training, Security, Enterprise Risk Management, Operations and Technology, and Compliance Professionals

Conference/Seminar/School Kristen Reid Walt Lyons Michele Dunn Amy Binns

The VBA Connect|Protect Experience will uncover new ideas, trends and developments in banking.

Register Now!

Conference Agenda – Monday, March 11, 2024* 

1:00 pm                         Registration Open

2:00 – 5:00 pm           Work Smarter, Not Harder: Tips and Tools to Power Your Productivity
Shameka Jennings, Events Noire 

If there’s anything people struggle to achieve it is better productivity. However, being more productive isn’t rocket science. The key is to work smarter, not harder. As the saying goes, “it’s not the number of hours you put into work, it is the amount of work you put in those hours.” In this session, we compiled productivity tips and tools to help you in your day-to-day work. You’ll find shortcuts to speed up routine tasks, tools to enhance your workflow, as well as ideas to stay organized, improve communication with your team, and power your productivity.

5:00 – 6:00 pm            Welcome Reception
                                         sponsored by Works24

*Agenda Topics and Speakers Subject to Change

Conference Agenda – Tuesday, March 12, 2024*

7:15 - 8:15 am           Registration & Continental Breakfast with the Exhibitors

8:15 – 8:30 am           Welcome Announcements Sponsor Introductions

8:30 - 9:30 am           Opening Keynote: Fintech Transformers: Rise of Primacy      
                                       Adam Thompson, StrategyCorps

In the ever-transforming battle for customers/members, fintechs seek to be the new rulers of the banking universe. And the tides have turned. From 2019 to 2022, digital banks have the largest growth rates of primary relationships. Now, for the first time ever, more consumers in the Gen Y and Gen Z age groups name a digital bank as their primary institution than all of the community banks and credit unions combined! Experience live demonstrations of the banking apps that are reimagining the definition of PFI as Primary Financial Interactions, instead of Primary Financial Institution, and changing consumer attitudes and banking behaviors.

9:30 – 9:50 am           Networking Break in the Exhibit Hall
                                       sponsored by Addison Clark

9:50 – 10:50 am         Breakout Sessions

  • HR Legal Hot Topics | Steve Brown, Isler Dare, PC
  • Who Took the Cookies? Digital Marketing Trends for 2024 & Beyond | 
    Robert Ropars, Vericast
  • The State of ERM Today | Alp Can, FHLBAtlanta
  • Legislative and Legal Update Affecting Banking | Robert Chappell, Spotts Fain
  • Check Fraud | Marydith Newman, US Postal Inspection Service
  • Atomic Banking: The Talent Management Edition | Erin Black, PhD, Liberty University

10:50 – 11:10 am        Networking Break in the Exhibit Hall

11:10 – 12:10 pm        Breakout Sessions

  • HR Legal Panel, Part I | Steve Brown, Isler Dare, PC; Deb Collins, Yeng Collins Law; Christy Kiely, Seyfarth Shaw; Tevis Marshall, Ogletree Deakins
  • Fraud Busters: Empowering Banking Retail Staff to Detect and Explain Fraud to Customers | Bobbi McVey-Blath, Level Up Facilitation Group
  • Corporate Communications Strategy … and Engaging Employees In It! | Erin Black, PhD, Liberty University
  • Payments Fraud – Instant Payment Shouldn’t Equal Instant Fraud | Elissa Brewer, Abrigo
  • 1071 Small Business Rule| Margaret Dolinger, TCA
  • Implications of Chat GPT and other Large Language Models for Banks | Larry Pruss, SRM

12:10 – 1:10 pm           Lunch

1:10 – 2:10 pm             Breakout Sessions

  • HR Legal Panel, Part II | | Steve Brown, Isler Dare, PC; Deb Collins, Yeng Collins Law; Christy Kiely, Seyfarth Shaw; Tevis Marshall, Ogletree Deakins
  • Training’s AI Bootcamp: Where AI Doesn’t Stand for “Absolutely Intimidating” | Paul Carney, Carter Bank & Trust
  • Migrating from Transactions to Conversations, Setting Your Branches and People Up for Success | Marshall Jett & Glenn Grau, PWCampbell
  • Automation isn’t Automatic: How to Get Started | Josh Mabus, Mabus Agency
  • Are You Ready for It? How to Manage Regulatory Change | Stephanie Lyon, Ncontracts
  • M365/Azure Security and Real Stories of Email Compromise | Eric Delgado, Safe Systems

2:10 – 2:30 pm             Networking Break in Exhibit the Hall

2:30 – 3:30 pm             Breakout Sessions

  • Navigating Conflict | Tom Epperson, InnerWill Leadership Institute
  • How to Do Amazing Things with a Small Training Department | Bobbi McVey-Blath, Level Up Facilitation Group
  • CRA Modernization Final Rule and Update | Elizabeth Madlem, Compliance Alliance
  • What is Data Governance and How to Implement It? | James Krynicky, FHLBAtlanta
  • Elder Financial Exploitation: The Hidden Crime | Terri Luttrell, Abrigo
  • Unlock Immediate Banking Wins with AI | Paul Carney, Carter Bank & Trust

3:30 – 3:50 pm             Networking Break in the Exhibit Hall 

3:50 – 4:30 pm             Industry Update Bruce Whitehurst, Virginia Bankers Association

4:30 - 5:15 pm              Vendor Speed Dating

5:15 - 6:30 pm             Networking Reception
                                          sponsored by Vericast

*Agenda Topics and Speakers Subject to Change

Conference Agenda – Wednesday, March 13, 2024*

7:00 – 8:00 am          Continental Breakfast with the Exhibitors

8:00 – 8:10 am          Welcome Announcements

8:10 - 9:10 am          Evolving Cyber Threats: What’s Next? | Stephanie Lyon, Ncontracts

What would one cyber breach do to your financial institution? How would your team respond? This session will explain the responsibilities of the team when it comes to cybers security and disaster recovery resiliency.

Takeaways include:

  • The risk posed by third-party vendors and why they must be managed effectively
  • The FFIEC Cybersecurity Assessment Tool
  • Risk management as prevention
  • Best practices for vendor due diligence rules and contract management
  • How to work with your regulatory agency both during and between your exam cycles

The operational, financial, and reputation risk costs of a cyber breach are staggering, and agencies are emphasizing accountability on board and management levels. This session is essential for your financial institution’s team to gain the knowledge they need to effectively manage cybersecurity risk.

9:10 - 9:25 am         Networking Break in the Exhibit Hall

9:25 – 10:25 am       Breakout Sessions

  • ​HR Roundtable
  • Training Roundtable
  • Retail Roundtable
  • Marketing Roundtable
  • Compliance Roundtable
  • Ops & Tech Roundtable
  • Security Roundtable & ERM Roundtable

10:25 – 10:45 am          Networking Break in the Exhibit Hall

10:45 - 11:00 am          Sponsor Prize Drawings

11:00 – 12:00 pm          Closing Keynote: The Anatomy of a Good Idea
Ace Callwood, Envoy

In “The Anatomy of a (Good) Idea” Ace debunks the widely held idea that brilliance is born of epiphany or a knock to the head a la Doc Brown in Back To The Future. The process of coming up with a quality idea is characterized by discipline and adherence to a handful of core principles. Beyond the idea, the work of ensuring we’re solving the right problem is paramount for optimal outcomes.

12:00 pm                      Conference Adjourns

*Agenda Topics and Speakers Subject to Change

Speaker Information

Erin Black, PhD, Liberty University
For two decades, Erin Black has served as a hub of digital strategy and innovation, both within her organization and the organizations in which she volunteered. She has extensive experience in digital marketing, content management, customer-focused strategic planning, and internal and external crisis communication. In 2018, after serving as a Senior Vice President in bank marketing for nearly 10 years, Erin shifted her corporate career to commit to full-time University-level instruction. The opportunity to reinvent common practices motivated Erin into a world of curriculum development, faculty mentorship, and digital instruction. Erin uses research to solve the challenges and problems she encountered in the corporate world to deliver fresh insight and a real-world approach to the challenges that most organizations face today. Erin earned her BA in Creative Writing from Christopher Newport University, her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Longwood University, her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in 2015, and completed her PhD in Communication from Liberty University in 2021. Erin has also served as the Lead Marketing Faculty for Virginia Bankers Association’s Bank School since 2019 and will continue that role in 2024-2025. In addition to many other civic engagements, Erin served on the Virginia Banker’s Association Marketing Board for nearly a decade and was named Chair in 2016. Erin is also a published author, specifically on topics concerning corporate, customer and employee impact during crisis.

Elissa Brewer, Abrigo
Elissa Brewer is a Senior Risk Management Consultant with the Abrigo Advisory Services Group. She has over 20 years’ experience working in the financial institution & software industry. She has worked directly with financial institutions and FinTech’s to incorporate manual and automated solutions into their BSA, AML/CFT, and Fraud programs. Prior to her transition in the software industry, Elissa worked for multiple financial institutions and built their BSA/AML/OFAC, Fraud, and Risk Management Programs from the ground up. Elissa is an accomplished trainer, speaker, and content developer for BSA/AML/CFT, Fraud, Risk, and Information Security topics. She has experience in Prepaid Cards and Payments (program management, AML monitoring, system setup, bank-vendor relations), Cannabis Banking, Vendor Management, Enterprise Risk Management, Deposit Compliance, and Retail Banking. Elissa earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Ethics. She is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS). She is a member of the National Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (ACAMS) and the Kansas City ACAMS Chapter.

Steve Brown, Isler Dare, PC
Steve understands the business operations of the private and public employers he represents and he provides creative strategies to manage labor, employment and business issues. He has over thirty-three years of experience in defending employers in a variety of industries in cases under various federal and state labor and employment laws before administrative agencies, state and federal courts, and before arbitration panels all over the United States. He also provides daily legal and strategic advice related to all labor and employment issues, including, but not limited to, hiring, employment agreements, wage and hour, progressive discipline, performance evaluations, investigations, leave issues under the FMLA and ADA, workplace safety issues,
termination of employment, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, trade secrets, noncompetition, non-solicitation, and confidentiality covenants, severance and release agreements, employment and business related tort claims, workplace violence issues, labor and employment law audits, and labor and employment due diligence.

Ace Callwood, Envoy
Combining his role as the firm’s lead mediator with his background in tech entrepreneurship, Ace is constantly working at the intersection of digital and human to collaboratively create solutions for some of the world’s intractable issues. In Envoy’s executive programs he teaches leadership skills in trust-building, conflict navigation, and drawing from diverse perspectives to innovate and disrupt markets. An instinctive bridge-builder, Ace deploys advanced, transparent techniques to ensure parties truly hear each other and stretch their creative minds to find paths forward.

Alp Can, FHLB Atlanta
Alp Can directs FHLBank Atlanta’s Enterprise Risk Management and Credit and Collateral Services. Can joined the Bank in 2005 as an Asset Liability Analyst and earned promotions to Senior Financial Risk Analyst in 2007 and to Vice President and Manager of Financial Risk Modeling in May 2011. Can was promoted to Senior Vice President and Chief Risk Officer in June 2017, and Executive Vice President in January 2020. He earned a Bachelor of Science in economics from the University of Istanbul, and a Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in mathematical risk management from Georgia State University.

Paul Carney, Carter Bank & Trust
Paul Carney has covered it all. As a guiding force behind Carter Bank & Trust, Paul performs today as their Chief Human Resources Officer. With over 30 years of experience across business, IT, and HR, Paul seamlessly blends his roles and proudly identifies as a businessperson who manages HR by being a trusted advisor to his business partners. And Paul isn’t just all talk; he’s penned his wisdom into his insightful book, “Move Your Æ(ash): Know, Grow, and Show Your Career Value”. Lauded for its innovative way to calculate a person’s career value, the book launched in 2018 and quickly found its place on the desks of many ambitious professionals. His extensive writing and speaking serves as a testament to his dedication to career growth and personal development. Paul’s expertise is not limited to HR alone; he has earned respected accreditations from the Blockchain Council as an AI Expert™ and Certified Prompt Engineer™. Away from the hustle and bustle of his professional life, Paul shares an active life with his best friend and wife, Lisa, in Oak Ridge, NC. Together, they relish the simple joys – quality time with their two adult children, the natural beauty of the beach, and their shared love for wine. And this isn’t just any ordinary love for wine; Paul and Lisa turned their passion into achievement when they received the prestigious “Level 2 Award in Wine”, making every sip an educated experience of aromas and flavors.

Robert Chappell, Spotts Fain
Robert Chappell’s practice focuses on commercial bankruptcy, bankruptcy litigation, creditors’ rights insolvency, and business. He represents lenders in all facets of commercial credit transactions from origination to work-out and recovery. Recently, he has represented asset purchasers in complex bankruptcies, represented debtors in Chapter 11 cases selling real properties, helped restructure the finances of a continuing-care-retirement-community and assisted in the resolution of major credit issues involving real estate developments, condominium developments, title litigation, hotels, and golf courses. He also provides counsel to local businesses, with a focus on community banks.

Deb Collins, Yeng Collins Law
Deb Collins began her legal career as an Assistant Commonwealth Attorney with the Norfolk Commonwealth Attorney’s Office for a number of years before joining a boutique employment law firm, as an associate then as a partner. Her current practice focuses on employment law and business disputes. Deb represents both employees and employers across the entire spectrum of employment issues, including providing day-to-day advice, negotiating contract issues, drafting policies and handbooks, conducting internal investigations, and representing clients in grievances, mediations, arbitrations, administrative proceedings, and litigation. She also assists corporate clients with business formation and has represented corporations and professionals in pursuing and defending claims in various business disputes. Deb is a first generation American whose family, through many years of hard work, lived the American dream of entrepreneurship. Her background and experience leave her uniquely positioned to understand both the injustices an employee can suffer and the struggles specific to the business owner. This perspective provides her with the tools to efficiently resolve problems and effectively craft solutions to each individual legal situation.

Eric Delgado, Safe Systems
Eric Delgado handles research and development into the Azure platform with a focus on security, identity, and compliance technologies at Safe Systems. His vision for a clearly defined, unified, and secure approach to the adoption of Azure technologies guides Safe Systems and customers to safe and productive utilization of the platform. With continued efforts into R&D, Eric works with every team from the top down to enact this vision. Eric hosts webinars, writes blog posts and white papers, and speaks at conferences to spread awareness of Azure technologies, services, and concepts. He does this with a unique perspective geared toward the SMB Finance Industry built on years of experience working with Safe Systems and their customers. Eric has worked with Safe Systems since 2016, helping customers resolve network and cloud related issues and identity compromises before moving into R&D. Eric holds a B.S. from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is Microsoft 365 Certified as both an Enterprise Administrator Expert and Security Administrator Associate.

Margaret Dolinger, TCA
A veteran Virginia banker with her CRCM (Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager) whose compliance focus centers on the loan side and the many components of CRA and Fair Lending, Margaret Dolinger’s ability to analyze credit data, operational processes, branch performance and support fraud investigation research positions her strategically well in the TCA compliance support spectrum. Assigned to TCA’s East Coast region and operates from Charlottesville, VA, Margaret Dolinger primarily assists TCA client banks in the Mid‐Atlantic states, although her extensive banking credentials have led to nationwide assignments. Subject matter expert in Fair Lending laws, Community Reinvestment Act and working on 1071 Small Business Data Collection, Ms. Dolinger enjoys assisting banks in seeking opportunities in outreach efforts to fulfill community credit needs. Outside of work, Ms. Dolinger enjoys any outdoor activities, especially with her four grandchildren. Other interests include cooking and crafting. Finally, Ms. Dolinger is a Star Wars and Marvel geek.

Tom Epperson, InnerWill  Leadership Institute
Dr. Thomas Epperson is the President of InnerWill Leadership Institute and has over twenty years of experience as a leadership coach, facilitator, and speaker. He regularly works with organizations, family businesses, and the families behind them to help transform their leadership. Tom is a certified business coach and has a Doctorate in Leadership from The George Washington University. Tom is currently an adjunct instructor in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Executive MBA Program.

Glen Grau, PWCampbell
As Senior Vice President of Sales and a member of PWCampbell’s Planning Committee, Glenn is charged with leading the business development team for the company and assisting clients through the re-imagination of their retail branch network. He also helps guide them through the construction process, from program and design development into post construction, ensuring quality and client satisfaction every step of the way.
A veteran banker himself, Glenn spent over 10 years in key management roles for Dollar Bank where he was responsible for twelve branch locations, managed 100 employees and oversaw assets of $2 billion. This experience, combined with his extensive knowledge in the design-build arena, makes him an authority on branching. Working with hundreds of banks and credit unions to optimize their retail branch network and operations space over the past two decades has enabled him to speak to the latest branching trends, methods to revitalize branch networks for peak performance and profitability, and optimum space planning for operational efficiency and future growth. Glenn has a distinctive knack for blending his diverse understanding of banking, construction, and marketing to provide effective solutions for clients of every size. Glenn holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Finance, Management and Accounting, as well as a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and is licensed in commercial real estate. He is frequently asked to share his knowledge via speaking engagements with financial leagues and associations throughout the mid-Atlantic Region.

Shameka Jennings, EventsNoire
Shameka Jennings is an award-winning certified meeting professional, speaker, and thought leader with over 8 years of industry experience. Shameka is passionate about people, leadership, and successful businesses. She has a knack for making meaningful connections through events and an insatiable appetite for helping others maximize their potential. She is especially inspired to help people take their events, organizations, and careers to unprecedented levels. Shameka is the Principal and Chief Events Officer of EventsNoire, where she drives revenue growth, sponsorships, and member engagement through the creation of relevant and on-brand event experiences, in-person and virtually, for non-profit organizations, associations, and corporations.

Marshall Jett, PWCampbell
Marshall is a highly skilled and results-driven sales representative with a passion for delivering exceptional customer service while driving business growth. He has a deep understanding of design principles and construction processes and excels at translating client needs into innovative and practical design solutions. As a veteran banker, Marshall also has a first-hand understanding of the inner working and operations of the financial industry which supports his ability to tailor viable solutions in retail branch expansion, branch reimagination, space optimization and customer experience enhancement through the integration of technology and positive brand perception. Working directly in the field, Marshall has had the opportunity to work with hundreds of financial institutions making him an invaluable resource on up-to-date industry trends and emerging technologies. Marshall has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia as well as a Master’s of Business Administration degree from Longwood University.

Christy Kiely, Seyfarth Shaw
Building a workforce for the future requires data-driven insights to spot trends, identify and mitigate risks, and create programs that attract and retain the best talent. Increasingly aggressive legal and regulatory developments are placing new demands on employer practices, policies, compliance, and reporting requirements. Clients routinely turn to Christy for guidance on legal matters related to data analytics, including OFCCP audit defense, pay equity analysis, adverse impact analysis, affirmative action compliance, DE&I analysis, and reduction in force analysis. She understands the realities of a busy workplace and is adept at implementing comprehensive compliance schemes for clients. She has substantial experience conducting sophisticated, proactive equal pay analyses, as well as targeted analyses to respond to compensation claims. Christy represents employers in connection with discrimination, harassment, denial-of-benefits, defamation, wrongful discharge, and other claims in front of the EEOC and state and federal courts, and also has significant experience with #MeToo investigations, including sensitive, high-level scenarios. Christy has a deep commitment to pro bono work, and is actively involved in several regional programs that provide critical legal support to low-income populations.

James Krynicky, FHLBAtlanta
James Krynicky is the Manager of Data Operations and Governance for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta. James looks after the governance of data, operations and processes for the bank. He has over 25 years of finance and IT experience. Receiving degrees in both International Economics & Finance and in Philosophy from the Catholic University of America, James received the prestigious Wall Street Journal Student Acheivement Award given to the top student in the business school. In his IT career, James is a Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) and a principal Azure architect. In his role as the manager of data operations and governance, James focuses on teaching those interested about data privacy, data governance and risks associated with data. James also has expertise in risk analysis associated with AI technologies.

Terri Luttrell, Abrigo
Terri Luttrell is CAMS-Audit certified and has over 25 years in the banking industry, working both in medium and large community banks in the areas of compliance/fraud, commercial lending, and deposit operations. As an AML consultant, she has helped institutions develop BSA/OFAC programs to ensure all regulatory requirements are met and managed a team of AML investigators for a large/cross-border institution, among other roles. Terri is currently Compliance & Engagement Director with Abrigo (formerly Banker’s Toolbox).

Stephanie Lyon, Ncontracts
Ms. Lyon is a dynamic force in risk and compliance management, leading Ncontracts’ team of attorneys and compliance, risk, and audit professionals in developing products, including model content. Named one of the Most Powerful Women in Fintech by PROGRESS in Lending, Ms. Lyon is known for her thought-provoking webinars, podcasts, and articles for financial institutions covering everything from regulatory compliance and risk management to third-party risk management. She has advised hundreds of financial institutions on compliance-related topics and is also a faculty member for Compliance, Risk and Bank Secrecy schools and seminars around the country.

Josh Mabus, Mabus Agency
Josh Mabus owns the Mabus Agency — a 34 person bank marketing firm. Josh is a 20+ year veteran marketer. His expertise in bank marketing has transformed how financial institutions approach retail and commercial clients. No matter the asset size, institutions small and large have improved their success from Josh’s work — whether it is active work as a client or through keynotes and breakout sessions. Strategy, traditional and digital advertising, design, leadership, innovation, video, web, podcasting and more are tools of his trade. Josh Mabus formed the Mabus Agency in 2008 with a simple mission statement: to help people and raise the creative bar. Josh has used his varied experiences to bring a holistic approach to raising the creative bar in the financial industry. Journalist, writer, designer, actor, director, videographer, builder, maker, doer — he uses strategy to focus all facets of marketing into winning results for clients. As cohost of Marketing Money Podcast, he freely shares his expertise as he looks under the hood of financial marketing — usually with more than a few pop culture and sports references plus a healthy dose of humor. From building a complete brand overhaul for a bank to creating a new deposit campaign, Josh knows whatever you’re making, be sure you make a difference.

Elizabeth Madlem, Compliance Alliance
Elizabeth is the Vice President of Compliance Operations and Deputy General Counsel at Compliance Alliance. In the past, she served as both the Operations Compliance Manager and Enterprise Risk Manager for Washington Federal Bank, a $16 billion dollar organization headquartered in Seattle, WA. She has industry expertise and real-world solutions surrounding bank-enterprise initiatives and knowledge of contract law and bank regulatory compliance. An attorney since 2010, Elizabeth was a Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Delta Epsilon Sigma graduate of Saint Michael’s College in Burlington, VT, and a Juris Doctor from Valparaiso University School of Law in Indiana. As the Vice President of Compliance Operations, Elizabeth oversees C/A’s Products and Services and plays an important part in all operational areas of C/A.

Tevis Marshall, Ogletree Deakins
Tevis Marshall is a founding member of the firm’s Richmond office and focuses his practice on all aspects of traditional employment law. He regularly counsels employers on a broad range of workplace issues, including regulatory compliance, personnel policies, hiring, disciplining, terminating, reasonable accommodations, FMLA leave and workplace investigations. He has also assisted clients in managing onsite investigations from the EEOC and the U.S. Department of Labor. In addition to advising employers on workplace issues, Tevis has litigated cases on a wide range of topics, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), overtime and wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), non-compete agreements, wrongful termination and other general employment matters. Tevis is also committed to public service. Since 2009, he has served as the President of the Board of Directors for Human Resources, Inc., a non-profit organization that offers a wide range of substance abuse treatment services for individuals suffering from opioid addiction. 

Bobbi McVey-Blath, Level Up Facilitation Group
Bobbi McVey-Blath has over 26 years of experience in the banking industry, with a focus on learning and development. She has trained numerous professionals, including corporate trainers, subject-matter experts, HR professionals, and Sr. Executives. Drawing on her experience and expertise, she founded her own company, which offers a range of services to help banks enhance their training programs. These services include developing customized, bank-specific content, certifying training managers, and providing practical, timeless, and universally applicable facilitation skills training. Through her work, Bobbi is dedicated to helping banks invest in their employees and build a strong, skilled workforce that can drive success and growth.

Marydith Newman, U.S. Postal Inspection Service
Postal Inspector Marydith Newman began her law enforcement career in 2000 after graduating from the George Washington University with a degree in Environmental Studies. She began working for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General as a Special Agent in the Clearwater, FL field office where she was responsible for investigating Medicare and Medicaid fraud, waste, and abuse. In 2003, Inspector Newman was appointed the position of Postal Inspector with the United States Postal Inspection Service in Washington DC. As an Inspector in the Northern Virginia – Merrifield Domicile, she worked mail fraud investigations. In 2007, Inspector Newman transferred to the Richmond, VA Domicile where she worked mail fraud and violent crimes investigations. During her time working mail fraud, she successfully investigated three large scale, security fraud investigations totaling over $1 Billion in losses to consumers with jail sentences ranging from 60-100 years in prison. In 2014, Inspector Newman was promoted to the position of Team Leader for the Postal Inspection Service’s Richmond and Norfolk Domiciles where she oversees a team of Inspection Service personnel whose mission it is to investigate mail theft; financial crimes and identity theft through the U.S. Mail; mail fraud, narcotics – prohibited mailings, violent crime and to ensure security of all postal facilities and employees within Southern Virginia. In her current position Inspector Newman also manages the Newport News Financial Crimes Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional task force comprised of local, state, and federal partners, as well as regulatory agencies and financial institutions. Inspector Newman also serves as a violent crimes subject matter expert for the Postal Inspection Service.

Larry Pruss, SRM
Larry Pruss is the Managing Director of Digital Assets and Emerging Technologies Advisory Services at SRM (Strategic Resource Management), an independent, full-service advisory firm specializing in identifying cost savings and new revenue potential in contractual relationships. A recognized thought leader, frequent industry media contributor, and expert in the finance and fintech industries, Pruss’ role at SRM is as a thought leader and strategist on faster payments, digital assets, tokenization, digital ledgers, and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and quantum computing. Mr. Pruss also hosts SRM’s popular Tech Talk series where he leads industry discussions at the intersection of traditional financial services and emerging technology.

Robert Ropars, Vericast
Robert Ropars is a Senior Account Executive, Digital at Vericast and brings over 23 years of experience in strategic client support, digital strategy, and sales enablement for multiple industries/verticals with the last 14 years focused exclusively on financial institutions. Within the financial services industry he’s worked with numerous lines of business including retail/consumer, commercial/SMB, mortgage, and CRA/LMI/MM. He holds in-depth experience in digital advertising strategy, digital strategies in general, tech trends and translating technical concepts into plain English. He has spent the last six years focused on sharing Vericast digital advertising solutions with clients looking to leverage data insights to foster growth and forge deeper business-to-people connections.

Adam Thompson, StrategyCorps
Adam Thompson, Director of Sales, is a self-proclaimed checking account nerd driven to take data analytics and market research to guide clients to the right product strategy to deepen relationships in their marketplace. His strategies drive increases in brand loyalty, non-interest income, and deposits. Adam has been with StrategyCorps for 10 years, guiding over 80 financial institutions through retail checking improvements. Prior to joining StrategyCorps, Adam worked with the online sports news service Rivals.com, gaining a deep understanding of subscription strategies that drive engagement. Adam graduated from Lipscomb University with a BS in Organizational Communications and has spoken at countless state and national banking conferences like the ABA Marketing Conference. When not building the next great checking account you’ll find Adam on the golf course, basketball court, or dragging his family to the closest museum, battlefield, or other historical site.

Bruce Whitehurst, Virginia Bankers Association
Following a 10-year career in retail and commercial banking, Bruce joined the Virginia Bankers Association in 1993, its 100th anniversary year. He has served as president and chief executive officer of the association since 2007 and was previously executive vice president. While at the VBA, Bruce has worked with member banks in a variety of areas, to include government relations, education and training, financial literacy, and partnering with banks in a number of innovative ways to help them enter new lines of business. He also speaks about and on behalf of the industry on a regular basis. As a banking industry advocate, Bruce is active at the national level. He served on the American Bankers Association’s Regulatory Reform Task Force during the 2008-2009 financial crisis and served as an ABA Board member and chairman of the Alliance of State Bankers Associations in 2012-2013. He has also served on several other committees and councils at the national level. Committed to serving his community, Bruce is a director of and has chaired United Methodist Family Services in Richmond, VA and the Virginia Council on Economic Education. Bruce received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of William & Mary, his MBA from the University of Richmond and is a graduate of the Virginia Bankers School of Bank Management.

Registration Details

Registration Options Member Non-Member
Individual (Through February 12, 2024) $650 $1,150
Individual (February 13 – March 10, 2024) $695 $1,195
License up to 10 ($575+ per banker) $5,750  
License up to 20 ($400+ per banker) $8,000  

Register Now!


By registering for this event, you are agreeing to the VBA Event Policies.


All cancellations will be charged a $25.00 administrative fee. Cancellations received less than 72 business hours before the program will be charged a $75.00 administrative fee plus any additional fees associated with the training. Substitutions are allowed prior to the beginning of the conference.


If you have special needs that may affect your participation in this event, please contact Walt Lyons or Kristen Reid to discuss accommodations.

Hotel Information

Williamsburg Lodge
310 S England St
Williamsburg, VA 23185

The VBA has negotiated a room rate of $189/night, plus applicable taxes and fees. To take advantage of the negotiated rate, reservations must be made by February 20, 2024. Click here to make your reservation. 

Thank You to Our Sponsors!

Interested in sponsoring at the 2024 Connect/Protect Experience? Click here to see the available opportunities. Questions? contact Amy Binns.