A Letter About Broker Fair
When I started in the small business finance industry in 2006, I considered myself fortunate that the work I put in translated into real world measurable impact. We helped businesses obtain capital when potentially no other options existed. Whether that was for simple cash flow, to expand, or to keep the lights on after an unexpected hardship, I got to know the customers’ stories and see the results of their efforts. Few kids straight out of college going into a “finance job” get to experience what I did. But for those that were in it at the time, we were like a family, a core group providing a service that very few other people understood.
And for a period of about five years through both underwriting and sales, which started before and went on through the Great Recession, many members of that family discovered new and different ways in which they could play a role in serving the nation’s small businesses. Some of them became big entrepreneurs, CEOs, or hard working brokers. Others went into tech, marketing, legal, and payments.
And for me, well I saw a need for something maybe a little less glamorous, but nevertheless important, and that was to tell the stories about what everyone else was doing. That’s what led to the creation of deBanked in 2010, a website that I hoped would inform others about what was going on, who was who, and how certain products worked.
Most people actually told me that starting deBanked, in its early days, was a bad idea because my knowledge and experience would be wasted on storytelling when I surely stood to gain more personally by operating in the trade of the business itself. Well, in the end they were probably right but I was convinced, just like my early days, that pursuing my path would also translate into real world impact. Whether you agree with all the content we’ve produced over the course of almost 13 years now, just about any person that’s ever read something on deBanked has walked away informed about something they didn’t know before. And as the community of the industry multiplied over time, it became clear that one major thing with deBanked was lacking, and that was to put faces to all the names. Everyone had come to know the industry online and now they deserved to see it all for themselves in person. We started with golf in the summer of 2017 and a rooftop gathering in Miami Beach in January 2018 called deBanked CONNECT. That led to Broker Fair that May where the core tenets of the event were education, inspiration, and opportunities to connect and grow. They’re the same tenets that we strive for today.
At the time of the first Broker Fair I was just 34 years-old and this industry had been basically all that I had ever known in my professional life. Just like writing, event production was not high on the glamor list, but I believed that shows like Broker Fair would foster those that make a difference. Putting them on has been hard work. It is hard work. They didn’t teach me event planning on the underwriting or sales floor, but we got there somehow. And since then we have aimed to make the experiences fun while at the same time honorable and respectable. I remember what it was like to be 23 and hungry in the business and have also come to recognize the stakes on the national stage as I now turn 40. I know that the world is watching and how important it is that everyone conduct themselves like professionals.
I have spent nearly 17 years in this business and converse with participants in the industry on a daily basis. It is a great honor that the name Broker Fair is now known by so many people. I suppose there is some glamor in having accomplished that, but more importantly that Broker Fair has had an impact on so many people who serve much more important clientele, the small businesses across the country.
I’ve said that there is “only one Broker Fair,” and that’s because when you see that very specific name on an image or billboard or t-shirt, you’ll know not just who we are, but why we are.
Thank you to all of those who acknowledge that professionalism and decency are important and are respectful of the events our team puts so much effort into bringing to life. Our team literally spends all year working on them. I look forward to Broker Fair 2023 and seeing all of you.
– Sean MurrayLast modified: May 6, 2023
Sean Murray is the President and Chief Editor of deBanked and the founder of the Broker Fair Conference. Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on twitter. You can view all future deBanked events here.