Behind an event like the 2019 EduFin Summit, the global summit on financial education organized by BBVA’s Center for Financial Education and Capability, is a great team making sure that everything runs like clockwork. Their work is essential to ensure that the audience, from 23 different countries, enjoys this important event. An event where anecdotes and a sense of humor have their place. This is the backstory of the 2019 EduFin Summit.
It’s 8:30AM on Thursday, July 11th. The doors of the BBVA City auditorium open right on time to welcome the first guests to arrive, as they go to the registration desk. The teams in charge of organizing the event are already in their positions, ready to address any incidents that may arise at an event of this kind (and they do). In one hour, the third edition of the 2019 EduFin Summit will begin. This year it’s taking place in Madrid.
The EduFin Summit dossier contains all the information about the summit.
Lidia del Pozo is the Director of Community Investment Programs at BBVA and the heart and soul of this event. “This is the third EduFin Summit we have held, but the opening moment is always exciting. Over 380 people have registered. Welcoming such a large group – coming from Jordan to Cuba, from the U.S. to Argentina – at BBVA City is a huge responsibility, but we have a multidisciplinary team of 40 people who have done an extraordinary job to ensure that all the logistical, technical and security issues are covered,” she explains.
250 attendees received their accreditation at the entrance to the auditorium.
The master of ceremonies…
One of the first to arrive at the registration desk is the master of ceremonies for the event, Helena Díez-Fuentes, who arrives brimming with contagious energy, suitcase in hand.
This expert in Environmental Law from Harvard University, with extensive experience in event presentation, is in charge of directing and energizing the summit. Skilled at transitions, she gives the floor to the participants, switching from English to Spanish and from Spanish to English without batting an eyelid. Helena connects with the audience right away and her sense of humor does not go unnoticed, especially when introducing the participants who boast resumes “nearly as long as their job titles”, as she says. “I am going to have to shorten them because otherwise the summit will end and we won’t have time for anything else,” she jokes.
Helena Díez-Fuentes was in charge of presenting and conducting the summit.
“For me, being the master of ceremonies for an event of this kind has meant discovering how important financial education is in life, regardless of your age, profession or purchasing power. Without a doubt, I think it’s a subject that should be taught in all schools. The program for this third edition also gave me the opportunity to get to know and hear from extremely interesting experts. Through their experiences and examples, we got to travel, finding out what is being done in other countries in the world in both the public and private sectors. Never before have I learned so much in so little time,” she says after the EduFin Summit concludes.
Helena Díez-Fuentes with Lidia del Pozo, Director of Community Investment Programs at BBVA.
The photography and video team, which is in charge of the graphics and audiovisual portions of the event, received the three page shot list with information on everything they needed to capture weeks ago. They are to immortalize every moment of the event. From BBVA’s Group executive chairman posing with the Governor of the Bank of Spain, to the always useful stock photos and photos of the atmosphere. Quality materials that are even delivered almost immediately for distribution to the media and social networks. “Every moment is stored on our cameras and ourselves. Sometimes our lenses capture moments that go unnoticed by the assistants and we’re there, too,” says the official photographer, Marta Jara.
Photographers don't miss any detail during the summit.
The control room
The auditorium control room is another hot spot for events of this kind. It’s where everything audiovisual is carefully monitored to the millimeter: cameras, sound, lights, and the projection of different content.
“Every presentation, every video, every transition has to take place at an exact time. There are 250 guests and nothing can go wrong or be left to chance,” say the heads of the audiovisual department, supported by Protocol at all times, who do their work from “the room that monitors everything that happens in the auditorium.”
“The typical image of an iceberg illustrates what it means to organize an international event like this. Everyone has done a spectacular job with many professionals involved from very different areas. There is an enormous, unknown effort behind everything to ensure that an event like this runs smoothly and shines,” explains Isabel Fuentes from the Protocol team.
And meanwhile, the 2018 EduFin Summit begins with the audience in their seats, and the Communications team and invited journalists in the press area to take note of what happens on stage.
In the "media room" journalists send their stories while watching the EduFin Summit.
The journalists’ work is fundamental to disseminate what takes place at the summit. “We are talking about over 20 accredited media outlets – seven of which come from Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Uruguay and Turkey,” the Communications area explains. Interesting fact: of all the speakers, Diana Mejía of Colombia, Senior Advisor for Public Policy and Competitiveness at CAF–Development Bank of Latin America, receives the most requests from the media.
Without a doubt, the speakers are top notch. “We organized over 15 interviews in which renowned speakers from the OECD, IDB, BBVA and the Microfinance Foundation, among others, offered their view of financial education and inclusion. And we are still receiving more requests from the media. EduFin Summit is a specialized forum and it isn’t easy to universalize it for large audiences. That was the challenge.”
Interview with Darren Easton, Senior Director at the Financial Health Network.
And what about social networks?
With the hashtag #BBVAEduFinSummit, the event reached around 700,000 social network users. Many of the 250 people in attendance (many of them influencers with thousands of followers) post about the event, which is also rebroadcast over streaming, multiplying the audience. Maui Cuadrado, the head of the social networks team, believes that: “Nowadays an event is nothing without a hashtag to join the conversation and enrich the content. #BBVAEdufinSummit was used nearly 600 times during the summit, with 1,000 interactions.”
Influencers in financial education with thousands of followers in social networks viralized an event that became global.
The bulk of the conversation about the 2019 Edufin Summit takes place during the two days of the event. The moments with the most activity on social networks occur during the presentations by the Group executive chairman of BBVA and the Governor of the Bank of Spain.
The moments with the most activity on social networks occur during the presentations by the Group executive chairman of BBVA and the Governor of the Bank of Spain.
While the journalists are hard at work and don’t miss out on a single detail – either from the auditorium or the media room set up for the event (a fully equipped room that served as a headquarters where they can write and send their chronicles, following the live event on screen) – the presentations, roundtables, and anecdotes continue on stage.
Time to play
During the roundtable, Raymond Frenken, Director of Communications and Corporate Responsibility at the European Banking Federation (EBF) suggests that the audience take the European Money Quiz, the online contest that measures European students’ level of financial education. The end of the contest will take place during European Money Week.
Raymond Frenken, Director of Communications and Corporate Responsibility at the European Banking Federation (EBF) suggests that the audience take the European Money Quiz, the online contest that measures European students’ level of financial education.
The audience takes the challenge very seriously and after downloading the app on their cell phones, the competition begins. Maria Demertzis, Deputy Director at Bruegel, is the clear winner. She is congratulated by Franken, who can’t contain his laughter, and the master of ceremonies herself, Helena Díez-Fuentes, for destroying the ranking on the app. Meanwhile, Frenken causes a stir for wearing shoes that match his yellow bow-tie, a stylish detail that the master of ceremonies and audience applaud.
Maria Demertzis, Deputy Director at Bruegel, is congratulated by Raymond Franken and Helena Díez-Fuentes for winning the European Money Quiz.
Meanwhile, outside of the auditorium, in the area set up for coffee and food, the catering team runs back and forth to have everything ready for the coffee breaks. A chance for those in attendance to greet each other, reunite (as the case may be) and do networking.
English, German, French… the mini UN meeting turns the space into the most international edition of the EduFin Summit. “It is one of the requests we receive year after year. A place to meet is fundamental for the guests. For them, it’s a chance to interact, get to know each other, share opinions and find out the latest news in the financial education world,” says Lidia del Pozo.
Despite the variety of origins, accents and languages, the main topic of many of these conversations is that of the summit itself: the challenges of financial education in the digital age. Off-stage some recognize that “it’s hard to control the impulse to buy when your cell phone is in your hand” while others say “how difficult it is to raise awareness of topics like saving in your children” and why not? there is also time to talk about what to do in Madrid, taking advantage of the free time during the EduFin Summit.
The attendees greet each other, reunite (as the case may be) and do networking during the pauses.
While the audience and participants relax and chat, the team organizing the event doesn’t rest. Not even when the day ends and everyone leaves the premises.
The EduFin Summit is also a chance for the center’s Advisory Board to meet. The Advisory Board holds one of its two annual meetings after a private dinner, which is at the Madrid Casino this year. At the dinner, the Advisory Board receives the center’s annual report and discusses new areas of work and research. It also tends to be the place where the first discussions take place regarding the topic for the next summit and one of the best kept secrets: where the next edition will take place.
The second day begins
The second day starts with excitement. This year, BBVA Group executive chairman Carlos Torres Vila is in charge of the opening speech. The chairman wanted to participate in this EduFin Summit, demonstrating the bank’s commitment to financial education. Next, Bank of Spain Governor Pablo Hernández de Cos presents data on Spaniards’ financial knowledge that is not very encouraging. There is always more work to do.
His presentation gives way to the rest of the presentations and roundtables that remain. And naturally, José Manuel González-Páramo, who gave the opening remarks one day before, offers the conclusions.
Antoni Ballabriga, BBVA’s Global Head of Responsible Business, follows closely the course of the event.
The curtain falls on the 2019 EduFin Summit. On its stage, the part that everyone sees, the leading experts on the subject have generously shared their experience and knowledge. They are the stars of the event, but backstage, in the hallways, at the reception and definitely outside of the spotlight, are professionals who are also the lifeblood of the summit. Without them this story never would have been told.
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