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Compliance Guide™ Features

March 2011: What I Saw at ATA 2011

by Joseph Sanscrainte, an attorney specializing in telemarketing law.

The American Teleservices Association has seen its share of changes over the years (raise your hand if you remember Matt Mattingley) - but I think it's fair to say that when Tim Searcy stepped down as CEO of the ATA, a collective gasp was heard from around the industry. Like no other person in the history of the ATA, Tim had really become identified with the organization, having served as a steady hand during the most tumultuous times to ever face the industry. A fair question to ask before the ATA's national convention last week was: "What's going to happen to the ATA now that its 'wartime consigliare' is no longer at the helm?"*

Well, the early results are in, and they are very encouraging! This year's ATA convention was well-attended, the educational sessions were better than ever, and the events were great. So what if this year's convention was only six months after the 2010 convention! Everything came off beautifully, and the buzz on the street (ok, the convention hall) was that this was one of the best conventions the ATA has staged. The venue was spectacular, and there were always plenty of sessions and events to keep all attendees engaged.

I personally spent a great deal of time on the convention floor, hanging out with the good folks from Contact Center Compliance. Booth traffic was brisk, and many a CCC screaming monkey was sent flying into the distance (apologies to those who happened to be on the receiving end.) Interest in CCC's core scrubbing products was high, as was interest in CCC's industry-leading Compliance Guide. I was also lucky enough to have attended Michele Shuster's seminar entitled "Contemporary Contact: Beyond the Traditional 'Lines' of Customer Reach." Every entity needs to understand how to leverage existing and emerging contact technologies (text, chat, sms and wireless) while maintaining compliance with state and federal laws, and Michele's seminar addressed all of the important issues in an informative and engaging manner.

The PAC event on Monday night was a great way to start an evening of revelry, featuring the jazzy vocal styling of ATA member Camilla Formica (of LogiCALL Smart Path.) As a fan of all things jazz, I was very pleased to hear many of the American standards sung to a sultry perfection by Ms. Formica. (An impromptu magic/fire-eating show also helped to liven things up.) An "aprs PAC event" visit to local jazz nightclub Kazimierz World Wine Bar served as a perfect nightcap to a great evening.

Although I'm sure there were plenty of doubts and maybe some random gnashing of teeth over the past six months, the ATA put together not just a good event, but a great event! Kudos to the hard-working staff at the ATA, and to interim-President Bob Kobek, for a job well done. Most importantly, thanks to Mr. Searcy for laying the groundwork that made all of this possible. What's the best thing you can say about a CEO? That he set things up so that even in upon his departure, the organization can still deliver. Thanks, Tim!

* It's a "Godfather" reference - look it up.

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