The Whole World is Going Virtual, including the MAG

Sep 2, 2020  — John Drechny

MAG’s Annual Conference and Tech Forum will be held as a virtual event this October. 

Despite this change, we have planned an incredible event with many of the features you are used to at our in-person conferences. Reserve your spot today to attend educational sessions, meet with sponsors, and network with your peers.

To say it has been an interesting year is an understatement. Since we last got to see each other in-person, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed so many things - but none more than our ability to meet safely in-person. Before Covid-19, we would head to any location of our choosing, meet with 800 or so people with whom we have formed relationships over the years, and talk about ways to move the industry forward.
Today we are almost all working remotely and avoiding crowds of more than 10, but the need for collaborating and discussing the industry has not changed. So, how do you continue the discussions without meeting in-person? You find the best possible software, identify the experts on key industry topics, create the ability to ask the important questions - and go virtual!

As you may have seen in our recent announcements, the MAG Annual Conference and the Tech Forum will be held virtually this year: Tech Forum will occur October 13-15, 2020, followed by the Annual Conference, October 20-22, 2020. 

We are excited about the opportunity to deliver a great experience while ensuring the safety of all of our participants. 

What you should expect

First, the same great content you would have received if you attended in person. Ken Montgomery, First Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, will give the Annual Conference keynote where he will outline the progress of FedNow, the first new payments rail to be created in a generation by the Federal Reserve. At the Tech Forum, we will have five dynamic CISOs discussing security trends and what is keeping them up at night. We also have many panels where several of your peers will discuss what is going in the payments industry.

View the Tech Forum and Annual Conference websites to view agendas and other key details.

Second, the ability to ask questions and engage. Our multitude of speakers and panelists will be available during the sessions to engage and answer questions. Whether it is regarding the way a merchant may be dealing with the growth of online orders or adoption of new payments types, the experts will be readily available to answer questions and engage with our audience.

Third, the ability to meet new and existing sponsors. The exhibit hall is a signature piece of our conferences and it will be as interactive in the virtual space as it is in-person. As usual, this will be a great way to talk with our sponsors about everything from ways to protect against fraud to best practices on implementing touchless transactions. There is no better place than a MAG conference to connect with those sponsors who help support your business.

Fourth, merchant-specific sessions to collaborate on solutions. Our special interest groups will meet in a virtual format and allow for peer-to-peer conversations. Come ready to ask questions that you have been struggling with to find answers; or, bring up new issues you have faced since Covid-19 started and how you think the MAG can advocate on behalf of the merchants to address them.

Finally, the ability to bring more of your team along to discover the MAG community. With no cost of travel, there is no better time to bring your peers to interact with the MAG community. You can also have separate team members participate in the Tech Forum than those attending the Annual Conference, opening up even more opportunities to spread the payment knowledge within your organization.

What should you do to prepare for the conference?

  • Visit the MAG website to register for one or both elements of the conference: Tech Forum and Annual Conference
  • Select the "add to calendar" option on the registration confirmation page after registering. This will block the time on your calendar, so you are able to attend.
  • Identify sponsors you want to visit. The MAG works because the community works together. Your engagement with our sponsors is an essential part of the MAG, and we are asking each member attendee to set-up at least three different meetings with sponsors. 
  • Attend the networking events. These will be great opportunities to chat with your peers and have fun catching-up on each other’s lives. 

While we might not be able to see people in person just yet, this MAG conference will be special because of you and the unprecedented ability for you to share the MAG with others inside your organization.

It isn’t the location that makes the MAG special, but the people, like you, who contribute.

We look forward to the next event when we can all meet in person; but until then, we can still collaborate to keep the industry moving forward.

Look forward to seeing you virtually in October.

The Merchant Advisory Group

Driving positive change and innovation in the payments industry that serves the merchants interest through collaboration, education, and advocacy.