2018 conference season kicks off in Houston

February 2018

Described as the 'culinary and cultural capital of the south', Houston, Texas, widely recognised as one of the most diverse cities in the US, was the perfect setting for this year's Americas Conference which was hosted by local member firm, PMB Helin Donovan. The conference took place on 25-28 of January at the Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa, located in the Galleria Area, a short distance from downtown Houston. 

COIBE Meeting

The event began with the COIBE (Ibero-American Committee) Meeting, delivered in Spanish, starting with lunch and concluding after a day and a half of sessions. After the initial welcome from Daniel Ryba and Jorge Jimenez, the meeting commenced with a discussion on the regionalization of RBI, board responsibilities and the formation of the committees and regional managers, led by Daniel Ryba. Jorge Jimenez followed Daniel's presentation with a discussion on the overall global vision of RBI and in particular, Latin America. In his presentation, Jorge analysed RBI's rankings and development in relation to our current competitors. The first day concluded with a final presentation by Jorge on the influences and areas of opportunity for RBI Latin America.

On day two of the COIBE meeting, sales director for ManpowerGroup, Mexico, Fidel Arroyo Hernández, delivered a session on the challenges surrounding Millennials and led an interactive roundtable discussion afterwards. The COIBE programme concluded with a discussion on strategic planning for members in Latin America.


Americas Conference

As is customary, the Americas Conference sessions took place in English covering an extensive range of topics. After a welcome and introduction from Russell Bedford Chairman, Bill Rucci, the conference commenced with a presentation from managing Tom Donovan, partner in the host firm.

Writer, speaker, influencer and coach, Tommy Breedlove from Choose Goodness, discussed leadership and culture in CPA firms in his presentation entitled 'Participate in your own rescue'. Marcial Nava (BBVA Compass) followed with an in depth analysis of the economic outlook for Latin America. The first day of the Americas Conference concluded with new firm presentations from new members in Cartagena and Medellin, Colombia who introduced their firms to the network and their goals for joining the network.

Russell Bedford CEO, Stephen Hamlet, launched day three of the conference with on update on network developments, including network growth plans and the impending Russell Bedford new brand launch and website, as well as a fresh new marketing strategy that aims to improve RBI's overall brand exposure. Managing partner of Hinge Marketing, Lee Frederiksen, followed with his session on the 'Secrets of High-Growth Financial Services'.


Day two of the conference provided delegates with an opportunity to choose from a series of interactive workshop discussions including, 'Marketing techniques for high-growth firms' by Lee Frederiksen and 'US tax reform: the international considerations' by Kenneth Rivera (FPV & Galindez).

After a buffet lunch, delegates chose from two further workshop sessions including 'Panel discussion on the future of accounting firms' and 'Effective strategies for talent recruitment and retention' by Javier Basilio Vargas & Carlos Eduardo Escalante (ManpowerGroup).

Arcie Jordan (Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP) delivered an interesting session on the 'Future of free trade in the Americas: What impact on businesses?' and the delegate programme concluded with a re-introduction from Russell Bedford Peru who updated delegates on the reorganisation and future of the firm.

Enjoying the culinary and cultural capital of the South


Delegates enjoyed a fantastic social programme over the course of the conference. Following day one of the COIBE meeting, delegates enjoyed cocktails and dinner at the conference hotel, providing members with the typical networking opportunity that members are accustomed to.

On the final evening of the conference, delegates were treated to some of Houston's well renowned eclectic cuisine, with dinner and entertainment at the Batanga 1880's saloon and tapas restaurant, specialising in a fabulous array of Latin American dishes and accompanied by a superb performance of live Latin music - a great evening was had by all!


We would like to offer thanks and appreciation to Don McPhee, Tom Donovan and their team from PMB Helin Donovan, LLP for being excellent and very warm hosts.

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