Geoffrey Fone: Supporting the ACAMS Americas’ Chapters

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ACAMS Today  sat down with Geoffrey Fone, CAMS to discuss ACAMS’ role in supporting and assisting the Americas’ Chapters, new ACAMS initiatives and the annual Americas Chapters’ Conference.

Fone is ACAMS’ vice president, general manager of the Americas and he brings over 20 years of management and business development experience to the financial service industry. For the past 11 years, he has led ACAMS’ strategic growth both in the U.S. and into the broader international markets, resulting in 69,000 members in over 100 countries. Prior to his move to the U.S., Fone was sales manager at Anglo/Dutch publishing giant Reed Elsevier based out of London, U.K., with responsibility for penetration, development and growth of major accounts throughout Europe and Asian subcontinent. A seasoned executive and respected leader, Fone is a native of the U.K.

ACAMS Today: Tell us about your role within ACAMS.

Geoffrey Fone: I am the vice president and general manager of the Americas. The Americas incorporate Canada, U.S., Latin America, Caribbean, Middle East, Africa and the Australasian regions. I oversee both the strategy and growth for these particular regions. I have a large team that helps support these regions and in addition to this responsibility, we manage the Americas’ ACAMS Chapters from a national level. We have recently been given the honor of supporting the chapters and our responsibility is to enhance our communication and support in the previous regions that I mentioned and give them the necessary tools to help them be successful.

AT: As you mentioned, your team is in charge of supporting the Americas’ Chapters. Tell us about your team and what each team members’ role is in regards to assisting the chapters.

GF: Currently, the chapters’ support team is composed of four individuals; however, we are in the process of hiring a chapter manager to help with our coordination efforts. At the moment, the chapter support team is made up of me, Ilse Talgier, Oswald Lebrun and Alexandra Buteau. Ilse overseas the day-to-day operations, functioning and communication with the chapters. She is also in charge of financials that she runs for the chapters on a quarterly basis. Oswaldo and Alexandra make up the support staff. Oswaldo is new to the chapters’ support team and he is responsible for general inquiries. Alexandra has been here for a few years and many of the chapter members know her. She is responsible for daily communications, membership reports, website updates and working alongside the chapters on any other questions or challenges they may be facing.

Our goal with the chapter newsletter is ultimately to improve the communication between chapters and ACAMS’ headquarters

AT: What initiatives does ACAMS have for 2019 that will affect chapters?

GF: We have a number of initiatives we are working on this year. One that is extremely important is communication. With this in mind, we will be working more closely with the chapters in sharing and exchanging communication. One of the ways we plan to accomplish this initiative is by publishing a quarterly newsletter. The newsletter will include events that are happening within the chapters and also things that ACAMS is doing strategically; for example, sharing the relationships we have set up with regulators, new trainings and products ACAMS’ will be releasing to support the marketplace. Our goal with the chapter newsletter is ultimately to improve the communication between the chapters and ACAMS’ headquarters. In addition, a couple of years ago we had our first suc­cessful ACAMS Chapter Conference hosted in Cleveland, Ohio, USA and we will be having the ACAMS Chapter Conference again this year.

AT: What topics will be discussed at the ACAMS Chapter Conference in Cleveland, Ohio and will this be an annual event?

GF: The conference held in May 2019 will be our second ACAMS Chapter Conference. We will be including more information about this conference in our chapter newsletter. Our goal is to implement a yearly ACAMS Chapter Conference going forward. We want to discuss the ideas on how to make the working relationship better between the chapters and ACAMS headquarters, challenges chapters are facing, improvements to processes and much more. We do want the content for the conference to be mainly driven by the chapters. Overall, we want to improve communication and ways we can both improve our support for each other.

AT: If a chapter would like to send suggestions for the chapter newsletter, who would they contact?

GF: We are open to receiving suggestions for the newsletter and they can contact me at gfone@acams.org.

AT: If a chapter would like to contribute an article or a summary of a chapter event for ACAMS Today  publications; who would they contact?

GF: For article contributions, chapter members may contact Karla Monterrosa-Yancey, ACAMS Today  editor-in-chief at kmonterrosa@acams.org.

AT: What is one of the most important contributions chapters can give their members?

GF: My top three would be localized training, networking opportunities and encouraging a public-private dialogue with regulators and law enforcement at chapter events.

AT: Are any new chapters launching in the next few months?

GF: We are seeing the development of quite a few international chapters. The Barbados Chapter just launched and soon to come will be the Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas and Brazilian Chapters.

AT: You mentioned communication is key with the chapters, could you tell us about which chapters’ events you will be attending this year?

GF: In conjunction with our initiative to have an open dialogue with our chapters, the team and I will be visiting more chapters and attending more chapter-related events this year. We have already received numerous invites to attend different chapter events in the near future and are looking forward to mingling with chapter boards, members and possibly future ACAMS’ members.

AT: Do you have any advice you would like to share with chapter members?

GF: ACAMS is a partner to chapters. Please feel free to reach out to us with any ideas or concerns you may have. Communications is key between chapters and ACAMS. We are focusing on improving our communication and support and encourage chapters to reach out to us, coordinate with us and to communicate with us. We are here for the chapters.

AT: What do you like to do when you are off the clock?

GF: [Laughs]. We are never off the clock, but I enjoy working with the members and the chapters. Off the clock is family time.

Interviewed by: Karla Monterrosa-Yancey, CAMS, editor-in-chief, ACAMS, Miami, FL, USA, kmonterrosa@acams.org

For the ACAMS Chapters 2019 Americas Contact List, click here.

Geoffrey Fone: Supporting the ACAMS Americas’ Chapters
Pictured L to R: Oswaldo Lebrun, Ilse Talgier, Alexandra Buteau, Geoffrey Fone.