By: Scott Orr, Vice President, Public Affairs, Fidelity Investments
Two years ago, when the Dallas Regional and Fort Worth Chambers jointly organized the congressional summit in Washington, DC, I had just rejoined Fidelity Investments after spending more than a decade leading nonprofit organizations in the D/FW area. I had high expectations for the trip and was eager to dive in and learn more about our regional representation in Washington firsthand. Even with that build-up, the DC “fly-in” was easily the most informative and game-changing event in the first year of my return to Fidelity.
Being new to my role in government relations, it was tremendously helpful to spend three days digging deeply into the political and regulatory atmosphere in Washington with like-minded North Texans. We assembled in a large room in the Capitol Building and interacted with each member of the North Texas congressional delegation individually. They each generously spent a half-hour or more with us, sharing their thoughts and answering our questions. It was fascinating to see each member’s style and political philosophy on display one after another, giving us a clear view of how they govern and insight into the issues they were most passionate about. Fidelity had a couple of pressing regulatory issues, and I was able to ask similar questions to each member and hear their individual responses to compare and contrast. Going on this trip as an individual, even representing a large corporation like Fidelity Investments, would not have afforded me this level of interaction. It takes the power of two large chambers and their members to attract this level of attention from our congressmen and senators. This was invaluable exposure, and gave me a jump start in meeting and shaking the hands of not only our congressional leaders, but also their senior staff members—key contacts who are equally important.
The other events included in the trip were also useful, from our discussions with key lobbyists, economic leaders and former Senator Trent Lott, to our visit to the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing and meeting with Rosa Ruiz, U.S. Treasurer. My personally signed “Rosie Dollar” is still taped to my computer monitor as I type this. Above all it was a privilege to meet and be with my counterparts in government and community roles at many of the leading D/FW area corporations. I have many close relationships in the region that originated from sharing bus rides, meals, conversations and laughs on the Washington trip two years ago. Our business is driven by networking and contacts, and there is no better way to lay the foundation for deep relationships than spending intense, significant quality time with others over a three-day period. If your business or organization is impacted even in the slightest way by what happens in Washington, I highly recommend you take this trip. You won’t be disappointed. I know I wouldn’t miss it for the world!
For more information on this year’s trip on Monday, April 7th through Wednesday, April 9th in Washington D.C. and to register, click here. Hear from former DRC Chairman of the Board about her experience at the previous DFW Congressional Summit in this short video.