Do you ever wonder if certain associations welcome telcos based outside their home country? There are no doubts about the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), which takes its free conferences all over the planet. Having recently confirmed the 13 global sponsors supporting its new cycle of conferences, RAG has now announced the full schedule of events. They are:
- RAG Bonn, to be hosted by Deutsche Telekom on June 11th and 12th
- RAG Toronto, to be hosted by TELUS on June 19th and 20th
- RAG Johannesburg, to be hosted by MTN on October 1st and 2nd
- RAG Delhi, to be hosted by BT on February 5th and 6th
So much dynamic work is taking place in Africa and India that it beggars belief that any telecoms risk organization would claim to be a leader in its field without seeking to engage the professionals working in those parts of the world. These are the regions where telcos and their suppliers are making most progress with biometrics and international money transfers. It follows they are also taking a lead with addressing identity fraud and money laundering. India now has the fifth largest economy in the world, whilst Africa will drive global growth as its population continues to rise more rapidly than any other continent. It makes no sense to search for solutions to international issues without engaging talented telecoms risk and assurance professionals everywhere. One third of all human beings live in Africa or India, and their markets deserve fair representation amongst the bodies dealing with global risks.
Recently I spoke with a board member of one association, and he told me they had no intention of holding meetings in Asia or Africa. They did not even want to participate in RAG’s conferences in those regions because they felt they could succeed without venturing beyond rich Western countries. But now I see the same association is using social media to encourage overseas professionals to join their events and share their experiences! Why should African and Asian telecoms professionals be expected to spend a fortune just to give their knowledge to an association which is unwilling to leave home? Telecoms risk and assurance cannot persist as a club for white men only.
Our profession suffers from a lack of diversity even though telecoms is a truly global industry. We should be seeing many more black and brown faces amongst the photographs of thought leaders in telecoms risk management. It is not difficult to explain why professionals from some nations are excluded. They have less opportunity to demonstrate leadership because too many educational and networking events are held for the convenience of professionals in rich countries, and too few are made accessible for everyone else. Professionals based in the developing world are expected to spend far too much money just to be allowed to share what they know, although much of their experience is more pertinent to the future of telecoms than what is happening in the West.
The impressive line-up of global sponsors for RAG includes Araxxe, FraudBuster, GBSD Technologies, iconectiv, LATRO Services, Neural Technologies, Oculeus, SIGOS, Six Degrees, Subex, Symmetry Solutions, TEOCO, and WeDo. These firms come from a lot of different countries, and they all think on a global level. I know from my conversations with the sponsors that they are especially keen to see RAG run conferences in underserved markets. Of course RAG must also harness the expertise found in Europe and North America, which is why we will welcome big audiences at the conferences to be held in Germany and Canada. Every professional, whether they are Canadian, German, South African or Indian, should have the chance to show the best our discipline has to offer, and so set an example that others will follow.
I believe telecoms risk professionals are now faced with a clear choice. They can work with an association that has the desire and the ability to connect with professionals globally, or they can be suckered into spending a lot of money on bodies that only want to operate in specific regions. You can help to develop a global association that will serve Africans and Asians as equals, and gives you the opportunity to meet with like-minded professionals, by attending the closest RAG conference to you.