Last week, we had the privilege of attending the 20th Anniversary gala of the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) conference, held at the massive Gaylord hotel in Grapevine, TX, which felt like a city within itself. Some of us were lucky enough to get an “upgraded” balcony room, with fabulous views of “the city”, and we couldn’t help but chuckle at our good fortune. 

The gala itself included attendees, past chairs of PBSA, and vendors, and all were dressed to the nines, exuding fabulousness from every corner of the room. The event was not just a celebration of two decades of PBSA’s incredible journey but also a showcase of the industry’s finest talents. 

One of the highlights of the conference was Monday night’s Accio Dinner Cruise, an event that never disappoints. Accio, known for their exceptional hosting, once again exceeded expectations. The evening was filled with networking opportunities, allowing us to connect with vendors and clients on the platform. And let’s not forget the authentic Texas BBQ – it was simply divine. Thank you, Accio, for another memorable experience! 

At our booth, we experienced great foot traffic, despite a minor chocolate meltdown (who’s idea was it to ship chocolate candy to the conference?) – a mishap that we will surely laugh about in the future. What truly surprised us was how many visitors were unaware of our comprehensive suite of International Services. We were thrilled to introduce them to our offerings. Our data products also garnered significant interest, with requests for customization pouring in. The demand for services like Watchlists and Sanctions (WLS), Politically Exposed Person (PEP) screening, and Adverse Media checks continue to rise, as clients seek better coverage and more competitive pricing. 

During the conference, it became evident that there is a growing desire among CRAs for more partner options via the screening platforms (aka, Tazworks, Deverus, Accio, etc.). This suggests exciting opportunities for collaboration and expansion within the industry. 

The event was not just about business; it was a wonderful “family reunion” of sorts. We had the chance to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. Catching up with industry peers and discussing the latest trends was both enlightening and enjoyable. 

The conference sessions covered the usual wide range of topics, from litigation avoidance to compliance. The mock trial sessions were particularly well done and received, providing valuable insights into the intricacies of the legal landscape. Excellent job to all who participated! Throughout the conference, legislative and legal compliance sessions kept us informed about the evolving landscape of our industry. Staying up to date with regulations is crucial for all stakeholders. 

One session that sparked considerable debate was the speculation about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and what their future actions might entail. While it may have left us with more questions than answers, it highlighted the need for continuous vigilance and adaptation in the industry. 

The 20-year recap and discussion about the future, especially the role of artificial intelligence (AI) which is near and dear to our heart, was thought-provoking. Participants weighed the pros and cons of incorporating AI into background screening processes, emphasizing the need to adapt and innovate. 

The keynote speaker delivered a motivational and inspiring message, urging attendees to “be the change.” Drawing a metaphor from boiling water, they encouraged us to be like an “egg,” getting hard in adversity, like “ice” that melts, or a “coffee bean” that positively changes its environment. The message resonated with everyone, emphasizing the importance of taking charge of our surroundings. 

And, of course, there were the legendary afterparties – an opportunity to unwind and network in a more relaxed setting. As the saying goes, “All work and no play…” 😉 

In conclusion, the PBSA conference was an unforgettable experience filled with valuable insights, networking, and unforgettable moments. We look forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the background screening industry, knowing that we have the support and camaraderie of our peers to navigate them. Here’s to another successful 20 years and beyond! 🥂