Next month we will be in Chicago for our annual National Meeting. It’s an occasion to get out of our offices and expand our thinking. Listening to an exciting keynote presenter – or two – is bound to provide new insights into how the industry is evolving to meet customers’ changing demands. Our staff has been working hard to make improvements and I want to share them with you.
First – we've invested in bringing higher quality speakers. Our speakers have worked at some of the most innovative companies in the U.S. including Tesla, Apple, and IBM.
Things kick off Sunday, May 20, at the Opening General Session with technologist, entrepreneur, and innovator Linda Bernardi. Her book, The Inversion Factor, explains why the companies of today and tomorrow will need to move away from their product-first thinking. She says there needs to be a fundamental shift in thinking from "How do the products we sell meet our customers’ needs?" to "How can we use technology to fill a need?" When Linda was chief innovation officer at IBM for IoT and cloud, her focus was the integration of Watson’s cognitive capabilities into the IoT and new product offerings, enabling IBM’s Fortune 100 customers to introduce IoT, AI, and cognitive capabilities into their operations.
And, back by popular demand, is Herb Meyer. Herb spoke at the South Central Region Conference and was so well received that we asked him to come to Chicago. Herb will talk about the impact of a world emerging from poverty and creating a global middle class as well as the world’s unprecedented demographic changes. In Europe, Japan, and here in the U.S., these changes are re-tooling the traditional products and services that consumers want. You'll want to find out how all this affects your businesses.
On Monday, immediately following the Chairman’s Awards Celebration Breakfast, George Blankenship will offer his thoughts on what it takes to transform a firm from a typical market contender to a forward-thinking and dynamic player of the future. A former Tesla, Apple, and GAP executive, he is widely recognized as the architect of Apple’s brand-building retail strategy who formulated one of the most stunningly successful retail growth strategies in history by upending the classic engagement model. During his time with Tesla, George revolutionized the auto industry by redefining the car-buying experience.
Second – we've changed the booth sessions. Gone are the 30-minute timed appointments. Appointments can now be set for however long you would like. Manufacturer and affiliate attendees are encouraged to get a booth in the designated NAED conference hall so it’s easy for distributors to find you.
I look forward to seeing you as we come together to network, learn new things, and celebrate the accomplishments of our annual award winners.
If you have not registered for the event, I invite you to do so.