Within the American Supply Association, the Emerging Leaders division offers up-and-coming professionals in the industry the ability to network with their peers from around the country as well as educational benefits to help them grow in their careers.

Considered the leaders of tomorrow, it is paramount to the success of the industry that this group grow and continue to cultivate the skills learned from participating in Emerging Leaders.

2021 has marked a substantial uptick in participation within the group. More than half of the participants at the EMERGE conference in Nashville this past August were listed as first-year participants.

A post-event survey revealed many at the conference were also interested in serving on the Emerging Leaders Executive Council. In fact, five out of 10 of the council members for 2022 will be new volunteers. Many of those indicating interest were first-year participants at the show.

Our goal is to continue that trend in 2022 and for years to come.

In addition to growth in participants, we have experienced a rise in sponsors eager to contribute to the EMERGE conference that takes place May 16-18 in New Orleans at the JW Marriott on Canal Street.

Emerge2022 Spring Forum

We believe their participation directly reflects the confidence they place in the value of the Emerging Leaders group. We thank those sponsors for giving us the ability to host these shows and continue providing the vast benefits the group has to offer.

Networking at events such as EMERGE has remained a key principle within ASA, and that is reflected in Emerging Leaders. Participants have the opportunity to communicate with their peers and share best practices that have helped them experience early success in their careers. The group being comprised of distributors, vendors and manufacturers representatives ensures a diverse crowd of different-minded individuals all with unique and fresh perspectives.

Growing the influx of up-and-coming leaders is not just desirable, but a necessity to the health of our industry. There is a substantial amount of experience in this industry that will be challenging to replace. We have had speakers participate and share how they see the industry heading and how we can use their experience to ensure we are at the forefront of that growth.

ASA is committed to giving Emerging Leaders access to those with the tribal knowledge responsible for building this industry. This is an effort that is crucial in ensuring we all have a robust market to thrive in moving forward.

The past two years have presented unprecedented (I know, we’re all extremely tired of that word) challenges to not just our industry, but the entire supply chain. All of us have had to change the way we do business and adapt at rates much faster than we would have anticipated.

In doing so, we have uncovered breakthroughs on how we interact with customers, manage inventory, tackle transportation constraints, etc. Sharing these experiences with one other will help to ensure we come out of this and future storms more quickly and better than before.

Participation in the Emerging Leaders group has shown to be a great resource for existing members, and we urge those distributors, vendors and reps participating in ASA to consider their employees with high career potential to join the Emerging Leaders today.

Together, we will build on the foundations of success the leaders in the industry before us started.