How many people over the last two years do you think have uttered the following phrase?

“Man, I wish I had invented Zoom.”

More than a few, I’m guessing.

Say what you will about the online meeting platform, but it helped many businesses continue to conduct business during the pandemic and has opened up a new, proven form of communication that continues into current day.

Zoom plays a mighty big role in one of ASA’s newer benefits for its members — the CONNECT online peer-to-peer networking communities.

CONNECT offers a solution that provides professionals in 10 vital job functions an ability to meet online in monthly peer-to-peer-facilitated sessions led by The Distribution Team’s Jason Bader and Marshall Jones to discuss common challenges, gain insight and practical solutions, and learn from peers on critical topics.

Available CONNECT communities include: accounts receivable managers, finance managers, human resources managers, operations managers, technology managers and training managers. These six communities are open to all ASA member companies (distributors, manufacturers, reps and master distributors).

The marketing professionals, outside sales managers, purchasing managers and showroom sales managers are open to ASA member distributor companies only.

Each ASA CONNECT community is limited to 18 non-competing participants and will be filled on a first come, first served basis. As each community fills, ASA will open registration for the next community in that job function.

What’s the value you ask in investing company funds and employees’ time in the CONNECT program? For starters, CONNECT members develop solutions to challenges through this online facilitated format that provides interaction with peers of the same job function.

CONNECT also provides an efficient, exclusive and economical online forum for professionals to build relationships with their peers. No hopping on an airplane or making a three-hour drive for these once-a-month gatherings.

And the final piece to the puzzle is simply building deeper relationships within the ASA member community.

When I coached high school baseball, reaching for the phone (a landline in those days) and picking another coach’s brain was commonplace (whether seeking new drills, how to deal with a problem player, scouting opponents, etc.). CONNECT is along those very same lines — folks in like job roles talking about common challenges and sharing ideas — the only difference is through that online platform that we all wish we had invented because we’d all be on some private island right now well into retirement.

We constantly talk about the importance of the networking piece in ASA’s value proposition along with our education, advocacy and business intelligence/data/benchmarking offerings. CONNECT is a further extension of the great networking value being a member of ASA provides.

I am going to stop typing on the keyboard for a second and let your screen do the rest of the talking. Take a second and watch this short video on the CONNECT program, which includes testimonials from several executives from ASA member companies who participate in the program.

And hit on this link for a complete description of all the CONNECT online communities available.

If you want to get involved in CONNECT, shoot me an email at and I will help you get the ball rolling.

Last month I wrote about all the hidden gems contained within an ASA company membership. CONNECT is yet another example of the great value ASA provides its membership. Get your employees involved in the CONNECT program and strengthen their networking reach.

It will only benefit them in the long run.