I hope everyone had a fun and restful summer and are gearing up for a great end to the year.

I have been fortunate enough over the past few months to attend quite a few events across the country in my role as president of ASA. It’s great to be able to see old friends and meet new ones at each of these gatherings.

From Women in Industry in Louisville to Emerging Leaders in New Orleans to North Central Wholesalers Association in Columbus, Ohio, and many others in between, the visits all shared some common themes. I would get the chance to reconnect with friends I have been fortunate enough to meet through the years. And I would get the opportunity to meet and connect with new people throughout our great industry.

Obviously, this year is unique in the amount of events I have been able to attend. However, while the volume has been greater, the quality remains the same. We are fortunate to work in a great industry, filled with many great people, and ASA is the only national trade association that represents all of us. Throughout the year, ASA offers multiple opportunities for all of us to gather together, learn from each other and build friendships that endure long after the events fade away.

ASA offers a lot to its members — I personally think the networking opportunities are the most valuable part of being a member.

Occasionally this year, I have been asked by ASA CEO Mike Adelizzi and the team to talk with companies and encourage them to join ASA. To be honest, I find these conversations a little awkward for two very different reasons. For one, we are all businesspeople. I run our company along with our team in a way that we feel makes the most sense for our customers and our people.

For those great companies that are still on the fence about joining ASA, I would encourage you to hop in and give it a try.

I am not, nor do I want to be, in the business of telling other business owners how to run their businesses. If they don’t want to be a member of an association, that is their choice and their right, and I don’t feel it’s my place to try to change their mind.  

However, as I mentioned, there is another, very different reason, I find these conversations to be so strained. Just as I don’t feel it is my place to ever tell another business owner how to run their business, I also just as fervently feel that every member of our industry SHOULD be a member of ASA. This is our industry. It’s how we make our living and provide for our families. ASA is our industry association. It represents our interests in federal and local governments. It invests countless hours and dollars trying to recruit new people to our industry in a way that benefits all of us. It also creates and maintains the training libraries for those new people to learn about our business and take the next steps in their careers.  

And, as I mentioned above, it provides countless opportunities for us to gather together and build enduring relationships with old and new friends. ASA does all this and more. If there is another entity or organization in our industry that does such a comprehensive job of representing each of our individual businesses collectively, I am not aware of it.  

So when I speak with these businesses that have chosen to not yet join ASA, I feel conflicted. Conflicted because I am asked to explain to them why they should join ASA. What I really want to ask them, as members of this great industry, is how can you NOT choose to support this organization that does so much for you and every other business in our space?  

For those great companies that are still on the fence about joining ASA, I would encourage you to hop in and give it a try. And I hope to see you and welcome you at the next great ASA-sponsored event!  

Be well,