Dear Industry Colleagues,

Years ago I received an email chain-letter titled “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” a short essay by Robert Fulghum. It took lessons we know to be childhood staples - always share, play fair, clean up your own mess, say you’re sorry - and reminded us how they apply to everyday life, whether you’re five or 105.

When I first came into this industry I was fortunate to have mentors who taught me some basic philosophies about being successful in my career: learn whatever you can about your industry, your business and your customers; build personal relationships; show respect to those who help you succeed. 

Just like those kindergarten life lessons, these business lessons apply whether it’s your first year in the industry or your 61st.

I know, you’re busy - but to continue to be successful and thrive in business, we need to make time to learn, build relationships and support our industry association.

NetworkASA 2010: THRIVEis the theme for the American Supply Association’s  convention this year.  In one place you’ll find events to sharpen your “lifelong lessons” and keep you moving down the path to success.

This year’s agenda is unlike any other that I can recall. The speakers are amazing, the subject matter timely and of critical importance to all of us, and by attending we support our industry association, showing our appreciation and respect for all ASA does to better our employees, our companies and our industry.

I’ve been attending ASA conventions for years, long before I became involved in the volunteer leadership structure. I keep coming back year after year, in good times and bad, because of the value it provides to my company and to me, personally.

The educational sessions provide knowledge and insight into what’s happening in our industry. This year, we will receive an update on political policy and how some of the changes made by this administration will impact our businesses. We will discuss research analysis that will help us make decisions in the coming months. We will be inspired by the life lessons of world-famous personalities. We will “Meet the Pros” - other distributors and manufacturers who share their expertise in an interactive, roundtable format. Distributors and manufacturers will meet individually and work together to create growth plans and strengthen partnerships.(Learn whatever you can about your industry, your business, your customers.)

There will be plenty of opportunities to network with peers, vendors and customers, from the opening reception, brought to us by Bradford White, to the closing event, Industry Interchange. Spending time face-to-face with individuals who are important to us builds trust. Open dialogue among all channel partners increases our understanding of each other.  Combining these two makes work more efficient - andfun!(Build personal relationships.)

Attendance at NetworkASA 2010 benefits those who participate through education and networking, tools for benchmarking your business and updates on advocacy issues. Plus, your attendance will help ASA. By attending NetworkASA 2010, you help meet the financial needs of the organization -yourindustry association. With your support, ASA has a greater ability to provide value to all its members through programs, services and reporting, and to the industry through ongoing advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C., and around the country. A strong ASA strengthens all of us.(Show respect to those who help you succeed.)   

Take a look at this month’sASA Newsfor a summary of the great speakers and then register for the meeting. I’ll be there, getting a boost for the lifelong lessons I use to help me succeed in this industry. I hope you will, too.

Frank Nisonger
Slakey Brothers