ALA Conference Offers Opportunity to Focus on Business Success, Professional Growth
The 2018 ALA Conference is right around the corner in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, N.C. , Sept. 24 - 26. The theme of this year’s event is to reinvent, reawaken and revitalize. Education sessions and networking activities will focus on allowing attendees to reinvent their businesses to adapt to changing times, reawaken their passion for success, and revitalize their spirit and energy.
Recently, ALA members from across the industry provided insight into why attending ALA Conference is a critical investment they make in their businesses each year.
Surviving and Thriving
“Conference has really taught me how to survive,” explains Marcia Hussey manager, residential lighting, Dominion Electric Supply Co. “We all have to attend conference in order to sustain our industry.” This is a mantra often repeated by regular conference attendees. As the only event designed specifically for education and networking among the lighting industry, conference serves as a means to separate from the daily business grind and focus on the future.
As anyone in business understands, it can be difficult to invest in time away from daily operations to explore new ideas and work on professional growth. Yet, as conference attendees know first-hand, it is this investment away from the office that leads to the greatest successes when they return home.
“If you’re on the fence about coming to Conference, there is no doubt in my mind that you need to attend,” said President of Spectrum Hulett Group Matt Hulett, CLMR. “As an agency, I require every member of my team to attend ALA at least once to experience everything it has to offer.”
Creating a Lasting Network
The networking opportunities available during conference are vast. From small, non-compete showroom networking groups where intimate conversations thrive, to the bustling round-table lunch where members from across the industry share ideas and tackle challenging topics, there is not another industry event that fosters these types of connections.
“At the conference, you are more relaxed. It is not a high-pressure sales environment,” explained Regional Sales Manager for LED Inspirations and ALA Young Executives Chair William Senofsky. “It’s truly about relationship building. With that being the basis, you are able to relax and build quality relationships with people across the industry and go more in depth.” As evidenced by activities such as the highly attended Lighting Showroom Coalition meetup during Lightovation this June in Dallas, there is a great desire and need in the industry today to create an open dialogue across channels, and conference provides a means for this to occur.
“I had an amazing experience attending my first ALA Conference last year,” explained Sarah Muniz, showroom sales manager for Varaluz. “It was eye opening to hear how showrooms and reps are handling their training, for example. As a manufacturer, it is important for me to ensure I’m providing the tools they need to be successful. Through conference, we’ve had some great conversations and great resolutions to issues.”
“The networking groups give you the opportunity to learn from other businesses,” said Jan Clouse, owner of Carolina Lanterns. “You make connections and then have the ability to reach out to those people after you leave conference to communicate back and forth about issues. Some of the best business information I’ve ever learned was through a conference networking group.”
Learning to Succeed
The education sessions during conference bridge a range of topics, and, this year, they all explore the common theme of staying ahead of change to ensure long-term success. Keynote presentations will examine the changes occurring in buyer behavior, from the instant-gratification culture created by online shopping to the evolving wants and needs of the Millennial consumer.
Breakout sessions will dive even deeper into topics such as creating an excellent customer experience, investigating and understanding the changing roles in the industry, understanding trends in connected home technologies, and implementing successful digital marketing practices.
“I love being part of ALA and attending conference,” explained Principal of Walker & Willis Inc. Pam Willis. “One of the main reasons I attend is that I get to take some of the people that work with me and help to educate them further, and we have some fun together.”
“I encourage everyone attending conference to be involved in as many meetings and education seminars as possible,” added Matt Hulett. “You are never too good at what you do or too experienced to learn, and conference provides the education that we all need.”
To learn more about the ALA Annual Conference and the education sessions, networking opportunities, and other activities offered this year, and to register to attend, visit ALAConference.com.