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Banding Together In Tampa

Now that day 2 at SMC has had a little time to sink in, I wanted to follow up with some more thoughts. One program I didn’t get a chance to talk about earlier was the Young Professionals forum, where Britt Lovin of Andy Oxy, Tom Biedermann of Airweld, and Steve Castiglione of WestAir shared their experiences as members of a family business, among other topics. I admit I am not part of a family business, but many GAWDA member companies are, and the issues of family businesses permeate the industry.

The questions raised were many, from estate planning and succession to dealing with difficult situations. I was really impressed with the discourse that GAWDA’s young professionals engaged in—it was a great forum for this dialogue, and I was impressed with the willingness of the panelists to talk openly and candidly to help the young members of the industry.

What I saw was that GAWDA members do not see each other as competitors, but rather as colleagues in this industry. They are eager to help one another grow and become better distributors. This is the spirit of GAWDA that comes out at SMC. Back home, distributors may be competing for the same accounts in the same territories. But here in Tampa, everyone bands together for the purposes of becoming better business people, and it’s a very powerful thing.

Now I see why distributors always cite “networking” as one of the greatest benefits GAWDA has to offer, but today’s events show that it goes well beyond simple networking, and really comes down to mentoring and two-way communication. I was glad I had the opportunity to be a part of it.

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