By David Gee
It's not too late to Elevate! Our first annual strategic conference for leaders, and emerging leaders, in the recreational boating industry, is just a few weeks away, November 22-24, in Orlando.
We had several people engage us excitedly on the docks at Fort Lauderdale. One person, a long-time industry marketing person, told us he loves that it is so different, and believes that it will grow into something very significant for the boating biz. "And I want to be in the ground floor to say I supported it from day one," he said.
The idea for Elevate really came from a clean sheet of paper. We have all attended conferences that were really valuable, and some that weren’t. Or aren’t. And to be honest, sometimes that has as much to do with your expectations and goals as it does with the actual content.
Anyway, we wanted to create a conference that features important intelligence about key trends facing the marine industry and give you information and strategies to help guide you through whatever comes next.
That includes the economy, making your employees your critical competitive advantage, managing multiple generations in the workforce, navigating the supplier/dealer relationship, and so on.
We have award-winning speakers scheduled, as well as opportunities to hear from industry veterans such as Ron Huibers, president and CEO, Volvo Penta of the Americas, and our 2019 Mover & Shaker of the Year.
We will also have several Top 100 dealers in for some panel discussions, including an exciting one on the dealer/supplier relationship. That panel will also feature Tim Kuck of Regal Boats and Oliver Ray from Ilmor. We expect a very lively conversation.
We also added an exciting pre-conference to the Friday afternoon schedule that is part of your registration.
Growing future business leaders is vitally important, both to the current leadership team(s) as well as those in their wake. How can these groups work together to ensure future success? Dr. Sean J. Bliznik will lead the discussion. He is a long-time Disney employee who is now an assistant professor at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at UCF where he teaches courses in entertainment management and leadership.
And then there is a session on Women & Leadership in Boating. Some of the greatest minds in the marine industry are gathering to discuss important topics related to women in the boating industry. Well-known marine marketing veteran Wanda Kenton Smith carefully curated a diverse group of women from Volvo Penta, Correct Craft, Sea Tow International, Emerald Coast Marine Group and the Connecticut Marine Trades Association. The panel will describe their career journey, sharing both the opportunities and challenges they’ve faced, along with keen insights and their best strategies for success. This session not only includes a panel discussion, but an opportunity to meet – and talk – with these women individually as well.
Some of the top women and young leaders in the industry will also be recognized at the Opening Awards reception on Friday night as we honor the 2019 Boating Industry Women Making Waves and 40 Under 40.
Also that opening night, we are pleased and proud to present the inaugural “National Boating Industry Safety Awards” where the Sea Tow Foundation, with the help and support of its newly launched North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council, will honor top boating safety programs and promotions in four separate categories.
At the other end of the conference, we will finish with a flourish as we present our Top 100 dinner and awards celebration, that includes announcing Dealer of the Year.
We are all really excited about Elevate, and hope you are too. If you haven’t yet registered, just go to the home page, hit the Register Now button, put it in your calendar, and we’ll see you soon in Orlando!