Sharing Solutions Is Key Focus of Convenience Distribution Marketplace 2019
SAN ANTONIO — When the Convenience Distribution Association (CDA) began planning its 2019 Convenience Distribution Marketplace event, it chose the theme "Sharing Solutions," a slogan CDA President and CEO Kimberly Bolin believes the organization lived up to.
"Several activities were built in to maximize those opportunities in both fun and relaxed environments, educational and thought-provoking settings, and more business-centric with the trade show," Bolin told Convenience Store News. "We really shook up the schedule this year. Chairman Kevin Barney and the Events Planning Committee had the vision that this event should really maximize the time that attendees could share solutions through networking, education and while conducting business."
The event's "Taste of Texas" dinner featured more lighthearted happenings, such as friendly cornhole competitions, armadillo racing, authentic cuisine and plenty of opportunities to mix and mingle.
That was balanced by formal education sessions designed to give attendees the information most useful to them. Speakers included Matt Thornhill, founder and managing partner, SIR Institute for Tomorrow; Eddie Yoon, founder, Eddie Would Grow; Tina Berenbaum, principle, Centauric; Mitch Zeller, director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Tobacco Products; and economist Alan Beaulieu.
"All of our speakers and topics were specifically selected because of their relevance and importance to CDA members," Bolin said. "It was important to offer sessions on topics that appeal to the diverse interests of all attendees to give them a good return on their investment for attending."
The Marketplace also highlighted some of the association's latest initiatives, such as its scholarship program. The organization has expanded the program to add two additional scholarships, up to a total of four, for employees or immediate family members of employees of CDA member distribution companies.
"We believe that it's important to encourage and support individuals that are pursuing their education in the CDA community," Bolin said. "It ties into our goal of telling our story about the many rewarding and diverse careers in this segment of the supply chain. It is important to tell the story so that we can educate, recruit and retain talent."
Another component of that storytelling is its Economic Impact Study, a recently completed initiative from 2018.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2019, Bolin wants to further highlight the CDA story, starting with the group's visit to Capitol Hill on May 15.
"We'll be talking about the complexities and contributions of these businesses, and the tremendous opportunities inside their doors," she said. "They support each other through their participation in CDA, individuals and their families through employment opportunities, and local and national economies.
The 2019 Convenience Distribution Marketplace took place Feb. 11-13 at San Antonio's Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa.