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Counselor Senior Editor Michele Bell's slanted view of the world.

“Power” to the People!

Filed under: Travel

Hi Everyone,

Before I share some fun photos I took at this year’s ASI Power Summit at the beautiful Turnberry Isle Resort in Ventura, FL, last week, I wanted to point out a few of my personal highlights:

* The industry panelists who really spoke their minds and had the cojones to be controversial were among the best. When asked, on the “Supplier & Distributor Point/Counterpoint” panel, about the issue of distributors trusting suppliers enough to bring them to client meetings, industry veteran Dan Townes, owner/president of Shelbyville, TN-based supplier Shepenco/Shelbyville Pencil, brought down the house with this assessment of the situation: “You have a better chance of throwing a saddle on a unicorn and riding it around than seeing distributors trust suppliers enough to bring them to client meetings.” Bill Korowitz, CEO of Counselor Top 40 supplier The Magnet Group, made this pronouncement during the “Follow the Leader: Meet the Counselor Power 50” panel, on the topic of inventory issues: “Listen, I’m happy to have a million pieces of something in my inventory if you need it; but I can have a million pieces of everything that you may or may not need in my inventory. Distributors need to do a better job conveying what they need to suppliers. Once we know what your inventory needs truly are, we can help you.”

* During a discussion session I moderated, in which suppliers and distributors broke off into groups and hashed out some of today’s pressing problems, a distributor approached me on the stage and asked me to convey to suppliers that what distributors really want is “significant benefits at insignificant costs” to help them fight inflation and stay profitable. So, good luck with that one, Suppliers! ; )

* ASI’s exclusive new and updated “Advertising Specialties Impressions Study” was released at the Power Summit and is an eye-opener to the power of promo products. The study went global this time, in that we surveyed businesspeople who use ad specialties in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, as well as London, Sydney, Toronto and Montreal. Click here to see the study and download it as a way to prove to clients that ad specialties really do offer the best bang for the buck.

* Sometimes, what you think will end in disaster turns out for the best, as was the case with dinner on the first evening. It was held outdoors, by the beautiful Laguna pool on the resort’s property. Unfortunately, as ASI’s president/CEO Tim Andrews began interviewing the keynote guest, economist Sean Snaith, it began to rain — hard. Not to be deterred, everyone poured inside and headed right to the bar, turning the event into an impromptu fun fest of networking and cocktailing (the open bar was a definite hit!). And Mr. Snaith’s (who was great, despite having a name that sounds like a Harry Potter villain) predictions on the state of our country’s economy and how it will affect the industry? My editorial colleague Andy Cohen interviewed him inside and the video was shown the next day. Click here to see that interview.

And now, on to some photos I snapped of various behind-the-scenes events and industry friends frolicking. Next year’s Power Summit (from November 6-8) is at the drop-dead-gorgeous Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, CA. Go to www.asicentral.com/psreg for more info!

Enjoy, and Cheers!

— M

This is the breathtakingly picturesque shot at the 18th hole of the Miller golf course, one of two on Turnberry Isle’s property and where those who attended ASI’s fourth annual Power Summit and participated in the golf outing got to play. I took this right before the professional photographer we hired snapped his photo of the group in attendance at this year’s ASI Power Summit. His photo, much better than mine, was taken from 12 feet in the air and offers a nice bird’s eye view, which will appear in our event wrap-up in December’s issue of Counselor.
On behalf of my editorial colleagues C.J. Mittica, editor of Wearables, and Nicole Rollender, editor of Stitches, I woke up at 5:00 a.m. one day to oversee a photo shoot on swimwear that will appear on upcoming covers of their magazines. Those of you who know me will understand how much I loathe doing anything in the morning — I operate much like the vamps on True Blood, after dark and with lots of black leather and sass. Still, for C.J. and Nicole, I sucked it up. When these photos were taken, it was 7:00 a.m. and freezing in Florida — the poor models, Valeska (in blue) and Harmony, were just lovely and total pros — you’d never know just how cold they were except for their fur Uggs boots, which we cropped out of the shots. Both girls were so tiny, I had to fight the urge to wrap them in blankets and feed them pancakes.
Two of my absolute favorites in the industry: Chuck “Chuckles” Fandos, CEO of Counselor Top 40 distributor Gateway/CDI, sitting on the lap of Ira Neaman, owner/president of Counselor Top 40 supplier Vantage and my wearables “Yoda,” at the lobby bar in the Turnberry Resort. “There’s all-business Ira, and then there’s fun, wild Ira,” Chuckles says. We love wild Ira!   Scott Pearson, vice president of product development for Counselor Top 40 supplier Sweda, with his friend, Stephanie Leader, president of the OH-based supplier Leaderpromos.com. Both Scott and Stephanie sat at my table for the second night’s dinner at ASI’s Power Summit, during which the Counselor Power 50 list was revealed. Click here to see the full list.
My pal Eric Johnson (“E” to you and I…), owner of the MN-based supplier Halls & Co./IDLine, shown here with Gateway/CDI’s Chuckie Fandos and Sweda’s president, Jim Hagan. One of the first people I met in the industry, E and I have been friends now for 13 years. When we’re both at the same event, I always make sure to seat him next to me! Love this powwow of OH-based distributors! Chris Yaw (left) from the Columbus, OH-based distributor Leaderpromos.com, and Mike Emhoff, owner of the Dayton-based distributor Shumsky.
The always-charming Chris Vernon, president of Counselor Top 40 distributor The Vernon Co., who was a panelist at this year’s Power Summit, stops by my table for a visit during dinner. Love, love, love Dan Jellinek, now with Counselor Top 40 supplier Magnet, but I missed seeing his equally-awesome wife LeAnn!
Look at these lovely ladies! Meet Anita Emhoff, co-owner of the OH-based distributor company Shumsky, and my girl Jilly Albers, Shumsky’s new business development director. Delightful dinner guests, these blondes definitely are more fun! ; ) In what I shall be henceforth referring to as their “prom photo,” here’s Gateway/CDI’s Chuckie Fandos and Sweda’s Jim Hagan sharing the love! ; ) 

Meet Brad White, SGR’s Supplier Sales Rep of the Year!

Filed under: Travel

As the winner of Supplier Global Resource’s inaugural Supplier Sales Rep of the Year contest, Brad White, vice president of sales for San Diego-based AddVenture (asi/31940), garnered an overwhelming number of nominations and accolades from the hundreds of distributors who voted. A uniquely creative thinker, profoundly talented at self-promotion & social media, constantly in touch with clients and always on his game, Brad is the sales rep distributors dream of working with — a true renaissance man for our plugged in digital age who makes their lives easy. Read on for his guest blog, and search him out online and at upcoming ASI shows in 2011 — you won’t be disappointed! To read more about Brad, click here.

Brad White
Brad White, vice president of sales for AddVenture Products and this year’s SGR Supplier Sales Rep of the Year. And yes, he is as cool as he looks in this photo.  

— Michele

When Michele asked me to write a guest blog I was immediately flattered and honored. Now faced with this opportunity, the task is as daunting as it is exciting. How to write a guest blog for ASI about the Supplier Global Resource Supplier Sales Rep of the Year award? I asked Michele (The Chief) for advice and she gave me a list, which included sharing what I’ve learned, talking about the industry, thanking people, and mentioning my social media efforts. I wonder – can I achieve all of that in one blog?  Well here goes.  This is my “Things-That-Have-Helped-Me-That-I-Would-Like-To-Acknowledge-And-Share” list.

Make friends. Your professional life is easier, better, and more fun when you build friendships. You achieve together, you influence each other, and you help each other grow. Whether you know it or not, you are shaped by your group, so you might want to surround yourself with good people. My group starts with my supplier constituents and colleagues, specifically those that have become dear friends like Cindy Kronen from DLX, John Costelli from Castle Merchandising, Amanda Nannini from Hit Promotional Products, and Devin Piscitelli from Aakron Rule, among others. It’s been a pleasure growing with you and I appreciate your friendship.

Find good partners. Simply put, business happens when people agree to do business together, and the success of that relationship depends upon the contributions of each partner. Every success I have achieved is due to my alliance with strong distributor partners like Sarah Demont at Massive Marketing, Josh Ebrahemi at Jack Nadel Int’l., Gary Cornwell from Shamrock Promotions, Cadi Stephenson from Canary Promos, Brice Dick from Adventures in Advertising, Sarah Clasen from The Kinetic Group and Tom Goos from Image Source. Thank you for contributing your creativity, expertise and effort.

Brad White
Brad, his wife Toni, and their adorable kids at the Padres’ stadium in their hometown of San Diego.

Learn from mentors. Everyonecan learn from somebody. Having a mentor to provide wisdom and encouragement is priceless. I have been lucky to find some exceptional mentors. To be specific, Roni Wright of The Book Company is the best example of positive energy I have ever met. Roni, you light up a room and you have inspired me more than I can explain. Mr. Dan Collins right here at AddVenture. You have been kicking my butt since we first met. Your solid principles and strong work ethic have influenced me tremendously.

Build a solid team. You can operate with confidence when you trust your team to pick you up when you fall, help you find answers, and fight along your side. I have had the extreme pleasure of teaming-up with some talented and hard-working people. Janice Boyd, Kenn Watson, Robbie Gallo, Angela Bankston, and all the other past and present members of Team AddVenture who have made it fun to come to work every day. And of course, the team leader, Mr. Alan Davis – a passionate businessman with a big heart and an open mind, who has always given me every opportunity to grow.

Make people proud.  Want motivation? Realize that people who care about you would be proud of your hard work, ethical decisions, and positive example as a professional. I know it’s a cliché, but I always wanted to make my Mom and Dad proud – I still do. And now with a wife and kids of my own, I feel that desire even more.  My wife Toni is my rock.  Thanks Babe! I would not be worthy of an award without your support. I would like to thank my family and friends for their impact on my life. My brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins – and my friends Mitchell Brown, Cam Newlin, Darren Hicks, Adam Sancic, Mike Foote, Kris Sherman and so many other of my trusted crew.

Thank you ASI for this honor. Thank you, Michele, for the opportunity to be your guest blogger.

 And thank YOU for reading.  If you want to read more, please visit www.whitethreads.com

 Well there we go – list complete.

 Brad White, AddVenture Products