Enter your email for updates:
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! ; )