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NEW Northern California translates trends into strategies

Monday, May 21, 2012  
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A sold-out crowd of more than 370 turned out to hear futurist Edie Weiner, who offered advice on translating cpg/retail trends into business strategies at the Network of Executive Women Northern California spring networking event, May 4 at the Palm Event Center in Pleasanton, Calif.

Weiner, author of Supermanaging, Office Biology and Insider’s Guide to the Future, offered strategies for leveraging the emerging economy and advice on shifting thinking from "what was” to "what is.”

"To gain objectivity and move beyond where you are is difficult,” Weiner said. "We can all be change agents and move beyond fighting fires to look at what’s next.”

Still, Weiner said, she hates the term "think outside the box,” because "there is so much still inside the box that you aren’t even looking at.”

The futurist offered three tips to overcome "educated incapacity,” which she defined as "knowing so much about what we know that we are the last to know about what the future holds in these areas.” She advised attendees to subscribe to two publications they would never think of reading; ask their teams to take one core assumption about the market, customers or employees and switch it out for something directly the opposite of the assumption; and hire a 15-year-old who is not a family member to mentor and teach you "anything they want to teach you.”

The keynote speaker "knocked it out of the park,” said NEW Northern California Co-Chair Debbie Rookstool, director of leadership planning for Safeway Inc. "Already, I have been challenging my normal view of things in an effort to find our unique competitive edge.”

Other NEW members also came away eager to act on Weiner’s advice. "Edie’s perspective on how 3D printing will impact manufacturing and how virtual gaming technology will revolutionize brand experiences was fascinating,” said Emily Falhaber, consumer market knowledge manager for Procter & Gamble. "I shared her message with several of my friends.”

The NEW Northern California event sold out -- more than 400 industry women and men registered -- in less than 72 hours, according to NEW Northern California Public Relations Chair Julie Oxner, Safeway Team -- Home Care and Center Store for Procter & Gamble. Eight percent of attendees were male.

To drive the region’s Facebook fan base, members were asked a trivia question that was posted on at the beginning of the event. The page’s "likes” grew 15 percent after the event and the region’s weekly Facebook reach has grown "exponentially,” Oxner said.

To further drive engagement, attendees who filled out a post-event survey received goody bags.

Companies sending delegations to the event included Acosta, Clif Bar & Company, ConAgra Foods, The Clorox Company, Del Monte Foods, E. & J. Gallo Winery, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft foods, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Ross Stores, Safeway, Slalom Consulting, Southern Wine & Spirits, Unilever and Walmart Stores.

Futurist Edie Weiner networks with NEW Northern California officers Alice
Chan of Frito-Lay, Michelle Tonner of Daymon Worldwide, Debbie Rookstool
of Safeway and Lori Proctor of Procter & Gamble.

Marcie Wissinger of The Connell Group meets up with Kay Pitman
of Deloitte LLP.

NEW Board member at-large Christy Consler of Safeway enjoys
the program.

Stacy McMillan of E. & J. Gallo distributes goody bags after the event.

The NEW Northern California committee met at the May 4, 2012 spring event.

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