Nearly 60 regional leaders developed new strategies and solutions for NEW and its 20 regional groups at the NEW Regional Leaders Forum, June 14-15, 2017 in Phoenix.
Representatives from 19 regions tackled an ambitious agenda that included member engagement, sponsorship, communications and workflows.
The two-day event was moderated by Forum organizers Jessie Thomas, director of merchandising solutions, MDM and PMO, for PetSmart, and Jill Riemenschneider, vice president of Mondelēz International.
Joanna Zucker, vice president of services for PetSmart, welcomed the attendees to PetSmart, which hosted the event at its headquarters. Beth McCormick, the retailer’s vice president of commerce and customer engagement technology, and Erick Goldberg senior vice president for human resources at PetSmart, provided closing remarks. PetSmart’s hospitality included two networking luncheons and visits from several campus dogs and a python named Pixel.
NEW Board Chair Karen Stuckey, senior vice president for private brands/sourcing and general merchandise at Walmart, gave a half hour briefing on the state of NEW. Stuckey praised the regional leaders for their dedication to NEW and its mission and sent letters of commendation on behalf of each attendee.
Discussions on sponsorship and the value of NEW was facilitated by Mary Rivard of NEW Northwest Arkansas, senior category development analyst for Hormel. Deloitte partner Lisa Vannis shared best practices on sponsorship from her region, NEW Cincinnati. Breakout groups and report-outs followed.
NEW Chicago attendee Sue Golden, founder of Golden Coaching and Consulting, moderated a three-hour session on member engagement. Kristine Pettoni, associate partner for Clarkston Consulting, provided engagement best practices from her region, NEW Atlanta.
Hormel’s Rivard brought attendees up to speed on a regional "NEW Gen" project designed to engage younger industry members in NEW.
Communications and technology
A two-hour workout on communications was facilitated by Valerie Conard of NEW Twin Cities, senior finance director at Target. Nicole Wright, market manager, central mandate, for Acosta, shared her advice and experience on communications from the NEW North Texas region before attendees broke into groups to identify barriers and brainstorm new ideas.
Stephanie McFee, NEW vice president of member and regional services, provided an update on the Network’s new website, database and community platforms launching this summer. NEW Vice President for Learning and Advisory Services Kathy Bayert updated attendees on the Network’s value and insights project now in development.
The forum concluded with a “Pillar Power Hour” facilitated by marketing consultant Mary Coon of NEW Northern California. Regional committee leads, including secretary and treasurer, teamed up to identify new ideas and improvements. Attendees voted for their top three solutions and determined next steps and timelines. Cathy Kloos, human resource director for Albertsons/Safeway from the NEW Phoenix region, moderated the final discussion and helped wrap up the forum.
NEW Regional Development Manager Christina Cole, who played a key role in organizing the event, recognized members of the NEW Regional Leaders Forum committee and presented each with a gift.
NEW Regional Advisory Chair Marla Thompson, senior vice president of Angie’s List, represented NEW’s Board. NEW staff members were on hand to listen and support. In addition to Steph McFee and Kathy Bayert, they included Nancy Krawczyk and Julie Janckila from the NEW partnership team; Rob Wray and Rufino Cabang from NEW communications and engagement; and Jessie Cobian and Vanessa Cullerton from finance.