Weekly Editorial

Making The Most Of Conference Connections

Written By Rob Kirkbride, Editor-in-chief, officeinsight • April 24, 2023


I had the pleasure of attending the INDEAL Champion Conference last week in New Orleans. It is where dealer Champions join manufacturers to learn from each other — something that is incredibly important to move the industry forward. It is a blend of learning and discovery and fun.

INDEAL Champions are the folks at the dealer level assigned to keep up on everything happening with INDEAL. There is one at every INDEAL member dealership and they play a critical role in helping their colleagues understand all the new solutions and programs offered by INDEAL.

When I speak to Champions at the conference, they always tell me how rewarding it is to them both personally and professionally. And all of the Champions tell me how much hard work they put in at the conference, but also all the fun they have. It is an intense four days, filled with meetings with INDEAL-connected manufacturers (Brand Partners), sessions designed to help the dealer representatives efficiently and effectively do their jobs and discussions to help spur new ideas that they can bring back to the rest of their team.

As a bit of an outsider at the conference, it is rewarding to watch the Champions, who come from dealerships large and small across the country, arrive at the conference as strangers and leave as good friends. I’ve gone enough times to see these friendships develop over the years. Conference veterans create deep bonds with their peers and extend far beyond the time they spend at the event.

It is also great to see some Champions become mentors for others with the veterans in the group helping those new to the industry learn the ropes.

It is a unique conference. Instead of walking to dinner one night, the group was lead to the restaurant through the streets of New Orleans in a second line parade (the first line being the grand marshal or parade leader and the brass band and the second line consisting of the revelers).

The success of the Champion Conference is difficult to measure at the event itself. The real power of the conference comes after; when the Champions return to their dealerships to share all they’ve learned with their colleagues and when they start taking advantage of all the connections they’ve made with the manufacturers they’ve met. That is where the needle truly moves.

So as they say in the Big Easy, laissez les bon temps rouler — let the good times roll.

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