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Benefits of the ICFA

February 14, 2011
The Benefits of getting involved in the ICFA are enormous. This past week I attended my third board of directors meeting of the ICFA in Hollywood, Florida. This two-day meeting is open to all members and we were fortunate to have some new faces in the group. We spent the first day attending to board business; we received a report from MMPI the company that runs the Casual Show in Chicago for the ICFA. We heard from all of the committees on projects that have been in progress since the last meeting in New Orleans. We discussed recommendations from the Awards committee, the prospect of an industry conference, an industry research program, and the new brand positioning statement.  The membership committee reported on the addition of new members, as well as, the sales of the Sales Training Program DVD and consideration of a certificate program within the industry.  As always within these meetings there is a lot of positive discussion and new and exciting ideas.

 

One of the highlights of these meetings is the local store tour, this time Carl’s Patio in Boca Raton, hosted the attendees for a lovely reception and networking event. Gary Ecoff greeted us as we arrived by bus to his beautifully merchandised store. This is a wonderful opportunity to see how specialty retailers in other locals than your own, layout and merchandise their stores. This is yet just another benefit gained from being active in the ICFA.  Generating new and innovative ideas and sharing best practices is a coveted benefit of membership. I heard a specialty store retail owner mention that he garnered some new ideas that he can bring back to his store on the west coast of the country.

 

Networking with members in the ICFA is crucial to everyone. Retail members, Manufacturing members, Sales Reps, Suppliers and Designers make up the group of interconnected people within our industry. Getting to know these members personally and professionally is key to all of our businesses. The opportunity for networking at the board meetings, the casual show, the committee meetings, events and seminars is a benefit that I believe is instrumental to the growth of our industry.

There are so many opportunities to participate and network, you simply have to get involved to benefit.

 

The second day of the board meeting was spent strategizing the priority areas of the organization. For this exercise we are divided into small groups to work together to formulate creative proposals to help to grow and improve our association. At the end of a full day of discussions, presentations and innovative ideas, we created goals, action steps, timetables, budgeting, implementation plans and accountability for all of the next steps.

 

I had the distinct pleasure to work with valued members of our organization. Every time I attend one of these meetings, I leave with a renewed energy to work hard to build the ICFA into a premier association. I encourage all of you to consider membership as well as participation in this fine organization. Make your plans now to attend the next in-person meeting in Dallas, Texas in November. But you don’t have to wait until then to join or get involved. Simply contact Joe Logan or any one of the ICFA current board members to see how you can get involved now and benefit from being an active member.

 

If you are interested in joining, just visit the ICFA website http://www.icfanet.org

 

These are my outside views…Marcia Blake