The Year Of The MemberWritten By; Les Bebchick
Article Date: 02-01-2007
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
Our goal for 2007 is recruitment and retention, plus inclusion and participation.
What an Annual Meeting! I've been to well over a dozen and I've never seen a better, more upbeat, more organized meeting with the greatest of participation and a strong sense of camaraderie.
I'd like to say I had something to do with it, but regardless, whether it was the economic climate, the location, the executive training and seminar content, the provocative and interesting meetings, the high level of speakers, the interest of the manufacturers in their dealers, or CONDEX, it worked and worked well.
The AED staff on the ground at the meeting, led by Janet Dixon and supported by Marcia Arger back in Oak Brook, did an incredible job, highlighting what a well-run professional staff AED has.
Couple that with the dedication and commitment of the volunteer governance led by Dale Leppo, and you have one of the best Annual Meetings in history. The best attendance in many years, the most member companies present, the most meeting and seminar participation, the most attendance at the Inauguration Banquet, one of the largest and most attractive CONDEX exhibits, the huge number of suites, the fabulously well-attended "New Members Reception," and a great spouse registration and turn-out, all contributed.
Speaking of excellence, I can't praise outgoing Chairman Dale Leppo enough. He is a genuine and sincere person, who leads by example in the most unassuming way; whose motives, direction and determination inspire; and who volunteers because he wants to see the best for AED and his fellow members. In the rich tradition of exceptional past AED leaders, Dale stands very tall, and I'm proud to have served under him and thrilled to call him my friend.
As I begin my year as Chairman, I'm so happy and thankful to have such a strong group of officers and directors on the Board. I believe 2007 will be one of the best in history. My year will be highlighted with a continued focus on membership, not only recruitment and retention, but inclusion and participation of the entire membership from our smallest to the largest, whether dealer, manufacturer or service provider. This is the year of the "member."
My introduction by my friend John Zoubek at the Inaugural Banquet followed by a video of me as Mr. Les Vegas was very funny and brought levity to the ceremony. But I want each and every member that was present or is reading this editorial to appreciate my sincere sentiments on what AED is about and why membership involvement is as important to you personally as it is to your company.
Quoting from my speech at the Inaugural Banquet, "AED, built on membership and powered by participation, is as much a journey as it is an organization. It's about helping dealers become more profitable. But it's also about expanding beyond your own four walls, redefining your horizons, sharing with your peers, learning from others, and getting more from your time in this industry than pure financial gain - not that's there's anything wrong with financial gain because active and dedicated membership moves you in that direction as well.
"And, there's more. There is a fulfillment, a satisfaction, and a gain in your personal and professional development that AED makes achievable. As a member, instead of being that little (or big) guy with his small (or big) operation, I found I had the collective power of AED working for me - 1,000 members, representing independent authorized dealers, manufacturers, and service providers.
"At AED, I learned very quickly that my voice, the voice I initially thought would be considered tiny and insignificant, carried every bit as much weight as any other member's voice. Because, regardless of structure or size, we all share the same hurdles, issues, and challenges, albeit in different orders of magnitude."
And, in closing, let me further reiterate that you truly get out of this organization what you put into it, and it's worth it! I can't tell you how many people shared these sentiments with me after my speech. Make this your year to become active at AED!
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