Distribution Leaders Meet to Bring Leadership Development to Innovation Summit for Distributors

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The UnleashWD advisory council formed to foster leadership development during the only innovation summit for the wholesale distribution industry. These leaders are driving a new spirit of innovation throughout wholesale distribution.

“Members of the UnleashWD Advisory Council are putting in extra time with UnleashWD to spark a revolution of innovation in the distribution industry,” Dirk Beveridge, founder of UnleashWD, said.

UnleashWD started out as a vision for change in the wholesale distribution industry.

Realizing this vision meant building an advisory council consisting of some of the most innovative and important agents of change within wholesale distribution. This council recently met to ensure that the only innovation summit in wholesale distribution continues to provide meaningful solutions to outdated business models and the disruptions caused by rapid technology advancements.

During their meeting, the advisory board reaffirmed the values of UnleashWD while assisting in assembling an unprecedented lineup of storytellers for the October 29-30, 2013 UnleashWD Summit and creating “Lift and Shift” sessions to help translate the speaker’s stories to the attendee’s businesses.

For a full list of the UnleashWD Advisory Council click here.

“The members of the UnleashWD Advisory Council are the best of the best in wholesale distribution,” Dirk Beveridge, founder of UnleashWD, said. “They are putting in extra time with UnleashWD to spark a revolution of innovation in the distribution industry. The advisory council provide an amazing resource for the members of the UnleashWD community.”

The UnleashWD advisory council includes leaders from some of the most innovative companies in wholesale distribution. Their expertise is helping distributors create sustainable profits moving forward and fill a huge void in wholesale distribution’s marketplace of ideas by providing concrete examples of innovation in wholesale distribution.

Joe Nettemeyer, CEO of Valin Corp. earned his innovation chops by completely changing the organization’s business model. At one time, 90 percent of Valin’s revenue came from the semi-conductor industry. As the tech industry has cycled through transitions, to remain relevant, Valin strategically explored new business models by acquiring other businesses that provided access into new revenue streams. Innovation is a never-ending process at Valin.

After attending UnleashWD 2012 with a team of five of his executive management team, Nettemeyer determined that attracting and maintaining millennial employees and integrating market-disrupting technologies were necessary investments for the future of his business.

“Joe Nettemeyer shows the importance of a commitment to change,” Beveridge said. “Valin emerged as a market leader because of Joe’s foresight. His examples provide distributors with a guide through the first few steps into the unknown of change.”

If Nettemeyer brings an expert in change to the UnleashWD advisory council, then Cindy Davidson, vice president of sales operations at Cardinal Health, provides UnleashWD with a passion for innovation and thinking outside of the box.

“UnleashWD 2012 was just out of the park,” Davidson said.

As a leader of sales operations at Cardinal Health, Davidson knows how to adapt to changes in the market through innovation.

“When I was forming the UnleashWD council Cindy was one of the first people I went to,” Beveridge said. “Her expertise was instrumental in developing innovation, “new” leadership, culture and business model design as the focus areas for our storytellers at the innovation summit.”

The format of UnleashWD provides attendees with an unprecedented opportunity in the wholesale distribution industry. Rather than rely on industry experts, UnleashWD provides experts from other industries to provide fresh ideas that can significantly move a business forward.

Improving communication and gaining access to new ideas not typically found within her industry is one of the reasons that that Julia Klein, president and CEO of C.H. Briggs Company joined the advisory council.

“We often have the chance to talk with our friendly competitors and fellow distributors from across the country, and many of us also have had great opportunities to learn from distributors in other lines of trade," Klein said. "Unleash is different, it adds to these industry events by bringing in knowledge and ideas from outside the industry. Innovation ideas from a whole new perspective, just what our industry needs to help keep our businesses growing."

C.H. Briggs recently won a 2013 Excellence in Action Award for Innovation from Infor. C.H. Briggs, a distributor of interior and specialty building products, was recognized for expanding their strategy of customer intimacy by connecting their office with the field through Salesforce and Inforce.

Initiating collaboration with new groups is one of the goals of UnleashWD’s “Lift and Shift” sessions. These sessions are opportunities to gain specific guidance from UnleashWD storytellers on the steps that organizations can immediately take to create a culture of innovation. Members of the advisory council will attend UnleashWD as a resource for businesses to gain advice on how to implement the ideas taken from UnleashWD at their business.

The contributions of the advisory council are one of the reasons that attendance for UnleashWD 2013 already exceeds last year’s innovation summit.

“Starting a revolution in this industry starts one distributor at a time,” Beveridge said. “What began last year as an innovative idea on the back of a napkin, is beginning to catalyze a wave of innovation for distributors in a large part due to the passion of our advisory board members. They believe in the power of UnleashWD to their core, and they want to help other businesses create a culture of innovation.”

The innovation revolution continues at the UnleashWD 2013 innovation summit in Chicago.

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Christopher Troksa
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