Interviews | January 14, 2020
CEO Summit: Networking That Pays Dividends
PSDA’s annual CEO Summit is an opportunity for fellow executives to connect with each other and make meaningful business connections. And while the summit itself only lasts a few days, the relationships built there can flourish well into the future.
Ted Corman, global accounts manager at Firehouse, can attest to this. We spoke with him to get his firsthand experience attending CEO Summit in 2019, and how a poolside chat helped him dive head first into a new business win days after the event.
Why did you decide to attend CEO Summit for the first time?
After attending the P2P Innovation + Technology Summit in Indianapolis in 2018, we knew Firehouse was a great fit for PSDA. At P2P alone, we realized we could offer PSDA members a number of products they were already buying online or hadn’t yet considered adding to their revenue stream. My colleague landed 10 new business connections at P2P, which has since led to steady work for our company.
You can imagine, then, it was an easy decision to attend the CEO Summit in 2019. We wanted to continue engaging with PSDA members and building those relationships. We made a commitment to attend CEO Summit (in 2019 and 2020) because all the right players were there. We wanted to network with PSDA members because we realize the value of the organization.
Whether it be CEO Summit or P2P, these events give you tremendous access to make meaningful connections. It’s hard to get that level of exposure at other shows, where you might only get in touch with people passing by your booth.
That’s the biggest value of the CEO Summit: You have direct access to the people, and PSDA members welcome you with open arms. They want to learn, they’re open to new ideas and they’re willing to listen because it helps them succeed. It helps that we’re all in a relaxed environment, too. PSDA members aren’t sitting at a table getting pitched at — we’re there to make real connections that will turn into productive relationships down the road.
What were some of the lessons and takeaways from the event? Anything that impacted or changed your work after returning?
While oftentimes business gets done online, relationships are based on personal contact. CEO Summit gives you the ability to form those relationships and have that personal contact.
We made a number of connections at the 2019 CEO Summit, which led to new business. The best story began as we were poolside, enjoying a cigar. That night I spent some time with a new client, Pete Redondo, who is the managing director of GO2 Partners. We exchanged information and agreed we would talk more after the show was over.
I returned to the office the following Monday and unexpectedly got a call from Pete. He was working with a new client and needed to print 102 foam core posters with 15 different files, shipped to 18 unique locations by Friday. Pete asked if we were up to the challenge and, without hesitation, we jumped right in. The rest is history, and we still maintain a strong relationship with them today.
Because of the connection Pete and I made, he was able to deliver success for his new client in a short period of time. For me, that’s what these events are all about: PSDA members get direct access to people who have the knowledge, willingness and know-how to help make something great happen. Everyone wins.
What would you say to someone who is on the fence about attending?
If you are on the fence about not coming, I say please stay at home, as that will give those who are attending more time to spend with CEOs and make better relationships and memories. All joking aside, the CEO Summit is a unique event that gives you access to the top people of PSDA. There is no reason you would not want to go if you are trying to form and build relationships.
Business/Growth Strategies Partnerships