WOW! It's October already, and the Annual Fall Conference is very near. I trust by this time you have made your plans to attend. If not and you need a room, call Don Frendberg, not me, and I'm sure he'll give you his room.
I know you have seen a lot of conference publicity already, and I hope it was effective in piquing your interest. Staff literally began a year ago to make arrangements and coordinate speakers, meetings, functions, audio/visuals, menus and logistics with the hotel staff for roughly 1,200 attendees. I am constantly amazed at the team effort that goes into creating such a world-class event each year.
As your president, this year has literally flown by, and it has been a great experience and very enriching and enlightening. I can state unequivocally that we have one of the finest associations in existence, and it is no surprise that we continue to thrive and grow. That's not to say we don't have issues that need to be resolved—increasing attendance at regional meetings and the congressional fly-in, growing participation in our benchmarking programs and influencing government rules and regulations that affect our businesses. But these are not new problems, and I am convinced the continued energy and commitment exhibited by our members, HARDI's board and staff will find the solutions. I also welcome any suggestions you might have. This brings me to address a matter that has been mentioned before but cannot be reinforced too often. HARDI is only as strong as the commitment and participation of its members. Regardless of how often we repeat it, many members still do not realize that virtually every association meeting is open, and everyone is encouraged to attend and participate. I have never experienced a situation where a suggestion or comment during a meeting did not benefit someone else. I encourage you to make full use of the conference, and I guarantee you will leave with a great deal more than you contributed.
This year has seen further development and enhancement of HARDI's strategic plan through the on-line Distributor Learning Network, enrichment of the HARDI Brand, a restructuring of committee and council configurations to achieve greater in-depth involvement on issues plus increased coordination between chairs. As you have noticed, we are not shy about making changes that we hope will increase the enjoyment and value of the conference for everyone. One of the major experiments this year is to move the traditional Tuesday morning Conference Booth program to Monday. By doing so, we anticipate that attendance at the conference booth, as well as the Tuesday educational programs, will increase.
I also encourage you to complete the conference evaluation survey, which will be in your e-mail when you return home. This is a valuable tool for our planning future events. If you're like me, it's always a chore to complete the many surveys that come across our desks, but this is especially important because this is your association. It is extremely important for us to know if you had a bad or unpleasant experience with hotel accommodations or meeting arrangements. It is also important to know if you were pleased with the meeting or portions of it.
Finally, I must mention next year's conference in beautiful Hawaii. There is a lot of excitement and planning already taking place with many making hotel reservations to extend beyond the meeting for sightseeing and vacationing. Sounds like a great idea!
It has been an honor and privilege to serve as your President. Thanks for all the courtesy and support extended to me and my family.
Have a great and prosperous 2011.