Auto industry professionals gather together for a week of workshops, keynotes and networking.
TADA’s Annual Member/Vendor Conference took place in Los Cabos, Mexico this year. While there’s no doubt that the warm tropical sun was a welcome change for us Canadians after a cold winter, the more than 125 dealers and vendors who attended this year’s event walked away with more than a simple head start on the warmer weather.
This year’s program was packed with workshops, keynote presentations and networking opportunities, second to none in our industry.
One of the most intriguing keynotes was by CADA’s Chuck Sequin, who painted an interesting picture of the ‘Dealer of the Future.’ He enlightened the audience with a look at what the next ten years in our industry will likely look like. You’ll find a full report in this issue of AutoJournal.
Huw Williams, long respected for his knowledge and understanding of the inner workings of our federal government, gave us an update on the national political scene. He talked about what the NAFTA agreement means to dealers and how changes to it could affect our industry. He also talked about the Trudeau government and what some of their policies will mean for franchised dealers.
John White spoke about some of the files the CADA is working on and what that will mean for dealers. We also enjoyed a presentation by Maria Soklis from Cox Automotive Canada. She spoke about what it means to be a leader in today’s business environment and what’s required in terms of mentoring.
Finally, Graeme Murray, Paralympian and former member of the Canadian sledge hockey team, spoke about setting goals, motivation, and overcoming unsuspected obstacles – something all business people need to wrap their minds around in our ever-changing world.
Benefits and insights
Overall, the quality of the presentations and the calibre of the speakers was truly impressive. In fact, quite a few of the dealers in attendance were eager to share their positive feedback with me and my team.
For instance, Brent Ravelle, VP and Managing Partner, Bustard Chrysler (Waterloo and Listowel, Ontario) said that he walked away from the event with a “much greater appreciation for the depth of the TADA and what we’re involved with.” This was Brent’s first time attending TADA’s Annual Member/Vendor Conference.
“The networking was great,” he added. “It was invaluable. In fact, I’ve taken a conversation I had there with a supplier and another dealer and turned it into a business opportunity. So it’s turned out very well.”
Brent isn’t the only one for whom things “turned out very well.” All of us walked away with new insights, stronger business relationships, and a better understanding of where our industry is headed.
That’s the advantage of attending events like these. People who think that they have “been there and done that” are probably kidding themselves. That may have been true in the past, but nothing could be further from the truth in our rapidly changing world. If you take the time to attend events like this, you’ll always learn something new. But you can’t learn something new if you’re not there to listen.
The other aspect of events like these is the peer-to-peer networking. There’s so much to learn from those in our industry. “It’s always great to sit down and have a discussion about the pulse of the industry and to see things from another person’s point of view,” Brent admitted. “We often talk with the same local dealer friends, but to hear from someone who does business in another part of Ontario, and to find out how they’re dealing with certain challenges, that’s very important.”
The truth is that the traditional art of networking can’t be replaced with technology. You’ll never get the same benefits from a webinar or from a Skype conversation that you will from speaking with your peers, face-to-face, and from networking with many of the leaders in our industry. Regardless of how advanced technology may be, human beings still need to interact with human beings.
If you’ve already attended one of TADA’s Annual Member/Vendor Conferences, I encourage you to join us again. If you’ve never had the opportunity to do so, I strongly invite you to do so. You’re missing out.
The next Conference will take place in Secrets Montego Bay, April 29 – May 5, 2018. This year’s event was sold out, so we’re making room for 40 more next year. We’ll save you a seat.