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Back to the Future

Back to the Future

A good way to preview the second FMI Future Connect is to revisit the inaugural version of two years ago. I wrote a column following that event to spotlight its value and uniqueness. As it turns out, most of my points are still relevant for this year’s event.

So here are some excerpts from that earlier column:

• In many ways this conference was a departure for the industry. Some 1,800 retailers, wholesalers, suppliers and others gathered in Dallas not primarily to discuss the economic downturn or how to sell more products, but rather to support the mission of developing leadership, a goal not yet even on the front-burner of all companies.

• The commitment of retailers such as Kroger Co. and Hy-Vee, which sent large numbers of associates, was instrumental to the forum's success. Many of the attendees were a few levels below their company's top executives, and more than a few had probably never been to a major industry conference before.

• Future Connect drew mostly praise from attendees for its content and concept, and its concurrent tracks addressed the needs of a diverse audience.

• Most importantly, its mission is critical for this industry because top leaders need to be prepared well before their moment arrives. That was made clear here, and hopefully the momentum will continue.

Well, it is continuing. Here we are getting ready to begin the follow-up event two years later, and the lineup looks strong with major educational tracks including Operations Management; Strategic Management; and Sales, Marketing and Merchandising.

We invite you to follow the blog posts of my colleague Mark Hamstra and I during this three-day event.