Change Is Here: Are You Ready?

Wednesday November 8, 2017 | Filed under:

Throughout 10 years of moderating the annual ASI Power Summit, I resisted taking the stage as a panelist. But this year, at our 11th event in San Diego, CA, I agreed to sit onstage with Gemline President Jonathan Isaacson for a 30-minute Q&A, hoping it would be worthwhile to share my views of the industry, along with a bit of my personal story.

Lucky for me, Jonathan was a thoughtful moderator, asking insightful questions – especially about working for a family business – while adding a touch of always-appreciated humor. I hope the audience enjoyed our conversation as much as I did. If you want to see a livestream of our talk (bumps and all!) click here.

Visit ASI’s Facebook page for more photos of the event, as well as a livestream of the “Surviving in the Age of Amazon” panel moderated by ASI Vice-Chairman Matthew Cohn, featuring Bill Korowitz of Magnet, Jill Albers of Shumsky, Sharon Eyal of ETS Express and Craig Nadel of JNI. Some of their frank answers to tough questions just might surprise you.

I’d like to thank everyone who attended this year’s gathering of some of the most interesting and provocative leaders in our industry. I’m so glad we’re speaking about change and encouraging each other to be the disrupters of our own business – rather than waiting for someone to disrupt us.

Below are some of my favorite quotes from several of our panels and discussions:

  • Storytelling expert Kindra Hall (@kindramhall)‏: “Your story is not a history lesson, it’s not a brochure with products, features and benefits. It’s not data, not numbers, not vague, high-level principles…Orient your story around nouns.” Click here for a video interview with Kindra, on the importance of brands telling their own stories, conducted by ASI’s Andy Cohen.
  • Ashley Crowder, co-founder and CEO of VNTANA: “Virtual reality and augmented reality are going to change every aspect of our world…Experiences are the new way to engage consumers.”
  •  BEL USA’s Sai Koppaka: “Our goal by the end of 2018 is to get every order out in three hours,” Koppaka said, admitting it was certainly a stretch goal, but one he believes is achievable.
  •  Shinola President Jacques Panis: “At the end of the day, all we have is our brand.” Click here for Panis’s interview with ASI’s Michele Bell.
  •  Hadley Media CEO Patrick Hadley on promo products and event marketing: “We need people like you sitting in the room with us, as the experts of products, [so that] when we have a script, promotional products aren’t an afterthought.” Click here for the livestream of the presentation.
  •  Former Navy SEAL instructor Chris Gomez: “When things go wrong is not the time to brainstorm. Preparation is the key to flexibility.”
  •  Jeff Soares, a technology sales executive for Savioke, who brought Relay the robot with him to demo: “We hope that robots will really allow us to have better experiences and a richer life.”

I’m especially heartened that this year’s gathering was our most diverse. We had people of all ages – from early 20s to 85 – and all levels of business – from masters of the universe to mom-and-pop shops. We even had visitors travel all the way from Poland and the U.K.!

My own indicator of how engaged people were in the many discussions was whether networking continued into the night, after dinner, and by all accounts, this may have been our most engaged audience yet.

Search social media pages for the hashtag #asipowersummit for more pics. To read stories on nearly all our panels check out Counselor PromoGram and ASI’s website, You can also click here to read profiles of the entire Counselor Power 50, an annual ranking unveiled at the Power Summit and topped this year by Chuck Fandos, of Brand Addition US and Facilis Group.

Your opinion of how we did – and what we can do better – is important to me, and a huge part of making next year’s Power Summit equally successful, so if you have ideas for future speakers or topics, or any other thoughts, you can email me directly at

Registration is already open for the 2018 Power Summit, Sunday, October 14, through Tuesday, October 16, at the magical JW Marriott Starr Pass Hotel and Spa in Tucson, AZ. Click here to take advantage of the early-bird discount. If you’ve already registered, thank you!