Azione Unlimited, The Smart Home Association, recently held two Leadership Symposiums in Chicago, one for marketing and the other for operations.
During the events attendees shared ideas, made new friends, and learned from guest speakers the buying group boasts. These sessions included keynotes, open discussions, round-table discussions, and for the first time ever, a charity donation of more than 150 fully loaded back-to-school backpacks to the Rosemont Helping Hand in Illinois.
Azione staff Caryn Daugherty and Dan Burnett organized, prepared, and managed the donation by collaborating with Rosemont Helping Hand’s President, Rick Drehobl, who invited summer camp kids to pick up the stuffed backpacks. Leadership Symposium attendees loaded the backpacks with glue sticks, pencils, whiteboards, folders, rulers, and other supplies to help families in need get a head start on back-to-school season. The charity donation was an immediate hit with the village, generating a long run of gratitude from families to the mayor’s office.
“This was, hands down, one of the nicest things that a company has done for our day camp kids,” says Drehobl.
“We distributed backpacks to more than 150 kids who were so excited to pick out their own bags. In my 65 years of living in Rosemont and serving the local community, I’ve never seen kids so happy. This donation was such an incredibly classy and thoughtful action from Azione Unlimited, and everyone is so thankful for their actions.”
The Azione Unlimited Leadership Symposium is a redesigned version of the buying group’s Key Leader Meetings. The two-day leadership symposium meetings are aimed at bringing core management leaders together. This is unlike Azione’s popular biannual national conferences that are tailored to owners and c-level executives. However, the Leadership Symposiums will maintain the most powerful elements of Azione’s biannual national conference, execute against a time-efficient schedule, and create a truly unique conference that addresses pain points for distinct roles within a custom integrator’s organization.
It also invited vendor members Samsung, Savant, AudioControl, LG, Nortek, Liberty AV, Snap One, and Sonance to present on various educational and industry-specific topics.
“There is so much to be excited about this event,” comments Richard Glikes, president of Azione Unlimited.
“The owners of companies understand our value proposition and the real power is when you get buy-in and energy from the movers and shakers behind the scenes. Our symposiums were an energy-packed events with a very touching element added by being charitable. The emotion was second to none. It’s hard to put into words how good it feels to help!”
With an emphasis on creating efficient and meaningful processes, the operations meeting was loaded with topics including procurement, labor rates comparisons, billable hour management, service as a profit center, and adoption of emerging verticals. The Symposium also invited the founder of I Am Sayen and Connected Clusters Cubed coach Jason Sayen to present on two powerful topics. His first topic honed in on every detail between initial contact and getting the referral from a job well done. Sayen further illustrated his topic by showing examples of efficient process maps and where hang-ups might happen. His second topic drilled down into maximizing the efficiency of software in a business.
“Sharing ideas, best practices and failures with other dealers’ face-to-face results in increased efficiency, productivity and creativity,” notes Suzanne Zimmer of Personal Technology in California.
“A small investment for a large payback, in my opinion. I also made great connections that I feel comfortable connecting with for info.”
The first-ever Marketing Symposium has also been deemed a massive success as it wove together a broad spectrum of topics into one highly concentrated meeting. Presentations and round-table discussions around branding, email best practices, digital presence, referral regimens, social presence, and preferred software generated robust discussions around this pivotal role. Tom King bookended the first day of the Marketing Symposium with two discussions on client behavior and building successful lead-gen campaigns. King, the Chief Creative Officer of 23K, used his experience working for SAP, AWS, and Oracle to underscore the cohesive thinking behind knowing who your customer is and how to offer a compelling solution efficiently. To wrap up the second day, the Symposium hosted Marcio Gomes of Boca Tech, who visualized and provided insight into the responsibilities of a successful marketing team.
“If you don’t find it crucial to have someone focused directly on marketing, an event where they will learn from the brightest minds in the business about a something as specific as this, you’re probably just headed in the wrong direction,” adds Carson Morby of Advanced Integrated Systems in Utah.
“Not only was the event super fun, but we were also able to get pages worth of insight that we can apply throughout the next year until we get to go again. You are straight-up missing out on a great opportunity by missing this event.”