The packed house at the Best of NAMA Celebration prior to the first full day of conference activities was a clue. The 2012 Agri-Marketing Conference was going to be big … and it was. Click here for a list of Best of NAMA winners.
Over 1200 attendees filled the Sheraton at Crown Center exhibit hall, keynote sessions and breakouts. NAMA has challenged itself to up the ante on conference each year.
“Our executive and planning committees work so hard to deliver the most amazing conference possible and it seems like they out do themselves every time,” shares Jenny Pickett, Executive Vice President/CEO of NAMA. “We try to bring in speakers who inject new perspectives and shake things up a little. The line up this year was just stellar.”
Peter Sheahan got things started with an energizing exploration of how ideas and execution join to create innovation. Using little known examples from leading-edge companies like Apple and Progressive, he had the crowd rapt with attention the whole morning.
The comedic, laid-back style of Ross Schafer was the perfect segue into the rest of the day. His insights and quick-witted observations were also full of useful suggestions for nurturing customer relationships and gaining an edge on your competition.
Awards for Agribusiness Leader of the Year and NAMA Marketer of the Year were also presented in the morning sessions. Honors went to John Becherer, United Soybean Board, and Greg Guse, Paulsen Marketing, respectively.
Attendees then chose from a wide-ranging group of breakout sessions to round out their afternoons. Topics spanned how different generations of farmers use media, to how to foster a creative environment in the workplace.
A walk through the Connection Point Trade Show and closing reception with the exhibitors closed a full day of networking, learning and new ideas. Attendees were encouraged to visit each of the 62 trade show booths to enter to win great prizes. Congrats to Tom Apple, Pam Voelkel and Michele Egan who each took home a Kindle Fire. Michelle Weinzetl won a XBOX Kinect and Heather Rossow won a Best Buy Gift Card.
At the Closing Session, Walter Bond shared his personal experiences of challenge and triumph during his long journey to becoming a player in the NBA. He urged the audience to be confident (but not arrogant), show enthusiasm and resist dwelling on the negative.