Showcase 2019 and the Power of IMARK: Where Leaders Gather

I am pleased to report that IMARK Group just concluded a very successful Showcase meeting in Chicago.

Many IMARK Group members have said that Showcase is one of the most valuable benefits of IMARK membership. This event provides many unique ways to learn about leading-edge products and services in the marketplace, explore mutual opportunities for increasing sales and profits and generate innovative ideas to improve business. Many of our supplier partners consider Showcase to be the most effective and productive meeting they attend.

Here are some vital statistics from the meeting:

  • Nearly 1,300 attendees from more than 240 IMARK member companies and 115 manufacturers and service companies were present.
  • More than 4,300 one-on-one meetings between member and supplier executives were held in a day and a half.
  • More than 300 member employees attended seminars and workshops on topics such as accelerated sales management success, negotiating skills, e-commerce campaign development and finding the right balance between operations, purchasing and sales.

In addition, more than 500 member and supplier executives participated in networking groups where they shared best practices and discussed alternative solutions to common business challenges.

In our I-NET meetings, we discovered that many distributors are experiencing a nice start to 2019. This is great for your businesses and for IMARK. Growth and profitability are key ingredients as we move forward. We also discussed continued concerns about margin erosion, our employees adapting to changes in the way we conduct business and staffing our companies. In my opinion, many members came out of our meetings with positive takeaways to move our companies forward into the future.

There was also a lot of buzz about e-commerce and how our manufacturers and customers alike are asking us to evolve in this domain. I strongly suggest that IMARK members keep a keen eye on the tools that are available as e-commerce continues to pick up momentum.

The manufacturers and service suppliers exhibiting at Showcase really outdid themselves this year. There was an abundance of innovative products and business tools throughout the Showcase arena, which was staffed with knowledgeable representatives eager to help IMARK members differentiate our businesses.

More than 100 member employees won great prizes as part of the “Scratch for Cash” contest and sweepstakes. Attendees who visited all of the exhibitors on their “gameboard” had the best chance of winning a prize. The keynote address was given by Jeff Eggers, a retired Navy Seal, and now the executive director of the Stanley McChrystal Leadership Institute. I heard many positive comments from members that attended the speech. Many Showcase attendees purchased Eggers’ book directly after hearing his speech.

Eggers is the co-author of the book Leaders: Myth and Reality by Stanley McChrystal. The authors claim that the best leaders are those who are empathetic to the group’s position at any given time and able to constantly adapt. Today’s leaders have to embrace and leverage adaptability, polarity, psychological safety and accountability for organizational success, according to Eggers. He also strongly believes in humility as a key attribute of leadership.

“Leadership is really getting people to want to do things, getting people to understand what they’re capable of and then getting people to do far more than you can ever direct them to do,” Eggers said. “Whatever you do, you’ve got to allow individuals to take initiative. They’ve got to feel like they can make decisions.”

The Showcase delivered a lot of valuable information this year. I strongly recommend your review your notes from your one-on-one meetings, our guest speakers’ presentations, the I-NET meetings and any other gatherings and implement the ideas that make sense for your company. Implementing one or more new ideas could mean a stronger 2019 for you and your teams!


Bob PowersIMARK Chairman of the Board