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Continuing Education is it a Continual Challenge?

11/19/2010

In an informational saturated world the promotion of continuing education can be one of the biggest challenges we face as an association and even an industry. Email blasts, direct mail, social media we are blasted every day with so many opportunities to garner more knowledge.

CAPPA faces the challenge every year to provide you with meaningful, impactful and relevant continuing education. We can come up with the best laid plans garnering input from members, industry experts and ourselves but we all know that the end of the day it is a decision you have to make to attend.

As a distributor now I understand the challenge. As much as I would have liked to listen to PPAI’s CPSIA webinar today, I had to get a quote out and with this I had to pick my battles. Guess who lost? The webinar… There is no doubt scheduling demands that we prioritize every day. I am reminded of the quote from Tom Hopkins: “I must do the most productive thing possible at every given moment.” That sticky note with that quote is attached to my monitor.

 But does that mean education is not a priority? Quite the contrary while I still have to “pick my battles” I still load up my iPod with books from Zig Ziglar to Success Magazine and get on the treadmill and feast on the wisdom of the experts.  I take time to attend conferences that help me learn but assist in networking to build my business. On occasion I will squeeze in a replay of a video to educate me on imprinting from Vantage or product safety from Leashables.

But for me when it is a “hot” topic I want to be face to face with my peers. I want to commiserate with the suppliers on how challenging distributors can be and I want to get on my soap box and tell suppliers they don’t know how hard it is to be a distributor. Then I want to learn…best practices…I learn these from my supplier partners. They know what everyone is doing and while they have to respect confidentiality I love to know what are the latest trends and techniques distributors are using to grow their business…I love distributors who are “friendly” competitors that don’t mind pulling down the walls and sharing some of their experiences. I think Matt Gledhill is the best “friendly” competitor I know. He is so open and honest about his work. I love that…

Continuing Education may be a challenge in the toughest high paced, informational saturated world we live in but it is a necessity. Sometimes CAPPA struggles with getting the word out to our friends about our educational events. Postcard mailings, email blasts and even my crazy videos do not seem to do it justice. I will still hear: “I didn’t know about that event.” Well we do our best to use a mixture of marketing mixes to reach our Baby Boomers to Generation Y’s…

We are determined to make education as a top priority in CAPPA’s programming. It won’t happen overnight but we want to make it a standard for your professional development.

Will you join us for our Holiday Social / Member Meeting in December? Details are on our web-site or email me and I will send you an invite. You will get a little education at this event that will give you a whole lot of value for your time spent away from it all…well I leave you with my thoughts and welcome your insight on how you continue to stay on top of the issues and trends while maintaining your business…

Darlene Kirk, Your President

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