ERA Conference - Breakout Sessions

 ERA Conference Breakout Sessions

Sessions are listed in alphabetical order by title. All times listed are CST. Pre-registration for breakout sessions will open at the end of January.

All sessions are offered TWICE; first on Monday, Feb. 27, and repeated on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

Building Next Generation Talent: New Rules for Attracting, Developing and Retaining Top Employees

Monday, Feb. 27 at 9:30 – 10:45 a.m. / Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.

Moderator: Shane Zutz, Vice President of Human Resources, Digi-Key Electronics

Panelists: Tobi Cornell, CPMR, VP Distribution, Kruvand Associates, Inc.; Travis Erpenbach, Director, Sales Operations & Supplier Relations, Carlton-Bates Company; Kris Whitehouse, Vice President of Sales, Americas, Omron 

Companies run on talent, making talent management—attracting, developing, retaining employees—integral to a successful organization. Developing high-potential employees can be one of the most effective ways to build a strong company. In this session, a panel of industry experts will discuss real-world, effective strategies and techniques in finding, onboarding and leading new employees in today’s evolving workplace.

The Distribution Perspective: Best-In-Class Practices to Drive Local Relationships

Monday, Feb. 27 at 3:15 – 4:30 p.m. / Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.

Moderator: Bruce Kellar, Senior Vice President of Sales, Sager Electronics

Panelists: Jim Banovich, CEO, Marsh Electronics, Inc.; Julie Carr, Partner, Distribution Sales Manager at MacInnis Company; Brian Flynn, Vice President Sales, Sager Electronics; John Guetens, North American Sales Manager, E-T-A Engineering Technology; Elisia Triantos, Area Director, Business Development, Digi-Key Electronics

In an evolving sales environment, what are distributors looking for in terms of local and corporate support from their rep and manufacturer partners? This session, featuring a panel comprised of a manufacturers’ rep, a manufacturer and three distributors, will review best practices on the importance of consistent messaging not only at the corporate level, but also at the field level to ensure alignment.

How to Search LinkedIn Like a Pro! Introduction to a Cutting-Edge LinkedIn Search Tool Via ERA

Monday, Feb. 27 at 1:45 – 3:00 p.m. / Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.

Presenter: Sam Richter, CSP, CPAE, Creator and Founder, Know More

Are you looking to get new leads, make new connections and expand your funnel? Don’t miss out on this exciting session where Sam Richter, leading authority on sales intelligence, will demonstrate an innovative new search tool that will be available to ERA members only.

Information Technology: The Fast-Changing World of Data Sharing Under Ever-Changing Laws

Monday, Feb. 27 at 1:45 – 3:00 p.m. / Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.

Presenter: Tony Aug, Co-Founder & CEO, Nimble Gravity

Data continues to challenge the electronics component sales industry to adapt to changing requirements and engage with others like never before. This breakout session will provide a fascinating peek into the availability of information and knowing how and what to share under new data privacy laws. Topics that will be discussed during the session are:

  • The latest in state-of-the-art data collection
  • The changing landscape of privacy policies and their potential impact on data sharing
  • Novel ways that data is being turned into insights and actions
  • How to begin a data journey (if you’ve not already)

Leadership is an Inside Job

Monday, Feb. 27 at 9:30 – 10:45 a.m. / Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.

Presenter: Anna Baldwin, Principal, SSCA

Leaders face challenges that come from having different people work together from different backgrounds and with different expectations. Generational dynamics, along with diverse levels of experience, add even more difficulty to the leadership role. Additionally, leaders around the globe are facing the challenges of motivating remote teams. This interactive session, presented by executive leadership consultant Anna Baldwin, will address these challenges and provide attendees with tools to look inward and develop an acute understanding of their behaviors and communication styles to lead their teams in today’s work environment.

Let’s Talk About Trust: It’s Difficult to Define, It’s Hard to Earn, It’s Easy to Lose

Monday, Feb. 27 at 3:15 – 4:30 p.m. / Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.

Moderators: Cesare Giammarco, Consultant, Cesare Giammarco Sales Management Consulting LLC; John Simari, Consultant, Simari Consulting LLC 

During the RDM (Rep, Distributor, Manufacturer) breakout sessions hosted at prior ERA conferences, participants listed “trust” as a significant issue impacting their business. What is trust? How do you earn trust? How do you regain trust if you’ve lost it? This is a challenging topic to define and address. This interactive breakout session will provide an opportunity to collectively discuss how trusting business relationships can be achieved and what are the consistent business behaviors that reinforce them.

The Manufacturer-Distributor Perspective: Corporate Best Practices to Drive Partnerships

Monday, Feb. 27 at 9:30 – 10:45 a.m. / Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.

Moderator: Craig Sanderson, VP Supplier Marketing & Product Management, Sager Electronics

Panelists: Ken Bellero, President of Schaffner EMC, Inc.; Holly Good, Director, Global Distribution Sales, Cornell Dubilier Electronics; Jennifer Paukert, Vice President of Sales, Master Electronics; John Rozanski, Senior Director, Global Supplier Relations, PEI-Genesis

A panel comprised of manufacturer and distributor experts will discuss best-in-class practices between manufacturers and distribution at the corporate level that drive strong partnerships and long-term relationships.

Manufacturers’ Programs: How to Communicate & Implement Various Corporate Programs to Drive New Demand and Incremental Sales

Monday, Feb. 27 at 1:45 – 3:00 p.m. / Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.

Moderator: Gary Zullo, Director of Sales, Passive, Electromechanical & Interconnect, Arrow Electronics

Panelists: Heather D’Amico, Marketing Manager, Brainard-Nielsen Marketing, Inc.; Tom Muldowney, Vice President, Business Development, Galco; Deb Speer, Global Distribution Sales Manager, Fair-Rite Products Corp.

In this moderator-led panel session, manufacturers’ programs like pricing, co-op funding, branch training and funnel management, will be discussed and sound principles and best methods will be shared.

Manufacturers’ Sales Reps Issues and Challenges: What Keeps Most Reps Up at Night?

Monday, Feb. 27 at 1:45 – 3:00 p.m. / Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.

Moderator: Mike Swenson, CPMR, President, Mel Foster Company

Panelists: Dayna Badhorn, Regional President, Americas, Avnet; Dave Foster, Director of Sales, Ohmite Manufacturing; John Hutson, CPMR, President, MacInnis Group

In this session, a panel of industry experts will discuss current issues that are challenging manufacturers’ reps today as they navigate the new world of work from home, territory sanctity, commission splits, and more.

The Mind of the Engineer: What Do They Really Want?

Monday, Feb. 27 at 3:15 – 4:30 p.m. / Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.

Presenter: Bob Dumas, President, Bob Dumas Marketing & Consulting

Do you ever wonder what makes an engineer tick? This session, presented by Bob Dumas, will provide in-depth insight into the true wants of an engineer based on data from extensive industry research.

Social Selling & Social Buying: What Is It & How Can You Make it Work for You?

Monday, Feb. 27 at 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.  / Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.

Moderator: Maryellen Stack, Director of Marketing Communications, Sager Electronics

Panelists: Sannah Vinding, Digital Marketing Director, Micro Commercial Components; Jordan Yates, Marketing Engineer, Knowles Precision Devices

This timely topic will address the new and evolving world of using social media to both buy and sell. Attend this session to discover what social selling is and why it has become a leading modern sales approach for sales leaders to connect with prospects and increase sales. 

Technology Tools: What’s Hot?

Monday, Feb. 27 at 3:15 – 4:30 p.m. / Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.

Presenters: Matthew Amato, Global Marketing & Public Relations Manager, IBS Electronics Group; Tim Kilfoil, President, JF Kilfoil Co.; Rob Tavi, CEO, IBS Electronics Group; Jordan Yates, Marketing Engineer, Knowles Precision Devices

Technological advances in tools such as video, software and apps mean that, today, there are plenty of digital tools available to help you streamline your business, make connections and make your work less stressful.

But with so many options available, how do you know which ones will be the most effective for your organization? In this session industry experts will present latest technology tools, including a strong focus on video production, to help drive new demand and sales growth.

Transforming Your Brand into a Trusted Resource

Monday, Feb. 27 at 1:45 – 3:00 p.m. / Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.

Presenters: Wendy Covey, CEO and Co-Founder, TREW Marketing; Morgan Norris, Senior Brand and Content Strategist, TREW Marketing

The stakes are high when it comes to technical purchases, which is why these meticulous technical buyers research longer, consume more content and have a longer buyer’s journey. In this session, you’ll learn how to turn your brand into a trusted resource through content marketing.

Key takeaways from this session include:

  • A framework for creating differentiated messaging
  • Where to meet your buyers and share your message
  • How to position salespeople as trusted advisors
  • Five things you can do to get started with content marketing

Two Sessions in One: Who Cares If You Are an Employee or Independent Contractor, and Other Key Contract Considerations

Monday, Feb. 27 at 9:30 – 10:45 a.m. / Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.

Presenters: Adam Glazer, Esq., Partner, Schoenberg Finkel Beederman Bell Glazer LLC; Adam Maxwell, Litigation Attorney, Schoenberg Finkel Beederman Bell Glazer LLC

The substantial economic benefits of utilizing independent contractors for sales roles, as opposed to relying on employees, are no secret and include: the deployment of experienced and incentivized sales professionals familiar with the customers and the territory; an arrangement that lends itself to flexibility for all; the avoidance of fixed costs; and the development of long-term, mutually rewarding relationships.  So why do some manufacturers fail to understand the inherent benefits of maintaining the independent contractor relationship, and why does the classification so often get plagued with ambiguity and confusing IRS enforcement?

The first part of this breakout session will simplify making and maintaining proper independent contractor designations and focus on avoiding regulatory and other risk. The second will cover the importance and function of other frequently misunderstood and often litigated contract provisions governing the representative/manufacturer relationship, such as house accounts, rights upon termination and non-competes.

A View from the Top: Ask Me Anything, with Walter Tobin

Monday, Feb. 27 at 3:15 – 4:30 p.m. / Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.

Moderator: Dave Norris, President, Norris & Associates

Presenter: Walter Tobin, CEO, ERA

In this one-of-a-kind breakout session, ERA’s CEO Walter Tobin shares his perspective on the key issues most critical to ERA membership. Attendees should come prepared to ask Walter any question, to which he’ll respond to with a snappy answer (that in fact may sometimes be right).