2017 CGA Strategic Conference Highlights

The 2017 CGA Strategic Conference struck just the right chord this year for the more than 700 grocery retailers, suppliers, wholesalers and brokers attending this annual event on Sept. 24-26, in Palm Springs, Calif.

This year’s theme – Working in Concert – featured a symphony of educational programming, networking events and social gatherings designed to reinforce the conference’s collaboration message.

“Our goal was to have our attendees focus their peer-to-peer discussions around the need for greater collaboration,” said CGA President/CEO Ron Fong. “I think we accomplished that goal.”

CGA has conducted its annual gathering of California’s grocery industry since 1898. Attendees heard from industry experts and several “non-traditional” voices, participating in CGA’s signature face-to-face business meetings and enjoyed relaxing after hours networking events.

New this year was the addition of the Loss Prevention Executive Summit, featuring six hours of loss prevention, safety and risk management educational programming. The conference also created a “Morning Jam Session,” featuring three unique voices patterned after the popular Ted-style presentations.

“Both these additions were tremendous hits,” said Fong. “We hope to expand the loss prevention program next year and draw an even greater number of LP professionals and vendors. The Morning Jam Session was also a huge success and the format will probably return next year.”

Along with the educational programming, CGA also served up strong networking and social events, thanks in large part to its supplier partners, The Illuminators.

“The Illuminators continue to provide great meal functions and social events in support of the conference,” Fong said. “This dedicated group of industry suppliers are an intricate part of our success. Thank you once again for your tremendous support.”

Also new this year was a special Pre-Conference Succession Planning Seminar featuring noted expert Dr. Tom Deans and Sid Tobiason, Moss Adams, that discussed steps to create a viable succession plan for businesses.

The seminar and Illuminators Golf Tournament kicked off the conference on Sunday and was followed by “The Opening Experience” featuring Sekou Andrews, the world’s leading “Poetic Voice.” His powerful message blended poetry with the stories of our grocery industry while capturing the conference theme message of collaboration, connecting and working in concert.

Monday’s programming started early with CGA’s Whiteboard Sessions, roundtable discussion groups focused on some of today’s most pressing industry issues. This was followed by the General Session keynote speaker Josh Linkner and opened with an industry panel discussing ways the entire supply chain can collaborate more closely.

Monday’s offerings also included the highly popular Independent Grocers Forum that featured a Founder and the Chief Operating Office of My Cloud Grocer, Dan Dashevsky, who provided five easy steps for independent grocers to achieve E-commerce success. Forum attendees also heard customized presentations from major manufacturers.

Highlighting Tuesday’s program was the Morning Jam Session and the Keynote Luncheon presentation. The Jam Session featured three 15 minute presentations by Payman Nejati, Handpick; John Foraker, former president of Annie’s Inc. and Tracie Maffei, Google. Inc. The Luncheon Keynote Address closed the conference’s educational program and featured two Nielsen executives discussing the impact of health & wellness, transparency and personalization on California consumers.

In addition to the conference’s strong educational programming, attendees also participated in the conference’s signature face-to-face pre-scheduled business meetings.

“Our team scheduled more than 1,100 meetings over the course of just two days,” Fong said. “We typically call it speed dating for grocery and that’s a pretty accurate description.

Fong wished to thank the many sponsored that made this year’s conference a tremendous success. The sponsors are listed on the CGA Strategic Conference website.


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