The 26th Annual Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) Council for Leadership Development (CLD) Conference wrapped Tuesday evening with record-level participation. The WSWA member-planned and member-oriented event saw 92 rising young executives attend on behalf of wholesalers of all sizes operating in every corner of the country.
Attendees of the conference heard from experts across a variety of topics to help them build an educational foundation of essential policy, legislative, regulatory, marketing and trend information needed to advance their careers.
“WSWA members are primarily family-owned and operated businesses that benefit from our CLD conference by building up the next generation of wholesale leaders,” said WSWA President and CEO Michelle Korsmo. “CLD offers a place for innovative thinking on problem solving and challenging status quo among those who are creating the future. It’s exciting to see them begin to chart the course for the wholesale tier and their vision for the entire industry.”
This year’s CLD Conference featured:
- Opening remarks by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)
- Remarks on the state of the alcohol industry by Mark Brown, President & CEO, Sazerac Company
- A look into the recreational cannabis marketplace by Dr. William Silver, CEO, CannaCraft, Inc.
- The history and future of Napa Valley by Michael Mondavi, Founder, Michael Mondavi Family Estate
- An in-depth overview of SipSource, the first and only wholesaler depletion data set presented by Jo Moak, SVP and General Counsel at WSWA
- Insights into the latest trends across adult beverages and consumer needs that are driving growth in the industry presented by Danny Brager, Senior Vice President, Beverage Alcohol Practice, Nielsen and Danelle Kosmal, Vice President, Beverage Alcohol Practice, Nielsen
- Assessment of cyber security and the threat of an attack presented by Jayson E. Street, Vice President, InfoSec
- A look into millennial consumer behavior and millennial retention in the workplace by Chelsea Krost, Top 20 Millennial Marketing & Brand Strategist, America’s Leading Millennial Influencer, Host #MillennialTalk
- How to develop your personal leadership style featuring Dan Parsons, Executive Coach and Dale Carnegie Trainer
- A review of cutting edge technology for the industry presented by Melki Ko, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Ground Signal; and Taylor Katzman, Founder and CEO, Provi
- Tours of Heaven Hill Distillery, Makers Mark Distillery, Old Forester Distillery, Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co., Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery, Rabbit Hole Distillery, and the Derby Museum & Churchill Downs
“This well-rounded program offers everything young leaders need, from insights into the regulatory side of the industry, to innovation and technology trends, to networking and relationship building,” said Lee Hastings, CLD Chairman, Moon Distributors. “As a rising executive of a family-owned wholesaler, the insights I gain and relationships I’ve built through my involvement at CLD have helped me grow exponentially within my career.”
CLD attendees also used the three-day conference to make connections with wholesaler, supplier and service provider peers—as well as current industry leaders, speakers, panelists and the WSWA staff and leadership team; and to enhance leadership skills and fine-tune technology and management abilities.
WSWA is the national trade association representing the wholesale tier of the wine and spirits industry, dedicated to advancing the interests and independence of wholesalers, distributors and brokers of wine and spirits. Founded in 1943, WSWA has more than 370 member companies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and its members distribute more than 80 percent of all wine and spirits sold at wholesale in the U.S.