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Gateway to Success 2017 Educational Sessions
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Keynote Address

From the Bottom Up
Chad Pregracke, founder & president, Living Lands & Waters

Pregracke, 2013 CNN Hero of the Year, is living proof that one person can make a difference. As the founder of America's only "industrial-strength" river clean-up organization, he tells a compelling, uplifting and inspiring story about growing up on the Mississippi River, and how his experiences led to his unique vision to clean up the river and start an internationally recognized not-for-profit, Living Lands & Waters. During his hour-long talk, Pregracke takes the audience out on one of the world's greatest rivers – a journey filled with endless challenges and gripping adventures. His delivery is motivating, captivating, genuine and refreshingly spontaneous. Pregracke's story will show you that one person can truly make a difference.

Pregracke is the internationally named 2013 CNN Hero of the Year, founder and president of Living Lands & Waters (a nonprofit river cleanup organization), and an author and professional public speaker. He is proof one person can make a difference. Best known for starting out as a young man in East Moline, Illinois, wanting a cleaner waterway, Pregracke has become the champion for the Mississippi River. Growing up on its banks, he worked as a commercial shell diver during his early years, experiencing the river from the bottom up. Sometimes spending 10 hours a day in the depths and current of the pitch-black waters, Pregracke crawled nearly 150 miles of the river bottom over a six-year period. He saw its beauty and was frustrated by the neglect. At the age of 17, Pregracke decided to clean it up. Twenty-two years later, he and his Living Lands & Waters crew have organized and led more than 1,000 community cleanups on 23 rivers in 20 states and removed 9.3 million pounds of garbage. Pregracke had an idea that evolved into a movement that has helped to restore one of America's greatest icons, the Mississippi River. He has been recognized by former President George W. Bush as a national "Point of Light." He received a standing ovation at the Kennedy Center from all four living former U.S. presidents for his inspirational message on dreaming big, taking action, persevering, leading and collaborating. Pregracke has been the keynote speaker for college graduations, business conferences and events, classrooms, nonprofit organizations and more. Named "America's Hardest Working Person" by Mitchum, Pregracke's enthusiasm, sense of humor and passion amplify his story and entertain audiences. Ultimately, his message inspires people to believe they can make a difference. Pregracke currently lives and works with his wife Tammy, dividing their time between life on the Teamwork barge and their home in East Moline, Illinois.

Featured Speaker

Creating the Living Brand
Dr. Neeli Bendapudi, provost, executive vice chancellor & professor of marketing, University of Kansas

Today, it is particularly important for office technology dealers to consider their branding strategies as they strive to communicate what their companies stand for and differentiate their offerings in a crowded, competitive marketplace. What is a brand? It's a promise. The power of a brand lies in whether the promise is delivered; that is the "living brand." If you have been in a business that is essentially without customers, though nearby competitors are thriving, you have experienced the lack of a living brand. The secret lies is generating a bond between the employees of a company and that company's brand. In this session, Bendapudi will draw from a variety of industries to share six powerful lessons in living your brand promise, from hiring practices to creating a community.

Bendapudi is the provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Kansas (KU), as well as a professor of marketing at the KU School of Business. She holds a doctorate from the University of Kansas and has taught at Texas A&M and Ohio State University. Her research has appeared in Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Retailing and the Harvard Business Review, among others. Bendapudi has taught at the undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA and Ph.D. levels, and has received numerous college, university and national teaching awards. She has experience on public and private boards, and served as executive vice president and chief customer officer of Huntington National Bank.

Educational Sessions

Selling — Not Compliance — Is My Priority
Bob Goldberg, general counsel, Business Technology Association (BTA)

Sales are the engine that drives office technology dealerships. Consequently, concentration on sales and the subsequent service are often at the expense of considering transactional documents and insurance coverages. This is fine until there is a claim against your dealership and you learn it could have been avoided through a few simple words. In this session, Goldberg will provide the words, provisions and coverages every dealership must have to avoid liability and losses.

Goldberg has more than 37 years of industry experience. Upon graduation from law school in 1973, he joined the Antitrust Division of the Illinois Attorney General's Office. Goldberg's government career continued with the Federal Trade Commission until 1977, when he transitioned to private practice. He was a partner with the firm of Freeman, Atkins & Coleman, where he specialized in antitrust and trade regulation matters. Goldberg then joined the law firm Schoenberg Finkel Newman & Rosenberg LLC, and was a partner with the firm from 1984 to 2008. In 2008, he became of counsel to the firm, continuing to collaborate and mentor with the firm's attorneys and staff. Today, he provides BTA members with no-fee advice and guidance on a diverse range of topics.

Highly Productive Sales Professionals
Tom Callinan, president, Strategy Development

To achieve the profit goals available in the industry, you need to realize more than $600,000 per year in equipment revenue per sales professional. In addition, as print declines you need to successfully enter adjacent segments to continue to grow your business. Yet, many dealers are using an outdated selling model that does not provide the correct sales approach to achieve either of these goals. In this session, Callinan will teach attendees how to direct and manage their sales professionals to achieve maximum results.

After quickly rising through the ranks from an award winning sales professional, front line manager, director of sales and ultimately vice president of sales, Tom Callinan founded a technology company with the support of an angel investor. His company earned numerous national and industry awards including recognition as an INC 500 company. IKON acquired his company in 1997. In his eight-year career with IKON, Callinan held numerous functional and general management roles. In his GM assignments, he increased revenue and profits, delivering leading results at every level. Since 2006, Tom has been consulting on sales strategy and training sales forces in large and mid-market companies. His unique experience “on both sides of the desk,” as an entrepreneur leading an INC 500 company and senior executive of a large public company, as well as his time selling and leading sales organizations, provides a strong understanding of the value proposition required to help his clients gain market share and increased share of wallet.

Retain Top Talent, Before It's Too Late
Sally Brause, director of human resources consulting, GreatAmerica Financial Services Corp.

If you are like most business owners, hiring top talent is one of the top concerns keeping you up at night. You likely spend a lot of time and energy recruiting talent — and you should! However, many organizations overlook an equally critical, if not more critical, step which is retaining top talent. During this session, Brause will focus on specific strategies and tools you can implement in your dealership to retain top talent by increasing your employees' engagement levels.

Brause leads GreatAmerica Financial Services Corp.'s hiring and training offering, PathShare® HR Services. Her areas of expertise are attracting, motivating and developing top talent. Brause has been sharing this expertise with office technology dealers during the past several years. She is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and has been certified as a compensation professional through World at Work. Brause has a master's degree in organizational leadership and participated in the Wharton School of Business' Leading Organizational Change program.

Death of a Salesman: How to Sell in the Information Economy
Richard Farrell, president, Tangent Knowledge Systems

In this session, Farrell will cover how sales organizations need to sell more strategically to differentiate themselves from their competition. The most strategic advantage in a sales call (and difficult for one's competition to replicate) is having intimate knowledge about the customer's problems and most pressing risks. So, the salesperson with the best understanding of the customer's problems will consistently outsell the salesperson with the best product, best price and most innovative solutions.

Farrell is president of Tangent Knowledge Systems, a Chicago, Illinois, sales training company. He cut his teeth in sales early in his career with Savin in a four-square-block territory in the loop in downtown Chicago. He learned that "if you can sell copiers, you can sell anything." Ferrell's delivery is fluff-free, content rich, "PowerPointless," fast-paced and extremely interactive. He has presented at more than 500 association meetings. Farrell has expertise with small companies and their most challenging sales issues: differentiation; leaving too much money on the table; commoditization; qualifying new accounts; relationship and strategic selling; long selling cycles; poor sales accountability; subpar pipeline management; and the overall increasing cost of sales.

Building Value in Your Business
Ed McLaughlin, vice chairman, Innovolt, & CEO, Valderus

Once again, the office technology industry is looking at consolidation. The flurry of dealership acquisitions in recent years has captured everyone's attention. As you consider this recent trend, you are likely considering a few key questions that may arise. For example, what is the right direction for your dealership? What changes should you make to maximize its value? In this session, McLaughlin will address these and other important questions, providing insight and guidance to help dealers chart the best course for the future.

McLaughlin has 40 years of experience in the information and imaging industries. He previously served as president of Sharp Imaging & Information Company of America. He is currently vice chairman of Innovolt and CEO of Valderus. He also serves on the board of advisors at Continuum Managed Services.

Eight Hacks of Sales Masters
Melissa D. Whitaker, founder & CEO, Melissa Whitaker International LLC (MWI)

Do you wish you had the keys to unlock shifting everyday salespeople into “sales masters”? In this session, Whitaker will discuss the eight hacks for sales success. By elevating your sales team members' skills in these eight key areas, your office technology dealership will experience dramatic growth in the coming year.

Whitaker is a sales and management expert, business consultant and published international best-selling author who helps executives and their teams achieve alignment and drive profitable sales. After 18-plus years of proven sales and management results with leading organizations — Impact Networking, Toshiba America Business Solutions and Chicago Office Technology Group (COTG/GISX/XEROX) — she founded Melissa Whitaker International (MWI). Prior to founding MWI, Whitaker was the director of professional development and managed print services for a $40-million technology company. Before that, she was a global relationship manager and business analyst for a $54.3-billion international organization, helping 55 different companies gain market share within their respective industries by focusing on identifying and developing business opportunities with enterprise-wide cost-reduction strategies.

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