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Foundations of Leadership

NRHA STIHL Foundations of Leadership Conference Empowers Retailers

Retailers from across the country recently attended the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) STIHL Foundations of Leadership Conference to learn more about how to lead their teams effectively and institute best practices to improve their businesses.

The two-day conference, sponsored by STIHL and held at NRHA’s Indianapolis headquarters from Aug. 8-9, featured a lineup of speakers who aimed to help attendees understand how better leadership can inspire teams, engage customers and improve entire operations.

The conference began with a welcome address from Scott Wright, executive director of the NRHA Retail Leadership Institute. He was followed by Jennifer Stone, sales training supervisor from STIHL. Wright shed light on what attendees could expect from the conference presentations, while Stone emphasized STIHL’s long-standing support of the independent channel and gave attendees an overview of the business’s history.

Presentations covered an array of topics to help attendees sharpen their leadership skills. The topics included leading with personal and professional purpose; how retailers can harness the power of the buy-local movement; implementing a set of core values at your business; how to inspire team members at every level; and ways independent retailers can follow Disney’s customer service approach to strengthen their own businesses.

Conference speakers included Wil Davis, president of Ball State Innovation Corp.; Bill Brunelle, co-founder of Independent We Stand; Linda Small, president and CEO of Retail People Solutions Inc.; Rich Maloney, head baseball coach at Ball State University; Dr. Mike Goldsby, chief entrepreneurship officer of Ball State University; and Dr. Rob Mathews, director of the John H. Schnatter Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise at Ball State University.

Wright says the Foundations of Leadership Conference is an important part of the association’s overall mission of educating, advocating for and associating its members.

“At NRHA, bringing people together to discuss issues and learn from one another is critical,” he says. “Helping retailers improve is primary to our mission as an association.”

For RJ McDaniel, former NRHA Young Retailer of the Year and vice president of B&B Hardware in Milan, Illinois, the conference is a source of inspiration.

“I came to last year’s event and got a lot of great ideas to implement at my business,” he says. “I came back this year to expand on that.”

Attendees agreed that stepping outside their stores to find fresh points of view on retail leadership is critical.

“Getting away from your store is hard, but it’s important. I got a different perspective thanks to the conference,” says Dallin Redd, former NRHA Young Retailer of the Year and owner of Redd’s Ace Hardware in Blanding, Utah.

The NRHA STIHL Foundations of Leadership Conference was open exclusively to current and past participants of NRHA Retail Leadership Institute programs, including the Foundations of Leadership program, the Retail Management Certification Program and former Young Retailer of the Year honorees. For more information, visit the Retail Leadership Institute online.

About Todd Taber

Todd Taber
Todd is trends editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. He graduated from Indiana University where he majored in journalism and French. Throughout his career, he has aimed to highlight small businesses and their community value. He joined NRHA in 2017.

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