Our team had a blast earlier this month at the first-ever SAF Next Gen Live! conference in Miami, Florida. It was filled with great educational sessions about leadership and productivity and networking with the upcoming generation of industry professionals worldwide! Here is a recap of our experience at Next Gen Live!
Day 1: Sunday, July 31st
Day one was the exhibitor showcase, where we had the opportunity to meet the other vendors, as well as the attendees of the event. Everyone was so excited to meet one another and learn about their experiences in the industry.
After the showcase, we all boarded the buses to visit Continental Flowers for the Welcome Reception and the Chopped Design Competition. Our very own Greg Heck even put his flower arranging skills to the test and won the first round of the competition!
Day 2: Monday, August 1st
Day Two was packed with breakout sessions and educational classes for all! We started out by learning all about the Life of a Flower. The speakers included: David Armellini, Armellini Express Lines; Santiago Brown, Ball FloraPlant; Oscar Fernandez, Equiflor/Rio Roses; Erik Hagstrom, Albin Hagstrom & Son; Rodi Groot, Sun Valley Floral Group. Each speaker took us on a journey through the growing and shipping processes for the flowers and plants we use daily. Seeing how much attention and care is put into these blooms was incredible!
The first breakout sessions featured Lori Wilson and Ellie LaFever of Flower Clique discussing What is Your Leadership Style, and Jessica Keguerris of Syndicate Sales and Renato Sogueco, AAF, PFCI of Floriology presented Photography For Your Website and Social Media. Each session was packed full of helpful tips to understand your leadership tendencies and tips to heighten your imagery for your business!
The next sessions focused on Social Media Hacks with Jackie Levine of Central Square Florist and Mercedes Castro of In Bloom Florist. To market our company and increase audience engagement, we learned how to create amusing reels and use Instagram’s shopping feature. How To Lead When You’re a Young Boss featured Sarah Bagle from Accent Décor; Sam Bowles from Allen’s Flowers, Eric Fernandez from Continental Flowers, Jodi McShan from McShan Florist, and Cameron Pappas from Norton’s Florist. The panel covered methods of intergenerational communication, how to be a young boss and gain respect, and how “expectations” affect your reality.
We had the chance to be paired up with other attendees randomly during the lunch break to get to know them better! It was such a fantastic activity that forced people to step outside of their comfort zones and strengthened relationships with one another.
The next session was focused on Time Management and Productivity Hacks. As groups, we all brainstormed ways to improve our daily tasks, learn how to manage work/home balance, and handle stress.
Expanding Your Brand, presented by Ryan Black of Jet Fresh Flowers and Nic Faitos of Starbright Floral Design, and High Impact, Low Labor and Reducing COGS Design Program, presented by Derek Woodruff, AIFD, CFD, CF, PFCI of Floral Underground, and Samantha Pascal of Penny’s by Plaza Flowers, were the last two breakout sessions. Both focused on learning about your strength as a company and how to stand out in your area.
To conclude day 2, all attendees were invited to Cebada Rooftop Lounge to relax and bond with one another!
Day 3: Tuesday, August 2nd
Day three was the day not to miss! We had an exclusive tour around Miami to see the journey of a flower when it comes into Miami.
The first stop was JA Flower Service Airport Customs:
The second stop was Armellini Logistics:
the third and final stop was USA Bouquet:
It was fascinating to see the steps and care it takes to get the flowers from the farm to the florist. It was a treat to see the behind-the-scenes logistics we usually take for granted!
We felt the first Next Gen Live! Event was a great success! It was so fun getting to know all the attendees and learning about aspects of the industry we do not typically see on a day to day basis. A huge thank you to SAF and the Next Gen Committee for putting this together! We certainly cannot wait for the next event!
Make sure to visit the SAF Website and join the NextGen Facebook Group to be involved with all of the upcoming floral happenings! We look forward to seeing everyone again at the SAF Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida, September 6th-8th, 2022.