YIL Events Build Leaders, Strengthen Bonds

In the first year since its creation, FEDA’s Young Industry Leaders group has made major strides at establishing itself as a valuable organization for emerging talent within the foodservice equipment and supplies industry.

The group’s most recent event, a happy-hour reception during The NAFEM Show, was an opportunity for current YIL members and those interested in joining the group to mingle with each other in a casual atmosphere. Attendees listened to live acoustic music and enjoyed drinks and food from Lafayette’s Music Room in Orlando over the course of three hours. In all, about 70 people attended, representing a variety of distributors, dealers, and manufacturers.

It wasn’t all cocktails and conversation. Members of the YIL Steering Committee also represented FEDA during the association’s Educational Lunch Program during The NAFEM Show. Committee Chair Gene Clark, president of Clark Food Service Equipment, introduced both speakers, Hatco Vice President of Sales & Marketing Michael Whiteley, and Jeff Winters, president of Sapper Consulting, while other YIL members helped to facilitate the program. The YIL’s contribution in putting on the lunch session was a positive preview of their involvement at FEDA’s Annual Conference in April, where YIL members will act as moderators and facilitators during the numerous panels and education sessions.

The events at The NAFEM Show built on the connections that YIL members have made in recent months at the group’s leadership retreats, which were held at ITW in Glenview, Ill., and Metro in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Additional retreats and social events that will connect 40-and-under professionals in the industry with established leaders are being planned for later this year. Keep watching this space and FEDA’s weekly First Thing newsletter for more information.