How has the pandemic reshaped consumer behavior — and how long lasting will those changes be? What are the key motivators for floral purchasing? And, what strategies do you need today to lead your team through this crisis? These are some of the conversations that floral industry panelists will lead next week during the Society of American Florists’ Reinvention Summit.
When the Summit kicks off July 27, participants will hear directly from five keynote speakers on targeted topics tied to the floral industry and the new realities of consumer behavior, workplace needs and a radically different economy — but they’ll also be part of a larger conversation, thanks to four debrief panel sessions that include 21 thought leaders from all corners of the floral community.
“The Reinvention Summit has been created by floral industry professionals for floral industry professionals,” said SAF President Chris Drummond, AAF, PFCI, of Penny’s by Plaza Flowers in Philadelphia. “Throughout the week, participants are going to have the chance to hear about some of the biggest challenges we’re all facing, and through these debrief panels, we’ll have a unique opportunity to see and hear exactly how some of our most admired peers are digesting information and forming their own strategies.”
Each panel debrief includes time for questions and answers — and then will be followed by roundtable discussions, for even more interaction and dialogue. “For anyone looking for new insight on the crisis and for opportunities to share and learn from others who are in the same boat and trying to navigate these same waters, the Reinvention Summit is just an extraordinary opportunity,” Drummond said.
Panelists for the Reinvention Summit include:
Monday, July 27
Panel Debrief: “Strategies in Adapting Operations”
Sponsored by Accent Decor
Chris Drummond, AAF, PFCI
Drummond is a third-generation florist and president of Penny’s by Plaza Flowers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a multi-store enterprise. He is SAF’s president and has served on the association’s Retailers Council. He has given numerous speeches for a variety of organizations, including Comcast Corporation, Family and Consumer Sciences Association of Philadelphia, and the University of Delaware.
Sarah Bagle grew up in the floral industry, surrounded by family with a passion for innovation and design. Since joining her family’s business in 2009, she has an instrumental in taking Accent Decor from a small company with a big idea to a growing business with over 100 employees and wide brand recognition. Bagle has helped foster Accent Decor’s mission to inspire the floral industry with containers that are as design-centric as the floral arrangements that grace them. She believes that Accent Decor’s success drives the opportunity to make a positive change in the communities that Accent Decor touches, from employees, to customers, to artisans across the globe.
Ball is the president and CEO of Ball Horticultural Company in West Chicago, Illinois, a fourth-generation, company with 25 locations around the world that specializes in breeding, biotechnology, production and flower seeds and cuttings marketing. Ball earned a master’s degree in business administration from Northwestern University and is a trustee for the Morton Arboretum.
Cole is FTD’s chief executive officer. Prior to joining FTD in March 2020, he served as the first global chief eCommerce officer for Samsonite while simultaneously serving as chief digital officer for Tumi, which was acquired by Samsonite. Cole also has held executive positions and led digital transformations at Assembled Brands, Schiff Nutrition and Lucky Brand Jeans.
Lindsay Squires is the community development manager & events coordinator at Tagawa Gardens in Centennial, Colorado. Passionate about translating the strengths of her team into solutions for both the customer and the business,Squires seeks to learn and lead through change, infusing the legacy of the past into the transformations necessary to the future. With an ambitious vision for the life-giving work of the horticulture and floriculture industries, Squires believes that our businesses are poised to strategically contribute to the flourishing of our staff, customers, and communities, especially in times of adversity. Originally from a Nebraska farm, she received theGreen Profit/RBI Young Retailer Award in 2020.
Tuesday, July 28
Panel Debrief: “Responding to the New Realities of Consumer Flower Buying”
Sponsored by CalFlowers
David Boulton, AAF, PFCI (Moderator)
Boulton, the owner of Flowers By George Inc. in Arlington, Washington, grew up in the floral industry working for the family business that started in 1968. He has served in many volunteer leadership roles for SAF, including terms on the group’s Retailers Council, Floral Management Advisory Committee, Technology Task Force, Professional Floral Communicators-International Committee, and on the association’s Board of Directors.
Tim Farrell, AAF, AIFD, PFCI
Tim Farrell AIFD, AAF, PFCI is an accomplished floral designer, known throughout the United States for his creations of beautiful floral compositions. His understanding and ability to teach the elements and principles of floral design make him a sought-after presenter for garden clubs, horticultural schools, and retail florist organizations throughout the country. He opened Farrell’s Florist in Drexel Hill, PA in 1983. Tim’s work has been showcased in the Philadelphia Flower Show as a featured designer in the gallery of AIFD, as a guest speaker for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and as a judge. Tim’s work has appeared several times in the national publication FLOWERS&. Tim also designed and produced the stage arrangements for the 2001 Presidential Inauguration Ball in Washington, DC. In addition to his duties at Farrell’s Florist, Tim also serves as Education Team Senior Advisor and Industry Ambassador for Teleflora in Los Angeles CA.
Seth Goldman is the CEO of UrbanStems, an ecommerce site that partners with farms in Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico to design and ship bouquets directly to company distribution centers in Washington, D.C., and New York City. Goldman previously ran the U.S. division of HelloFresh, where he secured a $37 million incentive package from the state of New Jersey to support HelloFresh’s exponential growth, which culminated with a successful IPO in 2017. Before that, he worked at Quidsi (acquired by Amazon), where he was on the launch team of Wag.com, a pet-focused e-commerce site.
Gilchrist is president of Kennicott Brothers Company, a Chicago-based floral wholesaler founded in 1881. A chemical engineer by training, he spent eight years of his career with Monsanto, an agrochemical and biotechnology company, in his native country of Colombia. In the early 2000s, he started his own business growing flowers in Mexico. In 2013, he joined Kennicott Brothers. The company currently operates in eight states and is 100 percent employee-owned, with more than 350 proud owners. He has served on the SAF Wholesalers Council, Member Joint Council and Board of Directors.
Holly Heider Chapple
Chapple founded her eponymous wedding and event floral design business nearly 30 years ago. Starting as a home-based florist, she has become an internationally recognized brand frequently featured in magazines such as Martha Stewart Weddings and Town & Country. In 2010, she launched The Chapel Designers, an international collective of event floral designers. Chapple and her husband also run Hope Flower Farm in Waterford, Virginia. In 2017, Chapple partnered with Syndicate Sales to create a collection of products bearing her name.
Debora Steier entered the floral industry over 30 years ago working in many areas of the business. She has experience with traditional retail floral shop and the floral import business along with many years in the Grocery industry. Steier previously held the position of Produce Sales manager and is currently the V.P. of Floral for Albertsons Companies. She currently lives in Boise Idaho with her Husband George.
Thursday, July 30
Panel Debrief: “Building Community and Connections for Your Business”
Exclusive Thursday Sponsor Teleflora
Susan Bachman West (Moderator)
Susan Bachman West is president of wholesale nursery Bachman’s Inc. in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With more than two decades’ experience in the floral industry, she has served on the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Board of Trustees since 2010 where she has served as Marketing and Events Committee Chair since 2012. West also has served on the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable. Her nursery has been in business since 1885.
John Burk’s background in information technology led him to a technical support role with DVFlora in 2001. He joined DVFlora when the company was switching to a new warehouse management system, so he had the opportunity to learn more about all facets of the business. As the digital marketing manager, Burk enjoys developing his passion for technology and the flower industry, while engaging with retailers and floral designers across the nation.
Kobylinski comes from a long line of entrepreneurs; her grandparents started a greenhouse and florist business in the 1930s in Upstate New York. She met her husband, John, at a flower shop, when she was leaving a deposit for her sister’s Valentine’s Day wedding flowers. In 1990, with the help of an angel investor, John and Sally started In Bloom Florist in Orlando, Florida. The business now has two retail locations and a wholesaler operation. Kobylinski oversees the sales, marketing and event teams.
Valerie Lee Ow
Valerie Lee Ow is the co-owner with her sister Robbin of J. Miller Flowers and Gifts in Oakland, California, a family business celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020. Ow oversees design, sales and marketing and teaches regular design and corporate classes. She has been an exhibitor at Bouquets to Art in San Francisco for the past 20 consecutive years and is a frequent speaker at garden clubs. She has served as president of the Piedmont Ave Merchants Association and is currently a board member of many organizations supporting community schools, churches and local charities.
Sandy Schroeck, AIFD, PFCI
Schroeck is an award-winning designer and educator who has designed unique showroom displays at the national level and teaches across the country. She is also the customer education coordinator at Len Busch Roses in Plymouth, Minnesota. In her role, she works alongside the Len Busch team to help customers work through COVID-19 challenges, supporting them with creative programs and selling techniques.
Friday, July 30
Panel Debrief: “Leading Your Business through Change”
Sponsored by Ball
Laura D. Shinall (Moderator)
Laura Shinall is the third-generation president of Syndicate Sales Inc., a family-owned manufacturer, importer and distributor of floral hardgoods located in Kokomo, Indianan. An entrepreneur at heart, Shinall ran her first small business at the age of 16. Since then she has started other small ventures, raised four children and served as the Athletic Director for a small school in south Georgia. Throughout her career, she has served on several industry committee. She is a recent past member of the SAF Board of Directors and Wholesale Council and currently the Chairperson-Elect for the American Floral Endowment Board of Trustees.
Cheryl Denham, AAF, AzMF
Denham is the president/CEO of Arizona Family Florist in Phoenix, Arizona. She has expertise in financial management, human resources, marketing operations, new business development, sales and community outreach. She has been a member of the SAF Consumer Joint Council and the SAF Convention Task Force and was awarded Floral Management magazine’s Marketer of the Year Award in 2012 and the National Association for Catering & Events Spirit of NACE Award in 2014.
Michelle Castellano Keeler, AAF
Castellano Keeler is the vice president of Mellano & Company, a third-generation cut flower grower and wholesaler with growing locations in California and wholesale locations in California and Nevada. She currently oversees the company’s corporate and real estate matters as well as employee and legal issues and is a member of the California Bar. She is SAF’s president-elect.
Levy is the co-owner of Allen’s Flowers & Plants, a second-generation, family business with a worldwide online presence and multiple locations and design center in and around San Diego. Locally, Allen’s Flowers, founded by Levy’s parents, Max and Marilyn, has been selected as the best florist in San Diego by the readers of the San Diego Union Tribune and signonsandiego.com for eight years. Levy was on the cover of Floral Management in July 2018 and is a member of SAF’s Retailers Council.
Roeser disrupted the flower industry after completing a Peace Corps assignment in Ecuador — one of the world’s largest exporters of cut flowers — in the 1990s. She saw and seized the opportunity to export directly from farm to consumer and founded FiftyFlowers, today a multi-national, multi-million-dollar company. She is a frequent speaker and shares her knowledge and passion for flower sourcing, entrepreneurship, and women’s empowerment in business.
Register today for the Reinvention Summit. SAF members pay $75/day ($125 for Monday’s session) or $249 for the full week. Prospective members pay $150/day ($250 for Monday’s session) or $499 for the full week. (Ask us about our great rates for additional employee attendees, too!) Can’t attend some or all of the live event? No problem. Registered attendees can view sessions until Sept. 1!
Mary Westbrook is the editor in chief of Floral Management and Katie Hendrick Vincent is the senior contributing writer and editor.