An industry leader with a long history of serving the Society of American Florists and a depth of expertise in finance and marketing has been chosen as SAF’s next president-elect.
Lori Wheat, AAF — CFO and marketing director her family’s 75-year-old business, Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop and Garden Center in Lafayette, Colorado — will serve as SAF’s president-elect beginning August 2024 and will become president & chair at SAF’s annual convention in 2025. SAF, at its annual convention earlier this month in Phoenix, welcomed new President Oscar Fernandez.
“SAF is fortunate to have a seasoned and successful retailer like Lori as SAF’s next president-elect,” says SAF CEO Kate Penn. “What’s more, Lori is so generous with her knowledge. She has shared her best practices in more articles, panel discussions and programs than I can count. Her wealth of finance and marketing experience will help guide SAF in creating resources that will help our members thrive.”
Wheat is looking forward to working with SAF’s Board of Directors, council members and staff to reach others in the industry and show them how SAF has helped her business grow and stay competitive — and can help theirs do the same, she says.
“I’m thankful for being given the opportunity to work in a leadership role for SAF,” Wheat says. “SAF is an incredible resource and I want to continue to spread the word.”
Wheat’s involvement with SAF has spanned 25 years and started with attending annual conventions, Congressional Action Days and Profit Blasts. Now, she sends her mid-level managers to those events and SAF’s Next Gen Live! because she’s seen how the programming gives them ownership and helps them network.
Wheat has also served on SAF’s Floral Management, marketing, convention and awards committees. She joined the Retail Council in 2000 and was elected to the Board of Directors in 2009. Her time as a volunteer leader helped her find “mentors, confidants, and friends,” she says. “I volunteer, but I get so much more back.”
Wheat has used SAF’s resources to help her business.
“SAF has been an investment in my professional and my personal development,” she says. “This organization is full of experts with a wealth of information.”
Amanda Jedlinsky is the managing editor of SAF NOW.