Leadership Letter
 
November 1st, 2006

November-December 2006

Although my term of office in CTDA does not end until the official start of the new year, this is my last TileDealer Leadership Letter. It seems like only yesterday that I was greeting you from this page for the first time and talking about the opportunities ahead.

This has been a banner year for CTDA. We took the lead in delivering educational seminars at Coverings 2006, continued to grow TileDealer into the industry-leading publication it has become, finalized our Certified Ceramic Tile Salesperson program, added a variety of stone materials to our educational offerings, and, of course, packed up our industry expertise and knowledge for a whirlwind trade mission to Istanbul, Turkey, to learn more about Turkish tile, culture and doing business with another group of industry leaders.

We got to know each other and our counterparts half a world away much better. But perhaps the best part about CTDA is the way in which it helps us initiate and nurture those elusive networking links that allow us do more business and do it better. As president of CTDA I have enjoyed a front-row seat to that.

In late August the CTDA Board of Directors gathered—as it always does—for a summer meeting. In addition to tackling the business of the association, we discussed our varying views on the marketplace based on the drop in home sales and our varied perspectives from around the country. We also talked about what our goals would be for another trade mission in the future. And that was just in the course of the meeting. The informal conversations, suggestions, and shared experiences added considerably to the event.

CTDA offers all of us a number of important links to the rest of the industry. Our sponsorship of Coverings and our participation in Surfaces are just two of them. Our cooperative roles with other industry associations are another.

But perhaps the most important links are the informal ones—the opportunity to pick up a phone or introduce yourself to a counterpart at an industry event and ask about a product or a process. Knowledge is everything and the collective knowledge of the generations of tile industry professionals assembled in CTDA is formidable.

If you aren’t a member of CTDA, I encourage you to join. If you are already a member, I urge you to step up your participation. Volunteer for a committee, sign up for CCTS or offer to help staff the association booth at Coverings 2007. Whatever you give in time and effort will come back to you, multiplied, in benefits to you and your business.

Finally, everyone likes to “end on a high note” and that’s certainly the case with the 2006 Management Conference. Educational opportunities have been designed to reflect the topics that are most important to us right now. The Distributor’s Forum offers attendees a session on do-it-yourself problem solving. Guest speakers are there to educate and motivate.

None of this would have been possible without the help of so many dedicated members and volunteers, professionals who have taken time from their demanding business lives to attend committee meetings, participate in conference calls and share their energy and expertise in so many ways. You truly are the heart and soul of CTDA. Together you make CTDA a remarkable team effort.

My sincere thanks to all of you for your contributions throughout the year, for the commitment you have made for the future, for your support and trust in me.

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