Las Vegas, NV – May 4, 2008 – Food Marketing Institute (FMI) today announced details about Future Connect, the innovative new leadership development conference. Future Connect will help companies address the need for management development with the fast-approaching retirement of the baby boomer population.

The program provides retailers, wholesalers and suppliers the opportunity to identify and develop management talent through individual and collaborative learning sessions that will include an emphasis on building the leadership of the future.

Future Connect was collaboratively designed by FMI’s Board of Directors, FMI Members and a 60-member Supplier Advisory Council. This program will debut May 4-6, 2009, in Dallas, TX. It will then alternate years with the FMI Show. (The next FMI Show will be May 10-13, 2010, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.)

“Companies face a critical leadership talent gap that must be collectively addressed to ensure the health and viability of the entire industry,” said Tim Hammonds, president and CEO, FMI. “Building the next generation of industry leaders will determine how successfully trading partners can work together to serve tomorrow’s consumers.”

“This conference is the opportunity to immerse future leaders from retailers, wholesalers and suppliers of all sizes in collaborative learning sessions to achieve our mission of ensuring the growth, success and longevity of our industry for generations to come,” said Steven C. Smith, Board chair, FMI, and president and CEO, K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc.

“A key benefit of Future Connect will be the ability to work across the industry on critical and forthcoming issues. Suppliers will gain a better understanding of how our retailer and wholesaler customers approach these issues and what needs they anticipate consumers might have,” said Denise Morrison, senior vice president and president, North America, Soup, Sauces and Beverages, Campbell Soup Company. “This critical aspect of networking in a mutually beneficial educational format will help solidify current and future business-building relationships. Together, we must inspire and engage the employees who will lead our industry into the future. Future Connect is the perfect forum to achieve this.”

Three Tracks for Future Leaders at All Levels

The program is designed along three tracks – operations, executive and senior executive – for executives identified as future leaders, including corporate, regional and other managers at all levels, directors, vice presidents and executives from all areas of retailer, wholesaler and supplier companies.


The highly interactive and collaborative format will mix strategically focused general sessions with university-style case studies and work groups. Three key developmental pathways – personal skills, management skills and profit-building skills – will be explored through:

  • Performance Connect (improve your contribution to the company; focus on individual growth, personal development and professional effectiveness);

  • People Connect (hone your people-management skills; focus on how to motivate and improve the performance of all employees, including direct and indirect reports, colleagues and teammates); and,

  • Profit Connect (optimize the performance of your team, department, store, division and company; focus on understanding the financial picture, how the people fit in and how they can make an impact).


Dynamic thought and industry leaders will guide provocative education sessions, including:

  • Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author of the bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

  • Knight Kiplinger, editor-in-chief of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, and the Kiplinger Letter

  • Robert A. Whitman, chairman and chief executive officer, FranklinCovey

  • Rob Bell, president, Focus Consulting

  • Thomas Blischok, president, Global Retail Information Resources, Inc.

  • Tamara Erickson, author, consultant and workforce futurist

  • Gudron Granholm, founder and CEO, Box One, Inc.

  • Beverly A. Grant, chief channel officer, U.S. CBD Grocery Channel for the Procter & Gamble Company

  • Todd Hale, senior vice president, consumer and shopper insights, The Nielsen Company

  • Richard N. Jurgens, chairman, CEO and president, Hy-Vee, Inc.

  • Mel Kleiman, international authority on recruiting and retaining employees

  • Edward Kuehnle, president, Catalina Marketing Corporation

  • Donald R. Knauss, chairman and CEO, The Clorox Company

  • Tim McGuire, director, McKinsey&Company

  • Todd Morris, senior vice president, business development, Catalina Marketing Corporation

  • Peg Neuhauser, author, Corporate Legends & Lore and Tribal Warfare in Organizations

  • Steven C. Smith, president and CEO, K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc.

  • Kevin Sneader, director, McKinsey&Company

Year-Round Learning and Certification

Future Connect will provide extended developmental and educational opportunities through year-round programming via distance learning and other mechanisms created with a council of universities and community colleges. This council will develop a critical certification component for the program as well as a way to apply programming toward college credits.

For more information and to register for Future Connect, go to Registration for FMI Member Retailers/Wholesalers is $350 by the early-bird deadline of July 31, 2008 – reserve slots early as space is limited (names not required); $550 by September 30, 2008, and $1,000 until April 3, 2009. FMI Associate Member registration is $1,300 and nonmember registration is $1,600.   A Group Advantage Plan is available.