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 Happy New Years! Wishing you all a great start to your 2017! I wanted to personally thank everyone for playing a role in our Agenda community and share some important thoughts.

On the eve of Agenda's 14th birthday, it got me thinking about the changes since the launch of our first show in January 2003.

The brands, the retailers, the trends, the consumers, and business models have drastically changed. The only constant theme we continue to witness in our market is that it's ever-changing and continues to evolve.

These changes come in many forms; disruption of existing ways of doing business, consolidation of distribution channels, fragmentation of larger brands' market share into many small players, and the exponential growth of online retail. These changes show no signs of slowing down any time soon. 

With evolution comes new opportunities and challenges to our industry. We've seen a lot of new technology that allow us to communicate with each other (some may even say over-communicate). You name it, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Web Pages, Texts, Apps, Emails, Video Chat, etc. In this never-ending sea of social media and digital communication, sometimes, I believe we lose our focus on what's really impactful and meaningful.

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I strongly believe in building authentic face-to-face partnerships.

Nothing, not even the never-ending white noise of digital overload can replace the strength of a real relationship forged with your trading partners in person. Agenda is not just a "Trade Show" company. We do sell booth space to brands and we do provide a marketplace for buyers to purchase products.

But first and foremost, we are a relationship-building platform. Whether it is on the show floor, a dinner or special event post show, the face-to-face interactions and relationships that you build at Agenda are exponentially more valuable than any amount of emails, texts, and social-media communications.

In the 18 years I've spent devoted to the industry, I have noticed one very unique component that I have not found in any other industry, and that is that WE are a true community.

There is an authentic culture that exists inside of our businesses. This authenticity is based on our shared passion around the business we work in and the relationships we have formed. If we didn't all share this same passion then we would all just be stockbrokers and real estate agents. This is what sets us apart from the rest of the business world. 

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I want to remind everyone no matter what part you play in our industry, whether you a retailer, distributor, brand, showroom, or press, we value what you are.

It's incredibly important to show up and continue building relationships. I'm very excited about the future and how we can all come together, strengthen current relationships and build new ones, discuss ideas, and adapt to all the changes around us. It doesn't matter how far you have travelled or if you're taking a train, plane, or Uber.

We encourage you to get out from behind your computer and to actively participate in our Agenda community. Your presence at Agenda is an investment towards our industry and your business.

Thank you and we hope to see you in person at any of our shows in the coming months.

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