The Future of Distribution Summit

Are you as relevant to your customers as you were a year ago? How do you know? So much has changed in 12 months, it’s time to recalibrate.

Join us as we explore how leaders are executing on fundamental changes to the distribution business model and workplace. You will leave the Summit with new KPIs for talent, organizational structure and operational excellence. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The pandemic is restructuring the dynamics of distribution business models, productivity and the workplace. Distributors are rethinking go-to-market strategies, what it means to work productively and effectively — and reevaluating the characteristics that create long-term success for customers and stakeholders.

Discover the ways your competitors are getting closer to your customers in a noisier, more distracted marketplace. You’ll learn (and have a 90-day, all-access pass to the entire six hours of sessions):

• how top-performing distributors innovate core business models today,

• what the most productive teams in distribution look like in 2021, and

• the new equation for success when it comes to culture, talent and creating a competitive customer experience.


Critic Themes

New Distribution Models

Productivity & The New Workplace

Talent Development, Recruiting & Retaining


Meet Our Keynotes

Mark Dancer
Network for Business Innovation

Kathleen M. Mazzarella
Chairman, President and CEO

John Salvadore
Managing Partner
GRN Coastal (Global Recruiters Network-Coastal)



10:00-10:10 AM EdT

Welcome & Summit Overview

Elizabeth Galentine – Editor in Chief, MDM
Tom Gale – CEO, MDM

10:10-10:45 AM EdT

Leadership Reboot: Redefining Productivity in the New Workplace 

A new workplace environment is emerging. Zoom fatigue, career concerns and the pandemic “hangover” are real issues. Employees responded to the challenge of work-from-home during COVID-19 and now you’ll be asking them to reinvent their workplace again. To take on the new normal effectively, shift your leadership focus to employee resilience, wellbeing and motivation, all of which have changed as a result of the pandemic.

Presenter: Jim Pouliopoulos storyteller, educator, author

10:45-11:00 AM EdT

innovation case study – Sponsored by Infor

11:00-11:40 AM EdT

Keynote: Pandemic Innovations and the Future of Distribution 

Every distributor was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and every distributor can act on the lessons learned across distribution. More than that, the pandemic has shaped the future of business, and therefore, the future of distribution. Hint: Zoom calls, remote working, and online buying are the tip of the iceberg. Dancer‘s keynote will share stories of distributor innovations and priorities for distributor e-commerce investments, business strategies and innovation opportunities.

Presenter: Mark Dancer – CEO, Network for Business Innovation

11:40-12:00 PM EdT

Differentiation Models for the New Realities

How will your business stand out in a post-pandemic world? The pandemic put digital acceleration into warp speed for distributors — creating an imperative to examine business models, including profitability, sales, talent, analytics and more. With these factors at the forefront, Gale will discuss the latest industry forecasts and key trends shaping the remainder of 2021.

Presenter: Tom Gale – CEO, MDM

12:00-12:30 PM EdT

Break – network hall

12:30-1:00 PM EdT

keynote: building a resilient distribution organization

As CEO of Graybar, Mazzarella is one of only 37 women to lead a Fortune 500 company. She will join MDM Editor Elizabeth Galentine for a conversation on the benefits of creating an inclusive and resilient culture within your organization. Touching on the need to expand the definition of workplace culture, the discussion will address where distribution stands relative to other industries and how the industry can continue to improve.

Presenter: Kathy Mazzarella – CEO, Graybar

1:00-1:05 PM Edt

mdm’s 2021 women in distribution awards presentations

Join us as we recognize the inaugural group of MDM Women in Distribution Leadership Award winners. 

1:05-1:45 PM Edt

panel – leadership in 2021: women in distribution

Featuring Jennifer Murphy of NetPlus Alliance, hear perspectives from several of our award-winning distribution leaders on the value of changing workplace culture, what it means to lead and how to overcome obstacles and challenges to meet your goals.

Moderated by: Elizabeth Galentine – Editor in Chief, MDM
Panelists include: 
Deb Swambar – SVP, Chief Human Resources Officer, Crescent Supply Company
Joyce Lansdale – Vice President Corporate Accounts, Vallen
Jennifer Murphy – President, NetPlus Alliance

1:45-2:00 PM Edt

innovation case study – Sponsored by Bloomreach

2:00-2:30 PM Edt

Organizational transformation – when business and culture align

When you reimagine the possibilities for the future of your business model you will also have a critical opportunity to revisit your cultural values to create a new alignment. Listening to the voice of the customer and the voice of your current and future workforce are key sources of data to inform your process. This alignment can help drive success and evolve your position as an industry leader. Exploring best practices for change leadership, transformation, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion we will provide takeaways for your business evolution.

Presenter: Sharon Newport – Interim CEO, DHI – Door Security + Safety Professionals

2:30-3:00 PM Edt

Break – network hall

3:00-3:35 PM EST

keynote: getting it right today: culture, career & recruiting

Recruiting methods have changed and you need to keep up with the competition. As Managing partner of a Wholesale Distribution-focused recruitment services firm, Salvadore will address key trends within the recruitment landscape and provide insights on how your company can take advantage of new methods and best practices to secure, grow and retain top talent.

Presenter: John Salvadore – Managing Partner, GRN Coastal (Global Recruiters Network-Coastal)

3:35-3:50 PM Edt

innovation case study – Sponsored by Conexiom

3:50-4:20 PM Edt

How to Build Next-Gen Talent Pipeline: The Mindset of Gen Z

The speed at which your company can grow depends on your talent. Unlike products and services, you are competing with everyone for talent. Recruiting, developing and retain next generation employees starts with understanding the expectations, needs, priorities and mindset of Gen-Z. This presentation will share best practices in crafting your employee value proposition (EVP), designing effective internship programs, and rethinking your job titles and career paths. These practices will differentiate your organization in the eyes of future employees and can help you become a talent magnet.

Presenter: Bharani Nagarathnam – Associate Director, Master of Industrial Distribution Program, Texas A&M University

4:20-4:55 PM Edt

future leaders panel

Hear perspectives from MDM’s Future Leader Award winners on their career priorities and meeting the workplace expectations of millennials and Gen-Z as these younger generations quickly become the majority.

Moderated by: Elizabeth Galentine – Editor in Chief, MDM
Panelists include: 
Bryant Argall – Estimating Manager, Core & Main
Christina Nielsen – Director, Government Accounts, Lawson Products
Mike Powers – Director of e-Commerce & Digital Marketing, Alska Rubber Group

4:55-5:00 PM EdT

Closing remarks!



$ 595
  • Exclusive Pricing For Distributors Only
  • On-Demand Access for 2021 Future of Distribution Summit for 90 days post event

Service Providers

$ 795
  • Pricing for Service Providers & PE Firms
  • On-Demand Access for 2021 Future of Distribution Summit for 90 days post event
The distributor rate is available to companies whose current, primary business function is wholesale distribution. If this describes your company’s primary function then you are considered to be a distributor at MDM Events. Examples of parties who do not meet this criteria include service providers, vendors, investment banks, private equity firms and consultants. If this describes your company, please select the Service Provider rate when registering for the event. 
We reserve the right to determine if registrants meet the criteria for special discounts.


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