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New energy at 2023 Leadership Conference

November 24, 2023

Rental leaders from across North America convened in Chicago last weekend for the American Rental Association’s (ARA) annual Leadership Conference. The Leadership Conference is designed for leaders of the industry to network, engage and be inspired by professional education.

ARA board members, incoming regional directors, state association board members and regional guests, totaling more than 70 members, gathered Thursday, November 16 and enjoyed networking time as well as a tone-setting session titled Innovation Magic: Discovering What’s Possible by Mark Robinson.

“The thing that excites me about this year’s Leadership Conference was that 80 percent of the people who attended were first time attendees and the majority of the room were young professionals,” says Steve Mau, ECP-SM, Brainerd General Rental, Brainerd, Minn., and ARA president. “Having a group of fully engaged members who are raising their hand to be the next generation of association leadership makes me very hopeful for the future.”

The majority of the day Friday was spent with Ted Ma, who delivered three sessions (Mindset Shift, Be the One, Leadership Loyalty) focused on how to become a leader that others will follow while also investing in the future by mentoring the next generation. Ma emphasized the importance of bringing out the best in yourself so you can bring out the best in your staff. The Friday afternoon session closed with board members giving updates on ARA programs and services.

“The people — meeting and networking with so many chapter leaders — is my favorite part of ARA Leadership Conference,” says Daniel Sanchez, program manager, chapter leader relations, at ARA. “There are so many valuable conversations, and things to learn, from the speakers to the industry best practices and nuggets of wisdom shared in the hallway or during one of the many delicious meals. It’s just the best!”

New to Leadership Conference this year was a philanthropic program in partnership with the ARA Foundation. Saturday morning, attendees of the conference filled 300 backpacks with school supplies to benefit underserved children in the Chicago area.

“It is important for new leaders to attend Leadership as they will learn how to develop the skills and tools necessary to lead and grow their organization,” says Brian Richardson, L & A Tent Rentals, Trenton, N.J., and ARA Region Two director. “In addition, they have the opportunity to meet and interact with their peers, which can lead to life-long friendships and collaborations.”

The program concluded with a panel discussion, moderated by Richardson, featuring Steve Mau; ARA Board Chair Scott Irwin, Delux Rental, Ypsilanti, Mich.; ARA Region Four Director Angela Nussel, CERP, Premiere Events, Austin, Texas; and Robert Pedersen, A Tool Shed, Santa Cruz, Calif., who co-chairs ARA’s Equipment Rental Shared Interest Group. The panel talked about best business practices and what they have learned from working in the industry.

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