Turning to the Future – The pandemic forced distributors to change the way we do business.  How do we continue the momentum, what is next?

Join us at the brand new and beautiful Austin Marriott Downtown in the heart of the city.

Come for the inspiration, best practices, technology and tangible, tactical tools.

The IFDA SMart Conference:
  • BRIGHT IDEAS: Sessions to help you think differently about sales and marketing.
  • 97 PERCENT of attendees would highly recommend this conference to a colleague.
  • NETWORKING happens throughout the event, from interactive meals to receptions.
  • 1.5 DAYS: Your time is valuable. This conference packs a wallop in a short amount of time.

2021 Agenda

Sales professional and business leader Julien LeBlanc will be back on hand to facilitate the conference.

Sunday, July 18 


1:00 pm - 5:00 pm 

Registration & Check in available outside Waterloo Ballroom

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Sales Share Group Meeting, Marketing Share Group Meetingpre-registration required.

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm 

Welcome Reception at hotel


Monday, July 19

All events in Waterloo Ballroom area

8:00 am – 9:00 am

Breakfast Available / Registration Open 

9:00 am – 9:15 am 

Welcome & Opening with Mark Allen, IFDA and Julien LeBlanc
How do you Maximize your SMart Conference Experience?   

9:15 am – 10:00 am

General Session: The Reshaped Restaurant Landscape – How Smarter Selling Creates New Opportunities in a Post-COVID World.
This session will explore how the restaurant landscape has evolved and forecast future changes.

10:00 am – 10:15 am


10:15 am – 11:15 am

large-SMart_HEADSHOTS_angie.pnglarge-SMart_HEADSHOTS_erin.pngGeneral Session: Looking Ahead – Are Post-COVID Behaviors Here to Stay?  
How did you use this last year to plan and position yourself for success in the future?  Among the topics the panel will discuss: regional differences, changing customers, technology enhancements, the importance of effective communication, and preparing your sales team to address the shifting needs of our operators. 

11:15 am – 12:00 pm 

big-SMart_EMAIL_2020_Shawna.pngGeneral Session: The Roaring Twenties! How to Market & Sell in the Post-Pandemic Decade.
Sales, Marketing and Consumer Behavior Expert Shawna Suckow will help you understand how to shift your strategy, your tools, and your processes to meet the quickly evolving demands of this accelerated and different marketplace.  She will provide up-to-the-minute insight into the best ways to connect with buyers of all kinds and discuss what tools are working right now to break through the noise and stand out. 

12:15 pm -1:30 pm

General Session: Value Added Services 
What tools and resources should distributors provide operators to position them for success? Panelists will provide tips and tools on how to assist your operator partners that will deepen the customer relationship.

2:30 pm -2:45 pm


2:45 pm – 3:30 pm

General Session: Case Study: Creating a Diverse Salesforce                               
Research shows workplace diversity increases profitability, innovation and productivity. Operators are increasingly diverse and customers want to buy from those who get them. This session will take a deep dive into why it’s important for your sales people to reflect and understand the diverse communities they are selling to.

3:30 pm -3:45 pm


3:45 pm -4:45 pm

SMart_EMAIL_2020_Maggie-Cook.pngGeneral Session: I Am Extraordinary! - Creativity, Change & Finding Meaning - Living at Your Highest Potential.
Entrepreneur Magie Cook talks about leadership, motivation, her real life experience and her unique strategies that made her successful in life and in business. Magie will deliver fresh perspectives that will change the way you do business.

5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Networking Reception – Hotel Roof   
Come have a drink with your fellow attendees and enjoy the spectacular views of downtown Austin before you head out to dinner. Sponsored by:


Evening Dine-Arounds - IFDA will provide a directory of nearby restaurants and can also facilitate group reservations for those who would like.

Tuesday, July 20


8:00 am – 9:00 am 

Breakfast Available   

9:00 am – 9:15 am

Welcome & Recap of Day One with Julien LeBlanc

9:15 am – 10:00 am

General Session: e-Commerce
Discussion from industry leaders on where they’re headed from an e-Commerce perspective and how trading partners are sharing data. Panelists will provide insights into what they’ve learned over the last year about boosting product data to satisfy customer needs, as well as best practices for sharing that critical information.  Sponsored by: 

10:00 am -10:15 am


10:15 am – 11:00 am

General Session: Hybrid Leaders- Crucial Skills Needed For Leading Remote Teams
Leadership development expert Betsy Allen-Manning will provide insights and strategies for leading an innovative, engaged, & collaborative virtual team to ensure the future success of your company. With teams used to working remotely, and employees requesting a hybrid workplace moving forward, managers will be required to master crucial skills and best practices for leading remote teams. 

11:00 am – 11:30 pm

General Session: Never Let a Good Crisis Go To Waste. How can we as an industry capitalize on what we have all just been through? Sales professional Julien LeBlanc will lead a group discussion on tactical techniques for leveraging the takeaways of the conference to immediately improve your business operations and bottom line in a post-pandemic economy. Sponsored by:

11:30 am


Agenda as of 6/11/21 - times subject to change


Registration Fees
**Registration fees are based on your member type

Member Rates
Early Bird Rate:   $999 (Deadline extended! Register today!)
Regular Rate:      $1,199 

Non-Member Rate
Regular Rate:     $1,649


The conference registration fees cover the program and all meeting materials and meal functions. Hotel, airfare, ground transportation and other meal arrangements are the responsibility of the attendee. Once registered, an email confirmation with the hotel link will be sent to the attendees allowing the attendee to book hotel arrangements.  

Please note: If you are unable to attend the conference you can transfer your registration to another employee in your company. 

Hotel & Destination

AustinMarriott_low.pngLuxury-Refined. The Austin Marriott Downtown features over 600 iconic guest rooms including 25 stunning suites, a rooftop pool with breathtaking views, three bars, locally-inspired restaurants, and over 60,000 square feet of meeting space. Located right across the street from the Austin Convention Center and in walking distance from famed 6th Street, popular shops, and hottest restaurants, the Austin Marriott Downtown is the ideal location for new meeting and stay experiences in one of America’s most exciting cities. Come hear the new beat of Austin.

Austin Marriott Downtown
304 East Cesar Chavez Street
Austin, Texas 78701 USA

Creating a healthy and safe environment for those attending the meeting is of utmost importance to IFDA. Please access the links below for updated information on the COVID-19 pandemic.

CDC Travel Recommendations
Marriott International's Commitment to Clean
Marriott Bonvoy App (available in the app store): allows guests to take advantage of contactless options including:
  • Mobile Check-In – forgo the desk and go straight to your guestroom
  • In-Room Dining Orders
  • Guestroom Requests
Texas Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
Visit Austin CVB
Downtown Austin


An opportunity for vendors to connect directly with hundreds of distributors and manufacturers. Attendees hold a variety of positions related to Sales and Marketing, ranging from the C-Suite, Vice Presidents, General Managers, Sales, Customer Service, and Marketing personnel.


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