About SMart

Join us at the historic and elegant Ritz-Carlton New Orleans for a bayou bonanza that discards the PowerPoints to deliver interactive learning opportunities in a one-of-a-kind setting. International sales leader Julien LeBlanc will lead an updated program with collaborative exercises, unparalleled networking opportunities, technology, best practices, and tangible, tactical tools.

In the spirit of this year's theme, “Changing the Tune – Working to a New Beat,” SMart is remixing the traditional elements of a sales and marketing event. The excitement begins before anyone gets to town, as attendees forge new connections and insights through the SMartNet program – an expert-moderated learning program that facilitates peer-driven education and industry networking throughout the year.
After kicking off SMart with a triumphant Second Line parade, we’ll be spinning an “all killer, no filler” record of tunes that tackle today’s biggest sales and marketing topics in a streamlined 1.5 days. No wasted time means there’s plenty of time for our Monday night outing to a vaudeville-style speakeasy – an unforgettable evening as only New Orleans can provide.

The fun doesn’t end when you depart the Big Easy! Your meeting registration gives you access to a new community through SMartNet, which will provide value throughout the year with resources, content, and networking. Get empowered with brand-building ideas, valuable insights, and a wealth of contacts – all of which will give your business the competitive edge it needs to stay ahead.




2022 Agenda

 As of 5/5/22, times subject to change

Sunday, July 17   

1:00 pm - 5:00 pm  Registration & Check-In
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Sales Share Group Meeting, Marketing Share Group Meetingpre-registration

IFDA will hold two share groups for IFDA Distributor Members: the IFDA Sales Share Group and the IFDA Marketing Share Group. Share Groups are small, peer-driven discussions on the issues important to your business and a valuable chance to discuss shared experiences, common challenges, and forward-looking solutions. These discussions are free with your conference registration - simply check the 'Share Group' box as you register if you wish to attend. Share groups are for IFDA distributor members only and space is limited.  
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm  Opening Reception 
6:30 pm 2nd Line Parade into Bourbon Street

Monday, July 18 

8:00 am – 9:00 am

Breakfast Available  
Generously Sponsored by MealTicket 

9:00 am – 9:15 am  Welcome & Opening with Mark Allen, President and CEO, IFDA and Julien LeBlanc
9:15 am – 12:00 pm Morning Sessions
  Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Enduring Trends in Foodservice
As the foodservice industry emerges from the most disruptive period in decades, it is important to understand what has changed. It is equally important to remember what hasn’t changed. Leveraging multiple data sets monitoring foodservice trends, this session will reveal the trends that have evolved and the ones that have endured, allowing foodservice distributors and their supply chain and channel partners to collaborate for growth.
Speaker: David Portalatin, SVP, NPD Group
  Switching Instruments for Success
This session's focus is twofold: how to succeed with a changing workforce as well as how to get comfortable yourself with having to constantly adapt to uncertainty.               
In a labor market growing younger, more diverse, and increasingly technologically savvy, tomorrow’s leaders will come from today’s change mindset embracers. Our sheet music will help you strike the right chords to succeed in a changing workforce.
Speaker: Chip Conley, Hospitality Entrepreneur and New York Times Bestselling Author (Video TED Talk with discussion)
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm Networking Reception
1:15 pm – 2:00 pm  Group Communication Exercise
2:00 pm Afternoon Sessions
  Let’s Try the Drummer’s Song: Fostering Team Creativity
Teams perform better when everyone feels empowered to brainstorm and try new ideas. Learn proven strategies for creating a working environment that fosters out-of-the-box thinking.
Speaker: Simon Sinek, Leadership Expert and Bestselling Author (Video TED Talk with discussion)
  Perfect Harmony: How to Maximize Your Partner Relationships
Finding the right pitch can elevate a partnership to new heights. From regular collaborators to those you may find outside of traditional paths, learn how you can leverage adaptability and open-mindedness to hit all the right notes.
  From Supply Chain to Demand Chain: Building the 21st Century Distributor
The distribution obstacles Fiona Lee faced while launching her business inspired her to rethink the status quo — leading to Pod Foods' software-driven distribution platform. Her story of identifying disruption opportunities and deploying the right technology solutions is one that will resonate with anyone looking for the next big foodservice idea.
Speaker: Fiona Lee, Co-Founder, Pod Foods
  Value Added Services: Ghost Kitchens & Virtual Brands – What You Need To Know!
Ways to help the restaurant community generate additional revenue and sources of income through virtual brands. A look at virtual kitchens and delivery-only restaurant concepts.
Speaker: Kelly Grogan, Vice President, Sales Virtual Dining Concepts
8:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Join us for a night at the speakeasy! (Separate ticket required)
Generously Sponsored by Sugar Foods
IFDA presents a night at the speakeasy because "a little party never killed nobody!" Enjoy a classic New Orleans celebration, a Vaudeville-themed setting full of authentic Big Easy atmosphere and plenty of local surprises. Remember the password, grab a cocktail and, as the Cajuns say, laissez les bon temps rouler. 

Tuesday, July 19
8:00 am – 9:00 am 

Breakfast Available  
Generously Sponsored by MealTicket 

9:00 am – 9:15 am Welcome & Recap of Day One with Julien LeBlanc
9:15 am – 11:30 am Morning Sessions
  Leading Others in the Modern Age
When we consider the pressing management and leadership challenges posed by technology or other features of the modern world, it’s tempting to think of such problems as new and uncharted. But perhaps some ancient wisdom is informative. Join Professor Jared Harris for a case discussion of a 2,500-year-old story – Plato’s Allegory of the Cave – with a focus on what insights it might hold for today’s leaders. What does this allegory have to do with modern life? What things shackle our own minds? How might we discern reality from representations of reality? How might today’s leaders help others navigate today’s “caves” and “shackles”?
Speaker: Jared Harris, Professor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business 
  Be the Spark
New Orleans entrepreneur and chef Amy Sins will share the most important lessons on business success that she learned while building her Louisiana culinary empire. You won't want to miss her actionable takeaways on leadership, setting & achieving goals, community caretaking, and managing human logistics & networks.
Speaker: Amy Sins, Chef/Owner Langlois
  Choreographing the Right Steps
You have great songs, awesome bandmates, and the right industry collaborators to help you thrive. Bring it all together with these actionable takeaways for mapping out your post-SMart strategy. Sales professional Julien LeBlanc will lead a group discussion on tactical techniques for leveraging the takeaways of the conference for you to interpret and apply to your specific business.  
11:30 am Adjourn            




**Registration fees are based on your member type

Member Rates*
Emerging Leaders Rate:    $799
Regular Rate:      $1,199

Non-Member Rate
Regular Rate:      $1,649

Planning Council Rate
Regular Rate:        $699*
* Discounts for Planning Council members is automatic - no promotion code required

*Allied members and non-members are invited to participate as sponsors and are not eligible for general registration. Please contact Janet Skelly, Director of Business Development, for more information about sponsoring at jskelly@ifdaonline.org or 703.962.9936.

Hotel & Destination

Rich in history and personality, New Orleans is unlike any other US city. Honoring its spirit and elegance, The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans invites visitors to its French Quarter retreat, set within a 1908 Beaux Arts building. Here, one can bask in the silence of the hotel’s beautiful courtyard, experience the mysticism of the city through the spa’s Voodoo Ritual or learn how to play the trumpet with in-house jazz musician Jeremy Davenport.

Ritz-Carlton New Orleans
921 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA 70112 

Hotel Reservations: A link to book a room in the event hotel block will be include in your registration confirmation email. Email events@ifdaonline.org for questions.

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

Information on sight-seeing in New Orleans:
Visit New Orleans


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.

Thank you to Enterprisecafe.comSugar Foods Corporation, Syndigo, Meal Ticket, Cooling Concepts, Pepper and Conagra Foodservice for sponsoring!


Emerging Leaders

Bring your company’s rising stars to New Orleans at a reduced rate through our SMart Emerging Leaders Program! At only $799 for qualifying participants, it's a great deal that will pay dividends for years to come.

With expert analysis from industry veterans and plentiful opportunities to jumpstart their business networking, attendees will leave New Orleans with a better understanding of what it takes to succeed in the foodservice arena.

The Emerging Leaders Program is only available to first-time attendees who are new to the industry or rising leaders from IFDA’s distributor members and manufacturer partners. To participate in this special offer, please contact Carolyn West before June 17.

More Information