Join us in 2023 at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes for an Orlando, Florida experience 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.
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

Sunday, July 17   

1:00 pm - 6:00 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 – 6:30 pm  Check-in & Opening Meet & Greet
Muster Grand Ballroom Foyer w/ drinks, networking meetups
6:30 pm -  7:00 pm Second Line Parade into Bourbon Street
Dinner on your own after 7:00 p.m.

Monday, July 18 

8:00 am – 9:00 am

Breakfast Available/Registration Open
Breakfast generously Sponsored by MealTicket 

9:00 am – 9:15 am 

Welcome & Opening with Mark Allen, President and CEO, IFDA and Julien Leblanc
What is different this year and how do you maximize your SMart experience?

9:15 am – 10:15 pm Compose the Next Big Hit
Every game changing success starts as someone’s idea. In a supply chain facing historic disruption, explore how you can utilize industry knowledge and bold thinking to drive future success. 

9:15 - 9:45 am | 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

9:45 -10:15 am | Continuing the Conversation
Julien will moderate an audience supply chain discussion with industry point people.
Speakers: John Allen, Dir., Street Sales, Van Eerden
David Portalatin, SVP, NPD Group
Manufacturer, tba
10:30 am – 12:00 pm

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.

10:30 – 11:00 a.m. Ted Talk - Working with Different Generations
Speaker: Chip Conley, Hospitality Entrepreneur
11:00 – 12:00 pm No Point B: How Great Leaders Innovate When Change Never Stops Coming
A global pandemic. Massive digital disruption. Social upheaval. How should we as business leaders respond? How do you lead your people through a transformation when we have new emergent data about how the world is changing every day? Understanding change as a core competency in a digital world that is evolving every day, and why transformational leadership as a competitive advantage in the post-COVID economy.
Speaker: Caleb Gardner, Founder, 18 Coffees

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Networking Lunch
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm  1:15 pm - 1:45 pm | Group Communication Exercise 
Set up & exercise in breakout rooms

1:45 pm – 2pm | Report out/discussion back in the main ballroom
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm  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.

2:00 pm – 2:30 pm | Ted Talk – Innovation is Not Efficient
Speaker: Simon Sinek, Leadership Expert

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm | Fostering Innovation & Partnerships
A look at Plug and Play’s global innovation platform, as well as case studies on how the accelerator has fostered collaboration between startups and corporations.
Speaker: Alex Davisson, Ventures Associate, Plug and Play Tech Center
3:00 pm – 3:15 pm  Break
3:15 pm – 4:15 pm  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.

3:15 – 3:30 pm | What Makes a Good Partner?
Speaker: Summer Dufner, McCain Foods
2022 IFDA’s Distributors Choice Award Winner - Sales Leader
3:30 – 4:15 pm | Partnerships Beyond the Norm
From Supply Chain to Demand Chain: Building the 21st Century Distributor
Speaker: Fiona Lee, Co-Founder, Pod Foods
When Fiona Lee and Larissa Russell started Green Pea Cookie in 2014, they had a simple goal: bake delicious, better-for-you cookies and sell them to customers looking for alternatives. It wasn’t long before they realized that traditional distribution models limited their company’s growth potential. Undaunted, Fiona and Larissa put their brains together to envision a distribution service that would shake up the status quo and help growing brands like theirs reach more customers.
The result of this effort is Pod Foods’ national distribution platform, which employs intelligent software and an emphasis on customizable solutions to connect emerging brands with the right retailers. Fiona will share with SMart attendees how a data-driven approach to business helped guide the company’s development, and how they plan to continue its nationwide growth.
The story of Pod Foods – how identifying disruption opportunities and capitalizing on them with the right technology can lead to success – is one that will resonate with anyone looking for the next big opportunities in foodservice.  
4:15 pm - 4:30 pm Break
4:30 pm - 5:00 pm 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
5:00 pm - 5:15 pm Wrap up and adjourn
Evening Dinner on your own
8:00 pm – 11:00 pm

SMart After Hours (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
Greeting by Ritz-Carlton General Manager
9:15 am - 10:15 am (Best) Practice Makes Perfect
Today’s “best” practices continually need to shift to the “next” practice, but the shrewdest players know how to retain what works while forecasting – and incorporating – new trends.

Leading Others in the Modern Age
Speaker: Jared Harris, Professor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business 

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”?
10:15 am - 11:00 am 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
11:00 am - 11:30am 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    



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.

Check back for more information on 2023 opportunities. 

More Information

Full Agenda