At the IFDA SMart Conference, you will explore new ways that sales and marketing can amplify your business and help customers! Benefits of attending include industry insights, leadership development, peer interaction, and networking with trading partners.

Meeting industry peers and discussing industry opportunities expands your professional network, sparks new ideas, and helps you find solutions.

2020 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.

2020 Agenda

The IFDA SMart Conference includes general sessions and breakouts with great takeaway and insights.

Sunday, July 19

12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Conference Registration / Member Services


Monday, July 20

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Facilitated Breakfast

9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.
How do you Maximize your SMart Conference Experience?

Speaker: Julien LeBlanc, President and Partner, blueprint North America and 2020 IFDA SMart Planning Council

Throughout the SMart conference, Julien Leblanc (Co-Founder and President of blueprint North America) and his colleagues at blueprint will facilitate thought-provoking and interactive table discussions following our world class speakers to help stimulate ideas that could be applied in your business. You’ve been inspired by the experts, so what and now what for your business? blueprint North America is a commercial consultancy (https://blueprintna.com) that helps unleash the potential of individuals, teams and organizations. The blueprint team believes that success can be planned, that winning is by design, and that you are the architect of your outcomes.

9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.
General Session – Impactful Communication – Build Trust, Captivate Listeners, Reduce Conflict and Win with People

Speaker: Betsy Allen-Manning, Founder of Motiv8u Enterprises & Keynote Speaker

Have you ever felt like you’re unable to build trust with certain types of people? Do you ever find it difficult to keep someone’s attention? Have you ever offended someone without even knowing why? Studies show that over 60% of the time people become stressed out and uncomfortable when interacting with others. Why? Because communication is NOT one size fits all. In this presentation, Betsy shares 4 scientifically-proven barriers to effective communication, and how to strategically break through them to build better connections, become more influential & get better results when communicating with others.

Actionable Takeaways:
  • Avoid misunderstandings & prevent conflict by understanding the ‘4 Barriers to Effective Communication™’, and how to overcome them.
  • Build rapport, gain trust & communicate more effectively with people who think differently than you.
  • Learn to read other’s communication styles fast so that you can adapt to be more productive & improve results with them.

10:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Synthesis & Interactive Discussion

10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.


10:45 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

General Session – Trend Watch: What’s Here, What’s Next and What’s Possible

Speaker: Shawna Suckow, Speaker, Author

There’s one constant today: Change! These are great times to be in the foodservice industry, but keeping on top of trends is more of a challenge than ever. Technology constantly evolves, consumer behavior continuously confounds, and there’s disruption in areas we used to think were unshakeable.
Workforce shortages. Customer service trends. Consumer preferences. Digital Marketing. Hospitality Industry Disruption. Consolidation. Market Shifts. Political Upheaval. Join Shawna as she shares her latest findings on both national and consumer trends that are already here, the trends we can expect next, and the potential industry disruptors that are possible in coming years – all things that can impact your success in the next five years.

Participant Outcomes:
  • Discover what disruptions are poised to impact the economy and our culture in the immediate future, so you can be proactive, rather than reactive.
  • Gain an edge by learning insider secrets and coming shifts in sales and marketing, so you can adapt and prepare - on any budget.
  • Learn about new trends outside the foodservice industry that could impact how we do business in the future.

11:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. 

Synthesis & Interactive Discussion

11:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. 

Facilitated Lunch - Topics Include: Branding, Culture, Recruiting & Technology

1:15 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

People Savvy – Improve Communication, Deal with Difficult People & Build Better Relationships

Speaker: Betsy Allen-Manning, Founder of Motiv8u Enterprises & Keynote Speaker

In this highly interactive & hilarious presentation, Betsy takes you through a LIVE experience of how to communicate, connect, influence & resolve conflict with different personality styles so that you can build healthier relationships with others. You will first discover your personality style’s greatest strengths so you can operate at your best. Then you will participate in a fun, educational and interactive case study where you will discover the personalities, preferences & peeves of others so you can communicate and influence more effectively to get a better outcome, and learn how to work better together.

Actionable Takeaways:
  • Identify your strengths, motivation & blind spots to reach your optimal performance.
  • Determine how other personalities are specifically motivated, and how they make decisions.
  • Discover strategies to common issues that help you adapt your communication to get your desired results.

Breakout Sessions

2:10 p.m. - 2:55 p.m.

Don’t Become Extinct – Join the Sales Revolution

Speaker: Shawna Suckow, Speaker, Author

There’s a lot at stake for businesses today. Following the recession, we’ve experienced one of the biggest shifts in consumer behavior in history. They’ve changed their attention patterns, personal habits, and buying preferences. Consumers don't respond to traditional marketing or advertising methods anymore, and 90% distrust businesses. What’s a company supposed to do? Join consumer behavior expert Shawna Suckow as she shares the insider secrets from her best-selling book (Don’t Become Extinct! Join the Sales Evolution), based on extensive consumer research. She’ll show you exactly how you can stand out above all the noise, be more likeable, trustworthy, and memorable, so more customers choose you and rave about you to others. This session will position you better for the immediate future, as well as prepare you for coming shifts. You’ll learn new ways to use old tools that will save you lots of time and frustration.

Participant Outcomes:
  • Discover new tools and actionable strategies that will help you connect with more customers, and turn them into brand ambassadors
  • Learn from Shawna’s latest research: what types of marketing actually work today to get their attention, build credibility, and establish trust (it's not what you think!).
  • Discover what will keep you relevant well into the future (when many businesses will go extinct!).

Breakout Sessions

3:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. 


3:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

I Am Extraordinary! – Creativity, Change & Finding Meaning - Living at Your Highest Potential

Speaker: Magie Cook, Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, Author

Can you imagine being a little girl, born in an orphanage in a third world country, suffering with hunger, abuse and poverty, and immigrating into the US, to pursue an opportunity in the food manufacturing and distribution business? That’s right! Magie was a homeless woman in the US when she started her company with $800 and sold it (with Garden Fresh) to Campbell’s 11 years later for $231m. She will share with you her insights about the powerful force of creativity, the implementation of change, and finding purpose and meaning while digging deep into her growth mindset and unwavering attitude of mind which propelled her to her success.

4:00 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. 

Synthesis & Interactive Discussion

5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Networking Reception

Tuesday, July 21

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Attendee Breakfast
Chairman's Breakfast

9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.
Welcome and Recap of Day 1

Julien LeBlanc, President and Partner, blueprint North America

9:15 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

General Session – Chick-fil-A – Operator Perspective

Speaker: Paul Trotti, Executive Director, Chick-fil-A

10:00 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

Industry Challenge – Dealing with Disruption and eCommerce

Julien LeBlanc, President and Partner, blueprint North America

As we enter the new roaring 20’s, we’re all dealing with similar challenges and opportunities as it relates to Disruption and E-commerce. The legendary management guru, Peter Drucker, once said “There’s nothing more dangerous than the right answer to the wrong question." Against this backdrop, let’s ask ourselves the right question while learning, sharing and solving similar problems together! We will break-out into 4 rooms to allow more free-flowing conversations - These sessions will be led by the blueprint North America team.

10:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

General Session – Restaurant Industry 2030: What Distributors Should Knowriehle-images.JPG

Speakers: B. Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President, Research & Knowledge Group and Annika Stensson, Director, Research & Industry Insights, IFDA

The only constant in the next decade will be the speed of change the restaurant and foodservice industry will face. Trends will evolve and industry growth will turn up the heat on competition.

Understanding how operators will need to adapt to new consumer preferences and innovative business models helps distributors be better advisors to their

Learn about current and future foodservice trends from the latest IFDA and National Restaurant Association research.

11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Synthesis & Key Takeaways

12:00 p.m. 



Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we are not taking registrations at this time.

Hotel & Destination

We secured the great rate of $149. Please Note: You must register to the conference before you will be able to reserve a guest room at the conference rate.  A housing link will be sent to you with your confirmation details.

Within New Orleans’ French Quarter on Canal Street, The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans four-star hotel honors the city through its services and décor. Housed in the historic Beaux Arts Maison Blanche building from 1908, the hotel pairs southern charm with boutique luxury.

The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans
921 Canal St
New Orleans, LA 70112


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.



Special Thanks to our Current Sponsors

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