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Corporate Culture Expert Betsy Allen-Manning to Deliver Opening Keynote at Elevate 2024

Seventh ICFA Educational Conference Returns to Hotel Valley Ho.

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“Studies show that 85 percent of a person’s success in life is due to their people skills, yet it’s one of the most difficult skills to master,” says Betsy Allen-Manning, the corporate culture expert slated to open Elevate 2024 in Scottsdale on February 19. The recognized author, podcast host and business consultant will kick off a two-and-a-half-day program with her talk, “People Savvy: Improve Communication, Build Better Relationships and Deal with Difficult People Effectively.”

The human behavior specialist will describe how different personalities prefer to communicate, connect, be influenced, make decisions and resolve conflict. By breaking down various personality types, conference attendees will gain an understanding of how to work better with others and get the desired results. In addition, each attendee will be invited to complete an online personality assessment before the event that is intended to help build effective leadership skills, improve teamwork and boost productivity.

ICFA’s 2024 Educational Conference is scheduled at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Ariz., on February 18-21 and features a roster of experts to address the current business environment and ways to be most successful in the outdoor furniture industry. The mid-century-modern boutique property was the site of ICFA’s first Educational Conference in 2017 and a favorite of attendees.

Jessica Salisbury, CEO and Creative Director of Village Green Home and Garden in Rockford, Ill., and Marketing Director Jessica “Kiki” Knudson will present “Making Social Media Work for You.” The general talk will be followed by a breakout session featuring hands-on, how-to instruction for creating results-oriented social media posts.

“Trends in Home Design & Decorating” will be reported by Bridget Sellers, Senior Research Director and Head of Primary Research for Dotdash Meredith. The digital media company is the parent of many popular home furnishings publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Martha Stewart, Magnolia, Real Simple and Southern Living.

Two panel discussions are planned to include a group of consumers who are currently in the market for casual furniture and a group of female retail executives conversing on hot topics.

To set a foundation for strategizing business moves in 2024 and beyond, Mark Vitner, chief economist at Piedmont Crescent Capital, will present the latest U.S. economic outlook. Vitner is responsible for tracking national and regional economic conditions and produces regular reports on residential and commercial construction, regional economies and issues affecting small business.

Chris Andresen, senior vice president at Dutko GR, will update “What’s Happening in Washington?” As part of the government relations team for ICFA, Chris specializes in identifying policy opportunities and threats in order to create legislative and regulatory strategies.

On the regulatory front, Michael Sullivan, a partner at ICFA legal counsel Womble Bond Dickinson, will bring attendees up to date on the latest legislative activity pertaining to PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) found in some performance fabrics.

A much-loved conference presenter, Ty Bennett returns to deliver the closing keynote address on Wednesday morning, “Partnership is the New Leadership.” This presentation is based upon the results of a survey asking business executives what they wanted from their people; the answer is commitment. “What builds commitment is the leader’s approach to building relationships, providing value, creating buy-in and communicating with influence,” says Bennett. His talk will provide specific ways to provide value that creates influence, how to use stories to communicate a vision that people commit to and keys to building relationships that last.

The agenda additionally features breakout groups, roundtable discussions and a variety of social opportunities for networking. A retail design tour to designer studio INSIDE/OUT Showrooms and Summer Classics’ newest store in Scottsdale, golfing at The Phoenician Golf Course and a tennis outing are optional activities taking place on Sunday before the alfresco opening reception and dinner.

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