Says former Secretary of State: “The bottom line is there has to be some way to lower the temperature”
TREVOSE, PA – January 6, 2020 – Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright emphasized the importance of diplomacy, teamwork and maintaining an optimistic outlook in challenging times during a frank, wide-ranging Q&A with ASI President and Chief Executive Officer Timothy M. Andrews on the final exhibit day of ASI Show® Orlando, hosted January 4-6 by the Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) at Florida’s Orange County Convention Center.
During his hour-long, on-stage interview, Andrews asked the blunt Secretary of State about recent events in the Middle East and what she might advise President Trump, who’s taken a hard line against Iran. “It’s very hard to walk back what just happened,” she said. “The president will be operating on the basis of a fear factor and we can’t operate like that. Diplomacy is the bread and butter of how countries talk to each other… We’re in a very dangerous place. The bottom line is there has to be some way to lower the temperature.”
Albright spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of over 400 small-business owners, sales reps, distributors and exhibitors from throughout the $24.7 billion promotional products industry gathered for the three-day trade show. ASI Orlando attracted exhibitors and distributors from 19 countries and 47 states, including 2,556 attendees from Florida. Plus, 15 distributor companies chose Orlando to host sales meetings, including many Counselor® Top 40 companies.
When she was a refugee, Albright said, people would sympathize with her difficult situation but conclude by asking when she would be going back home. Americans, however, would ask when she would become a citizen. “That’s what made America different from every country in the world,” Albright said.
In many ways, Albright’s early life bouncing from country to country during a troubled political climate made her uniquely suited to understand America’s role. “It made me understand the fragility of the society we live in,” she said. “I grew up in an assessment of how foreign policy affected ordinary people. …When the U.S. is absent, terrible things happened.”
Attendees applauded throughout the keynote, punctuated by Albright’s warmth and humor. “I was just blown away by the keynote,” said Megan Beisser, from AIM Smarter (asi/522700). “I loved the part where she spoke about how it was a team effort for everything she did at the White House as Secretary of State and I am a big believer of that. For everything I do, it is all about who we have working for us and being proud of what we do.”
George Kleine, of Florida’s Hobe Sound Beach Shop, said he was so impressed with Albright’s quote about being a working mother, “Every woman’s middle name is guilt,” that he immediately called his shop to start printing it on T-shirts. “She was absolutely marvelous,” said Kleine, who attended with his sister, Barb McLaughlin. “It couldn’t have been better, from start to finish – her frankness, honesty and sense of humor.”
ASI’s Orlando show (#asiorlando), the first large industry event of the 2020 selling season, attracted over 4,500 distributor attendees with 515 exhibitors, 63 new to Orlando. ASI successfully responded to supplier requests to reduce the number of non-members and the resulting attendance numbers reflected those efforts.
“As times change, success is measured differently,” said Rita Ugianskis-Fishman, senior vice president and general manager of ASI Show. “Over the course of numerous conversations with our supplier and distributor members it became evident that our supplier members are looking to engage with ASI members and fewer non-members. With that in mind, we made a conscious decision with the 2020 show season to focus on attracting even more ASI distributor members and we’re proud that our efforts paid off with a higher percentage of members. We’re also gratified our supplier members were overwhelmingly enthusiastic and happy with the distributors they met.”
Distributors and suppliers told ASI they loved the three-day show, finding it productive to their business.
“Every year that I have come, my sales have increased exponentially,” said distributor Melissa Steindler, from Palm Printing (asi/302031). “There have been great suppliers and great products. I highly recommend coming to the ASI Show in the future.”
“The show attendance is strong every year, so we keep coming back,” said supplier Joe Fina, from DEVARA (asi/49470). “We see existing customers, new customers and launch new products. We make it a point to do all three ASI Shows and we’re always pleased, and we keep coming back. And the hot dogs are good too!”
ASI show upgraded its show floor experience for 2020 and introduced a new show theme, “Discovery Starts Here.”
On Education Day, more than 1,367 businesspeople enjoyed all-new tracks and classes covering myriad subjects like social media, marketing, sales and design. During the New Product Preview Reception, more than 563 people mingled over new supplier products while networking with the day’s education speakers and other distributors.
At the ASI Show Bash at Universal Studios Florida, over 1,256 people enjoyed the latest attractions, food and entertainment.
In addition, ASI honored nearly 180 of the top-performing suppliers and celebrated industry shopping bags leader Bag Makers (asi/37940) as the Supplier of the Year at the annual Counselor Distributor Choice Awards.
Registration is open for ASI Fort Worth, Monday, February 3-Wednesday, February 5, at the Fort Worth Convention Center, with motivational speaker Jesse Itzler; and ASI Chicago, Tuesday, July 21-Thursday, July 23, at McCormick Place, featuring NFL legend Terry Bradshaw.
For more info on ASI shows, contact Cheryl Kahan-Radhuber, director of marketing, at [email protected]. To learn more about exhibiting or sponsorship opportunities for 2020, contact Paul Elmer at [email protected] or (215) 953-3652.
About ASI Show
The ASI Show Family of Events – ASI Show, fASIlitate, fASI500 and the ASI Roadshow in the U.S. and Canada – fosters business-building relationships among ASI member distributors and suppliers, and includes options to meet the needs of the entire membership base. ASI Shows, the flagship series, are large-scale convention center trade shows held in Orlando, Fort Worth and Chicago. fASIlitate is a hosted buyer event that brings together the industry’s elite – top suppliers and million-dollar distributors – for three days of scheduled one-on-one meetings in select hotels across the country. FASI500is a new hosted buyer event which brings together suppliers and distributors who sell over a half of a million dollars in the promotional products industry. The ASI Roadshow visits top cities across North America and gives distributors an opportunity to escort their top clients. Visit asishow.com for more information about our full event portfolio.