SGMA hones new attitude, still figuring out The Super Show

A month after the latest SGMA board meeting and five months after Tom Cove took over the presidency, the association is moving ahead to determine who it is, what it should do best, and how it presents itself, while the question of the future of The Super Show still hangs in the air.
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A month after the latest SGMA board meeting and five months after Tom Cove took over the presidency, the association is moving ahead to determine who it is, what it should do best, and how it presents itself, while the question of the future of The Super Show still hangs in the air.

"We all know there are changes that need to be made," director of marketing Kalinda Mathis told SNEWS®, noting a recent press release that was the first to present the group with its new, business-like tone.

One of the tasks Cove and the group has been busy with is hiring people like Mathis, who in turn are hiring others and stepping in to get the association where it needs to be -- "redefining and transforming," as SGMA Vice President Gregg Hartley put it.

A press release in mid-May noted that the SGMA "intends to focus on creating more sustainable value for SGMA members -- and a shaper presence in Washington." It also noted that the vision can deliver value to members "beyond The Super Show" and has brought in a team with expertise in sports management, member relations and legislative affairs. Hartley and Mike May, director of media relations, are the only two left from the former management team.

New staff tacks ship in new direction
Others who have joined SGMA in the last couple of months include:

>> Mathis, director of marketing, most recently served seven years as the executive director of the International Inline Skating Association. Mathis will drive new development of member programs focused on product innovation, technology advancements and thought leadership.
>> Chris Strong, director of membership and business development, carries 15 years of member relations success with one of Washington's largest trade associations, the National Association of Manufacturers. Strong will help develop "a member-centric association focused on stronger, more meaningful ties to the SGMA membership."
>> Bill Sells, lead staff for legislative affairs, who succeeds Cove's previous role with SGMA. Sells' primary contribution will be to build advocacy programs "leveraging his network of key affiliations." Sells has worked for two decades involved with association lobbying and national campaign administration.
>> John Mamone, CFO, has years of association management and financial experience with various Washington trade organizations.  
>> Andrea Cernich, director of communications, has served in a similar capacity to build member relations with the American Bankers Association. She will develop a targeted, aggressive membership communications platform that promotes "the new SGMA value through membership activity, interaction and participation."

The Super Show?
Meanwhile, the question of The Super Show, its future, its structure, location, name and SGMA's involvement are still without formally announced decision. Since it is now not much more than seven months until the show's 2006 dates of Jan. 23-25, it seems clear that Orlando and the show of old will continue for at least one more year.

What's next beyond 2006, which happens to be the SGMA's 100th anniversary? "We have a lot of ideas," Hartley told SNEWS®. The goal is however to make it serve the manufacturer members and to represent the industry. Leaders have agreed, he said, that sporting goods needs some kind of trade show. But the format and other details may be a new ball game soon. (See SNEWS® story, March 23, 2005, "SGMA digs deep to analyze future of The Super Show.")

In March, Cove told SNEWS® that "hard decisions had been made already, and it was at that time all about execution.

The May press release thumped the message a couple of times of things "beyond The Super Show," a mantra chanted over and over by management.

"We're very aggressively going after things that are important to our members," Mathis added, "to help them do their business better so our industry grows."

The prediction that the group would make announcements in May about the show's direction have of course been delayed.

SNEWS® View: With the newest message heard over and over in written materials and in spoken works being "beyond The Super Show," it seems more than clear that the group is paving the way toward a show that may be so different it won't be recognizable. It seems to be trying to soften the announcement when it does come that The Super Show of yore and the fodder of many stories may go the way of the veritable gooney bird. We just wish they would pull the plug and get it over with to indeed get on with life "beyond The Super Show."  

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