As the petals fade from the 136th SAF convention, held this year in Orlando, allow me to reflect on my experience.
Despite all the angst and indecision about, will there be a convention? Will I go? And who will attend? I am most pleased to report that there was a show and I happily attended.
Universal Orlando is a good place to hold a convention anytime, but in September it was very good because the parks are empty, so not so much crowding around the hotels. SAF is known for having events in swanky places and this maze of hotels and entertainment was no exception.
The event was full of educational, networking, and social events and some very good speakers.
There were just over 400 attendees of which 100 & were first timers, which suggest to me that SAF is appealing to a wider audience. For me the highlight remains people getting together and interacting, in person, once again.
At the kickoff breakfast Charlie Hall of Texas A&M gave a presentation titled “Searching for the end of uncertainty” Charlie studies the flower business and predicts that this current shortage of flowers and strong market will persist for 12 more months.
Then there is the popular and coveted Outstanding varieties competition, where breeders and growers get a chance to show off their new varieties to be judged. This year the over all winner was Danziger with a chrysanthemum called. Amor Candy:
The Silvia Cup design competition is a longtime favorite pitting 12 designers against each other in a fight to the last snip.
This year’s winner is: Jenna Naylor Temple
There were some very educational rapid sessions including one by Renato Sogueo of Floriology demonstrating how to take good photos and the equipment required.
Here are some of the other great and relevant topics covered:
Turning new customers into repeat buyers
Recruiting in a post pandemic world
Advanced social media skills builder
And much more.
One notable presentation was held virtually with a google representative who presented the concept of “Machine learning”. This presentation blew us away falling somewhere between fascinating and scary! Simply put it means that computers can learn to improve their skills given specific tasks and guidelines. This may not sound so new, as we all know of computers beating humans in chess. But that was a long time ago and they have gotten so, so much better. Google uses this power to predict things like how many times a customer will make a purchase and much more. Should you want to know more search “AlphaGo”.
There was a panel of industry professionals that gave very personal and interesting presentations on how they handled Covid so far. Well worth hearing.
As with every organization there were elections, thank you-s and congratulations to go around.
Chris Drummond, of Penny’s by Plaza Flowers handed the President’s gavel over to Michelle Castellano-Keeler, of Mellano and Co.
Finally, since the Proflora 2021 show was cancelled, which means there was no grand, ever so memorable, party held at “Andres Carnes de Res”. The good folks from Asocolflores decided to bring Andres to Orlando. You just had to be there!
Well-done, but if you really want to know all the good things you can learn at an SAF event.
Sign up for one. You do not have to be a member. I cannot possibly share all the benefits in a few paragraphs but if you watch my video picture review you might get a better sense.
See you somewhere.