The World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) recently held its Empower 2018 educational conference, Sept. 20 - 21 in San Antonio, Texas, at the La Cantera Resort, hosting members for two days packed with sessions on leadership, succession planning, income growth, and business management. Attendees engaged with presenters, shared stories, and incited discussions, facilitated by the comfortable atmosphere of one of the resort’s meeting rooms. Attendees were also able to network with one another during the Welcome Reception and dinner on Thursday, Sept. 20, as well as during breakfast and lunch breaks on Friday, Sept. 21, at the resort’s Sweetfire Kitchen.

Keynote speaker, Steve Hillis, spoke about ways to empower your team and build a more dynamic and empowering company culture to improve employee satisfaction and retention. Hillis cited employees believing their company didn’t care about them personally as being one of the main reasons for employee turnover, especially among millenials. Hillis’ keynote walked attendee’s through steps to building an empowering workplace: motivation, vision and goals, discipline, and leadership vs. management. Hillis also gave a seminar on improving communication, discussing employees’ goals with them during personal conferences, and how to communicate based on four behavior styles.

Steve Abernathy, WFCA CFO, gave a presentation on business succession by focusing on building a high-value asset. By building a high-value asset, Abernathy argued, it is much easier to find someone who wants to succeed and continue a business after the original owner retires. He also discussed with attendees various legal and financial nuts and bolts that could easily create a headache for the unprepared. John Newman talked to retailers about increasing net profitability of their businesses, discussing key business drivers and how small increases to the formula lead to exponentially greater returns.

During Debra Trueman’s sexual harassment prevention seminar, Trueman discussed how both to avoid sexual harassment claims and what to do when a claim is filed. She was also able to take questions and provide guidance and insight on how to craft a good sexual harassment policy. Roundtable discussions--Managing Online Reviews and Why Industry Certification Matters--were both lively and highly valuable, allowing attendees to discuss relevant matters in the industry and share how they were overcoming problems such as poor online reviews and the installation shortage.

All-in-all, the event was a rousing success, with great presentations, discussions, and networking all surrounded by the picturesque foothills and San Antonio skyline. Its first such event, the WFCA plans to have more regional educational events in the future.

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