After arriving home fresh from the first face-to-face CEDIA Board of Directors’ meeting in over a year and a half my phone lit up with questions about the ‘new’ guy, so I though it might be easier to share with everyone at once by writing a few of my thoughts down here. I wasn’t part of the search team so outside of reading the CEPro article (https://www.cepro.com/business-support/associations-buying-groups/cedia-president-ceo-daryl-friedman-grammy/) about him, I didn’t have much more information about him than the rest of you. So here are my initial thoughts.
1. He is affable. When I first arrived at our hotel, the night before our meeting, Daryl made it a point to stop by to welcome everyone and introduce himself. He was friendly and greeted everyone with a warm smile and with genuine enthusiasm. This first impression carried on throughout the week as he continued to share more about himself and learn more about who each of us were.
2. He makes sure that everyone gets an opportunity to let their voice be heard. As with most meetings that haven’t occurred face to face in a while, everyone was excited to share. Daryl was quick to assess who had their hand raised and started organizing a list so that he could keep the flow of the meeting all the while allowing everyone the opportunity to share. The organization and leadership in that act alone was refreshing.
3. He can compile everyone’s thoughts and clearly summarize them to articulate the main points. After everyone shared their thoughts to his questions, he was able to quickly reiterate back to us an on-point synopsis of what was said. Which demonstrated that he not only heard us, but was able to understand us as well.
4. He does his research. According to the CEPro article, he first asked his wife to learn what she could about home technology without his assistance. Upon googling the topic, she shared that the CEDIA name never even came up. His point of learning how the average individual would search for our industry and the results they might find, was made. You also might be surprised to hear that although our first meeting was only his 3rd day on the job, he had already been researching integrators and discovering comments and concerns that you all had made. He brought several of them to our attention in the meeting to gauge our thoughts on them and discuss them.
5. He is thoughtful. During an email interaction prior to our meeting a few of the board members mentioned that they were Jewish, and the meeting would take place over Chanukah, that they should light the candles at dinner. Daryl remembered to bring one of his menorahs to dinner and surprised us all by lighting the candles and reciting the blessing. He also did a lovely job of explaining the celebration for those that were not familiar with it.
6. He’s a quick study. I was continually impressed by how quickly he was able to understand the industry stories we shared, and he was able to assess where there were gaps in what is currently being offered by CEDIA to support integrators, manufacturers and reps. His follow up was thoughtful and thorough.
7. He has some creative thoughts and ideas for CEDIA’s future. He came with some ideas that we had never really (in my experience at least) discussed before for CEDIA. They were all thoughtful, actionable and I’m sure in due time may become things that will be wonderful opportunities for the CEDIA channel. Before you ask…in the right time, it will be his information to share, not mine.
8. He is dedicated to getting to know the staff and provide them opportunities to be heard, grow, and develop within the industry. The day following our Board meeting, he held an employee town hall to meet and get to know them. He allowed them to submit questions to him ahead of time and they could even make them anonymously if they preferred. While not in attendance personally, I have heard good feedback about it.
9. He is excited about the possibilities for the future of CEDIA. He is soon going to be traveling to see companies, individuals, manufacturers, rep firms, distributors, both those that are CEDIA members and those in the industry that are not CEDIA members. If he happens to be in your area, I think it would be good to meet him if you get the opportunity and give him your genuine thoughts and perspectives.
10. I believe he will be someone you all will be excited to welcome in as well. Many of us can get a ‘read’ on people quickly. I think if you give him the opportunity, you are going to be pleasantly surprised too.
Leaving the meeting I felt optimistic about the future of CEDIA. Although I know the success cannot be shouldered by just one individual, I know that the right leader will be able to bring together a team of individuals that can be greater than the sum of their parts. That’s what the CEDIA family has always felt like for me. I’m excited about the future of our industry association and I’m ready to be a part of it, I hope that you’ll join me! Welcome to the family Daryl, I for one am excited you’re here!