The President's Message: May 2012
The recent conference in Stuart was a hit.

The key conference objective of the Community Papers of Florida (CPF) board of directors was to train, entertain and send the team members who attended the annual conference in Stuart home with revenue-making ideas, awards and maybe even some cash in their pockets.

Mission accomplished.

Accomplishing the goals of this year's conference in Stuart was a challenge. The budget determined by the board was thousands less than we have spent in previous years. Falling revenues gave us little choice but to make the necessary cuts required in 2012. The conference committee chaired by Wendy Murray deserves a lot of kudos for managing a tight budget and putting on a quality conference. We accomplished this feat without using paid speakers. Rather, we relied on the talent in the association and the results were first class.

We did use Rob Zarrilli from The Leadership Institute (TLI) for a training session. TLI is supported by the Association of Free Community Papers (AFCP) and we thank them for this valuable service to the free paper associations. We thank Rob for his spirited session on customer retention.

Congratulations are in order to the Awards for Excellence winners. Some 160 award plaques were presented by the judges of this event, and all were well deserved.

For her long time support of the CPF classified network, Pat Snyder of Hometown News was named the recipient of the annual Terry Hisken Telemarketing Excellence award. She was presented with the perpetual trophy, an individual plaque and a check for $500. Long overdue! Congratulations, Pat!

Our popular Three Minute Idea Fair made its long-awaited return and 15 superb ideas were presented. Hats off to the Three Minute Idea Fair winners: Jeretta Kimberlin, Sandy Betlach and Russell Gazzana & Mickie Carusos.

A special thanks goes out to the members who provided the seminars. This includes Carlos Guzman, Lisa Del Monte, Pat Snyder, Dan Autrey, Terry Ramp, Tim Bingaman, Charlie Delatorre, Tom Adams and Gary Hawken, who returned from retirement to moderate the Three Minute Idea Fair.

Dan filled in for Peter Lamb at the open mike session. Peter missed his first conference in maybe ever, because on April 30, Alexander entered the world in all his eight pound, six ounce glory. Congratulations to Peter and Ana Pican on the birth of their son! Great job, Dan, on the open mike session.

The Friday reception at the Lyric Flagler Center in Stuart was an event worth writing home about - great venue, great [Justo] libations, food, and great entertainment.

The Kentucky Derby Reception? What can we say? This event is a tradition in the free paper industry, and this "run for the roses" was no exception. All the attendees went home with great memories, and some even went home with cash and other prizes.

At this conference in Stuart, CPF may have started another tradition. We provided a gift - which is the norm - to the outgoing president, Mr. Delatorre. This is probably the first time in history that a gavel has been passed in this manner. But you probably had to be there to really appreciate it. (See the related photos and article in this issue.) Gary Rudy, executive director of the Independent Free Papers of America (IFPA), dressed up as 90-year-old Salma and became the star of the gavel event.

The average cost of attendance for each member and their guests was close to $500 per person. The costs for this conference - the entertainment, the gifts, the food and beverages - are made possible because of the sale of the CPF classified network ads. A special THANK YOU to all the CPF sellers; you made this learning possible.

As the incoming president, I assure you that the main focus and goal of the board of directors will continue to be increasing classified revenue so we may continue to provide the present level of membership benefits we enjoy. During these times when the print media is losing classified revenue, we need to roll up our sleeves, increase our creativity and get to work to ensure that we continue to excel as an association.

It was a great conference. We will now start working on getting ready for the 2013 conference, which will be scheduled in Orlando. Stay tuned for details!

Thank you for attending.

– Justo Rey, CPF President 2012-2014


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