Romney to Headline CRC

Published in CSP Daily News

Presidential candidate joins Wozniak, Covey as main-stage speakers

By  Steve Holtz, Online News Director & Beverage Editor

SAN ANTONIO -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been confirmed as a keynote speaker at CSP's Convenience Retailing Conference 2008, leading a lineup of strong main-stage speakers to balance the learning opportunities offered by the inaugural Convenience Retailing University.

We're thrilled to have Mitt join us, said David Jobe, president of CSP's Leadership Conferences & Events Division. Other leadership experts that will take the stage during the Feb. 11-13, 2008, conference include Steve Wozniak, a co-founder of Apple Computers, [image-nocss] and best-selling author Stephen Covey.

The opportunity to have a presidential candidate address the concerns, issues and opportunities around our industry, including Q&A is excellent, said Jobe. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Wozniak said he'll share some stories of time in the trenches at Apple and other aspects of his life.

I try to include jokes, humor; I do a very entertaining talk, Wozniak, who recently published an autobiography titled iWoz, told CSP Daily News. I [try to] touch people emotionally. I also back through some of the interesting Apple history and relate it to whatever business the people are in that I'm speaking to.

For the Convenience Retailing Conference (CRC), like Wozniak's book, that will mean sharing how pure persistence and personal drive can make a business and a brand resonate with consumers.

You get into the heart of somebody who was young and wanted to create things and do thingsnot for money, but just loved doing it. [It's about] how two young people, myself and Steve Jobs, in our young 20s with no business experience at all made some good, sound common-sense decisions, he said. Here's how we did this. We just wanted to get somewhere. And also, where the excellence came from, a lot of the clues for that.

Meanwhile, Covey, author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and The Eight Habit, will share his eight habits of leadershipboth for business and familythat he says echo more than 15 years after he wrote his first book.

I think that the principals are timeless and also universal. In 'The Seven Habits ' I dealt with the personal and the interpersonal. In [my follow-up book] 'The Eighth Habit,' I deal with leadership as organizational because until you institutionalize moral authorityjust like our Constitution institutionalized the Declaration of Independencethen you're still dependent upon who the formal leader is, he told CSP Daily News.

But eventually, you can get to a point where people are empowered and unleashed and affirmed so that they're no longer that much of a product of who the formal leader is at a particular time, he continued. And that's the real key to an organization, to build the principles right into the structures and the systems, [meaning] the way they recruit, train, select, compensate, communicate, decision-make, etc. etc. [Once that's built] into the structure], then you have very, very low cost, extremely high trust, and a great deal of speed so that people have a tremendous repertoire to deal with human problems and needs.

Covey, who has taught his leadership methods to institutions, businesses and government leaders around the world, is also working with Romney on his campaign and was instrumental in getting him to join the CRC lineup.

With Mitt Romney, I see him as a person of such unusual character strengths and also such a strategic, brilliant mind, that I feel that he kind of embodies these principles that are universal and timeless, and I think he would totally revolutionize what takes place in Washington, he said. I also think he's a great collaborator with a great ability to tap into the capacity of other people and produce third, alternative solutions rather than 'my way or your way.' And to me, that's one of the great needs we have today.

During the conference, these keynote speakers will be balanced with a strong lineup of educational forums and workshops, dubbed Convenience Retailing University. It's this combination of strong speakers and useful education that makes CRC a conference worth returning to, according to retailer Mike Scarpelli, vice president of marketing for Southwest Convenience Stores, Odessa, Texas.

What I like about the show most is that it's not one of those mega-shows, and everything within it is to the point, said Scarpelli. The information that we've gotten on foodservice out of the show has been excellent, and I especially like the fact that the presenters cover a wide range [of subjects]. It's not just merchandising, and that is the reason we have two or three people go. Not one person can cover all the information [that's presented].

Further, Scarpelli, who said he looks forward to hearing Wozniak speak at the next show, added that he enjoys the fact that not all the speakers are straight out of the c-store industry.

All these kinds of things get us out of our box and make us look at a more expanded world, he said. It's so easy for everybody in their job to get in a real narrow focus, and this opens up your world and make you start thinking again. It helps generate ideas that you can do yourself within your own company.

For more information about the Convenience Retailing Conference, which will be held in San Antonio, visit www.convenienceretailing.com. To read complete transcripts of CSP's interviews with Covey and Wozniak, visit the CSP Discussion Board.

By Steve Holtz, Online News Director & Beverage Editor
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