State Association Executives Gather for Key Updates and Discussion

State association executives from around the country convened virtually last week for the sixth annual State Association Executive Summit (SAES), hosted by CDA and sponsored by Altria Group Distribution Co. and Reynolds.

"It was energizing to spend time with this group, even though we only had three hours in Microsoft Teams," said Kimberly Bolin, CDA president and CEO. "This is such a dynamic group that has so much knowledge and experience to share. I have tremendous respect for the work that each and every one does that contributes to the overall success of our industry."

View the video to the right for a wrap-up of the event.

The group assembles every year to hear key industry updates, discuss issues directly impacting their members and build their network with other state association executives. Attendees heard from industry experts with a legislative update from CDA’s policy advisor, Shannon Campagna; external relations beifing by Reynolds’ Matt Domingo; tobacco legislative and regulatory update with Tom Briant, National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO); tobacco harm reduction and public policy discussion by David Sylvia, Altria Group Distribution Co.; and a WeCard program update by Doug Anderson, president of The We Card Program, Inc.

“Once again, the CDA team put together a great program,” said Dan Leaman, executive director, Michigan Distributors & Vendors Association Inc. “We discussed relevant topics, including issues that are impacting the industry now and likely to impact us in the future. The summit provides an excellent opportunity to access a wealth of industry knowledge and experiences from state executives around the country; this should not be missed.”

“The summit meeting was a great opportunity to hear about both state and national issues,” said Tom Underwood, executive director, Kentucky Wholesale Distributors Association. “It’s critically important for states to have a good dialogue and have these opportunities. An issue that shows up in one state is surely going to show up in another, and it’s important to find out what worked and what didn’t.”

Above, Kimberly Bolin, CDA president and CEO, welcomes the State Executive before presentations begin.

The Summit is annually supported through the generous partnership of Altria Group Distribution Co. and Reynolds. These supplier partners recognize the importance of engagement on issues at state levels and the expertise of the state association executives.

“Given that we’re on year two of having a virtual summit, it was well worth the time to be here, be present and hear about everything the presenters had to say,” said Beth Wymer, executive director, Ohio Wholesale Marketers Association. “We all are so tuned into what’s happening in our own states that this is a good opportunity to become more aware of what’s happening in other states and hear about fresh approaches to issues we’re dealing with.”

To the right, attendees pose in their offices during the virtual event.