Vince Lombardi famously said, “Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”

No strangers to hard work, key leaders in our industry will come together to cultivate their skills at the Adhesive and Sealant Council’s (ASC) 2019 Executive Leadership Conference, which will be held October 21-23 in Hilton Head, S.C. On the agenda are multiple educational programs and plenty of networking opportunities, plus a new half-day session for emerging leaders in the adhesive and sealant industry.


Emerging Leaders Workshop

ASC’s new Emerging Leaders Workshop will be held from 12-5 p.m. on October 21. Ellen Burts-Cooper, Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University and Weatherhead executive faculty member, will moderate the interactive workshop. Sessions during this special program will be geared toward managers who are early/mid-career and are interested in developing their leadership skills, particularly in terms of effective team building.

Group discussion will be encouraged during the workshop, as the program aims to assist participants in sharing successful strategies while providing tools for individual leadership development. Registration is discounted for those who choose to attend the full Executive Leadership Conference.


Session Highlights

The Executive Leadership Conference program will kick off at 8:50 a.m. on Tuesday, October 22, with an event overview from Brian McSwigan, ASC chair and vice president of Pressure Sensitive Adhesives for Henkel Corp. Following his remarks, Ken Mayland, president of ClearView Economics, LLC, will speak from 9-10:15 a.m., detailing “The 2020 Economic/Business Outlook: Is The Tank Running Out of Gas?”

Beginning at 10:45 a.m., Bob Marquette, senior vice president of Bostik, will share “Strategies on Leading Organizational Change.” According to Marquette, many organizations are adept at the “mechanical side of change management.” They develop detailed action plans, various timelines, change forms, checklists, and maybe even charts. Where companies often struggle, though, is with communication and employee alignment.

“The front-line workers who actually do the work aren’t part of the change planning, or they don’t understand how they support the changes,” Marquette explains. “From my own experience, and what I’ve seen with other companies, when you can get the power of all of the employees working to really drive the change and gain their engagement, the execution and results are so much better.”

Companies often think that effective communication is simple—perhaps they send out an email from the CEO detailing the upcoming changes, or maybe they post some signage. But according to Marquette, these types of methods aren’t sufficient in and of themselves.

“That’s not effective communication,” he explains. “A lot of companies are guilty of it. If you want to communicate a message, you have to make sure your teams understand why changes are necessary, how change will benefit them and the organization, and how they link to the changes. You have to reinforce it over and over again, to the point that people grow tired of hearing it. If you don’t, it just doesn’t stick.”

After lunch, John Beagle, managing director and co-founder of Grace Matthews Inc., will discuss “Blurred Lines—Strategic M&A Transactions in Adhesives and Sealants.” Then, from 2:45-3 p.m., Bill Allmond, president of the ASC, will wrap up Tuesday’s program, provide details regarding the evening’s scheduled activities, and share highlights of what’s to come on Wednesday.

Wednesday morning’s program will kick off at 8:30 a.m., as Crystal Morrison, CEO of EverRise and director of The ChemQuest Group, discusses “Innovation Requires High Performance Leadership.” Innovation doesn’t just happen like magic, according to Morrison—it has to be cultivated by company leadership.

“Innovation is actually an act of leadership, not just creativity,” she says. “Today’s effective leaders look at innovation as the process of transforming an idea into intrinsic value. They also understand that innovation isn’t just new technology; it can also involve leveraging different business models into emerging markets or taking a technology they already have and addressing an unmet need in a completely different market. Most importantly, effective leaders understand that innovation is so much more than just creating a flashy brochure or a new innovation center or an innovation award. They really understand that they have to create a culture and a high-performance organization that allows innovation to happen.”

How can leaders help ensure that their company innovates effectively? An important first step involves a bit of introspection, according to Morrison. “The most important thing that a leader has to do is to look at themselves first,” she explains. “They need to ask themselves, ‘Am I behaving in such a way that I’m actually fostering an environment that allows innovation to happen?’”

Leaders also need to be sure they’re helping to develop strong leaders through the entire organization. “It’s not enough to just have brilliant scientists or brilliant marketing people,” Morrison says. “They have to be able to communicate their ideas clearly, communicate the vision of the company, and get people moving in that direction.”

From 9:30-10:30 a.m., Tim Stanislaus, head of Enterprise Sales for Amazon business, will discuss “Opportunities for Chemical Buyers and Sellers on Amazon Business.” Following a short break, motivational speaker Scott Burrows will share his personal story in “Vision-Mindset-Grit: Success Strategies to Help You Stand Up to Any Challenge.” When a car accident left Burrows paralyzed at the age of 19, he turned to the art of visualization to help him navigate his future.

“I really believe that was one of the biggest things for me in my paralyzed state,” Burrows says. “I could only visualize. I could only move forward in my life through visualization, so it became a really big tool for me. The first strategy of overcoming is having a clear picture of what the end result is going to be. Imprint that outcome over and over and do it so frequently that your mind can no longer see the difference between what you’re fighting for, what your motivation is, and what is real. Doing so becomes your belief, which now becomes your reality.”

Beyond visualization, Burrows also believes that success depends on one’s mindset. “Basically, what I learned in my paralyzed state from a mindset perspective is you have to be able to focus on what you can control in your life and your work, as well as your attitude, while striving to be better in the face of adversity and accepting what you simply cannot change,” he explains.

Burrows will also discuss the importance of grit and determination in going after one’s goals, as well as the need to be adaptable. “I don’t believe anything is possible,” he says. “I’m very realistic in terms of what is possible. But when you’re going after your goals, I believe that if you’re struggling to get there, you’ve got to be willing to be open to changing your way of thinking. Be open to new ideas, strategies, and solutions. You have to adapt. You have to reinvent.”


Networking and Additional Activities

A Spouse/Guest Meet and Greet networking event will be held Monday evening from 4-5 p.m., followed by an Opening Reception & Dinner from 7-9:30 p.m. Tuesday evening will feature a reception, dinner, and networking lounge from 5:30-9 p.m., and the conference will close out on Wednesday evening, from 5:30-9 p.m., at the Chair’s Reception & Dinner. In addition, both days of the Executive Leadership Conference will feature networking breakfasts beginning at 7:30 a.m., as well as a lunch on Tuesday and breaks throughout the days’ programs.

The ASC has organized several optional opportunities for attendees to enjoy themselves while networking (additional registration and fees apply). Available on Tuesday are the Bluffton Shopping Experience by Boat and a tour/tasting at Hilton Head Brewery Co. On Wednesday, attendees are invited to a golf outing at Shipyard Golf Club and a Dolphin Eco-Tour, which departs from Shelter Cove Marina and explores Broad Creek and nearby areas.

For additional details and registration information, visit