Let’s Skate to Where the Puck Is Going to Be

CEO Business Message: Cindy Sheridan
December 12, 2023
By Cindy Sheridan

It’s a given – societal clout shifts from those who are older to those who are younger. Tomorrow inevitably belongs to the young … in terms of purchase power, cultural change, and business success.

Ever since PHCC was founded 140 years ago, we have witnessed the beauty of that shift … the next generation learning from the one before it, business owners getting their children involved in the family business and in PHCC, member contractors volunteering to guide young apprentices, PHCC zones collaborating with each other to create fun activities that engage the future of the industry … the list goes on.

At some point, the older generation retires and leaves that future in the hands of the young, and they bring new ideas, new energy, and new points of view. The cycle continues, while progress is made.

Securing the Future
And so, for PHCC, the challenge isn’t merely to find new members; it’s to attract and engage younger members, the ones with all those new ideas. It’s the younger members who will help PHCC embrace the future in ways that ensure our continued success and, most importantly, growth.

We need younger members to step up … to volunteer to be chapter leaders or zone directors, to participate in career fairs, to engage with PHCC on social media, to serve on a committee, and to lobby on policies that are important to the industry and consumers. Fortunately, we are seeing younger faces at PHCC events – individuals who have a lot of potential to lead the organization in the future – but we’ve got to tap into their strengths and encourage them to get more involved. At the same time, we need to be on the lookout for others who can make an impact on the organization.

Our veteran members often share how volunteering benefits their business exponentially more than what they give. “I hope others step up, because the more you do, the better off you are,” said our new PHCC—National President Joe Cornetta, a testament to his more than 23 years of experiences on both the giving and receiving end of PHCC (see Joe’s recent President’s Corner).

So how do we get the next generation involved so they, too, can realize the benefits of active membership as well as the responsibility they have to secure the future of this essential industry?

My Challenge to You
Steve Jobs always said that the guiding vision of Apple was based on something hockey great Wayne Gretsky once said: “Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” As we all know, Jobs was visionary in the sense of “programming the future.” And there are some lessons we at PHCC can take from that.

As was discussed among the PHCC Board of Directors recently, we have to realize that the leaders of tomorrow – some of whom are young children right now – have or will have a different paradigm, a different view of the world. Overall, the Board concluded that the needs and time constraints of younger contractors have changed, and – accordingly – PHCC’s membership value proposition needs to change.

So my challenge to all of you is:

  • What are some top-level ideas, strategies, and approaches that will enable PHCC to reach, recruit, and engage younger contractors?
  • What can we do that we are not doing now that will help us capture the attention and attract the next generation of our industry?

I want to hear from you! Please email me at executiveoffice@naphcc.org with your thoughts on forward-thinking approaches. Just like Jobs’ Apple products, we need our people – and their ideas and efforts – to represent the future.

Cindy Sheridan, CAE is Chief Executive Officer of PHCC—National Association. With decades of association management experience – most recently as the Chief Operating Officer of the PHCC Educational Foundation – Sheridan and her team work to ensure that PHCC contractors are the best choice for professionalism, reliable products, and knowledgeable service.

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