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Manufacturing Associations Are Stronger Together

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The NAM’s most effective allies aren’t just manufacturers themselves, but other manufacturing associations as well. And the strength of those alliances was on full display this month, as the NAM’s Council of Manufacturing Associations hosted its first virtual Winter Leadership Conference.

Despite the limitations of the pandemic, a record showing of association leaders turned out to discuss the future of the industry. Here’s a look at what they did.

The background: With a membership of 250 national manufacturing associations representing 130,000 companies worldwide, the CMA creates partnerships across the industry and amplifies manufacturers’ voices. It’s the place to be if you want to connect with association CEOs, senior staff executives, experts and decision makers of all kinds.

A meeting of leaders: Here are some of the highlights of the CMA conference, which showcased the incredible network of leaders that the NAM has built up.

  • “Leading in the Midst of Uncertainty”: NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons spoke to Biotechnology Innovation Organization President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath about the pharmaceutical industry’s role in vaccine development during a year unlike any other.
  • “The Changing Geopolitical Landscape”: Retired U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal chatted with Steel Manufacturers Association President Philip Bell about how changes in foreign policy will alter the way manufacturers work.
  • “Rising to the Occasion”: Timmons and Stephen Ubl, president and CEO of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), spoke about what manufacturers have done to combat COVID-19 and how they will protect the supply chain that is critical to vaccine delivery.
  • “An Economic Forecast”: NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray spoke about what manufacturers can expect in 2021, as well as what the “new normal” might look like.

The conference also featured smaller discussions among association executives on topics such as “Recruiting in a COVID-19 Environment”; “Planning, Promoting and Producing Online Experiences”; “The Digital Transformation”; and “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” In addition, leaders discussed how they can collaborate to advance manufacturers’ policy priorities with the new Congress and administration.

New leadership: The CMA announced new leadership at the conference as well. Robb MacKie, president and CEO of the American Bakers Association, will serve as the new CMA chair, and Bell will serve as CMA vice chair.

CMA Leadership Award: Every year, the CMA recognizes the association leader who has done the most to advance and expand this influential network. This year the award went to Steve Caldeira, president and CEO of the Household & Commercial Products Association.

  • As Timmons said about Caldeira, “Steve has been a powerful force for CMA recruitment and retention. He’s convened his peers and colleagues in timely CMA discussions . . . [and has] been an indispensable voice for the CMA among the broader association community.”

The last word: As Timmons put it in his opening remarks, “Our country needs real leaders right now. It needs people who will speak truth and bring light into darkness. And the business community has to provide that leadership.”

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