Jayne Fifer is the president and CEO of the Volusia Manufacturers Association, a position she has held for 15 years. One hundred percent of the organization’s revenue comes from clients in Florida, with 95% coming from Volusia County.
What implications do you see for your business resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and how are you mitigating the potential risks and challenges?
VMA is a trade association serving the manufacturers in Volusia and Flagler counties. We are funded through memberships and events. When the world shut down last March, we cancelled our events and focused on what we do best – connecting manufacturers to each other and the information they need to succeed. Because we had developed a strong member interaction system (we call it the Quick Take), they were already used to sharing pertinent information with each other. During COVID, those experienced were sharing, for example, how to reopen with the CDC rules, where to find thermometers or actually giving what they had to other members, and where to get PPE. When members had to pivot to new products to survive, we got the word out to the community to buy their newly invented products.
We did take advantage of the PPE help replace some of the money lost from the cancelled events. We are stronger today, because we stayed true to our mission, which we have been doing for 41 years.
What actions have you taken or will take to return to the growth expectations you had as 2019 ended?
We are designing a new website that is member connection driven. There is no other system in place that can connect a member to the skills and capabilities they need at their fingertips. We expect this new system will add more membership value to the current and potential members, thus growing our numbers higher than ever. When will it be achieved? This summer.
A company’s culture flows from the top down. What leadership skills do you find effective in promoting the company’s mission and vision to employees, clients and customers?
Actions speak louder than words. Be kind. Make connections that matter. VMA is committed to providing information, education and networking opportunities to every member. We do this every day by building strong relationships the old-fashioned way – one person at a time.
At EVOLVE we have a shared belief that leaders develop their success skills by overcoming the challenges and adversity they face. Do you believe that hypothesis and if so, what adversity have you faced and overcome that helped put you where you are today?
That would take a few pages. Just get up every day and give it your all. That is all you can do, life happens and it happens to everyone.
What closing comments or counsel would you offer to emerging business leaders and entrepreneurs to continue their path to success?
Don’t get so mired in technology and social media that you lose sight of the little everyday kindnesses and personal interactions that always lead to success, both professionally and personally.