Connection in the Heartland

Posted on: June 23rd, 2017 by Maria Markusen


Elevator Encounters

You can learn a lot about human nature and the human connection riding in elevators. Early in my career, I worked on the 50th floor of the IDS Tower in downtown Minneapolis. Each morning I’d ride in a packed elevator. I never timed the ride however, it seemed like an eternity every morning. I looked at the elevator full of people as a great opportunity to catch up with and meet people every day. The elevator ride was a chance to make a tower of unknown people seem real. In short, to connect. The purpose was not to dive into long detailed conversations. But to at least acknowledge that the temperature was -30 that day. Or that a new retail store opened in the building lobby. Or maybe just to say hello. Or have a good work day.

My fellow elevator riders had a different agenda. They all packed into the elevator. Some reading the morning paper. Most looking straight ahead as if they were the only elevator rider. In fact, few of them even smiled when I smiled first. Sometimes, I tested the waters. “Good morning everyone. It’s a lot warmer in here than outside today.” No response. Mostly just scowls.  Every once in while I ran into a fellow connector. We talked across the elevator. More scowls.

A couple of weeks ago in Myrtle Beach, a very different elevator experience. This time on a ride to the top of the hotel, the elevator was full of connectors. A group of SC MESA attendees just finished dinner. Included were vendors, event speakers, and HME provider attendees. As we ended our night, our great dinner conversation and banter continued into the elevator. As each person got off the elevator, more banter and heartfelt goodbyes.

The only rider not a part of our group was a young man.  He was 14 or 15 years old.  After my crew exited, he said, “You’re so lucky.  You have so many friends with you in Myrtle Beach.  My parents only let me bring one friend this week.” How ironic.  None of our group knew each other before dinner.  We gathered to talk business.  To talk about the state of the industry.  How we could help our suppliers.  How we could help our customers better.  How we could thrive during a time of change.  We managed to connect in the span of an hour. We connected so well, other people thought we were old friends.

Connection at Heartland

Last week was the ultimate in connecting with old friends and making new ones.  Heartland.  The thing that most impresses me about our industry is the care and connection we have with each other. You take your connection with your patients and customers and extend it into our whole industry culture.  I would like to thank you for spending your week in the Heartland.  We enjoyed seeing you in our Retail Lab, talking about retail and its future and sharing our insights about inventory management, marketing, new store openings and the transition of our culture from sickness to wellness.  Thank you for your engagement and connection with us at Heartland and everywhere. In case you missed it, we encourage you to explore the retail world of opportunities and connect with us.


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