Claire’s Perspective: 2017 Heartland

Posted on: June 21st, 2017 by Claire Young



What’s the Heartland Hype?

As a newbie to VGM, I had no idea what all the Heartland Conference hype was all about. Prior to Heartland, I had heard it was a celebration for our VGM members. Months of months’ of work would be compiled into just three short days to provide members with keynote speakers, learning opportunities, and new networking connections. Without previous perceptions of the conference, I decided to dive into the Heartland madness with an open-mind set, but also a somewhat critical one. I feel this process helped me acquire honest opinions of the company that I am lucky enough to be interning for. So here it is, my perspective on everything Heartland!

The Layout:

VGM Retail’s Heartland experience kicked off with our retail roadshow pre-con. If you’re like me and had not been to a retail roadshow, you should expect interactive presentations around marketing, inventory management, and financials. Being honest, some of these topics do not always sound the most interesting (for me- financials) however, I was impressed by the level of interaction between the attendees, vendors, and presenters. Among the discussion materials, the day involved fascinating breakout sessions led by vendors which allowed attendees to bounce ideas off one another. Overall, it seemed like attendees really enjoyed the chance to learn alongside other VGM members who faced similar challenges in the HME retail industry.

Amidst the presentations during the conference, VGM Retail’s shining moment was in the retail training lab. The retail training lab allowed VGM members to get a hands-on experience of the retail-related material presented throughout the duration of the conference. The retail training lab highlighted everything from incremental sales, to displaying the sickness to wellness re-branding strategy. As a retail team, we thought the lab was a way for members to see how all the pieces of building a successful HME retail business fit together. I personally thought the retail training lab displayed the innovative and unique venture opportunity that surrounds the HME retail industry. This is the same opportunity that inspired me to be part of this team.

My Favorite Part- The Feeling of Community:

Going into Heartland, I already had a strong sense that VGM cares about their members, vendors, and employees. During Heartland, it was completely evident that what I was sensing is true and that The VGM Group is one big community. For me, Heartland was a chance to experience this community firsthand. By talking to members, vendors and attending speakers, I feel like I got a really good a grasp of what our Founder, Van G. Miller strove for while changing the world of HME.

Hands down, my favorite moment was a conversation I had early on at Heartland with one of our vendors. This vendor holds a positivity that drives his career and life towards a bigger purpose. Although I did not have the pleasure of meeting Van, from what I have heard, this trait is a similarity they both share. The vendor told me to always remain kind to others and to always work hard towards something bigger. It was clear to me that this vendor really meant what he said and lived it as well. As the conference continued, I noticed this special quality in many of the employees, members, and vendors in the VGM community. As I talked to more and more people, it was clear that VGM is a value-centered, tight-knit family working towards completing Van’s initial mission of being a part of something bigger in the HME world.

To Wrap Up:

As graduation approaches me, it has been a growing concern of mine that I will be unable to find a company who not only cares about its bottom-line but genuinely cares equally about its customers and employees as well. I like to think my parents raised me to be a strong, value-driven independent woman who is able to form my own honest opinions of people, businesses, etc. After Heartland, I can honestly say that VGM has shown to be a company that takes great concern for everyone involved in their tight-knit community. Just like Van would have wanted, it is clear The VGM Group aims to be a part of something bigger.

If you missed Heartland, I  suggest you try to attend next year. Check out the link for a fun and quick recap: