IGA Representatives Discuss Association Direction, Future Events

With the transition complete, IGA vice president Marc Anderson and Sue Johnson, co-director and manager for the IGA Legal Campaign, have assumed the roles previously filled by Tim and Jenna Smale. Anderson and Johnson took some time to sit down with AGRR to discuss the current status and future plans of the IGA.

The recent changes have had the industry talking, giving rise to the belief that the IGA is becoming more of a one-issue association.

"I think people have gotten the wrong impression from the campaign," said Johnson. "We had to heavily push the legal campaign so I understand where people would think that, but it really is a misconception."

With all the focus on the campaign, little has been said about other aspects of the IGA leaving room for rumors such as the one currently circulating that the IGA show is being cancelled. When asked about the rumor, Anderson smiled.

"We've already signed a contract with [a hotel] in Florida for February," he said. "We expect next year's convention to be twice the size of this year's convention.

Anderson also elaborated on IGA plans for expansion of its educational programs.

"We will still offer programs, they'll just be new and different programs," he said. "We want the programs to be more tangible for independents."

For example, one topic that is being considered is financial matters, covering matters of business finances without getting into tax issues.

Another change the IGA is undergoing is a shift in the board's involvement with the association. Anderson and Johnson both indicated that the IGA board of directors is playing a more active role than it had in the past and taking on more accountability.

The legal action, however, is still what has peaked the industry's curiosity.

"I think it's the misconception that this is one big lawsuit," said Anderson, who explained it will consist of many smaller suits. "It isn't just anti-steering," he added. "It's part of it, but not all of it."

"That's why it's a campaign," said Johnson. "We're looking to change industry practices that harm the independents, we want to change the way the market functions."

Skeptics have queried how the IGA will be able to pursue a lawsuit successfully, and Anderson acknowledges their concerns but hopes they will come to view the IGA's effort on it's own accord and not in relation to anything else.

"The things that have been done in the past have nothing to do with what we're doing," he said. "It'd be like saying that Orville and Wilbur Wright couldn't fly, just because no one before them ever had."

Anderson and Johnson indicated that the fundraising for the legal campaign has been going well, reflecting what they feel is significant industry support for the action; so much so they said it won't be long before they're ready to take the first step in changing the industry.

"We'd like for the industry to be patient enough to see what comes of the IGA before they judge," said Anderson.

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