Starkey Hearing Technologies will host 3,000 independent hearing care professionals at the 2014 Hearing Innovation Expo January 15-19. The event will feature world renowned speakers including past presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. With 30 days until the 2014 Hearing Innovation Expo we sat down with Brandon Sawalich, Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Customer Relations to discuss this exciting event.
Q. Explain why Starkey Hearing Technologies decided to start hosting the Hearing Innovation Expo in 2012.
Brandon Sawalich: In 2012 our goal was to bring all of our customer groups together under one roof and inspire them to push themselves to do more—to be better. We collaborated with global thought leaders and industry experts who appreciate the work Starkey does around the world in terms of bringing new thinking and ideas for future growth to the industry. This industry has had the same educational events and content for many years. With the the market constantly in a state of evolution our customers need to be thinking about tomorrow. We wanted to invest in their future and bring them learning and education opportunities outside of our industry. I had many customers tell me that before the 2012 Expo they were thinking about selling their practice or retiring. After experiencing the 2012 Expo, they were motivated to stay in business a bit longer. That’s the best compliment you can get.
Q. What did Starkey learn from the inaugural Expo? What does this mean for 2014?
Sawalich: We learned that various customer groups can co-mingle and come together for the greater good of the industry. We are all in the business of providing better hearing and changing lives. Competition and opinions are healthy but when you bring over 3,000 people together in a room and share insight on best practice approach, innovative forward-thinking technology and patient experience, amazing things can happen. Our formula was successful – provide an Expo with content that focused on our customers needs, not our needs.
Q. How is Starkey Hearing Technologies able to put together such an impressive speaker lineup?
Sawalich: Our speakers believe in the values and philosophy of our company. Each has a unique story or connection to Starkey. Richard Branson, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and others have been associated with our Foundation. They believe in the passion and commitment the Foundation is demonstrating to make a difference in the world. We don’t just talk the talk, we take action and make an impact. It’s a level of respect. We invite guest speakers that align with the values of the company and our customers.
Q. What type of advice would you give to a first-time Expo participant to get the most out of the event?
Sawalich: Get your rest, be early or be on time to all classes. There is a lot going on over the three days and it moves quickly. Plan your three days according to your priorities and even though it’s in Las Vegas, take it light on the nighttime activities. All the action and moments are happening during the day. If you’re there to make a difference in your market, make that your priority over the three days.
Q. What technological advances are you excited about for 2014?
Sawalich: Without giving away too much information, I will say we are providing more learning and engagement on digital media, social media and of course, better hearing products.