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Networking and Education in a Premier Vacation Spot

By Alison Palmer | November 5, 2017 << Back to Articles

Networking. It’s a word that used to strike fear in my heart. I have always been painfully shy—although those of you who know me are probably surprised to hear that. I always picture events like at my local chamber of commerce—a roomful of strangers in business suits with whom I have nothing in common, and me holding up the wall.

Then I found networking at ISSA and ARCSI events! I bet anyone that attended the ISSA/INTERCLEAN® Show in Las Vegas, NV, earlier this year left with a fist full of business cards and several new friends. When we poll show attendees about what they liked best about their experience, networking is ALWAYS at the top of the list.

By and large, ARCSI members have only had one event each year with in-person networking opportunities: the Cleaning Convention (aka, ISSA/INTERCLEAN North America). The show is awesome. The educational opportunities are chock full of good information and diverse speakers. The trade show floor is like a corn maze filled with so many shiny things to investigate. There is constant activity, sometimes at the hotel headquarters and sometimes at the convention center. And while you meet many people at the show and you would like to get to know them better, there just never seemed to be enough time to sit down and chat at the show.

Enter the 2018 Leadership Summit. April 19-21, ARCSI, A Division of ISSA, along with the ISSA Building Service Contractors Council will be hosting the first-ever Leadership Summit in Tucson, AZ. You can find much more information at

The Leadership Summit provides a whole different approach to networking. First, it is a much smaller event and therefore is more intimate. The whole of the event will all take place in one location—at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, AZ. The pace is relaxed with plenty of unscheduled time to have a lunch date with a few colleagues, go out for dinner, or even catch a round of golf.

The first ARCSI event I attended was an Executive Leadership Conference. I had been in business for many years by then, but I was still relieved to meet people who understood the issues I face in my business–because they were facing the same ones. It was so comforting to find out that I was not the only person having trouble finding and hiring good employees. I found it gratifying that even though I had started my business with no experience in residential cleaning, that through trial and error, I was doing many things just like my new colleagues. My first ARCSI event was 12 years ago and the business owners I met are still good friends today. They are there when I need some advice, all I need to do is text them or pick up the phone.

I believe that the smaller size of the Leadership Summit, its intimacy, and slower pace is the ultimate fertile ground for networking. 

Summit attendees will be from both residential and commercial cleaning companies, giving the audiences a chance to connect and share business experiences. You won’t likely hear speakers talk about residential cleaning specifically. They will be addressing larger, more strategic leadership issues facing business owners—it’s education you may not always make the time for, but it is critical to your business’ success.

Bring tons of business cards and come prepared to have a terrific, enlightening, and rewarding networking and learning event!

Alison Palmer is a former president of ARCSI, a division of ISSA, and founder of Custom Maid Ltd. She can be contacted via Custom Maid's website

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