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AD’s new leadership centre is preparing “the next generation to lead”

February 21, 2023 | By Anthony Capkun

February 21, 2023 – With the goal of preparing “the next generation to lead”, AD launched the Center for Independent Distributor Leadership (CIDL)—a development program designed to prepare the current and future leaders of independent distribution with the competencies and experiences to build long-term, sustainable success for their companies.

“We listened to our owner/member community and found that many can benefit from organized training programs to prepare the next generation to lead,” said Marty McLaughlin, AD’s chief marketing officer and CIDL co-founder. “The CIDL will give AD members structured education pathways in leadership, sales and operations […] to gain core competencies for their future.”

The CIDL will complement and build on existing education offerings from trade associations, says AD, and features three leadership certification pathways:

Leadership Experience is a four-year certification program designed for rising and next-generation managers. The certification brings together cohorts of 25 to 30 leaders to “build upon the success of independent distributors and ensure the sustainability of the independent business model”.


• The Distributor Sales Leader program provides sales professionals with a long-term development track, including courses and interactive workshops.

• The Distributor Operations Leader program helps these professionals learn and implement best practices that optimize profitability and performance of independent distributors.

AD created each program’s curriculum in collaboration with instructors from universities like Texas A&M, leadership coaches, and independent distribution thought leaders.

“These are great opportunities for companies to invest in their people and take active steps to shape their next chapter,” said Brandon Hagen, vice-president of AD Member Education and CIDL co-founder.

In addition, the CIDL offers the Distribution Manager Development Program in conjunction with Texas A&M University’s Industrial Distribution Program. This offering delivers an introduction to the financial, operational and sales disciplines for emerging managers.

Courses in the Distributor Operations Leader program and Distribution Manager Development Program are now open for registration. Additional program dates will become available.

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