SAF's Next Gen LIVE! heads to San Diego in February

Oct 25, 2023
SAF’s Next Gen LIVE! heads to San Diego in February

The Society of American Florists’ third annual Next Gen LIVE! conference will take place Feb. 25-27, 2024, in San Diego, California. The event is created by – and for – the up-and-coming generation of floral professionals, aged 45 and younger.
In addition to educational sessions focused on leadership skills, technology and industry trends and challenges, attendees will take tours of flower farms in the San Diego area. Beyond the education and tours, there are other benefits to attending – or sending team members to the event
Inspiration and Motivation
Knowing how prevalent burnout can be, Next Gen LIVE! has been the catalyst for many to get inspired and reignite their passion for their career.
“I feel rejuvenated and refreshed after attending next Gen LIVE!,” said Sarah Gillespie of Gillespie Florists in Indianapolis. “I loved learning from my peers and feel more connected than ever with my floral community.”
Investment in the Future
Sheldon Jenson of Flowers by Michelle in Las Vegas, attended Next Gen LIVE! in 2022 and in 2023, claiming it helped him learn more about himself. “I feel it makes me a better manager for myself, and my employees,” he said.
Claudia Munoz, of the online flower selling platform Fresh-o-Fair, credits the event for helping her business move forward. “We discovered innovative approaches, practical solutions, and newfound inspiration that will undoubtedly shape the trajectory of our business,” she said.
Floral Industry Immersion 
Amber Solomon of Tillie’s Flower Shop in Wichita, Kansas, attended the conference as a relative newbie. “The experience at Next Gen really made me feel like I’m part of the floral industry,” she said.
“My eight months of design may not seem like much, but no one at the event made me feel new or unknowledgeable. Everyone was very welcoming and spoke to me as if I’ve been doing this for years.”
Industry Knowledge
Robert Morgalo, a senior account executive at Esmeralda Farms, doesn’t get to see much of the day-to-day operations of a retail florist. Next Gen LIVE! helped him have a new appreciation for what they do, he says. “I have become aware of details I never really took into consideration, and I am now more equipped to assist my wholesalers to ensure they deliver above and beyond to their florists.”’
The same was true for Cristina Ramos at Lovingly, a floral technology provider. “As an account manager I now can understand and relate a bit better to the struggles florists go through on a day-to-day basis,” she says.
Networking and Connections 
SAF’s Next Gen group fosters a supportive community of industry professionals that stay active year-round through monthly virtual happy hours, a quarterly book club, and a private Facebook page.
“[This group is] clearly excited and passionate about growing, developing, and supporting each other as we learn to navigate everything this amazing and diverse industry has to offer,” said Megan Gerace of the floral marketing company GravityFree.
Registration for Next Gen LIVE! 2024 is open. The full schedule and more details are coming soon.