Young Floral Pros and their Employers See the ROI From Next Gen LIVE!

Alexandria, VA — The Society of American Florists’ Next Gen LIVE! is returning to Miami, June 11-13. The event is designed by young floral professionals for their peers (45 and younger), who converge from all segments of the industry to network, learn and experience the epicenter of the floral importing scene.

Last year’s inaugural event drew 160 attendees from 31 states and Ecuador and Colombia, who participated in education sessions that focused on leadership, marketing, and work-life balance.

Dave Legge, president of Denver Wholesale Florists, sent several of his newer employees to Next Gen LIVE! in 2022 and believes it was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the company’s commitment to their success — which, in turn, will contribute to retention.

“We’re investing in the employees that we hire — retention really is important to me,” Legge says. “When we’re bringing people on and they’re new to the industry, and new to the company, this is a way we’re investing in their career.” 

Legge says the event gave his employees an immersion into the larger floral industry – and a deeper understanding of DWF’s partners, which benefits the business in the long run. “It created some background for them about their everyday business.”

This year’s educational sessions will focus on consistent five-star customer service, digital marketing, communication tips, and leadership styles — including how to lead with empathy. Plus, attendees can choose between two tour options: a behind the scenes look at a few progressive floral retail operations or importing and distribution facilities at the Miami International Airport. The programming is designed to help develop young talent and set them up for a long, fruitful career in the industry — making it an experience that also benefits business owners.

Corrine Heck, CEO and founder of Details Flowers Software,?wanted to give that experience to the five employees she sent to Next Gen LIVE! last year. 

As a software company owner, Heck felt it was important for new employees to get a sense of how the work they do fits into the bigger picture, making the investment well worth it, she says. “As much as I talk about how big the industry is to my employees — a lot of them not working within the industry prior to joining my company — it really gave them a good, real-world experience of what exactly the industry does and how big it is,” says Heck.

“It was a priceless investment into the long-term approach of getting my employees indoctrinated into the company. They realized that what they’re doing is pretty profound to the rest of the industry.”

Michael Pugh, of Pugh’s Florist in Memphis, Tennessee, also sent several employees to last year’s event. It was an effective way to show them that the older owners of the company “recognized their value and wanted to invest in their future,” he says. It also helped generate excitement among his younger workers about the industry.

“Our family is firmly committed to giving them a career path, but that requires keeping them engaged and excited about our industry,” Pugh says. “To accomplish these goals we are a firm believer in continuing education such as Next Gen LIVE!”

To learn more and register for Next Gen LIVE! 2023 click here.

About The Society of American Florists

The Society of American Florists is the association that connects and cultivates a thriving floral community through training, education, marketing resources and advocacy. Our vision: The power of flowers in every life. For more information, visit