The 2023 Cooperative Leadership Conference brought together more than 200 GROWMARK System leaders in Sarasota , Florida . Along with FS General Managers and Boards of Directors , GROWMARK managers were there for what was a reunion of sorts , after not being able to gather since 2020 .
CEO Mark Orr ( bottom right ) opened the meeting with a keynote describing the steps GROWMARK and member companies are taking to position the System for success in a digital and data-centric future .
If ever a man was defined by what he can do instead of what he cannot do , it ’ s Gold Medalist and Author Mike Schlappi ( left ), who took the stage to speak to CLC attendees . At the age of 14 , Mike was an outstanding athlete when a gunshot to the chest at point-blank range challenged his dreams . He would never walk again . After months of rigorous physical therapy , he began playing basketball from his wheelchair and went on to become a standout athlete . Schlappi ’ s thoughtprovoking keynote presentation challenged attendees , that they can take responsibility and be empowered despite difficult circumstances .