Association of Progressive Rental Organizations | America’s Champion for Rent-to-Own

RTO World 2023 | Education

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Welcome to the RTO World™ Experience!

RTO World Plenary Speakers

APRO Industry Awards Luncheon Keynote

Joseph Kopser

Joseph Kopser
Serial Entrepreneur & Innovative Consultant, Grayline Group

Joseph Kopser is a serial entrepreneur and expert in energy and national security issues. Currently, he serves as an Executive-in-Residence at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas. In addition, he is President of Grayline after he co-founded and served as CEO of RideScout before it was acquired by Mercedes. He served in the U.S. Army for 20 years earning the Combat Action Badge, Army Ranger Tab and Bronze Star. He is a graduate of West Point with a BS in Aerospace Engineering and also received a master’s from the Harvard Kennedy School. In 2013, he was recognized as a White House Champion of Change for his efforts in Energy and Transportation. In 2014, RideScout, won the U.S. DOT Data Innovation Award and co-authored the book, Catalyst. He is the Chairman of the Board of Advisors for Cleantech.

RTO General Education Session Keynote

Pam Nemec

Pam Nemec
Founder & CEO, Inside Out

Pam Nemec is a brand culture expert and speaker. Her thought leadership around Brand Culture via HR and Brand Communications has led to recruiting, retaining, and caring for over 50,000 employees and connecting with millions of customers over the course of her 20-year career, where she ultimately served as a Senior Vice-President of a multi-billion-dollar restaurant brand. She has been widely recognized for blazing a trail in social media, public relations, employee communications, and human resources- merging them in ways that are innovative, resulting in high employee engagement, increased retention, and admired brand culture. Under her tutelage, her team successfully connected brand sentiment with immense ROI, engaging hundreds of millions of customers and tens of thousands of employees.

For information requests about RTO World this year, please contact us at info@rtohq.org.

Legislative and Technology Track

1:45 PM - Don’t Be a Cybersecurity Headline:
Prioritizing Privacy and Protecting Your Customer Information

Jason Fenoglio, Cybersecurity Practice Manager, High Touch Technologies
Erik Kosa, Senior Associate, Hudson Cook LLP
Charles Smitherman, Chief Executive Officer, APRO
Dailey Wilson, Partner, Hudson Cook LLP

Cybersecurity threats are on the rise, and RTO companies can be easy targets for cybercriminals seeking to get their hands on sensitive customer data and financial information. We understand you’ve got a lot on your plate, and cybersecurity might not be at the top of your priority list. But here’s the thing: cybercriminals don’t care if you’re a small business—they’re just as likely to target your RTO business as they are a big corporation. That’s why it’s essential to have a robust cybersecurity strategy in place, even if you’re on a tight budget. In addition, if you do business in the United States, it is becoming increasingly likely you will be covered by a law with specific website privacy policy requirements. You may have to inform users about what data you collect, how it’s used, stored, and protected. We will have an honest discussion about the importance of website privacy policies and how they fit into your overall compliance management system.

Speakers for this Session

John Crowley

John Crowley is an IT and Cybersecurity consultant who works closely with business leaders to identify IT solutions that support organizational efficiency and facilitate long-term growth. John believes that the right balance of people, processes, and technology enables teams to do more innovative work at a quicker pace. John has used this methodology to help hundreds of public and private organizations leverage IT services to enable better decision-making, become more agile, and discover game-changing efficiencies. John is a certified Network Security Associate with an adept understanding of industry-leading cybersecurity products and how they resolve specific network security challenges.

Jason Fenoglio

Jason Fenoglio is an accomplished cybersecurity professional who’s passionate about securing data and helping businesses transform their processes and culture to foster a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. As Cybersecurity Practice Manager at High Touch Technologies, Jason is responsible for assessing, implementing, and reviewing internal administrative, technological, and physical security controls while also scaling out cybersecurity best practices and solutions for High Touch’s clients. With over two decades of experience in the technology industry, Jason got his start as a Workstation Technician for Boeing in the late 90s. He quickly discovered his love for exploring all aspects of technology, spending much of his career at a local VAR before joining the High Touch team in 2020. He emphasizes that protecting a business’s data doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag—it can often be achieved by applying smaller layers of security and taking advantage of tools most businesses already have. Jason has been committed to lifelong learning and professional development throughout his career. He holds a master’s degree in cybersecurity from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity and information assurance from Western Governors University. He’s also earned his Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) and Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) credentials from ISC2.

Erik Kosa

Erik Kosa is a senior associate in Hudson Cook’s Washington, DC office. He advises a range of financial institutions, technology and information companies, and others on compliance with data use and privacy laws. Erik works closely with clients to develop data use and privacy compliance strategies, including in connection with the development of privacy policies, product assessments, consumer relations, vendor management, and due diligence matters. His practice also includes representing banks, licensed lenders, sales finance companies, auto dealers, and other creditors in regulatory enforcement actions, including actions before the CFPB, FTC, and other federal and state financial regulatory agencies. Erik received his law degree with honors in 2009 from The George Washington University Law School. Erik is admitted in Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Charles Smitherman

Charles Smitherman is the newly installed CEO for APRO. Prior to joining the association, Charles served as COO and General Counsel for PTS Financial Services where he played an active role in RTO representing his company with APRO member dealers through PTS’s club program offering. Charles is an attorney with twenty years of experience in a wide variety of areas including RTO, consumer financial services, antitrust, corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, litigation, franchise law, and privacy law. Following law school at the University of Georgia, Charles earned a Master of Legal Studies and PhD from the University of Oxford in England. Charles is credentialed as a Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) with the International Franchise Association and as a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) and Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM) through the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Charles is an active ultra runner and open water swimmer.

Dailey Wilson

Dailey Wilson is a partner in Hudson Cook's Tennessee office. She focuses her practice on federal and state regulatory compliance for rent-to-own providers and other alternative financial services providers. Dailey frequently assists clients with drafting consumer-facing documentation, developing internal policies and procedures, and completing audits for compliance with state and federal law. Dailey advises various financial institutions and others on compliance with data use and security laws, including the Safeguards Rule. Dailey works closely with clients to develop data security compliance strategies, including in connection with risk assessments, information security programs, written incident response plans, vendor management, and due diligence matters.

2:45 PM - Legal and Legislative Update

Rachel George, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary & Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, The Aaron's Company, Inc.
Bryan Pechersky, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Upbound Group, Inc. (f/k/a) Rent-A-Center, Inc.
Ed Winn, General Counsel, APRO

Please join us for our annual legal and legislative update panel highlighting the latest state and national developments in the RTO industry.

Speakers for this Session

Rachel George

Rachel George is Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary, Chief Compliance Officer, and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at The Aaron’s Company. Rachel’s areas of responsibility include all aspects of legal, compliance, corporate governance, enterprise risk, information security, safety, physical security, government relations, and corporate affairs to all business segments. When she joined the company in November 2020, Rachel brought with her more than 17 years of experience in the financial services industry. Rachel attended Covenant College and Emory University School of Law. Rachel currently serves as an APRO Board member since 2021.

Bryan Pechersky

Bryan Pechersky has served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary of Upbound Group, Inc. since June 2020 and is a current APRO board member and chair of the APRO Government Affairs Committee. From 2010 through 2019, Bryan served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary for Cloud Peak Energy Inc., a public mining and logistics supplier to U.S. and Asian utilities. From 2007 to 2010, Bryan was Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary for Harte-Hanks, Inc., a worldwide, direct, and targeted marketing company. Bryan earned his bachelor’s degree and Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin and his M.B.A. from the University of Michigan.

Ed Winn

Ed Winn helped found the Association of Progressive Rental Organizations (APRO) in 1980, and his knowledge of the rent-to-own industry is unsurpassed. He is a member of the Texas and North Carolina state bars, having earned his B.A. from Davidson College and his J.D. with Honors from the University of North Carolina, and has been in private practice in Austin, Texas since 1980. Winn is a regular contributor to RTOHQ: The Magazine and has presented hundreds of RTO-related seminars over the years.

3:45 PM - What to Know About VRTO!

Christine Hesse, Government Relations, Progressive Holdings, Inc.

Learn more about VRTO companies – how they work, how they're the same, different, and everything in between!

Speakers for this Session

Christine Hesse

Christine Hesse is a seasoned lawyer-lobbyist who has worked on financial services policy for thirty years. She recently joined Progressive Leasing to head its Government Affairs Department after spending 25 years in Washington, D.C. Christine served as U.S. Senate Banking Committee counsel where she worked on a wide array of financial services issues, including rent-to-own, before she joined the national law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP, where she represented large financial institutions on legislative and regulatory matters. Christine started her legal and legislative career in the Ohio General Assembly and Ohio Attorney's General Office, as well as the Connecticut General Assembly.

Product Training Track

1:45 PM - You Don’t Want to Miss This!
Collections Automation Platform Built for the RTO Industry

Michael Atme, Chief Revenue Officer, Paydit Inc.
Michael Bennett, Chief Executive Officer, Buddy's Newco LLC, dba Buddy's Home Furnishings
Richard Formoe, Chief Executive Officer, Paydit Inc.

Collections Automation via Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence Built & Designed by industry Experts. We will demo the product live and briefly discuss how we are transforming collections for the industry.

Speakers for this Session

Michael Atme

Michael Atme is a seasoned leader within the financial technology industry, renowned for his ability to devise ingenious and uncomplicated solutions to intricate challenges across diverse sectors worldwide. He possesses a remarkable talent for assisting organizations in automating workflows, streamlining processes, and harnessing technology to optimize performance and amplify revenue. With an impressive tenure of over a decade in technology, Michael has consistently positioned himself as the nexus of technology, business, and finance. He has held numerous prominent leadership and executive positions throughout his career, spearheading strategic initiatives centered around digital transformation and technology-enabled financial solutions. Presently, Michael serves as the Chief Revenue Officer at Paydit Inc., where he actively contributes to addressing collection issues within the RTO domain.

Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett brings 30 years of experience in the RTO industry encompassing both franchise and corporate operations. He currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer for Buddy’s Newco, LLC, dba Buddy’s Home Furnishings, and Buddy’s Franchise and Licensing. Prior to joining Buddy’s, he held a number of titles for several rent-to-own companies and divisions such as Regional Director for Acceptance Now in Plano Texas, Vice President of Great Lakes Operations for Aaron’s Inc. while also serving on its National Advertising Advisory and Strategic Budgeting Committees, Director of Operations and minority equity partner of Rosey Rentals LP, dba Aaron’s Inc., Divisional Vice President and Regional Manager of RentWay Inc., and he began his career as Regional Manager at Rent-A-Center. Bennett currently serves as the APRO board president and has been fortunate to have served on the boards of the Illinois Rental Dealers Association and the Florida Rental Dealers Association. He graduated cum laude and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Webber College.

Richard Formoe

Richard Formoe, the Co-Founder and CEO of Paydit Inc. is a seasoned professional with over 15 years of experience in the field of RTO. Throughout his career, he has developed a deep understanding of the industry, honing his expertise in various aspects of RTO operations and management. Having worked with leading RTO companies, Richard has gained invaluable insights into the challenges and intricacies of the industry. He has a proven track record of driving growth, optimizing operational efficiency, and delivering exceptional customer experiences. One of Richard’s notable achievements is his role in spearheading the development of a next-generation collections engagement and automation platform. As a visionary leader in the RTO industry, Richard is actively sharing his knowledge and insights through industry conferences and publications. He has been recognized for his exceptional contributions, receiving accolades for his innovative approach and commitment to driving positive change within the financial technology sector.

2:45 PM - Driving Growth with Ashley

Mike Kays, VP of Rental Sales, Ashley Furniture Industries

In this session, learn tricks to get the right products into your stores at the right time. The pandemic affected delivery times, pricing, and demand for furniture…and not in a good way! Ashley responded with an improved supply chain and product line-up that will work in concert with your business to drive more agreements. Learn what changed and how to leverage these changes to your advantage.

Speakers for this Session

Mike Kays

As VP of Rental Sales for Ashley Furniture Industries, Mike Kays spent the last 12 years working with RTO industry veterans helping to build Ashley into the largest RTO dealer/network supplier. In this new role, he is expanding this reach to support all suppliers to RTO to ensure everyone has a fair shake and decisions are made in our best interests. Timing, access to the buyers, and visibility are core to the industry’s continued success and future growth. Michael can leverage a wide breadth of relationships and influence, intimate knowledge of trends in the market, and unique knowledge of what RTO dealers need from a supplier to be successful. The saying goes that a high tide raises all boats, and he’d like to leverage everything in his power to drive the continued growth of the RTO industry and all the suppliers.

Understanding Customers Track

1:45 PM - Standing Out Above the Crowd

Pete Shau, District Manager, CPL Group Inc. dba Rent King

Tips on how to stand out in the RTO industry. Everyone is selling a washer and dryer for the same price – why should customers shop at your establishment? Everyone is paying the same hourly wage – why should applicants work for you instead of the other guys? What culture does your company instill into every employee? Are you involved in your community, or do you just see them as dollar signs? What innovative ideas are you holding onto but are afraid to share because you believe your competition will steal them and run with them? There are numerous burger places now and for the most part, they are all successful, but implement one small different twist than their competitors. What twist does your company have?

Speakers for this Session

Pete Shau

Pete Shau is currently a District Manager in Tampa with the CPL Group Inc. dba Rent King. He has been in the Rent to Own industry since the early 2000s with a combined 18 years of rental experience from several companies including Rent-A-Center, Buddy's Home Furnishings, and Renter's Choice. He approaches work with a team effort mentality believing that leadership starts by empowering employees and learning something new about the business daily. Pete is blessed to have a wonderful and understanding family that has helped him through his RTO journey including his beautiful wife and three amazing daughters who join him on bike rides, home renovation projects, and trips to the movies.

3:45 PM - What Could Go Wrong? The Jeffrey Story

Jason Winters, Regional Manager, Impact RTO Holdings, dba Rent-A-Center

It’s critical to understand the concept of depreciation and how it affects your bottom line. This workshop follows the story of a sale (names have been changed to protect the innocent!) from start to finish and serves as a cautionary tale about what happens when things go very, very wrong. We will learn about depreciation, the importance of a proper agreement, product protection, and the effect of refurbishment. The story highlights what not to do and shows you how to teach the concepts to newer employees and managers in a fun, funny and informative way.

Speakers for this Session

Jason Winters

Jason Winters began his career in RTO as a Customer Account Representative at Rent-A-Center in Port Charlotte, Florida in May of 2000. He ran nine different locations including opening two brand new locations as a Store Manager in the Southwest Florida area before being promoted to District manager in 2006. He has had ten of his managers promoted to District Manager, which is his favorite accomplishment. He manages a region of nine locations in the Jacksonville area with an average revenue of $1 million per store. He currently resides in Daytona Beach with his wife and son. His older son is a VIP tour guide at Universal Studios.

Sales and Marketing Track

2:45 PM - Online Sales: Bridge the Sales Gap

Jess Mahon, Marketing Director, Countryside Rentals Inc., dba Rent-2-Own
Lauren Talicska, Marketing Director, Arona Corporation, dba Arona Home Essentials

How do you bridge the sales gap from in-store with online sales and experiences to increase revenue? We will discuss effective tactics that have been vetted throughout the industry, and popular trends to make your next promotion successful.

Speakers for this Session

Jess Mahon

Jess Mahon is an idea girl and storyteller who has found a place at Countryside Rentals Inc. dba Rent-2-Own for over eight years. For the last six years, she has worked in the marketing department as the Marketing Director. She has fine-tuned her skills in social media and digital marketing and shared these skills with others. Meeting new people comes naturally to her and learning new things is one of her favorite things to do, second only to traveling the world. She vows to one day meet Dolly Parton.

Lauren Talicska

Lauren Talicska is an experienced multi-channel marketing specialist and the Director of Marketing at Arona Home Essentials. She has found her home in the RTO community, supporting stores in branding, growth, and increasing traffic. You may recognize Lauren as a former RTO vendor, including her time as a partner for Nationwide RentDirect, or her previous participation in the APRO Vendor Advisory Committee. Lauren calls Columbus, Ohio home and spends her workday crafting and executing marketing promotions from inception to realization, all while supporting the branding and social media needs of all the Arona stores in 12 states (plus Puerto Rico!).

2:45 PM - Merchandising Tips, Tricks, and Strategies

Larkin Mott, Event Director, Premier Rental Purchase
Nina Shively, Vice President of Purchasing, Buddy's Newco LLC, dba Buddy's Home Furnishings (Corporate)

Do you need help figuring out how to make everything look just right? Do you know how to pull together a setup that draws the customer in immediately? Do you want help enticing a customer to try out a product in the store or click on a product online? This session will provide valuable tips, tricks, and strategies for selling everything! We can’t wait to share with you!

Speakers for this Session

Larkin Mott

A native Virginian, Larkin Mott returned to her hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia after residing in Toronto Canada for nearly 20 years. During her time in Toronto Larkin owned and operated restaurants in both the corporate and residential spheres, while also gaining her credentials as a Sommelier. In Larkin's role as the Premier Companies Event Director, she arranges all aspects of the Annual Franchisee Retreats, Corporate Conventions, and Celebrations. Larkin co-directed Premier’s recent rebrand and assists Franchisees enhance their visual marketing techniques with product selection and planning. The merchandising analytics and online strategies implemented by Larkin have proven to greatly enhance sales and the overall store aesthetic. Larkin continues to find additional outlets for her customer service, and food industry experience by playing a key role on the board of her alma mater, Randolph Macon Woman’s College and hosting unforgettable meals with friends and family. She can be found painting and adventuring abroad when not surrounded by her three children and beloved golden retrievers.

Nina Shively

Nina Shively has been in the RTO industry for over 20 years and currently works at Buddy’s as the Vice President of Purchasing. Her background includes interior design, so her career path has always led her to showrooms and products. The first RTO company that she worked for had never hired anyone with her background, and she was able to place items in such a way as to teach how “showroom” appearance is an important factor in buying decisions. Nina says the key is to help a customer envision the products in their home and selling is easy. She loves seeing people’s responses to her merchandising magic and seeing what a difference it makes.

3:45 PM - How to Turn Strangers into Deliveries Using Paid Ads on Social Networks

Jeraud Norman, Founder, Jeraud Marketing Group

Come and learn a simple step-by-step strategy to set up and run profitable paid ads on Facebook and Instagram, even if you haven't run ads in the past. We'll show you how to create more likes and trust in your community by creating simple videos that will make you a local celebrity. You'll also learn how to automate your follow-up processes so that your "Speed to Lead" is faster. Finally, learn how to get more deliveries without spending a dime on paid ads.

Speakers for this Session

Jeraud Norman

Jeraud Norman was working on aircraft carriers & submarines for over 10 years at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia. In May 2012, Jeraud and his 2-year-old son were hit by an 18-wheeler truck. This caused him to lose his job, his house in foreclosure and accumulate mounds of debts while being a single father of two boys. Along the journey, he tried many things to take care of his family and each venture that he tried led back to...marketing. In 2017, he started Jeraud Marketing Group where "They Turn Strangers Into Customers Using Paid Ads on Social Networks.” He’s worked with businesses in different industries across the world including being hired to help the United States Air Force increase their recruitment efforts. Over the past 6 years, his organization has generated over $50 million in revenue for their clients.

3:45 PM - Sales 2.0

Chris Kale Jr., Operating Partner, Happy's Home Centers Inc.

Where did all the rents go? Come learn a few of the basic tactics dealers need to thrive in today's RTO. It's time to update your brand to Sales 2.0!

Speakers for this Session

Chris Kale Jr.

Chris Kale Jr. founded Happy’s Home Centers in 2010 alongside two seasoned industry veterans, his uncle and father. Today, he oversees the day-to-day operation of 12 Happy’s Home Centers locations based in Tampa, Florida. He currently serves as a board member for TRIB Group and the Florida Rental Dealers Association. Chris is a University of Florida alumni – Go Gators! He enjoys attending Buccaneer games and hitting the beach with his wife Katey and their three wonderful children.

Staffing Track

1:45 PM - MAJIK's 2023 Culture Reset - Everybody's Got a Plan Until You Get Punched in the Face!

Dan Fisher, President, Majik Enterprises International Inc., dba Majik Rent-To-Own
Pat Hartman, District Manager, Majik Enterprises International Inc., dba Majik Rent-To-Own
Mike Simoncini, Chief Operating Officer, Majik Enterprises International Inc., dba Majik Rent-To-Own

Majik’s team dives into how 2022 taught them a valuable lesson about entitlement and expectations. This workshop is designed for anyone (managers, owners of one store, or multi store folks) who are looking to discuss the step-by-step process used to build a positive store culture, while expecting and achieving results.

Speakers for this Session

Dan Fisher

Dan Fisher is the owner of Majik Rent to Own based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Dan's career in the rental industry started in 1984 when he joined his parents' video movie rental business. In the early 1990's, Dan transformed the small business into Majik Enterprises which now comprises 14 stores in central PA. Dan currently serves on both the APRO and TRIB board of directors and is happy to share all that he has learned from the industry over the years. Dan and his wife, Tricia, enjoy spending time with their children. They also love to travel with family and friends to experience local culture, especially restaurants. Dan and Tricia appreciate the ongoing support from friends in the industry for their foundation, The Maria Fisher Foundation, honoring their late daughter.

Pat Hartman

Pat Hartman started in the industry with MAJIK Rent to Own in 2013 as a Manager in Training and became the Store Manager for the Lebanon store. Pat was the leader for the 2015 Store-of-the-Year team. In 2018, he officially moved into the role of District Manager and now oversees 6 MAJIK stores with over $12 million in yearly revenue.

Mike Simoncini

Mike Simoncini is currently the Chief Operating Officer for Majik Rent to Own. He has been with Majik for 8 years and started his career with Majik as a District Manager. Prior to working for Majik he worked in the grocery retail industry as Multi Unit Manager. He currently is serving his second term as President of the Pennsylvania Association of Rental Dealers. In his free time, Mike enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 sons, boating, playing guitar and golfing. He also serves as a coach for local youth baseball and football teams.

1:45 PM - Recruiting and Retention for Your Business: Finding and Keeping the Right Folks

Dale Anderson, District Manager, Jaguar Holdings LLC, dba Eagle Rental-Purchase
Kelley Patridge, Vice President and Chief People Officer, Nationwide RentDirect

Simply put, it's how you entice job seekers to join your organization and the initiative you take to keep them. With retail occupying one of the largest hiring markets in the world, it's an industry that's near and dear to many. In fact, six in ten Americans have worked a retail job at some point in their lives, and nearly a third of all first jobs are in the retail sector. The retail space comes with its own unique set of hiring and retention challenges. Retail suffers incredibly high turnover rates, so companies are nearly always looking for new candidates. Not to mention, volume-hiring is the norm, which means churning through thousands of applications to find the best candidates in a short amount of time. In this discussion, we will be exploring some of the issues retail recruiters face in greater detail, and more importantly, how to combat them.

Speakers for this Session

Dale Anderson

Dale Anderson is a District Manager at Eagle Rental Purchase. Dale has been in the RTO business for 10 years starting as an account manager and quickly moving up the ranks to Store Manager of one of Eagles biggest stores. Early in 2023, Dale was promoted to the position of District Manager and was a member of the first APRO Emerging Leaders Council. Prior to joining Eagle Dale served in the US Air Force for 8 years serving in the 325th Security Force Squadron out of Tyndall Air Force Base. Dale met his wife while they were both working for Eagle Rental and together, they have three children. He attributes his success and continued development in the industry to his wife and his mentors Joseph Fischer and Randy Lewis, owners of Jaguar Holdings LLC dba Eagle Rental Purchase, who took him under their wings instilling in him their devoted work ethic and leadership.

Kelley Patridge

Kelley Patridge, Vice President, and Chief People Officer at Nationwide Marketing Group, boasts a diverse professional journey spanning finance, food, automotive, and the independent sector. With over 20 years as an HR professional, her expertise in transforming challenges into opportunities and her adeptness in recruiting, retention, engagement, and training earned her the prestigious 2023 Dealerscope Diversity Equity and Inclusion Award. Kelley's academic background includes a bachelor's degree in communications from Seton Hall University, and she's currently pursuing an MBA at Johns Hopkins' Carey School of Business. Beyond her corporate role, she passionately supports local art programs that empower children to discover their unique talents. In her personal life, Kelley draws immense joy from her husband, Ken, and their daughter Lauren, who bring immeasurable happiness and fulfillment. Kelley's belief in the transformative power of cultivating positive relationships fuels her purpose to be a voice of unity in our daily lives and interactions. With unwavering dedication, she is forging a career path that champions inclusivity and uplifts diverse voices. Her deliberate commitment to celebrating every individual illuminates a path toward a future marked by unity, empathy, and shared understanding.

2:45 PM - More, Better, and Different Ways to Get Your Team ALL IN

Mike Tissot, Owner, Countryside Rentals Inc., dba Rent-2-Own

When you work to make your store and/or company a great place to work, it can become a great place to shop. This session will discuss detailed and actionable ways to show your team more appreciation. If they don't feel appreciated, then what you are doing is not working. Do you know how they want to be appreciated? Creative compensation plans will be explored as well as the vital reason to empower folks closest to the customer to make decisions. Finding ways to communicate to your team effectively, creating an environment where they want to show up--and not take a Ferris Buellers day off. And lastly, we will explore how vital it is to align folks to this crazy business. All of this will be tied to the idea of moving your folks up the commitment scale. You will not want to miss this session if you want to make your place a better place to work.

Speakers for this Session

Mike Tissot

Mike Tissot grew up in the rent-to-own business under the tutelage of his father, former APRO President and RTO legend Darrell Tissot. Mike’s innovative thought leadership over the past almost-quarter-century has helped not only grow the family business to 40 stores throughout Ohio and Kentucky, but also guide the industry as a whole; he has served as President of the Ohio Rental Dealers Association for years, has served as an APRO board member and as APRO Treasurer, has served on the TRIB board as Treasurer and currently as the Vice President and has received the APRO President’s Award of Excellence and been named APRO Rental Dealer of the Year. When he is not renting or collecting or innovating in RTO, Mike enjoys any time he can get with his girlfriend Angela Strong McCool at their lake or Orange Beach, Alabama. He is a rabid Reds fan and watches or listens to as many games as he can with his parents. He also uses any excuse possible to get to Arizona to see his daughter who is currently attending Arizona State University.

3:45 PM - Create A Winning Culture

Adam Sutton, President, RNR Tire Express (Corporate)

In one of the toughest job markets in history, how do you attract and retain top talent to create a Winning Culture? With a people-first focus and developing a “Serve, not Service” mentality across your organization. Achieving this will lead to better recruiting, retention, productivity, team member engagement, and ultimately a better customer experience.

Speakers for this Session

Adam Sutton

Adam Sutton was literally born into the Rent-To-Own industry. His father, Larry Sutton aka “The Reverend of RTO” was President of Champion RTO and later founded RENT-n-ROLL Custom Wheels & Tires (now RNR Tire Express). Adam traveled often with his dad during store visits and credits these trips to being able to read a P&L at an early age but more importantly for teaching him about the greatest asset of the RTO industry - “it’s people.” He began his early career in advertising and when Larry created RNR in 2000, Adam came on board as Marketing Director. After many successful advertising and marketing positions outside of RNR, Adam fulfilled a childhood dream by coming back to work for his father at RNR Tire Express as his right-hand man becoming the franchise Executive Vice President in 2017 and currently serves as President. Adam lives in Tampa with his wife and three children.

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