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VGM professionalizes forums

VGM professionalizes forums

Jamie DowningWATERLOO, Iowa – VGM & Associates plans to go live in May with Professional Forums, a new program offering that allows member companies to participate in confidential group discussion boards and access custom-built live and recorded webinars. 

“Our members tell us time and time again that a great benefit they get from VGM is when we bring them together to interact and discuss best practices,” said Jamie Downing, senior vice president of program development for VGMA. “Now we’re bringing them together in these forums to share those aches and pains and find solutions.” 

Out of the gate, VGM is offering an Executive Forum for member companies with more than $50 million in annual revenue and a Leadership Forum for those with less than $50 million in annual revenue in two topic areas: human resources and information technology. Member companies pay an annual price per person to participate. 

Break the clouds 

VGMA sees the Professional Forums as a place where HR and IT professionals can go for resources that are more organized and more tailored to the industry, as well as for monthly meetings to tackle a specific topic. 

“There are resources out there, but they can be cloudy and disjointed, in terms of accessing them,” he said.  

Tap into consulting 

The Executive Forum, which will have a higher annual price per person, will also offer consulting services from VGM’s senior leadership team, including Sara Laures, chief people officer, and Jeremy Kauten, chief information officer and senior vice president of information technology, Downing says. 

“We’re being intentional around how we’re grouping companies by size,” he said. 

Buy into the mindset 

Downing, who joined VGM in 2022 from the Sleep Wellness Institute, is a big believer in the power of connection. He grew the Sleep Wellness Institute to 75 employees, six diagnostic clinics and nine retail/clinic CPAP locations throughout Southeastern Wisconsin before selling it in 2021. 

“It’s a mindset,” he said. “When I was in Milwaukee, I was part of several networking groups, and they were a good resource for me and also a place where I felt comfortable sharing things and getting feedback in helping me guide the business.”


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