From left: Veronica Lombardo, Julie Koellner, Ann Asprodites
The Alliance of Independent Representatives (AIR) has officially launched as a professional trade association. The mission of the organization is to advocate and promote the interests of independent representative companies who connect content creatives with agencies, brands and media.
AIR is committed to a wide range of priorities that extend beyond its membership:
- Develop industry standards and best practices
- Facilitate companies seeking representation
- Connect Ad Agency/ Brand producers with Reps in their appropriate territories or countries
- Provide professional development opportunities to historically underrepresented individuals promoting Diversity in Talent
- Coordinate and host presentations from industry organizations
- Roundtable discussions (Straight Talk Series, Clear the AIR with Ann) with industry professionals addressing pressing topics & issues within our industry with the goal of Evolution & Change
- Partner with other like-minded organizations to advance common interests
- Grow AIR’s Membership & Recruitment efforts and unite the independent sales representative community globally
In mid-March, 2020 when the global pandemic hit, Veronica Lombardo, West Coast (VLM) and Ann Asprodites, Southeast (Asprodites Reps) saw the need for community among their rep colleagues. “We began as a support group for our fellow reps to dial into – helping each other navigate the unknown waters ahead, not only in our industry but the world-at-large,” explains Ann. “Whether it was understanding the various government stimulus packages being offered to support small businesses or simply being a sounding board for those struggling with tough stuff in need of advice — we were there and continue to be,” adds Ann.
Julie Koellner, Treasurer for AIR and owner of Dallas-based Remedy Reps, stated, “I’m super excited about AIR! It’s been invaluable getting to know the other members throughout the country (and beyond). The presentations and panel discussions have been really informative and I’ve since been incorporating valuable takeaways into my own business as a result. Although we’re still all independent, it’s been wonderful to have a network to bounce ideas off of, especially since there’s no handbook for what we do!”
The calls started with a small group of less than ten and quickly grew to sixty something by June, 2020. It took on a grassroots effort, one rep telling another and another. A deepened sense of community was created.
“Initially, we didn’t realize the importance of what we were doing, we just did it for others, as is our nature,” recalls Veronica. “To have a virtual venue for peer-to-peer conversations about things we were going through that were specific to what we do in our day to day careers was so valuable. For so long ours has been a trade of lone soldiers, highly competitive lone soldiers,” Veronica continues.
“We had a common cause which made us realize that we needed to form an organization in order to truly come together, similar to other industry organizations like AICP, AICE, AMP and the like,” says Ann. “It was time we created our own platform to advance our interests. What we have brought and are creating now is a wider, more inclusive community.”
With a focus on meaningful impact, AIR has established Member Committees including Evolution + Change, Diversity In Talent, and Membership + Recruitment to advance their unified goals and support the industry-at-large. AIR’s membership expands borders with most of its members stateside and an expansion into Canada and Scandinavia.
“When it comes to the structure and practices for its members,” Veronica says, “Respect is top priority in AIR. We have an ethical code of conduct that gives people a voice while adhering to strict confidentiality and restrictions to sharing proprietary information. We pride ourselves on empowerment.” Veronica adds “Everybody wants to be empowered, everybody wants to be supported and to feel like they’re not alone. That’s where AIR comes in and we’re very excited to see what we can accomplish as a united front.”
AIR is an incorporated 501(c)6 non-profit trade association with an elected board of directors composed of Veronica Lombardo, West Coast (VLM) – President, Ann Asprodites, Southeast (Asprodites Reps) – Vice President, Corey Rogers, East Coast (Schaffer/ Rogers) – Secretary, Julie Koellner, Southwest (Remedy Reps) – Treasurer and Doug Sherin, West Coast (Options) – Director-at-Large.
To learn more about AIR or to Join the Alliance, please visit AllianceOfIndieReps.org