A Shout Out to Affiliate Summit First-Timers – By Wade Tonkin

by Colleen on August 12, 2013

I want to welcome all of the first time attendees to Affiliate Summit. This event has meant so much to me both personally and professionally over the last ten years. ff23

I’m really excited to be giving back by serving as the Emcee for Affiliate Summit East 2013.

Whether this is your first Affiliate Summit, or your fifteenth, I would encourage you to make the most of the opportunities that the conference presents by focusing on building new relationships and using the “face time” we have here to maintain and grow existing ones.

Before Affiliate Summit came to be, I was lucky enough to cross paths with Todd Farmer at Kowabunga Technologies. I hadn’t met Todd in person, and had only spent an hour on the phone with him. He showed some faith in me and agreed to cover my costs to join his team on the Affiliate Force cruise.

I was blown away at the opportunity to go to a conference where I could meet the people who had literally written almost every book or article I had read on the business.

I have to admit I was geeking out at the opportunity. I was pleasantly surprised with how approachable my industry heroes like Shawn Collins and Declan Dunn were. I consider both good friends to this day.

In 2003, Shawn and Missy launched Affiliate Summit and really elevated the conference from a “booze cruise” into a top notch industry conference. The relationships built from attending Affiliate Summit have factored into nearly every job or entrepreneurial opportunity in my career since.

Working for ForgeBusiness gave me the opportunity to travel to South Africa and London. A faith-based networking event opened the doors to a job launching a start-up network. I met my future business partners Joel and Karen Garcia and launched our own company.

Playing in a poker tournament at Affiliate Summit in Las Vegas, I met Jason Rubacky, who referred me to my current position at Fanatics.

A few of the contacts I’ve made through Affiliate Summit have become an extended family. We hang out together in and out of industry events; watch out for each other in the business and share opportunities.

So here’s my challenge to you, First-Timer:

• Push yourself out of your comfort zone.
• Make it your goal to meet new people, build new business relationships and friendships and learn as much as you can.
• Take advantage of every networking opportunity you can, including the coffee line, lunch, the time between sessions, and parties.
• Join the Newcomers Program and learn the ropes from a seasoned veteran. Do your best to make a good first impression and to represent yourself and your business well.
• If there is someone you’d like to meet, reach out before the conference and set up a meeting, or don’t be afraid to walk up and introduce yourself.

The relationships you build will open doors for years to come.

Wade Tonkin is the Affiliate Manager at Fanatics and Emcee for Affiliate Summit East 2013.

This article appeared in issue 23 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in August 2013. Read issue 23 of FeedFront Magazine.

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