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Hello to all CFA members... My name is Nicole Palazzo. I would like to introduce myself as the new President of this wonderful organization. Firstly, before I do so I would like to give Leah Van Ness a round of applause for her incredible hard work and dedication she has given as the President for years on end. Her and wonderful board has carried CFA and put on many successful events that they should be proud of including NEFE. Often people do not understand how much work and sacrifice it takes behind the scenes to throw these events and they went above and beyond. As I joined the board, Leah, Michael, Judy, Gary, Lynn, Sarah & Lee were so welcoming - it was truly inspiring to be sitting around the table with such creative people who all had one thing in common; the love and passion for the floral industry. So well done Leah and many thanks!
 
A little about myself - I am a 4th generation florist at my family's 100-year-old business here in Trumbull named City Line Florist. Everyday I have the privilege to work with my best friend whom is my mom, my uncle, cousins and staff who have been with us for decades that they too have become family. Like many of you reading this, I have literally grown up in the business and I am the true meaning of a flower child. By choice, I spent countless hours after school hanging out at City Line Florist & as soon as I could work I was recruited doing any job needed as a young girl - filling up water tubes, stuffing baskets, breaking up cardettes, you name it - I did it. I graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University where I received a bachelor's degree in communications and immediately came right back into the florist working full time. Today, I am the marketing manager at the shop making sure we are staying up to date on social media, our brand, managing the website, sales, designing and everything in between.  
 
This has been a wonderful year for myself with industry growth as I was named 2018 "Thirty-five under 35" by the Florists Review and Fairfield County 2018 "Forty under 40" by the Fairfield County Business Journal. I have been elected to run for Society of American Florists Retail Council, Joined the board & became President of CFA and I've joined the CT Unit of Teleflora board. Hey, If I am going to be in this industry I figure I might as well fully submerge myself to be the best I can be and learn from my peers. I also helped orchestrate the "Next Gen Florists" group with Society of American Florists. A place where likeminded & industry related millennials can come together to Network and share ideas with one another.  In my spare time, I love to travel more than anything. I have been very lucky to travel the world and I spend a lot of my traveling around floral related events like the yearly SAF conferences, Tradeshows such as International Floral Expo & as of recent AIFD symposium. I feel that you can never learn too much, and education is important to not stay stagnant in this constantly changing business.
 
Being a CFA president is really an honor and privilege to me as my hero who I looked up to my whole life and 2nd generation at my family's shop, my grandpa Robert Roehrich, served on the board and was an active member. He also won the CFA Florist of the year award.
 
This is going to be a big year for CFA and I have lots of goals to reach as we rebrand ourselves. Some to name and focus on ismember recruitment - We would really like to have more florists, designers, students, and industry related companies support us with membership. In return, we are working on getting stronger membership benefits that our members can reap whether it will be promotions from wholesalers or promo codes from corporate companies to be used. In addition, in the future I would like to bring back a tradeshow that we all dearly miss. As we rebrand, we will have a strong presence on social media and this newsletter kicks off us relaunching the CFA Today! Our website will be more active posting jobs & future events - keep an eye out on our Marketplace section. I am asking our members and readers to please come together - we will all be much more successful if we all work together. If you would like to be on the board just reach out to us or going forward, if we are hosting events and you would like to get involved. Its that simple. I am always available if youd like to chat and if you have any suggestions or input I would be more than happy to listen to them. Let's bring back CFA to what it once was!
 
Thanks for listening and I look forward to meeting you all. Please reach out to me if needed at nicole@citylineflorist.com I am really honored and looking forward to move things forward in my new position.