2018 North America Annual AED Distributor Meeting recap


The HeartStart Distributor meeting took place in Napa, CA from March 20-22. It was attended by approximately 60 North American distributors plus a number of Philips employees who provided training, support, and business updates.

One highlight was a Q&A panel discussion with Cindy Elmekias, Maegan Wilkinson, Brian Arbanas, Jeff Boschee, and Andrea Battisti. They acknowledged that there is work to be done to rebuild our business but we are also focused and confident in our plan. Together, we will emerge stronger by putting quality and customers first. That focus will help us save more lived and fuel growth for our business.

This meeting was the official launch of HeartStart Home AED to dealers, a new opportunity to grow the business by focusing on a new market that is rich with opportunity. This is the first time dealers will be able to sell this FSA eligible solution. The program includes the work by Ingrid Biela to position Philips as a pilot partner with Amazon. Amazon will now only allow authorized AED sellers. This addresses minimum advertised pricing issues and ensures consistency across e-commerce and other channels, supporting our distributors.

This year’s meeting included a social media component. Andrea Hofer provided live coverage of the event via a live social wall which encouraged attendees to engage with and produce their own content using the event hashtag – #HeartStartDistributor. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about social media strategy at all levels (several created their very first tweet!), share stories that will be used in Philips global social content, and received access to free Philips ECR content to share on their social presences.

The popular AED selfie photo wall:

social booth
Live display of social posts

Jeopardy and Family Feud sessions reinforced dealer knowledge of Philips and competitive solutions:

Break out session with an update on the R92 rebate strategy

The Napa region is recovering from the horrible Western Wildfires of October 2017. We heard from a special guest speaker – Barry Biermann, NAPA County Fire Chief. He shared his experiences in crisis communication, the importance of having a clear mission plan, focusing on the 99% of events where you can make a difference, not letting emotions (which can run high on social media) run your responses when validated data / intelligence is critical, and doing retrospectives to plan and prepare better for the future.


Matt Johnson recognized distributors’ contributions to our shared mission of saving lives by holding our Heros @ Heart celebration. He also summarized the key points relative to our current business situation:

  • Monitor the conditions.
  • Planning, staffing and resources are critical.
  • Execution is imperative – but also need to be fluid, adjust based on new information.
  • It’s not always perfect.
  • We never thought we would see the 1% situation – but how we respond to it is what matters.
  • Building to a higher standard comes with a cost.


Wrapping things up and experiencing a little bit of what Napa valley is known for by visiting the lovely Markham vineyards cellar

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