At ABM's 2013 Annual Conference here in Amelia Island, FL today, membership cast their vote as the final step to approve the merger between ABM and SIIA. The vote came in at 83 for, 3 against, but not without a bit of drama.
During the vote count, Lebhar-Friedman's Roger Friedman stood to pay a heartfelt tribute to the ABM of the past, recognizing his own mentors and previous leaders of the b-to-b media association.
While acknowledging both the inevitability of the member vote in favor of the merger as well as the momentum of change in the b-to-b media industry, Friedman called this year's annual conference "bittersweet" as he took the opportunity to officially cast his vote against the merger.
"I know the merger is going to pass," he said, "but because of my conscience I am casting a negative vote. It's just my way to express my feeling over the whole process."
The objection came across as more of sentimental one, rather than a practical one—with Friedman taking the opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of some of the "old guard" b-to-b leaders who put so much effort into the organization and how it, in turn, educated its membership over its more than 100 years in existence.
His speech, which he admitted to writing at 3 am that morning, drew a standing ovation.
It also succinctly drew attention to the reason for the merger in the first place—that the b-to-b media industry has changed so quickly that it's almost unrecognizable from what it was only a decade ago.