• Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021
Alliance of Independent Representatives formed to give voice to professional sales community
Veronica Lombardo

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 representation companies who connect content creatives with agencies, brands and media. 

AIR is committed to a wide range of priorities that extend beyond its membership, including to:

  • 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,” explained Asprodites. “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.” 

The calls started with a small group of less than 10 and quickly grew to 60 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,” recalled Lombardo. “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.” 

Asprodites added, “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. 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,” Lombardo said, “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.” She concluded, “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 Lombardo as president, Asprodites as VP, Corey Rogers, East Coast (Schaffer/ Rogers) as organizational secretary, Julie Koellner, Southwest (Remedy Reps) as treasurer and Doug Sherin, West Coast (Options) as director-at-large.

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