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Boating diversity council meeting set for today

The Recreational Boating Leadership Council’s Diversity Task Force held its first official group meeting during the Miami International Boat Show in February and a second teleconference is scheduled for this afternoon.

Appointed to serve on the inaugural cross-industry group are Lou Sandoval, Karma Yacht Sales; Margaret Podlich, BoatUS; Liz Walz, Marine Retailers Association of the Americas; Dave Geoffroy, National Marine Manufacturers Association; Josie Tucci, MarineMax; Lisa Almeida, Freedom Boat Club; Bob Pappajohn, MP Mercury; Thom Dammrich, NMMA; and Frank Peterson, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.

Wanda Kenton Smith, of Kenton Smith Marketing, is chairwoman of the task force.

“Our first meeting was very positive and highly productive,” Kenton Smith said in a statement. “Our initial focus is to clearly define our task force’s short-term goals and objectives and then to develop specific strategies, tactics and timelines for successful implementation.”

The task force expects to have a two-year plan in place by the summer. It is also issuing an industrywide call for volunteers.

“Anyone who has an interest in helping the boating industry to reach out to more diverse markets is invited to participate in our initiative and forthcoming activities,” Kenton Smith said.

“We will have volunteer opportunities as we move this plan forward and are seeking to engage with industry members who either bring sales and marketing experience to diverse audiences to the table or who may themselves represent an Asian, Hispanic or African American group. Direct feedback from those in the know will prove very valuable to our diversity efforts and educational initiatives.”

Information about the task force and volunteering is available by contacting Kenton Smith at



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