DEMA Asks For Help (But Will They Accept It?)

I happened to be in the Los Angeles area this last weekend and took a few hours out of my work day on Sunday (actually more like added a few hours to my work day, but I digress) to attend the DEMA 2020 Vision Brainstorming Session as part of the Scuba Show. It was not what I expected.

There has been a fairly lively discussion over on LinkedIn regarding the successes and failures of DEMA as an organization. Based on that discussion, my expectation was to walk into a room, listen to a prepared presentation covering what DEMA has in store for members, maybe have a brief Q&A session, then call it a day. Yes, that goes against the title of the session, but that’s what I was expecting based on our LinkedIn discussions.

Instead, DEMA Executive Director Tom Ingram greeted the roughly 15 of us casually and briefly. Ingram then explained the format: DEMA wanted our ideas on where we see the SCUBA industry headed, where we’d like it to go and how precisely to get there. The only guidance given was to keep track of time.

We split into two groups and went to work on our flip pads and Sharpies.

I’ll dive more into the specifics of what the combined group came up with in my next article, but it was surprising to see both groups independently came up with very similar changes we’d like to see as well as how to go about enacting them. We were also informed from Tom and people who had attended the session at Beneath the Sea that there were some extreme contrasts with our ideas.

Tom moved between groups, asking relevant and insightful questions to help us better explain our ideas. We then presented our ideas to the combined group, allowing for a brief period of questions.

I was actually very surprised. I was not expecting to be asked for my ideas. I was not expecting to be in a room full of people who share many of the same issues and wants that I have. I was not expecting a strong figure of strong, confidence building leadership.

Again, I was surprised. I found all of those things in the DEMA 2020 Vision Brainstorming Session.

Only time will tell if they actually do anything to implement these suggestions. At this point, however, if you are unhappy with the way DEMA has been representing and progressing our industry, attend one of these sessions if possible. If not, network with people who can attend so your ideas can be shared. DEMA appears to actually be asking for feedback and ideas, it’s impossible to chastise them if you don’t share with them.

Great job Tom (and DEMA).

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