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Real Conversations Take Effort

One of my favorite mantras is “anything worth doing is worth overdoing”. A therapist may see this as a thinly disguised cry for help from a perfectionist, but I see it as the least I owe my members.

The hardworking men and women who comprise Ohio’s beverage industry live this mantra daily. The least I can do if I ask them to take time away from their jobs, travel to Columbus and meet with legislative offices is to make it worth it.

As I reflect on our first in person Legislative Day since 2020, I know the extra efforts were worth it. From logistics to messaging, we work hard to make it easy for our members to participate.

We begin with our industry’s leadership story and build from there. In Ohio, legislative term limits guarantee new legislators will hear about our $7.5 billion economic value and our nearly 10,000 employees statewide firsthand from our members. Sure, we lead our social media stories with these impressive numbers, but there is something “sticky” about an in person meeting. Add in local jobs numbers broken out by facility, and legislators better understand this economic value story.

When we talk about sustainability and our industry’s commitment to getting our containers remade into new bottles and cans, most elected officials are supportive. But when G&J Pepsi members talk about their 97% landfill free production facilities, the legislator better understands how a commitment translates into action. All our Legislative Day meetings featured a big picture description of industry action backed up with real world examples of how our members conserve resources.

Another part of our leadership story involves offering families more choices with less sugar and lots of information about our products. We love surprising legislators with small gift bags which showcase part of this variety. Who wouldn’t rather taste than read about delicious choices?

And this year, members spent time explaining CDL driver shortages and thanking House members for their help in making more testing options available, along with increased scholarship funding for driving students. While the Senate still grapples with their version of the state budget and those items, I know that having close to 100 members talking about these issues is impactful.

My thank you list is always long for Legislative Day. Our team at Ohio Beverage, including supportive board members, company government affairs folks and regional company leaders make this a priority event so that their teammates can spend a day in Columbus. I also deeply appreciate aides in the House and Senate who answered our emails, calls and carved out time on a busy day for the meetings. And the unsung heroes who help ensure the gift bags reach legislators—looking at you fabulous security guards, Statehouse dock helpers and pages!

When colleagues tease me about obsessing over Legislative Day, I know that the work always pays off. When a first time attendee arrives nervous and leaves gushing about how fun the day was, I know it is worth it. When Legislative Day veterans continue to share their time and expertise, despite crushing work schedules, I know it is worth it. When legislators ask how they can help us, I know it is worth every single minute of preparation.



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