This Summer, Get Tickets To The Best Seats In The House


Relationships are the key to success in business and in life. And relationships are built on trust. This is particularly true in the promotional products industry, where one’s success is often dependent on others to perform their jobs in a timely, high-quality and professional manner. End-user clients rely on sales executives, sales executives rely on distributors, distributors rely on suppliers and suppliers, in some cases, rely on manufacturers. Everyone in the chain must execute flawlessly or the project fails. But how do these relationships develop and flourish between suppliers and distributors when our industry is so large, so fragmented and spread out across the globe? And how do industry participants learn what is happening in our fast-changing, multi-faceted industry?

Over the past decade or so I’ve made dozens of valuable contacts and enhanced my industry education by attending the PPAI North American Leadership Conference (NALC). This year NALC is August 11-13, 2013 in Chicago. This high-level, results-driven program delves into the most important issues we face as an industry as business owners and leaders. Keynotes, discussion groups and break-out sessions are led by recognized business practitioners and innovators with an emphasis on emerging business trends and best practices. Being able to sit down with others who are facing many of the same challenges is an invaluable benefit of this type of program—and NALC includes many opportunities for small-group discussions and informal networking.

Of particular interest at this year’s NALC is our marquee list of outstanding speakers—Austan Goolsbee, Gary Shapiro and Frank Mulhern. Goolsbee held one of the most powerful posts influencing our nation’s economy as former chairman of President Barak Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers and as a member for the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Prior to the Obama administration, he was a member of the Panel of Economic Advisers to the Congressional Budget Office. He is currently a member of the Economic Advisory Panel to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. His economics forecast at NALC will draw upon these experiences in addition to his service as former chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and as a professor of economics at the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business. He is also a frequent guest on CNBC.

What you stand to learn from Goolsbee’s forecast alone is worth the registration fee but our program doesn’t stop there. You’ll also hear keynote speaker, Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association that represents more than 2,000 consumer electronics companies, and owns and produces the International Consumer Electronics Show. His presentation will expand on the strategies outlined in his newest book—Ninja Innovation—and get you thinking about what you can do in your own business to defeat the competition and succeed past your wildest dreams.

Frank Mulhern, professor and associate dean for integrated marketing communications at The Medill School, specializes in research on the economics of marketing, and the impact of media technology on marketing communications. At NALC, he will present two captivating sessions focused on employee engagement in terms of growth in business, and trends in marketing and how merchandising plays a role.

On the heels of NALC, PPAI offers its third Product Safety Summit, a day-and-a-half program focused on product safety issues affecting the promotional products industry, as well the business implications and challenges associated with product compliance. It runs August 14-15 in Chicago and features a variety of eye-opening sessions that explore the latest developments as well as best practices of product safety and compliance facilitated by experienced industry practitioners, and representatives from product safety labs and product certification groups. This event is a must-attend for supplier and distributor company leaders as well as product safety compliance officers and anyone responsible for ensuring product safety.

PPAI was the first to offer a women-focused education program, Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC), and it has soared to popularity because of its richly focused education content and priceless networking opportunities. Like NALC, the education line-up is built around speakers that resonate with the audience’s needs and offer valuable insight and professional expertise.

At this summer’s WLC in San Diego, July 8-10, 2013, Allison Maslan, CEO of Allison Maslan International, will speak about creating inner and outer wealth by helping attendees grow a prosperous business and a passionate life. Maslan has built 10 successful companies from the ground up starting out, on her own, as a single mother.

Valorie Burton, a best-selling author, speaker, and life coach dedicated to helping people get unstuck and be unstoppable in every area of their lives, will teach listeners techniques to help them find their purpose and reach their own goals. In the area of marketing, speaker and author Liz Goodgold will teach personal branding specifically for women. She is a practicing “branding guru,” having worked for such major clients as the World Trade Centers, Sharp HealthCare, Quaker Oats, Pfizer and Univision.

Those who have attended these PPAI programs return year after year because once you go, you get it. I hope you’ll make the decision to reserve your seat now. Find more information and the registration forms under the Education tab at


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