Inside PPAI – December 2016


2016 LDW Draws Nearly 200 Volunteers For Annual Training And Idea Sharing


2016 PPAI RAC Volunteers of the Year Ted Dennison, MAS, (second from left) with RAC Board President Ryan Small, CAS, and George Jackson, (second from right) with his nominator, TRASA Executive Director Patti Ward, were recognized at a dinner reception. 

Board members and executive directors from regional associations  throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico traveled to Grapevine, Texas, in October for the 17th annual Leadership Development Workshop (LDW). Hosted by PPAI and the Regional Association Council (RAC), the week-long event featured a PPAI Board of Directors meeting, a full-day training and planning session for PPAI committee and advisory group chairs, and an extensive, multi-day curriculum designed to provide regional association leadership with numerous learning opportunities through general sessions, breakout discussions and sharing activities.

SanMar’s Mike Knapick, incoming chair of the PPAI Technology Committee, was one of the committee volunteers who participated. “The committee chair training was a valuable opportunity to share ideas with other committee chairs and PPAI Liaisons to address challenges and facilitate meaningful committee meetings,” he says.

The next day, more than 190 regional volunteers representing 27 regional associations attended LDW to participate in their choice of 25 education sessions with speakers and panelists from PPAI staff and from within and outside the promotional products industry. Shelley Row, a professional engineer and former senior executive, delivered a keynote breakfast presentation on October 19 exploring cognition, intuition and striking the right balance in the modern business environment. Row also taught two education sessions later that afternoon.

“I look forward to LDW each year because it brings together the country’s best and brightest volunteers to learn, collaborate and strategize for what’s ahead,” says Ryan Small, CAS, RAC board president. “These folks make great things happen on the local level in their own communities and work to educate and grow our industry. PPAI does this on the national level, and the regional associations are the grassroots teams giving their time and energy to make us all better.”


LDWs education lineup included a breakfast session with Shelley Row, professional engineer and former senior executive.

Bill Petrie, District 2’s RAC board representative and PPAMS incoming board president, calls the event a great way to learn from each other. “As an incoming board president, the ability to truly engage with both the executive director and fellow board members on a granular level to create the best possible experience for our members has been invaluable.”

In reflecting on the regional event, Bob McLean, PPAI executive vice president, adds, “The new session format delivered a new level of interactivity. This event’s vital peer-to-peer involvement also really upped the game.”

The associated Regional Boot Camp brought together regional association leaders for an intensive, hands-on training session designed for their specific needs. It featured two separate tracks—one for executive directors and one for incoming and current presidents—as well as opportunities for the two groups to work together.

LDW attendees also honored some of the regional community’s most accomplished members during a reception and dinner. Ted Dennison, MAS, of Houston, Texas, distributor TMJ Enterprises, and George Jackson, owner of distributor George Jackson Promotions in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were formally recognized as the 2016 PPAI RAC Volunteers of the Year in acknowledgement of their volunteerism, leadership and contributions to their regional associations. Jonathan Riegel, MAS, SAAGNY’s executive director, was presented with the 2016 Donna Hall Memorial Grant, which provides regional association executive directors the opportunity to advance their education and careers by providing financial support to attend education conferences and events. The night also included quick and insightful presentations from leaders with PPAChicago, SAAGNY, SAAC, PPAW and SPPA, highlighting some of their events and best practices.

“RAC has done an outstanding job putting this event together,” says PMANC Board Member Kenny Ved. “Everything has been flawless! The education sessions and content are extremely helpful in developing a strategic plan for the future of PMANC.”

Donte Shannon, CAE, joined SAAC as executive director earlier this year. He says, “As a first-time attendee to LDW, I am inspired and motivated by the amount of professional development and quality of content provided at this conference. Specifically, LDW has allowed me to gain new industry knowledge, expand my network and exchange career experiences with like-minded colleagues. The harmony exhibited by the PPAI staff is evident in every aspect of the conference from logistics to programming. As the conference comes to a close, I leave looking forward to attending next year.”

Attendees listen to a speaker in on of the education sessions.

LDW attendees picked from 25 education sessions featuring speakers and panelists from PPAI staff and from within and outside the promotional products industry.

Janet McMaster, MAS, is moving into the RAC president’s seat in 2017. She says she found plenty like about the new tools and features LDW introduced this year. “The new app worked incredibly well and having the presentations embedded in it for future reference adds so much value. The IGNITE format during the opening dinner, allowing regionals to share success stories in a concise and visual manner, was well received. And modifying the sessions to be more conversational as opposed to being monologue style was a welcomed format change as well. Our 2016 LDW isn’t over yet and I’m already looking forward to 2017.”

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