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.”

The PPAI Expo 2017 Features World-Class Education And Speakers


Top row, from left: Brian Solis, Colette Carlson, David Avrin and Ryan Estis. Bottom row from left: Johnny Earle, Mark Graham and Norm Hullinger.

The PPAI Expo 2017 is set to deliver another high-level lineup of exciting speakers and an extensive professional development schedule in Las Vegas next month. Expo’s education programming at the industry’s largest and longest running trade show will motivate audiences, feed them new ideas, develop their professional skills and advance their careers.

Attendees will have more than 100 education sessions from which to choose starting on Sunday, January 8, and running throughout the week, within one of eight tracks including Incentives & Recognition, Corporate Responsibility, Industry Essentials, Marketing & Advertising, Decorate, Sales & Service, Strategies & Solutions and Technology. And attendees can earn credits toward MAS or CAS certifications. The SAGE conference also runs concurrently on Monday, January 9, offering 12 sessions for suppliers and distributors about SAGE technology.

Expo 2017 keynote and general session speakers are prepared to expand their audiences’ outlook on relationships, boost idea building and help them manage their creative impulses. Here’s a snapshot of what to expect.

It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows You!—How To Build Your Business By Building Your Brand

David Avrin, former CEO-group leader, business speaker and president of The Visibility Coach, joins Monday’s keynote luncheon with insights on recognizing and promoting a true competitive advantage while building a category-leading brand identity. Drawn from his book, It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows You!, Avrin’s eye-opening, energetic and entertaining business marketing presentation will leave his audience with a new perspective on what it takes to stand out and deliver a head full of new ideas and actionable strategies to become top-of-mind with top prospects.

Keynote Luncheon

Monday, January 9, 2017

11:45 am – 1:15 pm

Mandalay Bay Ballroom J, Level 2

Session Fees: $55 Members/$110 Nonmembers

The Power Keynotes

The PPAI Expo 2016’s popular Power Keynotes return in 2017 with three engaging speakers—Colette Carlson, Ryan Estis and Brian Solis—who will give audiences a sneak peek into their Power Keynote presentations. Audience members can then choose which Power Keynote to attend.

General Session – Power Keynote Preview

Monday, January 9, 2017    

3 – 3:45 pm

Location: Mandalay Bay Ballroom J, Level 2

Colette Carlson: The founder of Speak Your Truth, Inc., human behavior expert Colette Carlson shares how to stay connected to what really matters while being surrounded by challenges, conflict and change in her Power Keynote, “Stress Less, Connect More.” Carlson’s session focuses on training her audience to stay cool, calm and collected, eliminate unrealistic expectations and overcome the stresses of everyday life.

Monday, January 9, 2017    

4 – 5 pm

Mandalay Bay Ballroom H, Level 2


Ryan Estis: In his session “Rock Star Selling: Selling Value In The New Economy,” Ryan Estis, the former chief strategy officer for McCann Worldgroup advertising agency NAS, will examine the dramatic evolution of professional sales, and how the best sales organizations are leveraging their elevated capabilities to meet the expectations of sophisticated and demanding customers. His session provides a demonstration of how the best sales professionals are using their expertise to offer customers a compelling value proposition.

Monday, January 9, 2017    

4 – 5 pm

Mandalay Bay Ballroom F, Level 2


Brian Solis: As principal analyst at Altimeter Group, Brian Solis studies disruptive technology’s effects on business and society. His Expo session, “From Brand Experience (BX) + Customer Experience (CX) + User Experience (UX) = X: How Digital Is Inspiring A New Era Of Experience Design,” explores the relationship between digital technology and the evolution of customer expectations, behaviors and preferences.

Monday, January 9, 2017    

4 – 5 pm

Mandalay Bay Ballroom J, Level 2

The Recipe For Brand Loyalty

In the Tuesday, January 10, opening general session, Expo 2017 attendees will take a deep dive into brand loyalty with Johnny Cupcakes founder and CEO Johnny Earle. Earle founded what has become a multimillion-dollar t-shirt brand at age 19 out of the trunk of his car. He will open the show with the story of how his success stems from the power of details, experience and loyalty. His journey highlights the fundamental connection between the persona and the brand, and his session delivers comprehensive blueprints for getting a small business, passion or idea off the ground, while also expanding the way existing creators think.

Opening General Session

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

8:30 – 9:50 am

Level 2, Mandalay Bay Ballroom J

A Look Inside The Industry’s First Billion-Dollar Company

Mark Graham, founder of distributor RIGHTSLEEVE, CEO of commonsku and co-founder of industry group blog PromoKitchen, will sit down with alphabroder CEO Norm Hullinger during Tuesday’s keynote luncheon for a look at the ups and downs of running the industry’s largest company. Their conversation is expected to explore a wide range of themes, from the state of the apparel sector, industry consolidation, and how Alibaba and Amazon are changing how consumers buy wearables, to Hullinger’s rituals and routines for managing an organization that spans the globe with thousands of partners and employees. The discussion will get at what’s really at stake for the industry as seen through the eyes of one of its most influential companies.

Keynote Luncheon

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

11:45 am – 1:15 pm

Mandalay Bay Ballroom J, Level 2

Session Fees: $55.00 Members/$110 Nonmembers

To learn more about The PPAI Expo 2017 and to register, visit

PPAI’s Get In Touch! Industry Branding Campaign Launches At Advertising Week


Seth Godin presents PPAI’s live-streamed session during Advertising Week.

PPAI’s Get In Touch! industry branding initiative kicked off in September at Advertising Week in New York City. As part of the program’s launch, the Association joined author, blogger and master marketer Seth Godin for “Getting In Touch With The Work That Matters.” Introduced by PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, the keynote explored business, management, marketing, storytelling, changing everything and doing the work that matters. Bellantone also joined Godin onstage for a Q&A session with the audience.

During his 50-minute live-streamed address at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, Godin used real-life examples, humorous slides and his personal stories to drive home his message that the ad industry is in a revolution, and what worked in the 1950s of simply pushing an ad message out again and again until people bought is now outdated. “People have been branded to death,” he told his audience. “No one cares about ads; they care about remarkable experiences. We are living in an economy based on choice—unlimited choice.” He urged listeners to deliver personalized messages to become the choice customers would miss if it were gone.

Originally introduced at The PPAI Expo 2016 as the Industry Branding Initiative (IBI), the Get In Touch! campaign targets advertising buyers with a five-year, multimillion-dollar branding initiative designed to increase awareness and improve the overall perception of the promotional products industry while communicating the importance of the promotional consultant, resulting in a larger share of advertising dollars for the promotional products industry.

Complementing the launch of the initiative, PPAI introduced the newly redesigned, a website targeted at advertising buyers that tells a two-part story about the power of promotional products and the importance of using a promotional consultant.

Industry members can get involved in the Get In Touch! campaign by providing case studies, a key component of the initiative. For more information or to provide a case study, contact PPAI Public Relations Manager Kim Todora at


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