PPPC Communique: Introducing The Next PPPC Board Chair
Above: Harssar (center) with Paula Torneck-Richie and Lynda Torneck
I’m pleased to introduce myself, Sandra Harssar, as the incoming chair for the Promotional Product Professionals of Canada (PPPC). Although I will be officially crowned as chair of the PPPC board at our Annual General Meeting in October, I’m excited to get my name out there now and start making some new connections.
When I was asked to write a story about myself for PPB, I sat back and wondered, “What would people find interesting about me? Do I talk about my hobbies, my business, my family? How do I write an engaging story that will hold your interest?”
Then I thought—my dog! Everyone loves to read about pets. I can write about how cute she is, how good she is, how much she sheds … wait, no—as much as everyone loves dogs, the community needs to get to know me as a leader and an entrepreneur in the world of Canadian promotional products.
My journey in the promo world started back in 1989. At the time, I had been married to my husband Rob for two years and was unhappy with my current job. Several people suggested that I join Rob and his partner at their company, K-Promotions Ltd. Not knowing much about the promotional products industry, I went in with an open mind and gave distributor sales a good old college try. The industry instantly intrigued me, and I have not looked back since!
Having garnered experience at K-Promotions Ltd., it was time for Rob and I to venture off on our own to create a small boutique company. To our delight, Bright Ideas was born in September of 2013. Since then, we have been working side-by-side to deliver exceptional service to our clients and to continuously grow our business.
My volunteer experiences started in 2009 when I joined the PPPC Ontario Chapter. Being a volunteer allowed and encouraged me to develop a camaraderie with all sorts of industry folks, from suppliers and MLRs to my distributor competitors. It was so nice to get involved and help the organization with different social and educational events.
After spending seven years on the Ontario Chapter board, I felt it was time to move on up, and I was elected to join the national board of directors in 2017. I love our industry and value the connections I have made in all these years of volunteering. I always enjoy the opportunity to give back to my industry and community, and look forward to continuing that trend as PPPC chair.
2021 will be an exciting year for me as I take on the role of national board chair of PPPC. I look forward to helping guide the organization through the recovery of the pandemic and hope to strengthen our industry through the relationships of its participants. Like many different industries, the world pandemic has wreaked havoc on the promotional products industry. Over the next few years, we will need to reassess, rebuild and regain our strength, but I cannot imagine any other industry more capable of achieving this goal, and I am proud to be a part of it.
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, I am the eldest of three daughters in a highly active and close-knit family. Growing up, we spent our winter weekends skiing and summers enjoying family trips. Prior to COVID, we even continued our core family tradition of an annual weekend in New York City, and we hope to be able to do it again soon.
Travelling is one of my favourite things, and I am slowly knocking off places on my bucket list. These include climbing Machu Picchu in Peru and white-water rafting in the Ganges River in India. I am extremely fortunate to have my two sisters—my partners in crime—who love active travel as much as I do.
Together, Rob and I enjoy traveling, cycling and gourmet food. We take great pride in our culinary achievements and have been told that eating at the Harssar house beats any restaurant.
Sandra Harssar is the incoming board chair for the Promotional Product Professionals of Canada and will officially take office in October 2021.