PPPC Communique: Members Together Again

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, center, was a special guest at the Holiday Showcase Toronto.

 

After such a long time apart, the second half of 2021 provided opportunities for Canadian industry colleagues to be together once again, and the response has been great. This is, after all, a highly social industry.

We kicked-off our return to in-person events in September with a Manitoba Chapter golf event in which 34 members got together in Winnipeg for nine holes of golf and a barbeque that followed. The weather was beautiful, and the excitement of reuniting was even better. Local members provided some great prizes, and one supplier made their first business trip from Toronto to Winnipeg to attend.

October 20 was a big day for the Canadian industry. PPPC joined PPAI in celebrating Promotional Products Work! Day across North America and our celebrations included our first in-person trade show in 20 months. Thirty-nine suppliers exhibited at this small but mighty show held in Toronto. The 225 distributors who attended were thrilled to see their favourite suppliers again and to find some great new companies to work with. For some, this was their very first industry gathering of any size in a very long time.

It was a great opportunity for suppliers to reconnect with multi-line reps they hadn’t seen in person since 2020 and for distributors to meet up with friends, colleagues and even competitors. A highlight from that day was Ontario Premier Doug Ford attending the show with some of his cabinet colleagues. The Premier took the time to meet many members and pose for countless selfies.

 
Above: The first in-person event in 2021 was the Manitoba Chapter golf event. Right: BC Member Night was held in a local pub.

Following the show, we received a lot of very positive feedback and more than a few comments along the lines of “working a booth is harder than I remember!” This event was a good way to ease back into the world of trade shows. Following the show, two dozen suppliers and a few board members enjoyed cocktails and appetizers while catching-up on the day’s events.

October also brought our board of directors back together in person for the first meeting with new board chair, Sandra Harssar, presiding. A significant amount of time was spent during the meeting discussing strategies for our 2022 in-person events. Engaging members, including at events, is a key priority for PPPC. We all left the board meeting energized for what we know will be a great year ahead.

November was our first opportunity to bring together local members in British Columbia. I was pleased to be able to connect with a group of members at a local brewpub in the Vancouver area. Like our other events this fall, this was the first time most of these members had been face to face. The evening ended with a discussion on the need to bring the industry together, in person and more often in the year ahead.

All these fall events contained many pandemic-era firsts for those attending. They also demonstrated the industry desire  to be back together in person, in a safe way. I want to thank all those who attended our events and all the member companies who sponsored and exhibited at the events.

The first months of 2022 have us back on the road again for The PPAI Expo and our five-city TOPS+ tour. I am excited to play a role in connecting our industry leaders, in person. See you soon!  

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Jonathan Strauss is president and CEO of Promotional Product Professionals of Canada (PPPC).

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