The 17th annual Leadership Development Workshop (LDW) is under way this week in Grapevine, Texas. Hosted by PPAI and the Regional Association Council (RAC), the four-day event began Monday with a PPAI Board of Directors meeting and continues today with a full-day training and planning session for PPAI committee and advisory group chairs. LDW continues Wednesday and Thursday with an extensive curriculum designed to provide regional association leadership with numerous learning opportunities through general sessions, breakout discussions and idea-sharing activities.

“LDW is one of my favorite industry events of the year,” says Janet McMaster, MAS, Geiger regional sales vice president and president of the RAC Board of Directors. “It is an opportunity for the leaders of our 27 regional associations to come together and learn from the various presenters and from each other. The sessions at LDW are diverse and speak to such topics as best practices in association management, redefining the trade-show experience, delivering and communicating value to membership, recruiting volunteers and the next generation of leaders, and so much more.”  

This year, LDW welcomes more than 150 regional leaders as well as PPAI board members and committee chairs. The comprehensive schedule features 28 education sessions presented by speakers and panelists, who include PPAI staff and industry members, as well as guests from outside the promotional products industry.

McMaster adds, “Leadership of a regional association, as a board member, is not easy, but it can be so rewarding. The need to continually shift and reshape how we connect and bring value to our collective memberships in this ever-changing business environment is exciting and fulfilling. In one aspect, this four-day event is very much like a family reunion. It is very relationship driven. So many of the attendees have built lifelong friendships from this event. Plus, each year we have the chance, and the obligation, to mentor the rookies: those who are stepping into a leadership role for the first time.”

Regional Boot Camp, which began this morning, provides regional association leaders an intensive, hands-on training session designed for their specific needs. It features 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.

At a reception and dinner this evening, Kendra McDougal, a brand merchandise consultant at HALO Branded Solutions operating out of Colonial Beach, Virginia; and Mark Shinn, MAS, president of Incentives West, a multi-line rep firm based in Newcastle, Washington; will be formally recognized as the 2017 PPAI RAC Volunteers of the Year for their leadership and contributions to the regional association community. Also tonight, RAC will present Julie Schoenbauer, executive director for the Rocky Mountain Region Promotional Products Association (RMRPPA), with the 2017 Donna Hall Memorial Grant. Established by the RAC board in 2013, the grant provides regional association executive directors with financial support to attend education conferences and events and advance their education and careers.