Above: Participants in the meetings at PPAI’s headquarters included (from left) PPAI Public Affairs Director Anne Stone; PPAI Executive Vice President Bob McLean, CPA, CAE; PPPC President and CEO Jonathan Strauss; BPMA CEO Jon Birrell; PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE; PPAI Vice President of Business Development Alan Peterson; and APPA CEO Steve Granland, among others. 

Last week, PPAI hosted the leaders of its international peer organizations at its headquarters in Irving, Texas. On July 25-26, Jon Birrell, CEO of the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA); Jonathan Strauss, president and CEO of the Promotional Product Professionals of Canada; and Steve Granland, CEO of the Australasian Promotional Products Association (APPA) met with PPAI’s executive team and department heads to learn more about shared challenges and opportunities facing the organizations and how they can collaborate going forward.

“Our meeting gave us the opportunity to learn about the strengths of each individual association and to consider how PPPC can learn from this,” says Strauss. “We identified some common goals that we can work together to accomplish, including promoting the value of promotional products and industry research.”

Granland adds, “From a personal perspective, I am a great believer in the value of networking. Having the opportunity to personally meet with the leaders of PPAI, BPMA and PPPC provides an opportunity to develop deeper personal and professional relationships, which invariably provides for greater opportunity to create positive and real outcomes. Additionally, PPAI was extremely generous during our visit in allowing senior staff to attend meetings and provide invaluable insights into operational and strategic excellence. Over the course of a couple of days it became very apparent that there are far more similarities between our markets and our associations than there are differences, and by sharing information as a global industry we make our industry stronger.”

PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, says, “PPAI continually looks for opportunities to make our members more knowledgeable, valuable to their customers and ultimately more profitable. Our relationships with these three global, sister organizations provides us with information that will be helpful in creating new products and services for our members to better serve their clients.”

During their time at PPAI headquarters, the trio met with PPAI’s department heads and managers to learn more about how various parts of the Association operated and served its membership, and discussed areas where they can learn from one another. Several opportunities to cooperate and collaborate grew out of these conversations.

“A key takeaway for me from a high level was the commitment from all associations to make this collaboration meaningful and worthwhile,” says Granland. “Recognizing that many challenges our associations and markets face are similar allows for discussions to focus on real plans and actions that can assist. There was a genuine commitment from all parties to share knowledge and resources where possible, and for APPA this is extremely valuable as it saves us from committing resources to have to re-invent something for which one of our sister associations may already have an answer, a tool or a resource. Importantly, the commitment of all associations to international collaboration in 2020 is very exciting, and I am confident the APPA board and members will embrace this.”

Strauss adds, “And this was not just a one-off meeting. It was be the beginning of collaboration between our four association on many fronts.”