PPAI Women’s Leadership Conference Finishes Another Powerful Run


After two and a half days of learning, listening, conversing, connecting and sharing their experience, ideas and knowledge, the nearly 160 attendees at this year’s PPAI Women’s Leadership Conference parted ways following Wednesday evening’s closing dinner. They took with them new friendships, fresh resources and a renewed spirit to succeed.

Held in Atlanta, Georgia, June 27-29, attendees participated in two full days of education with four general sessions teaching innovation, leadership and communication and a choice of breakout sessions each day on topics ranging from personal strategic planning and emerging technology trends to executive decision making and coaching employee performance.

On Wednesday, Yolanda White, global group director, The Coca-Cola Company, presented a general session on building brands, calling on her experiences in working for one of the most recognized and valuable brands in the world. The conference wrapped up late Wednesday with humorist and motivational speaker Kelly Swanson, who spoke about finding passion and purpose in life and work.

Jo-an Lantz, MAS, CEO at distributor Geiger, has been a dedicated attendee at WLC since its start more than 10 years ago, and she currently serves on the WLC Work Group. “WLC is a wonderful opportunity to learn ideas and new skills,” she says. “The energy is electric with so many first-time attendees (over 60) in a sold-out event. The WLC is the one industry event in which everyone, from the Millennials to the seasoned professionals, is well represented. For me, the PPAI WLC is the one must-attend event.”


Clockwise: Laura Brewer contributes to the WLC chalkboard; during a break are Lorrayne Mancari, MAS+; Kim Reinecker, MAS; Laura Holt; Alissa Succi and Ashlee Duerr; speaker The Coca-Cola Company’s Yolanda White; Tara Villanueva, Pat Dugan, MAS, Mary Dobsch and Jo-an Lantz, MAS, celebrate Dobsch’s honor.

Frequent attendee Jenny Straub, director of marketing at Imagen Brands-Vitronic, says she picked up a valuable tip while she was listening to Opening General Session presenter Colette Carlson on Tuesday morning. Carlson talked about the truths female leaders need to know—including not downplaying achievements. “The aha moment for me was when she said to express your success by watching your inside job. So many times I discount my accomplishments. What I will do now is take ownership of those accomplishments and share them with others.”

Among the event’s newbies was Dawn Hays, CAS, senior account manager at distributor Sunrise Identity. “As a first-timer at WLC I was able to make amazing connections with women inside my industry,” says Hays. “It was also a blast to put names and faces together with women I have known for years via phone and email. This was a great opportunity for me to hit my “reset button,” coming back to work inspired and ready to take on the world. I feel energized and empowered to keep making a difference in my workplace and my community—so much so that I’m going to use this opportunity to thank my president, Mitch Mounger, and ask if he would send me back year after year.”

Sharon Benson, order processing supervisor at distributor HALO Branded Solutions, says, “As a first-time attendee, this week has been a very invigorating experience. The women attending this conference are very motivating and welcome you like they have known you forever. The speakers and sessions have been phenomenal and have provided me with a wealth of knowledge. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to attend and hope to be a repeat attendee.”

Her colleague, Mary Pat Stewart, customer service supervisor at HALO says, “I feel extremely fortunate and appreciate the opportunity to network with like-minded women of our industry over the past few days. What a fabulous and dynamic community of brilliant superheroes.”

Shelley Sake, vice president of marketing at supplier Evans Manufacturing, Inc., was another first-timer who quickly became a devoted WLC fan. “As a first-time attendee, I am so impressed with the powerful women I am meeting at the Women’s Leadership Conference and the willingness of them to share their thoughts and ideas. It has been a wonderful opportunity to meet new contacts, connect with industry leaders and to see industry friends. It’s good to see the spirit of cooperation and the learning that happens at every session. I’m excited to get back to the office and put what I’ve learned to good use. I understand now why it’s such a popular event—I hope to be a repeat attendee.”

See Tuesday’s PPB Newslink for more WLC coverage including PPAI’s Woman of Achievement award winner.

Next year’s WLC will be held in Scottsdale, Arizona, June 26-28, 2017. Watch the PPAI website for registration information.

filed under industry-news | june-2016
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