Effective leadership drives any organization, be it a business, a team or, in the case of this week’s 2022 PPAI Leadership Development Workshop, a regional association. Takeaways from the three-day event will inform executive directors’ and board members’ decision-making in the year ahead.
LDW returned this week for its 21st in-person event and the first time the popular conference drew participants together face-to-face since 2019. It included attendees representing all of the promotional products industry’s 27 regional associations.
“It’s great to be back,” says Brian Deissroth, CAS, PPAI Regional Relations Committee chair. “It’s great to be in-person. It’s great to network and collaborate and share with each other. That’s where the rubber meets the road, being together in person. So, I am really excited that we were able to pull this off.”
The workshop ran October 10-12, beginning with an afternoon of education and networking specifically geared towards regionals’ executive directors. Its full agenda began in earnest Tuesday morning and ran through mid-day Wednesday.
Following a welcome by PPAI President and CEO Dale Denham, MAS+, and Deissroth, LDW’s full education agenda kicked off Tuesday morning with a keynote session led by Jason Jones, Ph.D.
Jones, a best-selling author, executive coach and organizational psychologist, shared his insights on the power of the human brain and how it can be leveraged to attract, retain and engage membership.
“Now more than ever, we have to lead from a place of unleashing the best in people,” says Jones.
The human brain is wired to connect socially. Effective leadership, Jones explained, fundamentally depends on building good connections with another person. He shared three words – care, character and communication – that are fundamental to a mindset to support successful collaboration. A positive, empowering approach to leadership can pay dividends.
He says, “You can believe in something so passionately that other people look at you and think that they want to feel that way too.”
Much of LDW’s education opportunities are presented through a series of breakout sessions tackling a wide range of relevant subjects. As they run concurrently, most regionals divvied up the sessions among their attendees.
“There have been several standouts for me at LDW,” says Deissroth. “PPAI’s strategic plan and how the RRC is going to ultimately back that up. The sustainability conversation and LEAD Local in 2023 are both really important to the RRC as well. And ultimately it’s been the collaboration and the sharing and the problem solving from the sessions. I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback today and look forward to hopefully doing this again next year.”
Breakouts scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday included the technology needs of regional associations, legislative outreach at the local level, effective interpersonal collaboration, legal ins-and-outs and more.
- A session on sustainable best practices for events and tradeshows drew a standing-room-only crowd, reflecting the attention PPAI and the industry are paying to promo’s sustainability question.
- A session on digital marketing drew a similarly large audience, as two members of PPAI’s marketing staff shared best practices on crafting the effective, eye-catching emails and messages.
“For me personally, I find that the synergies are really interesting,” says Stacy Midkiff, Northwest Promotional Marketing Association board member and first-time LDW attendee. “Being able to talk to everybody, other regions, and find out what they’re doing and seeing how their building their membership; it’s really taking it to the next level.
“We’re finding new creative ideas and ways to go about things, changing our thought processes and coming up with something new. That’s what I love about this. It’s very cool.”
Promotional Products Work (PPW)
Tuesday’s education schedule wrapped with a review of PPAI’s Promotional Products Work program and PPW Expo. The review, which drew LDW attendees back into a single session, shared how attendees can include the program’s practices and ideas into their own planning.
Sparking a back-and-forth her audience, PPAI’s Promotional Products Work Manager Lindsey Davis, MAS, also shared how regional associations can use PPW to support their own goals and how they can work together.
LDW gave attendees several opportunities to network and mingle. And on Tuesday, after the day’s education programming wrapped up, attendees made the short hop next door to Austin Ranch, a rustic-themed event space, for the PPAI Regional Volunteer Recognition Dinner.
At the recognition event, LDW participants enjoyed a Texas-sized meal, took advantage of games like billiards and cornhole, and celebrated Thea Bruce, CAS, the 2022 recipient of the PPAI Regional Volunteer Award. Bruce was recognized for her long-time service the industry as a board member and former executive director of the Northwest Promotional Marketing Association.
Bruce has attended LDW several times before, but along with her award, this year’s workshop delivered something new.
“I first came to LDW as an executive director and meeting with the other executive directors was invaluable,” says Bruce. “We were able to establish the standards and learn from each other. Coming back as a board member, it’s a whole different world. I’ve seen people I’ve known for a long time and met the fresh blood who are contributing and bringing new perspectives to our community. I’m very excited to be here.”
Published With Permission From PPB