Photo by Remi Walle  /


Volunteers play a vital role in PPAI’s success. This seventh installment of an ongoing PPB series introducing the volunteers, committees and initiatives that have helped make the Association what it is today, takes a closer look at the Leadership Advisory Committee (LAC). The LAC is responsible for seeking, vetting and developing qualified industry professionals to serve and perform in a leadership role on the PPAI board. The Leadership Advisory Committee submits recommended board candidates to the Association’s Nominating Committee.

Scott Hareid with Hareid Marketing, the LAC’s outgoing chair, and Kippie Helzel, MAS, of CPS/Keystone Line, LAC’s incoming chair, spoke with PPB on LAC and its mission.

“The LAC has a unique role to play—we are tasked with helping to identify potential candidates for the PPAI Board of Directors,” says Helzel. “Using strategically defined ‘skills criteria’—based on most pressing challenges facing the board—as a key component, the committee looks for leaders who might best fit and contribute to the board and help them work in tandem for the stability and success of the industry.

Each committee member is asked to review their network of contacts and peers—large companies, small companies, distributors, suppliers—to identify industry members who they feel have shown the best qualities of an industry professional. Helzel says, “Among the characteristics we all look for are honesty, good communication skills, strategic thinking, leadership, teamwork. As we collectively identify those people that we feel best meet the criteria, through our interview processes we factor in those key skills that we know the board has indicated their work can benefit from—and we apply all those criteria to a final evaluation and recommendation of nominees to present to the PPAI Nominating Committee.”

Regarding some of the group’s most significant, recent accomplishments, Helzel notes, “The coronavirus significantly impacted pretty much everything for all of us, in business and in life. On the LAC, that made it harder this year to find people who were willing and able to give time, their most valuable commodity. Particularly in the case of distributor candidates, we found that many people who wanted to be considered were unable to due to the pressures to prioritize their business above all else. The LAC did a fantastic job building a great group of candidates in spite of that challenge, and in the end, we presented a list to the Nominating Committee of some very talented leaders.”

Looking ahead at some challenges and opportunities the LAC is focusing on, Hareid adds, “The unprecedented challenges we are all facing in our businesses are only magnified when you see the difficulties through the eyes of PPAI, whose mission is to serve, promote and help protect the industry as a whole. As we look to 2021, one of the biggest challenges looks to be very similar to what was very relevant in 2020, finding strong candidates that have the resources available to allow them to serve on the board. Finding the right candidates to help steer our industry through the challenges we are facing will be vital in 2021 more than it ever has before.

“In addition, the 2020 committee realized that some of the questions we have relied on to help us understand and differentiate the candidates may not be sufficient when we think about the pivoting that has been required for businesses to survive. We are reviewing the process and the questions we have used for our “baseline” in identifying potential candidates, and want to adapt those to a business and economic landscape where new thinking may be required,” Hareid says. 


James Khattak is news editor of PPB.