Computer, working from home  /  Corrine Kutz  /


PPAI’s SPARK From Home conference, held on July 16, ushered young industry professionals into a virtual space where networking, brainstorming and innovation was the focus. With numerous breakout sessions, an Innovation Bootcamp led by event speaker Julia Maddox, and interactive ice breakers and games that had participants running through their home offices, SPARK From Home kept the momentum going throughout the entire day while leaving time for periodic email check-ins.

With 130 registered participants, the SPARK Work Group sought to reimagine this event for 19- to 35-year-old industry members.

“Overall, the event was a huge success and our first PPAI virtual conference,” says Jody M. Shaw, CMP, PMP, PPAI’s manager of professional development. “I would like to give a huge shout out to our SPARK Work Group for their amazing work throughout the year-round program and moreover, for their fabulous help leading this event.” The SPARK workgroup includes Stephen McFadden, CAS; Taylor Borst; Meghan Kory; Alicia Skipper, CPIM; Kacie Brinner; Tosha Everhart and David Geiger, Esq., CIL, MAS.

The virtual conference gave participants the design-thinking toolkit to use toward innovating within their company to improve processes and products, and to think through not only the possibilities but also how to implement them. 

Attendee Evan Gall, national sales manager for DPI, Inc., says, “I was having trouble feeling motivated this week and the [SPARK conference] was just the boost I needed to kick me back in to gear.”

The conference wound down with seven breakout rooms for small groups to discuss future opportunities for the promotional products industry. Participants talked through a variety of topics and ended the day with smiles and laugher during the SPARK social happy hour.

Plummer said after the event, “I wanted to send out a big congratulations for what SPARK From Home achieved. This was my first SPARK event outside of Expo and it was a lot of fun. I met a lot of new people while connecting with old friends. You had a great mix of education and networking.” 


Kristina Valdez is associate editor of PPB.