Although my colleagues may sometimes tell you it feels like it’s been much longer, I just passed my one-year anniversary since taking over at PPAI in August 2021. It’s been a busy, unique time for the entire industry, and the Association is no different.

Along the way, we’ve reimagined the makeup of the organization in hopes of positioning ourselves for the future so we can serve you in far greater ways than we ever did before.

The people are changing. PPAI is changing.

I wasn’t here for the darkest times in 2020 and early 2021. Confronted with the reality of a year with no PPAI Expo and reduced membership (as companies were forced to make cuts of their own), the board and decision makers from the staff led a challenging reduction in the headcount of team members during the pandemic. PPAI’s headquarters staff was reduced from 80 to 40 people, but heroically managed to keep the most critical operations functioning. In addition to decisions made by PPAI, some staffers chose to go their own way amid The Great Resignation.

The departures are not the whole story, though. We all know what got us here won’t get us there. PPAI is rebuilding the team with our new mission and vision in mind.

In some cases it has meant imaginative hires, and in others it means smart promotions for people who have worked hard and earned it.

Among our most important moves, Alan Peterson was promoted to senior vice president and Ellen Tucker was promoted vice president of revenue and expositions. Both have been with PPAI for seven years. They, along with many employees, have taken on additional responsibilities that allow them to make a greater impact. We also added a new director this year, Josh Ellis, who is leading an overhaul of our approach to media and has brought many good things to the organization.

As of September 1, we had hired 18 new people in 2022, including a pair of industry professionals who bring valuable insight and experience. Pat Patton joined us in a role key to our member engagement efforts, particularly with our larger distributor members, and Lindsey Davis came on board to lead our Promotional Products Work efforts. Both were hugely important to the exciting debut of PPW Expo, our client-facing virtual event, in September. I can’t wait to see where they and the rest of the staff steer that annual event in the years to come.

We are still hiring and are seeking a variety of talent to join our team – a mix of people with industry experience, association backgrounds and some with unique professional skills that can contribute to our vision.

As I look back on the last year and all the progress, I am extremely proud of what the team has accomplished and how our staffers have grown individually in what they bring to the table every day to serve you. We’re focused on making smart investments for the future. I’m thankful we have an engaged board that is supporting our new vision and aligned with building a staff that can execute our plans. Our team will drive the industry’s movement toward digital transformation and corporate social responsibility, as well as our efforts to grow the standing of the industry through Promotional Products Work.

All of this means you can expect more change, as well as greater returns. My colleagues and I are committed to delivering member value in meaningful ways that will help grow the marketplace and support you.