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Allow me to introduce myself, I am Max Baer, owner of Justincase and your newly elected Promotional Product Professionals of Canada (PPPC) board chair. I have been working in the industry for over two decades since I started Bag Designs (now operating as Justincase) in my garage in 1998. Coming from South Africa, I had no experience in the promotional product industry. Despite this, joining the industry was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Now, as PPPC chair, I look forward to leading the industry through the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I am confident in the board’s ability to support and guide our industry.

To sum up my leadership style, I like to lead by example. Those who know me know that I will never ask or expect anything from my team that I would not ask or expect from myself. As a leader, I believe that the best way for a team to succeed is through trust and autonomy for all those involved. It is also fundamental that, when making decisions, we put our differences aside (whether we are distributors, suppliers or multi-line reps) and unite on a final decision. 

When I was elected to join the PPPC board in 2014, it was a great honor that enabled me to take my passion for the industry to another level and to finally give back. In my six years on the board, we accomplished a tremendous amount of success during challenging times. I have my fellow board members and PPPC’s CEO Jonathan Strauss to thank for this. I now look forward to continuing my journey as your new chair.

When I joined the PPPC board, one of the biggest challenges was our technology platform. Since PPPC’s strategic partnership with SAGE and PPAI in 2018, we have been able to cultivate one of the best technology platforms in the industry. Thanks to SAGE, our first virtual trade show in September went off without a hitch. This is exciting for our industry since I have always believed that the future lies in leveraging the digital, online and technological aspects of business.

Although I believe that the time following the pandemic will be a challenge for the industry, I believe that PPPC’s strong position will allow us to succeed. I also believe that our industry will bounce back with a vengeance when the time is right. In the short term, there will be and already has been a strong focus on personal protective equipment (PPE). In the long term, I am confident that our industry will return to the way it once was. The promotional goods in which we have seen a decline will bounce back, but the emphasis on the virtual and ecommerce aspect of our industry will remain crucial as people have begun to see how utilizing technology can bring about efficiency, effectiveness and costs savings to our industry.  


Max Baer is chair of the board of directors for Promotional Product Professionals of Canada (PPPC).