Connecting with the members of Promotional Product Professionals of Canada (PPPC) is one of my favourite activities. Whether at one of our trade shows, chapter events or even on a visit to their office or factory, I always learn a lot from in-person discussions and members are always thrilled to showcase their newest product or way of doing something.

While it is easy to connect with members through email or over the phone, I have found it is most valuable when I make the effort to meet with them at their place of work, a local event or one-on-one. Over the past year and a half, I have had countless opportunities to connect with our members in person, and they have enjoyed giving their feedback and suggestions for the future growth of the association. This past summer, in particular, was very fruitful for in-person meetings. In June, I enjoyed seeing many of our members at provincial chapter golf tournaments. I also made efforts to add on member visits as part of other business travel, so I was fortunate to connect with members throughout July and August at local networking events, supplier site tours and company BBQs.

All of these meetings, tours and interactions provided me time to connect in person with members, and I walked away from each conversation with new ideas and recommendations for the continuous improvement of our association. I was able to bring many of these ideas to PPPC’s Board of Directors when it met in September as part of our National Convention (Natcon). Natcon itself, PPPC’s largest event of the year, was a great opportunity for our team to connect with a significant number of members as well. At Natcon 2018, I was just six weeks into my role, and it was my first opportunity to meet many of our members. This year I reconnected with those I’ve met over the past 18 months and I also met many more members for the first time.

The PPPC TOPS+ tour is another unique opportunity for in-person connections. It is a traveling trade show that visits four cities every year (Vancouver and Calgary in January, Toronto and Montreal in February), giving members an opportunity to meet with suppliers and PPPC staff members, including myself, on their home turf (or close to it). These in-person transactions and networking opportunities are always well received.

While it takes time and sometimes added cost, I have learned that meeting face-to-face with PPPC members is a valuable exercise. Similar to how a personal phone call is more impactful than sending an email, a personal visit is even better. Simple gestures like this are invaluable to members and staff and will go a long way in the long run.


Jonathan N. Strauss is president and CEO of the Promotional Product Professionals of Canada (PPPC), the national trade association for promotional product suppliers, distributors and multi-line representatives across Canada. With over 1,300 members, PPPC strives to lead, inspire and advance the promotional products industry through the strengths of its participants.