From left to right: Dale Denham, MAS+, Dawn Olds, MAS, and Jonathan Strauss.

For two associations so closely connected, Monday was a long time coming. A meeting at PPAI headquarters in Irving, Texas marked the first face-to-face interaction between leadership of PPAI and Promotional Products Professionals of Canada (PPPC) since the onset of the pandemic.

On hand were Dawn Olds, MAS, PPAI Board Chair and Dale Denham, MAS+, PPAI president and CEO, as well as Jonathan Strauss, president and CEO of PPPC. The trio discussed ways to strengthen a partner relationship that was formalized nearly four years ago, discussing the associations’ strategic missions and the future of the industry.

“PPAI is such a strong association that does so many things well,” Strauss said. “So for us, it’s just about being able to leverage what PPAI does well and learn from PPAI and share our experiences and work closely together. Even through the pandemic when we were doing things virtually, we learned together.

We shared ideas. I think our partnership is about sharing information. How do we work better together?”

June will mark four years since the official partnership between PPAI, PPPC and SAGE was struck. On Monday, Strauss, Olds and Denham discussed what the two associations can do to further engage their partners in Australia and Europe.

An anticipated reunion at The PPAI Expo 2022 in Las Vegas was postponed due to travel guidelines imposed by the Canadian government due to the surging Omicron variant.

“I’m glad to be back here,” Strauss says. “I got used to seeing the team at PPAI about once a quarter.”

Strauss left PPAI headquarters with a pair of cowboy boots, accepting themon behalf of former PPPC board chair Max Baer. The exchange was part of a light-hearted tradition in which PPAI gifts cowboy boots to PPPC’s outgoing board chairs. In return, PPPC gifts outgoing PPAI board chairs with a commemorative coin minted in Winnipeg, where PPPC is headquartered.

“A bit of a cultural exchange between our two associations,” Strauss said.

PPPC recently announced that its most popular event, the National Convention (NATCON) will be held Sept. 13-15, 2022, at Toronto International Centre, for its 64th edition.