Now in its 19th year, the annual Leadership Development Workshop (LDW) is under way this week at the DFW Hilton in Grapevine, Texas. Hosted by PPAI and the Regional Association Council (RAC), the multi-day event kicked off on Sunday evening with a reception and dinner for regional association executive directors. Monday’s schedule featured an executive director’s symposium with training designed for their specific needs and the workshop continues today and tomorrow with an extensive curriculum designed to provide regional association leadership with numerous learning opportunities through general sessions, breakout discussions and idea-sharing activities.

Regional association volunteers arrived on Monday for the RAC delegate orientation followed by a reception and the LDW opening dinner. The conference officially got under way for all attendees this morning with an opening keynote by Jess Ekstrom, founder and CEO of Headbands of Hope.

“LDW is so important to the regional community because it is a time to learn together and inspire each other as we prepare for the year ahead,” says Lindsey Davs, MAS, RAC president. “When I attended this event as a regional board member, I took so much knowledge away from the breakout sessions, but some of my best ideas came from conversations in between the sessions with my fellow attendees.”

Bill Petrie, RAC vice president, adds, “LDW is the foundation of grass-roots volunteerism in the industry and where professionals across the country assemble, share best practices and leave with a clear knowledge of how to best serve their regional communities. The 2018 LDW should truly stand out with a fantastic mix of specific education and tremendous networking opportunities. As a long-time attendee of this event, it’s wonderful to see it evolve to better provide the guidance each regional board needs to succeed.”

This year, LDW welcomes nearly 150 volunteer leaders representing all 27 regional associations as well as PPAI board members. Today and Wednesday they will participate in their choice of 21 education sessions presented by regional leaders, PPAI staff and outside subject matter experts, plus take part in the many opportunities for idea sharing and networking.

“While every regional is unique, the challenges they face are not and LDW serves as a think tank of sorts to tackle some of the community’s largest challenges,” says Dana Geiger, PPAI regional relations manager. “It is also an opportunity to network and meet like-minded professionals. Many will say that the relationships created at LDW have been vital in their professional careers.”

Davis says, “This year’s stand-out aspect for me is watching new attendees have their ‘aha’ moment about what makes this community so special. LDW is a great event for inspiring new leaders in the regional community and it is a pleasure to watch it happen!”

At an off-site reception and dinner this evening, Roger Burnett, vice president of sales and marketing at Fort Collins, Colorado, supplier Branded Logistics, LLC, and Steven Meyer, MAS, vice president of sales at Dallas, Texas-based supplier RiteLine, will be formally recognized as the 2018 PPAI RAC Volunteers of the Year for their leadership and contributions to the regional association community. Also tonight, RAC will present Lisa Bibb, MAS, executive director for the Virginia Promotional Products Association (VAPPA) and the Georgia Association of Promotional Products Professionals (GAPPP), with the 2018 Donna Hall Memorial Grant. Established by the RAC board in 2013, the grant provides regional association executive directors with financial support to attend education conferences and events and advance their education and careers. Read more about the award winners in Thursday’s PPB Newslink.