I just returned from New Orleans and the P2P Technology + Innovation Summit. Going into the event, I was nervous. Those who know me know my nerves prefer to express themselves around 2 a.m. when I worry about an assortment of things — the vast majority of which thankfully never come to fruition. In this case, I was worried about moving P2P to a city with less of a drive-in audience, the impact the hurricanes that were wreaking havoc on Texas and Florida would have on our attendance, and how the new things that we were implementing would be received.
Thankfully, I left New Orleans with a sense of excitement and hopefulness (even more so after I got a good night’s sleep!). Here are a few reasons why:
- Member-Driven Program. This year, we leveraged our members to share what they are doing in their businesses. The results: Attendees loved it, and we will do more of it. Following the event, Rich Stienstra of BRIDGE® Printing & Promotional Products said, “The biggest impression I walked away with is that our association is jam-packed with innovative thinkers and doers.” Many of those “innovative thinkers and doers” were sharing their expertise in the educational sessions. The connection and learning that results from someone sharing what they did, what they have learned and what they would recommend to you is invaluable. Thank you to those members who took time to share; we’ll be reaching out to others to engage you in the future. If you have something that you’d like to share, email me at boconnor@ psda.org; I would love to hear from you.
- Speed Networking. We kicked off the event with speed networking, during which manufacturers and distributors had three minutes to talk with each other before the horn sounded and they moved onto the next partner. The energy in the room was incredible, and connections were explored in more detail during the subsequent Game Night, at dinner and on the expo floor the following day. I was delighted as I watched the level of engagement, and heard comments like, “I had no idea that you did that.” PSDA exists at the intersection of distributors and the manufacturer/supplier partners, and as we look to 2018 and beyond, we are focused on finding new, creative ways to connect our distributor and manufacturer/ supplier members. If you have ideas for how we might do this, email me.
- CSR Program. Twenty-five customer service reps from assorted distributor member companies joined us for the first time in New Orleans. Darin Painter writes about this in more detail on page 6. Ultimately, the CSR participants had a fantastic experience, the manufacturers and suppliers were delighted by the quality of the conversations in which they engaged, and I am excited to expand this program in 2018. I want to thank the CSRs who participated, the principals who sent them to New Orleans and the manufacturers who took a risk and sponsored the event: Ennis, Inc., Flesh Co, Pocket Folders FAST, EAGLE Graphics, Integrated Print Partners, Navitor, BCSI and MAR Graphics.
PSDA is a reflection of our member companies; the level of change you have seen and are seeing within your organization is reflected in this association. The good news is that PSDA is in a strong position financially with a smart and engaged board of directors and a flexible and nimble staff team. We have a committed, passionate and energetic membership full of “innovative thinkers and doers” around whom we’re building the association.
The board spent the day prior to the start of the event talking about the challenges facing the association and plotting our path forward. The leadership of PSDA is focused on making smart choices, taking some risks and continuing to evolve to better serve our members. I hope you’ll get involved and help make it happen.