PPAI 2019 Women’s Leadership Conference

As co-founders of a women-led technology company in the Promotional Products Industry, Donna Lomazini and Noleen Zasman were privileged to attend the 2019 PPAI Women’s Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana on June 24th, 2019, to June 26th, 2019. 

Tuesday morning marked the kickoff of the two day, jam-packed conference, spent with 150 similarly minded women from the Promotional Product Industry. 

The PPAI team planned a number of diverse events, including early morning yoga, six general sessions, two breakout sessions, an afternoon of round tables, and daily networking breakfasts and lunches.

There were many takeaways from this conference. According to Noleen, one talk she found particularly interesting and inspiring was given by Vicki Ostrom, a Futurist and Trend Analyst from SanMar. Her fascinating study and talk, “Influence(her) – the WE Generation”, showed how women are influencing others in profound ways.  GenZ are influencing Millennials, who are influencing Baby Boomers, who are influencing GenX. Using contrasting examples of standout women, such as Sheila Nevins (80 years old) who, in a bold move, stepped down from HBO Documentary Films, opting to oversee the documentary unit at MTV Studios – with a goal to highlight stories that explore the crises and commitments that young people face day to day. She also highlighted  Marsai Martin (14 years old)  who is an actress (well known for her role in the ABC sitcom Black-ish) and the producer and star of Little.

One of the general sessions, led by the PPAI Board Chair Brittany David, was greatly intriguing.  “The Confidence to Evolve” opened with an industry update, including current key issues and opportunities facing the Promotional Products Industry, and, in tune with the theme of the conference, highlighting women in the industry.  Brittany was joined on stage by Alan Peterson, the VP of Business Development at PPAI. 

Another fascinating talk, given by Jenny Straub and Kelli Denes , focused on accountability. A fun and inspiring session cited the necessity of sticking to goals and remaining accountable, the importance of health and nutrition, and how to use Trello Boards – a staple technology used heavily by the ZOOMcatalog team on a day-to-day basis.

“One of our favorite events of the WLC is the annual dine around, where PPAI assigns everyone to a different dinner group. Every year we are given a chance to meet and get to know a new group of industry women – newcomers and veterans – women we likely would not have had the time to connect with otherwise.” said Zasman.

What was the biggest highlight from PPAI WLC for Donna and Noleen? Meeting and connecting with the phenomenal women who make up the Promotional Product Industry – experiencing their passion, creativity, camaraderie and their inquiring minds.  

Until next year our WLC tribe – The 2020 Women’s Leadership Conference is scheduled for June 22-24 in Charlotte, North Carolina.