This year, we moved The PPAI® Expo from excellent to exceptional! Much of our success is attributed to the strong and effective volunteer leadership of our Board of Directors and PPAI’s committees.

Our membership has become more diverse, and the market and our industry have become even more complex. This requires an agile group of leaders who can help our members and our Association continue to evolve and navigate trends on the horizon. We need leaders who have a broad set of skills, experiences and mindsets who can observe trends and help us to become the disruptors rather than the ones being disrupted.

The board believes that this broad set of talents has always come from within our membership. We operate with a fairly small board with representation from supplier and distributor members to focus on deploying strategic foresight for the Association. But the answer is not to increase the size of the board—it’s to expand the practice of foresight beyond it and to develop a continuous pipeline of leaders to guide our direction.

And that’s why the board approved four changes to our governance practices last fall to broaden our pool of leaders and to create more opportunities for members to be strategically engaged. The four approved changes to strengthen our volunteer leadership base are these:

Transition from an election process to a selection process to move away from a contested board election to a slate with one supplier and one distributor member to be approved by PPAI members.

Create a Distributor Foresight Committee and a Supplier Foresight Committee that report directly to the board to explore trends and how to leverage them and prepare members and the Association for probable change.

Grow the candidate pool for the RAC Delegate position on the board to offer eligibility for those leaders who have served a full term on the Regional Association Council within the past five years or who have served as a regional president in the past three years.

Expand the board leadership structure to include directors appointed to fill director vacancies and be eligible to serve as officers.

I had the opportunity to present these changes to our governance practices at several sessions during The PPAI Expo in January. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and many members asked thoughtful questions for additional clarification. The consensus was that we are heading in the right direction as these changes will encourage more members to be engaged and willing to serve in a meaningful process that makes a real difference to our members and the industry.

These approved governance practice changes are not reflective of current or past volunteer leaders who have graciously served PPAI in leadership and committee roles. We have been blessed by having outstanding leaders and members who care passionately about our industry and Association.

We are looking toward the future, preparing for what lies ahead and leveraging the strengths of our members to ensure our continued success and sustainability.