The PPAI 2019 North American Leadership Conference opened Sunday evening at the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Irving, Texas, with an outdoor reception/dinner followed by presentation of the PPB Rising Stars (see story below). This year’s conference has drawn more than 150 industry leaders at all levels from companies across North America for networking and education sessions on leadership development, strategic foresight, emerging business issues, trends and best practices.

“This year the NALC workgroup focused on building a robust schedule focused on leadership growth for attendees through a variety of speakers and sessions incorporating relevant industry topics and trends, both economic and marketing driven, as well as motivational influences and interactive breakout sessions,” says Lori Bauer, vice president/national accounts for BIC Graphic NA and NALC workgroup leader. “Most importantly, this event is centered around networking with industry peers and learning from one other, with our goal to provide many opportunities to connect.”

The education sessions got under way on Monday morning with Leadership Lessons From Mt. Everest with John Beede followed by economist Michael L. Davis, Ph.D. on Making (Some) Sense of the Economy (see stories below). After lunch, Russ Klein, CEO of American Marketing Association, spoke on experience design and the day wrapped up with a panel discussion featuring local end buyers, which was facilitated by Kellie Claudio, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Sweda Corporation and a member of the NALC workgroup.

An evening dine-around Monday night took small groups of attendees to a variety of local restaurants to enjoy dinner, networking and discussions about the day’s events.

First-time attendee Samantha Brown, director of marketing at BrandVia, was pleased with her first day at NALC. “As a woman in the industry, I had heard it was a male-dominated audience, so I find it refreshing that you don’t encounter that here. Everyone is really welcoming and gender neutral.” See what a few other attendees said about their NALC experience:

Education continued today with this morning’s first session, Leaders Drive Change, with Gary Garfield, retired chairman and CEO of Bridgestone Americas Inc., followed by Don Rheem, the founder and CEO of E3 Solutions, who spoke on Maintaining a High-Performance Culture. After a networking lunch, attendees could choose one of two breakout sessions, one on Recognition and Feedback presented by Rheem and IT Strategy for the Non-IT Executive with Jim Maholic, a two-time CIO and award-winning author. This afternoon, Fred Hochberg, a seasoned business executive and government leader, spoke on Navigating the New Trade Landscape, and the day wrapped up with a presentation by Coach Reginald Samples, the 2018 Don Shula High School Coach of the Year, who shared his strategies for successful transformation.

Tonight, the group will be treated to a special closing event at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, where the Dallas Cowboys play. They will enjoy a stadium tour, punt, pass and kick games, and a chance to appear on one of the world’s largest HD video screens.