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A Hopeful Look Forward

BY TOM JACKSON, JACKSON MARKING PRODUCTS
AWARDS AND PERSONALIZATION ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT

 

(January/February 2021) When my term as president of the Awards and Personalization Association began in February 2020, I never could have imagined what would be in store for me—actually, for all of us! It sure has been a challenging year.

However, I can look back and be very proud of what the association accomplished during my term. Highlights include:

We started the year with a tremendous International Awards & Personalization Expo at Paris Las Vegas. Attendees and exhibitors alike told me they had a great experience and really appreciated the new location.

We created the New Member Mentor Program, in which industry veterans volunteer their time to help out the industry’s newest members.

Conversation Circles launched by the association benefited all retailers, new and old. These online meetings brought members together to talk about challenges they faced and other topics in the industry.

A packed schedule of webinars was launched at a time when COVID-19 restrictions were temporarily closing a lot of businesses. Watch recordings at AwardsPersonalization.org/Education/Webinars/WebinarsLibrary.

In December, we launched a totally revamped Member2Member Forum, one that allows us to interact in a much more timely and contemporary way. You can still access it from the association’s homepage, AwardsPersonalization.org.

We also gave Insights a modern makeover, switching from a solely paper publication to both a print publication and a new electronic format. Keep an eye out for the new Inside Insights e-newsletter each month. It will offer unique content and point you to top articles.

When the going got tough, you all jumped into action to keep your businesses healthy and contribute to your communities. Our association did the same, creating resources to help you do that, including a COVID-19 resource page for business assistance programs that was added to our website. In addition, knowing many of our members were taking a hit due to COVID-19, our association created a 3-month grace period for membership renewals.

Unfortunately, the Awards and Personalization Association hasn’t gone untouched by the unique challenges of 2020. I feel for my fellow industry members who had to downsize or make other tough business decisions due to pandemic restrictions. Like you, I’m looking forward to an economic recovery in 2021, and it’s been very encouraging to read what knowledgeable industry members forecast for this year. Turn to page 8 to read those predictions. In addition, we had to make the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 International Awards & Personalization Expo. I’ll truly miss the opportunity to see you all, and I’m grateful our association has come up with ways to keep us learning and connecting remotely.

This will be my final column as president of our association, as I will pass the gavel to Lisa Higginbotham, CRM, owner of FiveStar Awards and Engraving. I’ll still be serving as past president, helping to transition the association’s business into her capable hands. I’m proud to have served during this time alongside our board of directors, committee members, volunteers, and staff.

This was certainly not the year that I had in mind when I committed to being your association president. My goals were to grow membership and programs and to build on the success of the 2020 Expo. But plans change, and you have to adapt—personally, professionally, and as an association. We’re a strong group, and together we will continue to “Be Better by Association.” I have enormous faith that we will see better times ahead!
Tom Jackson

Awards and Personalization Association

The Awards and Personalization Association is the organization for retailers and suppliers of personalized and customized items. By providing education, meetings, and access to a vibrant network of professionals, the Awards and Personalization Association is the one place to ensure the growth of your talent, your business, and your professional community.

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