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Reflecting on 2021 Brings Me Gratitude for APA

By Lisa R. Higginbotham, CRM, Fivestar Awards And Engraving, and Awards and Personalization Association president

 

Another ‘Unprecedented’ Year Proves the Resiliency and Ingenuity of our Personalization Professionals.

(January/February 2022) Wait! Did I just blink? Has it already been a year? I guess time flies when you are having fun…or living through a pandemic. This is my last president’s message, and that makes me sad.

But before I wax poetic on the “sad” note, I want to rejoice in the happy moments. This has been an unprecedented time, and yet your board and association staff have been working diligently to deliver value to Awards and Personalization Association members. I personally have taken advantage of numerous webinars, and I loved the Supplier Showcases. It was a great opportunity to see your faces and find out what my suppliers were doing, albeit on the “small screen.” 

The new M2M platform launch went splendidly. In fact, the host provider remarked at the number of posts and conversations recorded right out of the gate compared to what they normally see from a new user. This shows that we are an active group, and communication is important. Access and navigation are much improved. I am on there almost every day and have picked up several tips and tricks and new supplier referrals. Kudos to David Takes for his skilled moderation and the value he provides.

We are about to judge the ARIEF Scholarship applicants. I am a huge advocate for this program. Please make sure that you share this opportunity with your family and employees. Membership in the association qualifies them to apply, their children to apply—you should absolutely include this as a “benefit” listing in your company handbook. If you haven’t already committed to donate something for the ARIEF Silent Auction at the International Awards & Personalization Expo in Las Vegas, PLEASE DO! In addition to our scholarship sponsors, the silent auction supports the scholarships AND our education program. 

Time for my soapbox? OMG y’all! The class listing at the upcoming Expo is TERRIFIC. I have so many conflicts! But I pre-ordered the recordings, and I highly recommend you do so as well. I use it for training my team, in addition to seeing what I missed. 

Did I say Vegas? YESSSS! It is happening. I look forward to seeing so many of you there and getting back to the networking IN PERSON that I have missed over the past two years. I am thrilled that our Member Breakfast speaker, Olalah Njenga, CEO of YellowWood Group, is a terrific force that has taught me so much about business over the years. She is amazing, dynamic, and knows how to command a room.

And that is all she wrote, folks. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve as your president. I wish this year had been different. I wish I had been able to do more. I am so grateful for Louise Ristau, our amazing executive director, who pulled me off the ledge more than once. Louise and her team are just beyond words for me. They really care about our association and have the history and knowledge to guide us well. I am also so grateful for my terrific volunteer board, who did not flee the challenges but headed into the storm like the buffalo. I appreciate every one of you. And to all the volunteers who served on committees, thank you. 

I pray we all stay safe and thrive as we continue to work through these challenging times. Embrace your passion! Let’s THRIVE together as we move forward. I will see you in Vegas in February 2022! #APAthrive

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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