2017 PPAI NALC: Signature Event has Leadership, Technology, Weirdness

As the PPAI North American Leadership Conference closes in on a decade, it has earned a reputation as one of the promotional products industry's signature events.

With high-powered education and networking, showcase locales, and pairing with the PPAI Technology Summit, the NALC continues to set attendance records year after year.

"NALC has always been – and continues to be – a tremendous mix of high-powered education sessions and incredible networking opportunities with industry influencers. When you add the fact that the event is always held at world class properties in dynamic cities ... NALC has truly become the signature event in the promotional products industry," said Bill Petrie (pictured), the president of PromoCorner and a three-year member of the workgroup that plans the NALC.

Expect some weirdness at the ninth installment of the NALC, Mr. Petrie said: "'Keep Austin Weird' isn't just a local saying, it identifies Austin. ... For anyone who has never been to Austin, they are in for a truly unique experience."

This is the third consecutive year that the NALC and Technology Summit are co-locating. The 2017 PPAI NALC is Aug. 13-15 and the 2017 PPAI Tech Summit is Aug. 15-17 in Austin, Texas.

Essent is the platinum sponsor of both events, which have set attendance records in every year of the pairing. Tech Summit registration and NALC registration remain open.

Mr. Petrie discussed leadership, technology, and the distinct Austin flavor as he answered the following questions from Essent about the 2017 PPAI NALC.

NALC enters 2017 coming off yet another attendance record. What has allowed this event to thrive for almost a decade now?

NALC has truly become the signature event in the promotional products industry.

NALC has always been – and continues to be – a tremendous mix of high-powered education sessions and incredible networking opportunities with industry influencers. The tactical learnings at each NALC have shifted in relation to our world and our industry which allows each event to have its own identity while being adaptive to the changing needs of industry professionals.

When you add the fact that the event is always held at world class properties in dynamic cites such as Nashville, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and, in 2017, Austin, NALC has truly become the signature event in the promotional products industry.

NALC and the PPAI Technology Summit are co-locating for the third consecutive year. What do you feel are the most important reasons to bring leadership and technology together like this?

By co-locating NALC with the Technology Summit, PPAI is giving organizations the rare opportunity to fuse parts of a company that may not always easily work together.

If you look at the businesses that are truly disrupting their chosen marketplaces, they are founded in technology. For example, Uber is the largest taxi company yet they own no vehicles – they simply created a technological vehicle to take the friction out of hailing a cab. In 2017, technology and leadership must work together if they hope to create the type of experiences our clients both expect and demand.

By co-locating NALC with the Technology Summit, PPAI is giving organizations the rare opportunity to fuse parts of a company that may not always easily work together. If leadership and technology aren’t in complete lockstep as a company works towards the future, they run the risk of becoming Blockbuster Video in a Netflix world.

One of the best things about the NALC and Tech Summit is that it’s always at a great new destination with a real taste of the local flavor. This year the NALC-Summit is in Austin, TX. What should we expect?

For anyone who has never been to Austin, they are in for a truly unique experience.

"Keep Austin Weird" isn’t just a local saying, it defines Austin. With the main campus of the University of Texas located downtown, Austin has always had a forward-thinking, eclectic feel. Home to world class food (Lamberts and Franklin barbecue are exceptional), the music scene on famous 6th Street (Antone’s and Stubb’s are legendary), and a reputation of being "Silicon Valley 2.0,” Austin has just about everything large city offers.

What makes Austin special is the citizens who do everything in their power to keep the personality of Austin alive while it continues to grow. For anyone who has never been to Austin, they are in for a truly unique experience.

What event, session, or experience do you think will generate the most buzz at the 2017 NALC? What will people be talking about once they get back home?

If people leave the capital of Texas without a song lingering in their ears, they didn’t get the full experience.

NALC in Austin has something for everyone which makes it a challenge to predict what will create the most buzz after the event concludes.

One session that is sure to both engage and enlighten attendees is Seth Kahan’s topic of Strategic Foresight. With the world changing so rapidly, Seth will describe how organizations can be proactive as it relates to the future rather than being reactive to changes.

Another session that I think will have everyone talking for weeks after NALC is Influencing Across Generations: From Ties to Tattoos led by Teri Hill. As there are now four distinct generations in the workplace and each one has very different and distinct motivators, this interactive session should help everyone communicate more effectively and organizations deliver greater results.

Last, it’s Austin! If people leave the capital of Texas without a song lingering in their ears, they didn’t get the full experience the city has to offer.

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