To bounce back from the depths of the pandemic and reach what PPAI currently projects as the industry’s biggest revenue year ever in 2022, promotional products pros had to be both resilient and comfortable in growing themselves and their businesses.
Why stop now? The uniting theme of the twin keynote speeches during The PPAI Expo Conference on Monday was a willingness to adapt and grow. Or, perhaps better stated, the “confidence to evolve” – a phrase used by Association President and CEO Dale Denham, MAS+, in his remarks before introducing speakers Maureen Zappala and James Pogue, PhD, for the two most widely attended talks of the day.
- Zappala is a former NASA engineer who studies and teaches audiences about imposter syndrome, how it manifests and strategies to combat it.
- She explained that by channeling her own self-doubt, she was able to embrace personal and career growth.
- Imposter syndrome is a phenomenon many people identify with, the feeling that we are not worthy of our success or accomplishments and could have them slip away at any time.
“It’s a thought process,” she said. “A person with imposter syndrome goes to Herculean efforts to prevent the bad thing from happening, to the point where they catastrophize the possible outcome.”
Sales pros in the audience heard Zappala’s tips for harnessing and combatting imposter syndrome. She was previously a highly regarded speaker at PPAI’s Women’s Leadership Conference in 2022.
With Zappala delivering the confidence piece of the two conversations, Pogue took the stage to discuss the need for evolution, specifically on the questions of diversity, equity and inclusion within industry firms – no different than any other sector of the economy. To endure, any business must now be prepared to meet the expectations of a younger generation of customers and workers.
- Pogue specializes in diversity, inclusion and multi-generational leadership.
- He frequently consults with companies, colleges and business groups on how to prepare, recruit and retain millennials and members of Generation Z into their organizations.
- His remarks revolved around the need for professionals in promotional products companies to adapt and cultivate an “inclusive leadership mindset,” gathering a wide array of viewpoints of working to bring out the unique best in everyone.
“It doesn’t happen automatically,” said Pogue, who also spoke to industry leaders at the 2022 PPAI North American Leadership Conference. “There is no magic dust for inclusive leadership. It requires a ton of hard work. But the truth is there’s nobody in this room that isn’t already working hard. There isn’t anybody in this room that hasn’t already done something that’s impossible. This is just the next impossible thing that you have to do.”