October 11, 2016
GHTA confirms 2016-2017 Board at 2016 Gift & Home Bridgeway Collaborative Conference
The Gift and Home Trade Association (GHTA), whose mission is to create a national forum connecting industry leaders in their pursuit of ideas, innovations and best practices to advance business programs, confirmed its 2016-2017 Board of Directors during the 14th Annual GHTA Conference, also known as the 3rd Annual Gift & Home Bridgeway Collaborative Conference, held September 28-29, 2016 in San Diego, California. The Gift & Home Bridgeway Collaborative includes the following industry partners: GHTA, Gift Sales Managers Association (GSMA), Young Gift Executives (YGE), and Gift For Life.
The GHTA’s 2016-2017 Executive Board is as follows: Joe Harris of Whereoware, chairman of the board; Allison Barrows of GANZ, president; George Kacic of AmericasMart Atlanta, vice president; Dylan Schauben of JGROB Associates, secretary; and Lance Hart of DEMDACO, treasurer.
Additionally, the GHTA has added five new members to its board: Nicholas Vafakas of and!Sales; John Toler of Evergreen Enterprises; Robin Kert of Southeast Marketing; Michael Nieves of Paladone; and Kelly Shiley of Mary Square. Continuing their board terms are: Gretchen Kroll of Tripar International; Peter Schauben of Appelman Schauben; and Jackie Moon of Next Step Reps. Andy Bjork of Ivystone Group will continue as parliamentarian.
All GHTA board members are chosen using a nomination and interview process. The members of the GHTA then vote to confirm each member at the annual GHTA conference.
“Having been on the board for four years, I am honored to have the opportunity to work with this exceptional slate of individuals and help guide the growth of the GHTA,” said Allison Barrows, newly elected president of the GHTA. “The board is already hard at work on developing new initiatives for members. Additionally, we are focused on building upon our existing foundation to attract new members, as that is essential to strengthening our organization and industry. The more we network, learn from one another, and collaborate, the more successful we will all be.”
GHTA is celebrating another successful conference, which was attended by nearly 250 people, a number significantly higher than the last west coast-based conference. The conference was held at the DoubleTree by Hilton San Diego – Mission Valley.
2016 GHTA Conference Highlights
General Assembly Presentations: Throughout the two-day conference, the general assembly learned from various speakers and presentations, after a spectacular kick-off with a military Color Guard performance. Highlights from the general session presentations included: “Tech Savvy Supersized,” delivered by four YGE members, Dylan Schauben of JGROB Associates, Kristen Flemington of Creative Co-Op, Hemal Patel of RepTime Sales Software, and Teddy Pekalski of Whereoware; “Millennial Recruiting” by CareerBuilder’s Krista Lewis; and “The Customer Service Edge: Why Scientific Talent Assessments are a Must” by Mark Epp of Talent Plus and Mary Sullivan of AmericasMart Atlanta, which discussed the importance of building a culture focused on a great customer service experience and beyond.
Keynote Presentations: Attendees heard from two keynote speakers during the conference. Erik Qualman, #1 best selling author and social and digital media expert, presented on “Socialnomics: Winning Hearts, Wallets, and Minds in these Exponential Times” and Connie Lineberry, industry expert, who presented on “Women in Leadership – There is Only One Game.”
Breakout Workshops: Six different breakout workshops were offered throughout the second day of the conference. Topics included: social media; maximizing the trade show buying experience for the consumer, identifying resources to ease the trade show execution process, and emerging trends; five hot topics impacting the vendor/sales agency relationship; speed networking; college recruiting; and an in-depth exploration of the tactics addressed in the Tech Savvy Supersized presentation.
Give Back Event: This year’s Give Back Event was dedicated to helping active duty military families in need. The organization adopted eight families to support through its partners, Homefront San Diego and San Diego Military Outreach Ministries. Attendees not only donated generously to the cause, via product and dollars, but also assembled and decorated bicycles and wagons and compiled all sorts of gifts for the parents and their children. The GHTA was able to gift all of the items to the families directly onsite, as they joined the organization during the conference, much to the surprise of the attendees.
Entertainment: Individuals were also treated to evening networking and entertainment events. A welcome reception was held at Fiesta de Reyes in Historic Old Town San Diego, which included a live mariachi band and authentic Mexican cuisine and drinks, all in a beautiful open-air setting. The main celebration on Thursday evening featured a strolling dinner with local beer pairings and silent and live auctions, which raised approximately $60,000, and more than $10,000 for charity.