PPAI Magazine November 2023

Community | Buzzworthy CANADA’S TOP PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS PROFESSIONALS came from across the country on September 11 and 12 to participate in the biggest industry event of the year – the Promotional Product Professionals of Canada’s 65th annual national convention, better known as NATCON. Held at the International Centre in Toronto in partnership with PPAI and SAGE, the event featured over 180 supplier exhibitors and more than 1,000 distributors and their top clients over the two-day trade show. Opening day of the show on September 12 offered two educational sessions by SAGE titled, “Canada, Eh? We’ve Got Features Just For You!” and “Company Stores – Where To Start.” The sessions were followed by an official ribbon-cutting ceremony with PPPC President & CEO Jonathan N. Strauss and the PPPC Board. The show floor was abuzz with energy for the two-day show and boasted one of the highest attendances yet. Day Two brought Client Day, where distributors invited their top clients to the show to be among the first to preview the latest promotional wares in Canada for 2024. A number of distributors also featured hospitality suites with snacks and beverages for their clients to provide a spot to connect, do business and make more meaningful connections. These included Add Impact, Proforma, Cotton Candy Inc., TPS Promotions & Incentives, Promotional Source, Boomerang Marketing and Talbot. On the eve of NATCON, PPPC held its annual Women Empowerment Event, sponsored by PCNA, which invited the industry’s top female professionals and rising stars to come together to socialize, share expertise and knowledge and toast their successes over SAGEtinis courtesy of SAGE. Attendees also were treated to WEE-branded ceramic mugs and purse hangers by NC Custom and hearty laughs thanks to Canadian comedian Kate Davis. NATCON also celebrated the 42nd annual PPPC Awards and After-Party (sponsored by Debco HPG), where more than 350 members toasted excellence in the industry. The evening started with a pre-awards cocktail reception outdoors, followed by the awards ceremony with theatrestyle seating indoors. The hosts, Jenny Le Bricon (PPPC Board Chair with Levelwear) and Paul Wieleba (PPPC Board Vice Chair with W.E. Promotional Advertising) gave out over 40 awards in the membervoted product awards and specialty award categories. The awards also recognized the 37th PPPC Hall of Fame inductee, Merrick Falkenstein of St Regis. PPPC has been awarding its Hall of Fame Award since 1981. Brianna Fijal Mazze of St Regis received the Humanitarian Award, and seven rising stars in the industry were recognized as the newest Momentum Award Winners and received Citizen and Bulova watches along with their awards. The trophies were once again produced by St Regis. Williamson Batuszkin is PPPC marketing and communications manager. The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year Canadian promotional product professionals gather for networking and celebration at NATCON 2023. By Margaret Williamson Batuszkin The NATCON show floor opens with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony with PPPC Board members Edward Huang (St. Regis), Paul Wieleba (PPPC Board Vice Chair, W.E. Promotional Advertising), Jenny Le Bricon (PPPC Board Chair, Levelwear), PPPC President & CEO Jonathan N. Strauss, Yosuf Sandeela (Fully Promoted Canada), Pete Kmech (Creative Promotional Marketing Agency), Josee DiTomasso (Lerner Promotions), Sandra Harssar (Bright Ideas) and Jennifer Tarnopolski (Outstanding Branding). PPPC Communiqué 86 • NOVEMBER 2023 • PPAI