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  • Bill Petrie

Education as a Lifestyle

Continual learning is the key to keeping up with the rapidly changing business environment

In the promotional products industry, the single most important day of 2023 is today - January 9 - and not because there will be an announcement of the next mega-merger between suppliers. On January 9, 2023, you will have the most significant opportunity to grow your business for the next 12 months if you are traveling to Las Vegas for the PPAI Expo for one simple fact: it’s Education Day.


While there will be educational opportunities throughout the week of Expo, Education Day is the largest gathering of industry thought leaders like Kirby Hasseman, Cliff Quicksell, Charity Gibson, and Taylor Borst, to name a few. These people are subject matter experts who are ready to share their wisdom with the entire promotional products community at no cost to attendees.

For those of you on the fence about embracing professional development as a lifestyle, here are three things to consider:

  1. Relevancy. Change is rapid and rampant through every industry, which means anyone interested in remaining relevant needs to be able to keep up – and not just learn a few TikTok skills here and there. With the pace of change increasing on a seemingly daily basis, it’s critical to stay on top of current and future trends, and that simply cannot be done in a vacuum. Any professional wishing to truly remain current must closely follow industry movements and seek to provide layers of depth to their knowledge base.

  2. Motivation. As humans, we are conditioned to accept and embrace the known because it’s easy and comfortable. There’s a reason that during a day-long meeting people sit in the same seats over and over again despite many breaks and opportunities to sit elsewhere. Challenging your perspective by listening to divergent thoughts on digital marketing, understanding how to relate to different buyers, or learning how to create loyalty in an ever-evolving economy will encourage you to think – and sell – differently.

  3. Networking. Like it or not, networking continues to be the best way to grow and solidify your career. Because of this, professional development is a far more effective way to meet industry thought leaders than staring at them vacantly across the bar at Eyecandy. As someone who speaks at many industry events, I relish it when someone comes up and engages me after a session. Another truth is that I learn just as much from them as they do from me, creating a robust network of giving.

With all the educational prospects available, it boggles my mind why people don’t make professional development part of their career lifestyle. The ONLY way to move forward is to continue to educate yourself at every opportunity. Embracing every educational opportunity will help you remain ahead of the competition in our constantly evolving industry. So, if you are going to be in Las Vegas on Education Day, do yourself a favor and attend one of the many great sessions available. If you don’t know which session might interest you, click here and you can search all the sessions and find the ones that interest you.


For anyone interested, I am also speaking at PPAI Expo, and you can read about my session by clicking the title below.


Monday, January 9, 2023

Own the Brand to Own the Business (MAS 1.0)

12:45 PM PT

Breakers E, Level 2

Whether you attend my session or choose others, I urge you to make room for professional development this week at PPAI Expo. But, more importantly, consider making professional development part of your career lifestyle. If you don’t, you risk being as relevant as a fidget spinner.

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