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THOUGHTS OF A CEO: REFLECTIONS ON A BUSY FIRST QUARTER
In January, we thought we would have another major disruption to the much-needed return to the full trade show calendar. Yet despite Omicron’s best efforts, by the end of the first quarter, I have visited 15 (yes, 15!) trade shows, 13 in the UK, one in Milan and one in Las Vegas. I am exhausted but buoyed by the experience of having so many meaningful conversations with members on my tour of our industry’s trade show representation.
There has been so much eagerness from buyers and manufacturers to return to UK trade shows, and I am happy to report that, despite all the challenges besetting our industry from all directions, there is more of a vibrant eco system than ever before. New supply chains are being sought, interesting collaborations are being negotiated, and businesses are continuing to grow as a result.
We are better placed than ever as an association to advise our members on the very best trade shows to visit in the coming year. Advice that will be tailored to each individual member and based on a clear understanding of what they are seeking to achieve and what the different trade shows can offer them to enable to achieve these goals.
This is not a sweetened-up vision of the here and now, however. Things are tough – more so than at any point in the last 5 years. This is why the GA’s place at the top tables in the Bank of England, Genesis and government is so important. In March, I was one of 7 trade leaders invited to join the Bank of England to discuss the economy. Asked to speak first, I was able to get transparency on what the immediate future holds, and demand greater support for our industry. It cannot be underestimated how important it is that the Giftware Association is able to have a direct line to the policy makers who have such an impact on our industry, and it is an honour to be your voice.
Those of you who are members, will have received an email from Chris asking for your feedback – your issues, questions, and observations – for me to take to the Bank of England. If you usually file those emails, I urge you not to. Be assured that I take our members feedback direct to those at the top and only by us all working together as one community, can we demand real change and be sure our voices are heard.
This is just one of many reasons why being part of your industry’s trade body is so vital. The Giftware Association exists to represent, serve, educate, support and connect our members.
I must pause my reflections at this point as we are into April and so much is about to happen this quarter. We have a new website launching, the prestigious Gift of the Year Awards and, yes you have guessed it, more trade shows to visit!
Please email me if you have any questions about the Giftware Association: firstname.lastname@example.org