President’s Letter – June 5, 2012: Never Too Old

I have been practicing association management for over 35 years, and could deceive myself into thinking that I don’t have much left to learn.  I would be wrong.  I was reminded recently about the importance of getting out from behind my desk to learn new things. 

Last week I attended the 10th annual meeting of the Exhibition and Convention Executives Forum (ECEF).  This is a gathering of over 200 executives from organizations that host the largest and most prominent trade events in the U.S.  I give great credit to Sam Lippman, who organizes the event for his courage and success in presenting a program about event management to a roomful of very experienced managers.  Our VP, Meetings & Events, Marian Bossard and I came away from that one-day meeting with a long list of new ideas that will make our Toy Fair and Fall Toy Preview that much better.

The next day, I attended the Social Innovation Summit at the United Nations.  This annual event is aimed at bringing industry and philanthropy together to identify opportunities and inspire new initiatives to make our world a better place.  The event had a star-studded program with speakers like Craig Venter and Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen.  Our industry’s Alan Hassenfeld was a speaker on a panel about “The Business Case for Shared Value and Social Innovation,” and throughout the event we heard new ideas about how an industry like ours can “do well by doing good.”  We came away with some great new insights into how we can make our Toy Industry Foundation even more effective for children in need. 

And of course, our own PlayCon and Washington Fly-in the preceding week offered a wealth of new insights and ideas for executives in the toy business.  I don’t know how companies succeed without constantly learning new things. 

TIA is offering an opportunity for toy designers to spark their creativity at our inaugural ToyDesignCon at The Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, NY, June 24-26.  I hope to see many of you there.  We are never too old to learn new things. 

Warm regards to all,

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ckeithley@toyassociation.org