BPMA – Lets Go To Work

It’s been a hectic nine months both in our industry and at the BPMA. Taking on the role of Chairman, having been Vice Chairman for the past two years, has not only meant getting more involved with the team but also with engaged members and the wider-reaching trade association network both in the UK and in Europe. Juggling the voluntary role of Chair for the BPMA, my own business, and my family can be tough at times, especially with two teenage daughters.


My first challenge as Chair has been recruiting and training our new CEO, Jon Birrell. Running the BPMA is just like running your own business except ‘death by committee’ can slow things down compared to being able to make your own instant decisions. Once you get your head around that you learn not only to be patient but far more organised. Working with Jon has been so refreshing.

It’s a great opportunity to challenge everything the BPMA does, to understand more and to develop what else can we do to better our industry, an industry that no one knows exists until they get into it. Gainingmember feedback, opinions on where the industry is at and suggestions of what we should be doing has been enjoyable and thought-provoking.

My first initiative has been the BPMA’s recent Mental Health Awareness workshops, which were not only well received but also made me realise the importance of a strong work/ life balance. Attending these workshops helped me to put a workplace wellbeing program in place in my own business to make a positive difference. We have followed this through by supporting MIND as our chosen charity for events, allowing the industry to back a national charity that benefits all ages and people close to our hearts.

Another important part of my role as Chair is recruiting and mentoring our new Board members, Haydn Willetts, Helen Brennan, and Andrew Langley. Each has brought new skills and experience to the BPMA as well as strengthening our dedicated Board. This is allowing us to develop our focus groups to tackle key challenges and create new initiatives A huge highlight for me was when our local MP and now Home Secretary, Priti Patel, accepted an invitation to visit Allwag Promotions.

She came to visit me at our offices in Essex and we were able to talk about a range of issues that affect our industry, including the benefits of British manufacturing in our industry sector and what support was available from our government, as well as the potential impacts of Brexit, and how the focus on sustainability will have a great impact on the sector.

In contention Now that Jon has settled into his role, our next project is to revitalise our education program as knowledge is the key to success. We want to continue to promote our industry to ensure promotional merchandise is a serious contender in the wider marketing arena and for marketing professionals to understand the benefits of spending their budget on tangible promotional products and to help us recruit new talent and grow new businesses in our industry. Getting involved with the BPMA is enjoyable, although I prefer to get on and do things

rather than talk about them. But we need far more engagement from all our members especially those that have such great ideas, forthright opinions and truly care as they too can make a difference. I’d like to invite our members to get involved with one of our focus groups, either existing ones such as Briman, The Clothing Group or End User Group or those created this year, such as the Sustainability Group, the Next Generation Group, the Research Group, and Education group. There’s plenty of work to be done. Come and join us!

To find out more about how to get involved with any of the BPMA groups, contact the BPMA executive team on 01372 371 184 or Angela. wagstaff@bpma.co.uk

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