Register Now to Receive Access to All 24 Sessions from the 2020 Virtual Workshop & Retreat

We hosted the 2020 Workshop & Retreat VIRTUALLY on November 12th & 13th

2020 has been a year of unprecedented change.  “Normal” is indefinitely disrupted and innovation is the way forward.  This interactive conference was developed to help GCA members reset, recover, and reimagine!   It consisted of two-days of high octane content including: cutting-edge technology hacks to help you work smarter and not harder, pivot success stories from industry influencers, and innovative sales practices designed to inspire.
You can purchase ALL of the recorded content — 24 sessions by 22 speakers — for just $199 for GCA Members or $299 for non-members.
For a full agenda, including speaker headshots and session descriptions, click here.

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WORKSHOP RECORDING PURCHASE RATES

GCA Member Purchase Fee $199
Non-Member Purchase Fee $299

 

Agenda from Workshop

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12

TIME (EST) SESSION SPEAKER
11:30 am Welcome Remarks George White, GCA President and Nora Weiser, GCA Executive Director
11:45 am Impact of COVID on the Greeting Card Category Ryan MyersVP, Insights and Analytics, Hallmark
12:30 pm Pivoting in the New Retail Climate and Current Trends Kyle Williams, Director of Merchandising, Paper Source
1:00 pm Stationery Storytelling in the Age of COVID-19 Sarah Schwartz, Editor, The Paper Nerd, The Paper Fold, Stationery Trends
1:30 pm The Convergence of Diversity, Inclusion, and Marketing

 

Regina Patterson Owner and Principal, RRP Marketing

Read Regina's Bio

Speaker. Writer. Activist. Marketing is Regina Patterson’s superpower. She fights for the underdog, has a passion for marketing, and is really good at what she do…because she is a nerd. A cool nerd; yet, still a nerd. And she brings all of this passion, zeal, and rockstar energy to RRP Marketing, a full-service marketing agency intent on helping small and mid-sized businesses and non-profits create sustainable businesses through smart marketing decisions. Regina’s passion for marketing strategy and communications can be seen through her dedication to my craft, where she brings several combined years of experience. She possess a diverse background including retail, higher education, ministry, manufacturing, B2B, and B2C; all of which have positioned Regina as a well-versed contributor and leader in multiple areas. Known as a strategic thinker, Regina is a results-driven. She prides herself in combining traditional as well as out-of-the-box thinking to develop holistic plans and executes accordingly. Praised for having a knack to bring things together with minimal or extensive details/direction, she possess proven track record of optimal results throughout various project stages. When Regina isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her dog, Murphy, family, and close friends – and, of course, on social media.
2:00 pm BREAK  
2:30 pm Breakout A: Code Blue: Reviving a Paper Business in a Pandemic

 

Janna Wade, Owner and Designer, Paper Mummy Co.

Read Janna's Bio

Janna Wade never went to medical school, but married someone who did. She’s an eye surgeon’s wife, and a mother of three little ones. Her husband loves helping his patients see more clearly while she loves helping her customers see the humor in health challenges. Research shows humor can heal the body and soul. Everything is a little bit easier with laughter. Paper Mummy Co. is her ever-changing line of stationery and gifts. It’s all inspired by “real life” health challenges, staff and funny medical moments. All products are physician-approved.

2:30 pm Breakout B: The Power of Influence: What Happens When You Show Up

Regina Patterson, Owner and Principal, RRP Marketing

Read Regina's Bio

Speaker. Writer. Activist. Marketing is Regina Patterson’s superpower. She fights for the underdog, has a passion for marketing, and is really good at what she do…because she is a nerd. A cool nerd; yet, still a nerd. And she brings all of this passion, zeal, and rockstar energy to RRP Marketing, a full-service marketing agency intent on helping small and mid-sized businesses and non-profits create sustainable businesses through smart marketing decisions. Regina’s passion for marketing strategy and communications can be seen through her dedication to my craft, where she brings several combined years of experience. She possess a diverse background including retail, higher education, ministry, manufacturing, B2B, and B2C; all of which have positioned Regina as a well-versed contributor and leader in multiple areas. Known as a strategic thinker, Regina is a results-driven. She prides herself in combining traditional as well as out-of-the-box thinking to develop holistic plans and executes accordingly. Praised for having a knack to bring things together with minimal or extensive details/direction, she possess proven track record of optimal results throughout various project stages. When Regina isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her dog, Murphy, family, and close friends – and, of course, on social media.
2:30 pm Breakout C: Working with Sales Reps for Small Brands Charlie Wright, Founder, Minor Thread
3:00 pm BREAK  
3:15 pm Breakout A: How to Form Strategic Partnerships for Growing Your Business

Tara Tonsetic, Owner/Founder, taratonsetic.com

Read Tara's Bio

Tara has worked and consulted for organizations in both the for-profit and non-profit industries. With more than 18 years of experience in the world of marketing + events, she has quality experience in a variety of areas. She recently launched a passion business based on her love of greeting cards + events. Tara is married with a young son and resides in Cleveland, Ohio.
3:15 pm Breakout B: Digital to Print in 2020
Phil Linder, Director of Operations, Sandboxx

Read Phil's Bio

Phil Linder is the Director of Operations for Sandboxx, a mobile technology company that offers a digital to print mail service for military families and recruits in basic training.

 

Sam Meek, CEO and Founder, Sandboxx

3:15 pm Breakout C: Navigating the World of Sales Reps & Maintaining Relationships with Stores Allison De Meulder, Former Owner of Matrick & Eve and Invitation Consultants, Emerson Built That

Read Alison's Bio

In 2014, I founded Matrick & Eve, a wholesale greeting card and gift company that offered a personalized, hands-on approach and dedication to hand-crafted design, printing, packaging, and shipping. Within a 3 year period, I cultivated strategic retail partnerships that enabled our company to achieve product placement in over 2,500 retail locations in the U.S. & Canada including Target, The Container Store, corporate-owned Hallmark, Paper Source and Sur La Table stores, as well as over 600 privately owned specialty stores. I not only focused on directing the company’s end-to-end product development, creative direction/concept design, merchandising & omni-channel digital marketing strategy but simultaneously was dedicated to client service and building long lasting relationships in the industry that enabled the company to operate in a very difficult, low-margin industry with few barriers to entry. I worked with multiple showrooms and rep groups, in addition to exhibiting at trade shows. We also won a Louie Award and had a few nominations. I built Matrick and Eve on the heels of Invitation Consultants. I had a vision for a better way to create and deliver invitations leveraging technology and founded IC, an Ecommerce invitation company specializing in a personalized approach for B2C & B2B clients. Within a 6-year period, IC achieved $6 million in revenue through a cohesive brand strategy across all online platforms. I also mentor and host a weekly podcast about entrepreneurship.
3:45 pm BREAK  
4:00 pm Industry and Buying Insights from the Online Marketplace, Faire Sara Ittelson, Head of Strategic Partnerships, FAIRE

Read Sara's Bio

Sara Ittelson is the Head of Strategic Partnerships at Faire. Prior to Faire she spent four years on the Global Business Development team at Uber, working first on the ride-share business and then on Uber Eats. Prior to her time at Uber Sara led a global BD team at an Edtech startup in NYC building adaptive learning technology. Through these experiences, she is passionate about technology platforms ability to support individuals in reaching their full potential and pursuing their entrepreneurial passions. She is an alumni of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Northwestern University, and is the mom to a fiery 3 year old daughter.
4:30 pm Digital Strategies to Reach New Customers

Ariana Waller, Wallway Technologies

Read Ariana's Bio

Ariana Waller is a 3X founder, full stack-software developer, tech consultant and host of the technology podcast, Women in Tech with Ariana podcast. Ariana is the owner of Wallway Technologies, a technology company that helps non-technical founders develop tech solutions through consulting and development. With a listener base in 10+ countries, Ariana was featured in Forbes for her tech podcast work in and rated Top 5 podcasts for product managers in 2020. Ariana previously served as Chief Technology Officer of Michigan’s first uber eats style platform for cannabis based products and is a 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 semi-finalist for the company. Ariana has consulted 60+ startups and business owners into developing modern technology solutions to help scale their companies and develop digitally efficient business models.


5:00 pm

An Adventure in Shopping: Independent Retailer Pivot Story

 

Mary Liz Curtin, Owner, Leon & LuLu
6:00 pm Retreat Activity:  Passion with Purpose…and Cheese

 

John and Kendall Antonelli


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13

TIME(EST) SESSION          SPEAKER
10:45 am Retreat Activity: Restorative Morning Yoga Instructor:  Christine Hyatt, West Side Yoga Collective
11:30 am It Wasn’t a Cliff…It Was a Launchpad: Using the Ashes of 2020 to Reimagine New Possibilities

Shannon Cohen, Founder/CEO, Shannon Cohen, Inc.

Read Shannon's Bio

Shannon Cohen is founder and CEO of Shannon Cohen, Inc. – a boutique firm with a mighty imprint and reputation for excellence. Her clients include: The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Helen Devos Children’s Hospital, United Way, American Heart Association, Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Michigan, The University of Michigan, The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Steelcase, Inc. Using a head+heart approach, Shannon excels in engaging change agents in transparent conversations about the unspoken truths of leadership. Shannon doesn’t just ‘speak’ to leaders; she speaks ‘into’ the lives of leaders. Shannon is an author, podcaster, and owner of a greeting card and inspiration product line called Tough Skin, Soft Heart. Her Tough Skin, Soft Heart products are available at a host of retailers nationwide. Her Tough Skin, Soft Heart podcast reaches subscribers nationally and globally with weekly grab-and-go encouragement for difference makers. Her 2nd book, “It’s Normal to Shake as You Soar” was released in September 2020. Shannon is respected and renowned for empowering organizations to integrate innovation, research, emerging trends, and creativity to cultivate continuous improvement and spur ongoing learning. Shannon is the 2020 YWCA Tribute Award recipient and was named one of the 2020 and 2018 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan by the Grand Rapids Business Journal. Shannon is an alumnus of the prestigious W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network Fellowship and a former Encore Innovation Fellow.

 

12:00 pm Q&A with GCA UK

Amanda Fergusson, GCA UK and Nora Weiser, GCA US

 

12:30 pm Industry Fundamentals: What’s Changed And What Hasn’t

 

Todd Litzman, Co-Founder and CEO, Brandwise

Read Todd's Bio

As the Co-Founder and CEO of Brandwise, Todd has spent the last 24 years as an impassioned advocate of the Gift and Home industries. Todd spent 5 years on the GHTA Board including serving as President 2013-2014. Todd actively engages with the Brandwise client community and guides the company’s vision in everything from product development to sales. Together with his wife Jannetta, Co-Founder and CFO of Brandwise, they have built a reputation as trusted partners to thousands of professionals in the Gift and Home segment.

Ari Lowenstein, Chief Strategy Officer, Brandwise

Read Ari's Bio

As Chief Strategy Officer for Brandwise, Ari Lowenstein uses his unique experience and extensive network within the industry to guide Brandwise’s strategy in a new era of growth for the Brandwise Ecosystem. Ari has a broad background, including owning an Italian gift company, acting as an Intergalactic Business Development Manager, co-owning Canopy and serving as a current board member of Gift for Life and Past President of the Gift Sales Managers Association.

 

1:00 pm The Power of Mail

Wendell Brown, Inspirational Speaker

Read Wendell's Bio

Wendell L. Brown Sr. is a Ball State University graduate and Hall of Famer. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in 2008 in Criminal Justice and has worked as a lawyer’s assistant in the Michigan Law Firm Plunkett Cooney. Wendell applied his education and knowledge in Criminal Justice to serve at risk youth as a treatment specialist at Don Bosco Hall in Detroit, Michigan. He is also the founder of Brown Elite Youth Elevation Foundation, a youth and community empowerment organization. Wendell began playing multiple sports as an adolescent but his sports career includes playing professional football in America, Canada, Austria and other European countries. He also has experience coaching youth, high school and collegiate football in North America, Europe and Asia. The Detroit native uses his work ethic, his athletic and education background, along with his passion for community service and love for uplifting and growing others, as his driving force for success. Wendell is currently mentoring and training Detroit’s inner-city youth through the Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy, along with coaching high school football, at his Alma Mater Detroit Martin L. King Jr. Senior High School.
1:30 pm Update on the USPS Partnership with the GCA: A Dialogue with Steve Monteith Steve Monteith, Chief Customer and Marketing Officer, USPS
2:00 pm BREAK  
2:30 pm Breakout A: CTRL-ALT-DEL (Reboot Your Systems for Success)
Tiffany Chalk
, Owner/Leader Planner, Tiffany Chalk Events and Simply TC Designs

Read Tiffany's Bio

Tiffany Chalk is a sought-after event planner. Dedicated to her craft, Tiffany stays abreast of what she calls ‘T3™’ (the latest techniques, technology and talent boosters), making her the go-to for forecasting industry trends. Amplifying the WOW factor of her client’s experience regardless of the limited budgets, especially during space transformations is Tiffany’s expertise. It is this expertise that has also made her one of the Delaware Valley’s most sought-after speakers at industry conferences and retreats both internationally and state-side in recent years. Her charismatic demeanor coupled her spontaneity to conceptualize creative party and entertaining ideas has led to several guest appearances on Fox 29’s Good Day Philadelphia and WBOC TV’s Delmarva Life. In addition to being a businesswoman, Tiffany is a loving wife and mother. She has served as adjunct instructor for over five years at Delaware Technical Community College for the Wedding and Event Planning Certificate course. In her spare time, Tiffany volunteers for several charitable organizations and serves on the board of several non-profits.
2:30 pm Breakout B: Bridging the Digital/Physical Divide: Unmasking eCommerce Greeting Card Sales During the Pandemic

Stephan Sabo

CMO/Co-Founder, Card Isle Corporation

Read Stephan's Bio

Stephan Sabo is the Co-Founder and CMO of the Card Isle Corporation. At Card Isle, he is involved in marketing, content strategy, product design, customer experience and high level company direction. Card Isle is a greeting card technology company that provides a platform for selling and printing personalized greeting cards, both in store and online. Card Isle works with a network of hundreds of florists, retail gift stores and eCommerce gifting brands across North America that sell their personalized greeting cards. Card Isle licenses thousands of designs from hundreds of artists on a non-exclusive royalty basis.

2:30 pm Breakout C: How Two Wholesale Stationery Brands Leverage Faire

 

Sara Ittelson
Head of Strategic Partnerships
FAIRE

Jill Shephard, Owner and CEO, Ruff House Print Shop

Beth Snyder, Owner / Creative Director ,1canoe2

3:00 pm BREAK  
3:15 pm Breakout A: Are Paper Greeting Cards a Sustainable Choice? Kathi Rowzie
Vice President of Operations, 
Two Sides North America

Read Kathi's Bio

Kathi Rowzie is an accomplished communications, public affairs and sustainability professional whose career spans more than 30 years in corporate and consulting roles with Fortune 500 companies, including extensive experience in the paper and forest products industry. Before joining Two Sides as Vice President of Operations in March 2020, she served for five years as vice president of communications and public affairs at Verso Corporation. During her previous paper industry career at International Paper she was both executive communications counsel to the chairman from 2013 to 2015 and communications leader for the company’s Printing and Communications Papers and Coated Papers businesses and their 12 paper mills from 2003 to 2006. Among her other responsibilities, she worked with many of the industry’s leading organizations, campaigns and coalitions, including Two Sides. As a sustainability issues management and communications consultant, Kathi helped guide paper industry customers in the development of innovative sustainability strategies, programs, responsible paper procurement policies and communications, and in their response to the claims and demands of ENGOs. She has authored sustainability-related feature articles and more than a dozen CSR annual reports, and was instrumental in helping Two Sides North America launch many of its initial educational and marketing materials. She began her corporate career at GEICO, where for nearly a decade she was director of Business and Community Relations and led the company’s public relations, community relations and legislative action coalition building. Kathi is a Washington, D.C. native and received her B.S. in journalism from the University of Maryland College of Journalism.
3:15 pm Breakout B: Live Tech Hack with Wallway Technologies

Ariana Waller, Wallway Technologies

Read Ariana's Bio

Ariana Waller is a 3X founder, full stack-software developer, tech consultant and host of the technology podcast, Women in Tech with Ariana podcast. Ariana is the owner of Wallway Technologies, a technology company that helps non-technical founders develop tech solutions through consulting and development. With a listener base in 10+ countries, Ariana was featured in Forbes for her tech podcast work in and rated Top 5 podcasts for product managers in 2020. Ariana previously served as Chief Technology Officer of Michigan’s first uber eats style platform for cannabis based products and is a 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 semi-finalist for the company. Ariana has consulted 60+ startups and business owners into developing modern technology solutions to help scale their companies and develop digitally efficient business models.

3:15pm Breakout C: Small Business Productivity Management & CRM

 

Paul Minors
Productivity Blogger and Consultant

Read Paul's Bio

Paul Minors is a productivity blogger and virtual consultant. Paul grew his business “on the side” while working full-time and now consults to companies all around the world helping them with tools like Asana, Pipedrive and Zapier. Paul’s website now receives 100,000+ visits per month and his audience of 35,000+ email subscribers love hearing about how to be more productive in business and life.

3:45 pm BREAK  
4:00 pm Closing Remarks George White, GCA President
4:30 pm Retreat Activity: Cocktails and Connections  

 

Learn more about the speaker line up and topics in the GCA Virtual Workshop & Retreat Press Release.