Associates Update (Phil St. Germain, Chair)

Just this past September, we had a great opportunity to network with many GCA Publisher and Associate members at the annual Convention. New Orleans was a lot of fun thanks to the hard work of many — especially Convention Chair George White and co-Chair Glen Biely. Many Associate members also gave their time and resources to help make our 75th Convention the success that it was and the GCA is grateful for your support.

The Associates Directory will once again highlight our capabilities among greeting card publishers. If you have questions regarding the Directory, please reach out to Peter Doherty. And on January 13, join with GCA members and guests for the GCA’s Atlanta Networking Reception (6-9:00 p.m.) at the Westin Peachtree Plaza. This annual event, in conjunction with the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market, provides an opportunity for Associates to further market their company’s offerings. For more information, contact Julie Elfand or Maggie McDonnell.

I am also thrilled to have David Wilke of Leader Paper Products support me and the Associates as our co-Chair.  If you have an opportunity to be in touch with David, please thank him for his efforts on our behalf and reach out to him with questions about GCA or the industry; I understand he is an envelope genius.

With the President-elect committed to “make America Great Again” (I already think that America is great, by the way), this may help us focus on making the Greeting Card Business even greater than it already is.

All the best,


J.S. McCarthy Printers


Communications & PR Committee (Joel Gryniewski, Chair)

The Communications & PR Committee is wrapping up a successful year – with the launch of the new GCA website, the re-design of Card Talk and the completion of the first state of the industry survey conducted with Stationery Trends.

Among the Committee’s initiatives for next year: enhancing the GCA’s social media profile, and streamlining the 2017 state of the industry survey to encourage further participation and provide more actionable information to participants.


The Membership Committee (Alan Friedman, Chair)

Among all of the holiday cards you’re receiving, you also should have received your GCA membership renewal. Please take a moment to complete the renewal as well as the request for company information – no later than January 31, 2017. If you know of other potential Publisher or Associate members, please share this link.  Thank you to each and every member who makes the GCA the terrific organization that it is!


LOUIE Awards Committee (Nicole Hite-Heleniak, Chair)

“We market and promote our LOUIE Award-winning cards, particularly to our sales reps. so that they can sell our line with confidence,” said Glen Biely, co-president, Madison Park Group.

The LOUIE Committee reminds all GCA members – and encourages all card publishers – to submit cards for the 2017 LOUIE Awards. The call for entries period closes on Friday, December 16.  The LOUIEs Committee has confirmed its roster of judges – all of whom will be hard at work early next year, selecting finalists and winners.  Read more about the judges in the next issue of Card Talk.


Postal Affairs Committee (Sarah Moe Meyers, Chair)

Historic Trump Victory Leaves Postal Reform Uncertain

The election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States and down ticket Republican victories like that of Senator Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, show that conventional orthodoxy in political prediction has gone out the window.  For those who were willing to look, the indicators of this outcome have been there all along, but everyone who follows politics and public policy issues will be forced to re-evaluate their assumptions moving forward.   This is certainly true in attempting to assess what impact the election outcome might have on postal reform legislation.

The immediate reaction of many in the postal community is that the election of Trump and Senator Johnson’s return as Chairman of the Committee overseeing the Postal Service in the Senate will spell doom for any legislation this year. That’s because Chairman Johnson has been resistant to moving postal legislation and the hard core business approach to issues that President-elect Trump would presumably take would lend itself to the privatization of the Postal Service that Johnson has long advocated.  I’m not so sure.

Let’s consider what has been accomplished in the past two years. In that time, we have seen a 180 degree turn in attitudes on controversial postal policy issues such as ending Saturday mail delivery on the part of Postal Service management and House and Senate Committee Oversight leaders.  We also have seen the introduction of legislation that abandoned such provisions in favor of common sense reform proposals that a diverse group of mailing interests could support including private sector companies, the GCA? and the major postal unions.  Earlier this year, that bill was approved without objection by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  More recently, more than 1,300 companies and associations, including the GCA, signed a letter to the House of Representatives supporting that legislation.  And just days after  the election, the Congressional Budget Office released its assessment of the House legislation, finding that its ultimate cost to the federal government is overall favorable, eliminating the potential fight over “a costly” postal service bailout.

Taking all that into account, I would argue that the path forward on postal reform cannot be predicted with any certainty. Chairman Johnson is well aware that getting agreement on any postal legislation is extremely difficult and legislation that would lead to Postal Service privatization or bankruptcy will not have anywhere close to the consensus that exists between mailers and unions on the House bill.  Moreover, it is well known that absent legislation, a collapse of the Postal Service’s operational finances at some point in the next Congress is likely.  This may not be a headache that Chairman Johnson will seek.  It is certainly not one that his counterpart on the House Committee, Chairman Jason Chaffetz, or its Ranking Members, Tom Carper and Elijah Cummings, want.  More importantly, this may be an issue that Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would like to dispense with to be free to tackle more fundamental issues next year.

If you are interested in joining a Committee, contact GCA Executive Director Peter Doherty

“Ask an Expert”

What’s the most important take-away from a first meeting with a new sales representative?

Read this response from GCA member Avanti:

“For me the most important take away is that it’s someone who has high energy and a deep knowledge of the territory they want to represent. A lengthy track record in the territory is usually a sign of good relationship building skills and trustworthiness as well.”