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Greeting Card Association 75th Annual Convention

09/21/2016 @ 8:00 pm - 09/24/2016 @ 10:00 pm EDT

Get the latest updates: Visit #GCANOLA on Twitter. Join the conversation!

New retailers, new distribution models, and emerging (and different!) consumer behavior by what is now the largest buying segment in our industry, Millennials, are disrupting how we have traditionally managed and led our businesses.

But there’s good news:  Many Millennials are also big fans of greeting cards! Join us in New Orleans where you’ll hear from experts inside and outside the greeting card industry about the strategies they are adopting to compete and thrive in the future.

Experience three days of education, connect with new business partners, and have some fun, too!   Breakout sessions are designed to make it easy for newer and smaller companies to learn about every aspect of the greeting card business.

The Omni Royal Orleans Hotel offers graceful elegance in the French Quarter.  Rooms are available until August 30, first-come, first-served. Member representatives save $100.00 on registration. And the second member representative from the same company  saves even more! One day registration is also available. Members and non-members are welcome to attend. Register to get “Big Ideas in the Big Easy”.. We look forward to seeing you in New Orleans.

Associate members: contact the GCA register for an exhibit, or inquire about  advertising opportunities.

Convention Schedule


11:00am-4:00pm Executive Committee Meeting
2:00pm-6:00pm Registration
5:00pm-6:30pm Opening Reception
Sponsored by:
7:00pm Dinner on your own or with Annual Convention Attendees

THURSDAY, September 22, 2016


7:15am-8:15am Breakfast
Sponsored by:

Welcome to New Orleans
Glen Biely Convention Co-Chair, and George White, Convention Chair
President’s Message
Carlos LLansó , GCA President

Inside the Envelope: A Look at the State of the Greeting Card Industry

Peter Doherty, Greeting Card Association

This session will review the results of the comprehensive industry survey, conducted by the Greeting Card Association and Stationery Trends. Kimberly will highlight what greeting card publishers are saying about the industry as well as provide insights from Stationery Trends’ retailer survey.

Sponsored by: Dayspring

Sugar Paper Presentation
Chelsea Shukov, Sugar Paper


Sponsored By:


USPS Presentation
Chris Karpenko, United States Postal Service


Buying and Selling Greeting Cards in the Real World

Retailer Panel:

Nadine Blake, Nadine Blake
Dannal Perry, Plum
Winnie St. Pierre, Papier Plume
Moderated by George White, Up with Paper

1:15pm-2:30pm Lunch on your own
Break Out Sessions

2:30-3:10pm: Successful Social Media: Emily McDowell, CEO/Creative Director, Emily McDowell Studios

There are lots of seminars you can take that will give you a formula for succeeding on social media, that will tell you what, where, when, and how often to post. This is not one of those seminars. I’ve built a following on social media despite not sticking to any of those rules (or even knowing half of them), so in this conversation, we’ll talk about what I DID do and why, what you guys are doing, and strategies for success that fall outside of the typical guidelines of how to “do” social media.
3:10-3:50pm: Successfully Working with Sales Rep Organizations: Yvonne Boatner, Owner, Paper Trends & Tosha Pearson, Sales Director, Roadrunners

A 10-minute overview from Yvonne and Tosha focusing on successfully working with independent manufacturer’s sales representatives to grow sales in the marketplace. The next 30 minutes will be a roundtable, interactive discussion moderated by Yvonne and Tosha with the opportunity for everyone to ask questions and provide input from their own experiences.
3:50-4:30pm: Planning for Long Term Success: Rick Ruffner, President, Avanti Press
6:30pm-9:00pm New Orleans Experience Evening at Brennan’s

FRIDAY, September 23, 2016



Design and Paper Trends
Sarah Schwartz, Editor-In-Chief, Stationery Trends

Flashback to the National Stationery Show’s #NSSClassof70 with Sarah Schwartz, Editor-in-Chief of Stationery Trends, to see some of today’s most compelling design trends — and how they come together to create cutting-edge product.

How to Build a Growing Greeting Card Department in Today’s Market
Jannette Emerson, Former Senior Buyer of Paper, Cards, Stationery at Cost Plus World Market

Jannette will discuss how she was able create growth in the card department when the industry was not at a growing pace. She will discuss why she made an assortment of decisions including: which vendors and cards to choose, which designs would sell best and worst, and why.

Sponsored by: Up With Paper

11:00am-11:15am Break

International Distribution: A Primer
Tory Wright, Managing Director, Paper E. Clips

The Growing Importance of Millennials
Christy Kaprosy, Papyrus-Recycled Greetings

Millennials have now surpassed Boomers as America’s largest generation. Last year Millennials spent more on greeting cards than Boomers, and they will continue to play an increasingly important role in the future of the industry. By understanding who this generation really is and how they communicate, we can separate facts from myths and deliver engaging products that ensure the future health of our category.

Sponsored by: Papyrus-Recycled Greetings

Tradeshows: Impact, Opportunity…and Extreme Relevance

Patti Stracher and Kelly Bristol, Emerald Expositions/National Stationery Show/Surtex

Sponsored by: National Stationery Show/Emerald Expositions

Associates Lunch
Sponsored by: Leanin’ Tree

Break Out Sessions

2:30-3:10: Show, Tell, and Sell: Sarah Schwartz, Editor-In-Chief, Stationery Trends

Bring your latest designs to this breakout session with Sarah Schwartz, Editor-in-Chief of Stationery Trends, for feedback, discussion and constructive critique.
3:10-3:50: Going Into Gifts: Margo Tantau, Creative Director, The Madison Park Group.

3:50-4:30: Successful Strategies for Operations and Inventory- Presented by Steve Gimbelman, President, Designer Greetings

Sponsored By: Designer Greetings



Cocktail Reception- Sponsored by GCA Associate Members
Masquarade Ball- Co-Sponsored by American Greetings & Hallmark

SATURDAY, September 24, 2016

8:00am-9:00am Breakfast and Committee Meetings
9:00am-10:00am Annual Board Meeting
10:00am- 11:00am Annual Business Meeting
Schedule and meeting rooms are subject to change.


09/21/2016 @ 8:00 pm
09/24/2016 @ 10:00 pm
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Omni Royal Orleans Hotel
621 St. Louis Street
New Orleans, LA 70140 United States
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