Nov 18, 2014
GHTA Confirms New Board at Inaugural Bridgeway Collaborative Conference

The Gift and Home Trade Association (GHTA), whose mission is to support, lead, and unify the gift and home industry, focusing on its long term success, confirmed its 2014-2015 Board of Directors during the 12th Annual GHTA Conference, held November 11-13 in Nashville, Tenn. This was also the first Bridgeway Collaborative Conference, which brought attendees together from various industry groups, including: Gift Sales Managers Association (GSMA); Young Gift Executives (YGE), Accessories Resource Team (ART); Gift For Life; and Holiday Decorative Association.

The GHTA’s executive board is as follows: Todd Litzman of Brandwise, chairman of the board; Bob Ricciardi of About Face Designs, president; Joe Harris of Whereoware, vice president; Fred Schmidt of All for Color, treasurer; and Allison Barrows of Ganz, secretary.

Additionally, the GHTA has added four new members to its board, each of whom will contribute their vast knowledge and experience to help lead the association: Randy Eller of Eller Enterprises, Lindsay DeMyer of Darrah & Company Ltd, Greg Bilezikian of DEI, and Majda Rensberger of OneCoast. Continuing their board terms are Dylan Schauben of J.Grob Associates, Cliff Price of Cliff Price & Company, George Kacic of GiftCraft, and Chad Corzine of Archipelago Botanicals. Andy Bjork of Ivystone Group will continue as parliamentarian.

All GHTA board members are chosen using a nomination and interview process. The members of the GHTA then vote to confirm each member at the annual GHTA conference.

“I am thrilled to work with and drive this stellar group of individuals in order to further build the GHTA and its benefits, all while investing in and strengthening our industry through the Bridgeway Collaborative,” said Bob Ricciardi, newly elected president of the GHTA. “By establishing the Bridgeway Collaborative last year, we have begun forming a solid community of peers. Going forward, our board will continue to improve the GHTA through innovation and collaboration.”

The GHTA is celebrating its successful conference, held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. On Tuesday, November 11, the record-breaking 350+ attendees enjoyed a motivational keynote presentation by David Avrin, The Visibility Coach.

Wednesday, November 12, featured a keynote presentation on the conference theme “The New Normal,” by Dennis Giannetti, DenZen Enterprises. Randy Eller of Eller Enterprises, Brianne Houck of Brandwise, and Jill Sands of The Trend Forecaster led the day’s workshop breakout sessions. Tom Ungrodt of Ideation hosted the “Industry Leadership Panel,” featuring Howard Henschel of Norman’s Hallmark, Peter Schauben of Appelman Schauben, and Laurie Gilner of Transpac Imports, Inc. The day also incorporated the GHTA’s annual charitable “Give Back” event, which supported Nashville Public Schools and Camp Southern Ground.

The closing day of the conference, Thursday, November 13, included a “Young Industry Leadership Panel” moderated by Allison Barrows of Ganz and panel members from Young Gift Executives: Laura Barrick of Darrah & Company Ltd., Chad Corzine of Archipelago Botanicals, Steven Prokash of TAG, and Nicholas Vafakas. The day’s breakout sessions were led by Randy Spoor of The Center Stage Team and Dennis Nemcek of DNA, Greg Bilezikian of DEI, and Tom Bowles of Enesco. Closing the conference was a keynote from Luke Williams, frog.

In addition to all the learning opportunities, individuals were treated to some incredible evening networking and entertainment events. A welcome reception was held at the Wild Horse Saloon in downtown Nashville. While the main celebration on Wednesday evening featured a strolling dinner, live entertainment by popular country band Paris Luna, and silent and live auctions, which raised more than $75,000.

Conference attendees were also the first to utilize the GHTA app. Attendees could personalize their agenda, share photographs and information in the app’s newsfeed, locate sessions, and communicate with one another. The app will continue to be available to GHTA members with elements, such as membership renewal, market event listings, benefits, real-time information sharing, and online networking.

To learn more about the Gift and Home Trade Association, please call 877.600.4872 or visit www.giftandhome.org.

About the Gift and Home Trade Association:

GHTA is the gift and home industry’s non-profit professional trade association formed to help vendors, sales agencies and industry affiliates work together to improve relationships. GHTA’s mission is to lead and transform the gift and home industry to ensure its long-term health and viability. GHTA has four major initiatives: to educate sales professionals; to understand and educate the industry on opportunities for technological efficiencies; to support and cultivate the industry’s independent retailers; and to understand and educate the industry on showroom/trade show costs, statistics, schedules, opportunities and preferences. GHTA can be reached by email at info@giftandhome.org. or more information on the GIFT AND HOME Trade Association visit www.giftandhome.org.


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