Celebrating the Return of In-Person Events
by Susan Avery, CAE

ne of the most rewarding parts of my job is to see people in our industry connect, become trusted business partners and grow professionally. As time passes, these relationships grow stronger and deeper. The people involved rise through the ranks of their companies, expand their business networks and, in many cases, give back to the industry in various ways, including serving on any of IAPD’s committees, task forces or even the Board of Directors.

How does this magic happen? Where does it all begin? Call me biased, but I see IAPD events as being the perfect venues for performance plastics professionals at any point in their career to connect with their peers and get exposed to the broader industry. IAPD offers neutral space for meetings and socializing, and we’re always happy to see members engaging in these activities at our events.

A headshot portrait photograph of Susan Avery smiling
As with the rest of our lives, personal and professional, two years ago everything came to a screeching halt. Then the performance plastics industry stepped up and answered the call for barriers and other necessary applications in a heroic way. IAPD members went above-and-beyond to get materials to essential businesses, helping them stay open and the economy going during a difficult time for all.

While all this activity was going on, IAPD was canceling a year’s worth of events, not knowing if it would be realistic to reschedule them in six months, or a year, or longer. We changed the format of the Women in Plastics Educational Workshops to virtual events, hosted virtual roundtables for groups of members, and increased our number of webinars — and it was wonderful to see so many of you participate. And we were thrilled that the 2021 IAPD Convention was the first live event in over a year, and a beacon of hope for a return to some bit of normalcy.

Fast forward to today, and I’m pleased to share that IAPD has a full calendar of events scheduled for 2022. If you’re as ready to get out and see your friends in the industry as we are, consider one (or more … or all) of the following events:
A digital banner of the IAPD Leadership Development Conference held in Charlotte, NC on June 1-3, 2022
  • Leadership Development Conference — this popular annual event is returning after a two-year hiatus. You will hear from exceptional keynote speakers addressing today’s important issues, benefitting from their leadership training. If you’ve ever wanted to serve on a committee, it’s a great chance for you to sit in on a committee meeting as a guest. New this year is the addition of a Women in Plastics half-day educational session, included in your registration. If you haven’t had an opportunity to check out a Women in Plastics event, be sure to go and see what they’re all about. The Leadership Development Conference will be June 1-3 in Charlotte, NC, USA.
  • Regional Golf Tournaments — we’re back to a full schedule of regional golf tournaments. Find one near you and enjoy a day of golf with your friends, whether they’re current or future IAPD members. See www.iapd.org for all the details.
  • Women in Plastics Events — the Women in Plastics offerings are taking a hybrid approach this year, with the second in-person event on June 1 in Charlotte, NC, USA and our final one this fall in Pittsburgh, PA, USA, along with additional virtual events throughout the rest of the year.
  • Annual Convention — the 66th Annual IAPD Convention and new connecX show will be September 12-15 in Tampa, FL, USA, and we can’t wait. The new connecX model helps you make connections via setting appointments when you register. You don’t have to rely on luck to run into the people you want to see when you schedule your appointments ahead of time. Plus, there will be a full line up of valuable speakers and time to reconnect with your peers.
Lessons learned
The past two years have been difficult, but there are some silver linings. We’re realized just how resilient we can be. We’ve risen up and dealt with extraordinary situations. We’ve had the opportunity to show the world that performance plastics can indeed save lives. We’ve also learned that, even though you can still learn and network virtually, that there is no substitute for in-person events.

We can’t wait to see you at an IAPD event this year. Come, connect, learn and grow with IAPD.