The 2019 GHTA Annual Conference will be held November 13-15, 2019 in Phoenix, AZ.
Conference Agenda OVerview
Below is an outline of the 2019 conference agenda structure. You can download the full agenda by clicking the button to the right. The agenda is subject to change.
Pre-Conference: Tuesday, November 12
Attendees start to arrive in Phoenix
Day 1: Wednesday, November 13
Attendees continue arriving in Phoenix
Morning golf outing [on the hotel property]
12:00PM: Conference registration check-in opens
2:00PM: Conference Day 1 kick-off + keynote speaker + GHTA Annual Business Meeting, including induction of new board
6:30PM - 9:00PM: Evening social event
Day 2: Thursday, November 14
7:00AM: Registration opens & breakfast is served
8:00AM: Conference Day 2 kick-off + full day of breakouts and keynote speakers
5:00PM: Conference Day 2 ends
6:30PM - 9:00PM: Evening social event
Day 3: Friday, November 15
7:00AM: Registration opens & breakfast is served
8:00AM : Conference Day 3 kick-off + breakout workshops + keynote speaker
11:00AM: Conference concludes
Attendees depart Phoenix and head home sweet home!
keynote & General session speakers
Below is an overview of our keynote speakers. More coming soon!
"Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen: How the Power of Story Can Grow Your Business"
Most leaders, marketers, salespeople and managers struggle to explain what they do. It's not because they aren't smart, hard-working or likable, it's because they aren't communicating clearly. StoryBrand helps companies understand what customers are looking for so they can tell their story in such a way people listen. The human brain is drawn to CLARITY and away from confusion. If customers are confused about what you offer, they'll look past you for somebody who can say it clearly. Once you clarify your message, your company will begin to grow.
Tim Arnold is part of the teaching team at StoryBrand Live Workshops and travels the world to help StoryBrand clients through Private Workshops and Keynotes. He has spent over two decades helping organizations communicate, collaborate and get unstuck, with clients that include The United Nations, Citibank, KPMG, Toyota and Siemens. Tim is able to provide his clients with a real-world perspective through his experience launching successful for-profit and not-for-profit businesses, and managing international development partnerships in four continents. As the author of the book, "The Power of Healthy Tension," Tim is able to help his clients bring communication simplicity to their business complexity. Tim lives in Ontario, Canada with his wife, Becky and their children Declan and Avryl.
"Customer Experience is Your New Competitive Advantage: What works, what doesn’t, and why it matters more than ever!"
The future of retail is bright, but it takes having clear vision to move your business to the next level. With so many choices confronting your prospective customers and clients, the question is: "Why should they choose you?" In his eye-opening, energetic, and entertaining signature-presentation, internationally-renowned marketing expert David Avrin, The Visibility Coach, will reveal what it truly takes to recognize and promote your true competitive advantage, while building a category-leading brand identity. Based on the lessons in his breakout book: It's Not Who You Know, It's Who Knows You!, David's eye-opening and engaging presentation will leave you with a new perspective of what it takes to stand out and with a head full of new ideas and actionable strategies to become top-of-mind with your top prospects. 2020 will be your year with the actionable teachings from David Avrin.
One of the most in-demand business marketing and customer experience speakers in the world today, David Avrin, CSP has shared his content-rich, entertaining, hard-hitting and memorable presentations to enthusiastic audiences across North America and around the world. Recent presentation locations include: Singapore, Bangkok, Melbourne, Brisbane, Antwerp, Buenos Aires, Sri Lanka, Manila, Rotterdam, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, London, Johannesburg and Dubai. David Avrin shows business owners and leaders, sales professionals, HR audiences and entrepreneurs how to ferret-out, recognize, craft and promote compelling competitive advantages.
David's business insights have been featured on hundreds of broadcast media outlets and thousands of online and print publications around the world. He is also the author of three books including the acclaimed: It's Not Who You Know, It's Who Knows You!, Visibility Marketing, and his newest book: Why Customers Leave and How to Win Them Back was just released.
"The Champions’ Code: Building Relationships Through Life Lessons of Integrity and Accountability from the Sports World to the Business World"
Ross takes a deep dive into the DNA of what makes champions in sports so unique and how that relates to our retail business today. Ross was able to interview more than 1,000 professional athletes and coaches that all had one thing in common: they were all members of championship teams. In his research, Ross concluded that the same metrics and characteristics that were common among champions in sports, were also common among peak performers in business. There are reasons certain teams win consistently, whereas others don't. Ross will explain how companies can develop and keep winning teams, even in the midst of the shifting retail landscape.
The best-selling author of nearly 50 sports books, Ross Bernstein is an award-winning peak performance business speaker who’s keynoted conferences on ALL SEVEN continents for audiences as small as 10 and as large as 10,000. Ross and his books have been featured on thousands of television and radio programs over the years including CNN, ESPN, Bloomberg, Fox News, and “CBS This Morning,” as well as in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today. He’s spent the better part of the past 20 years studying the DNA of championship teams and his program, "The Champion’s Code: Building Relationships Through Life Lessons of Integrity and Accountability from the Sports World to the Business World,” not only illustrates what it takes to become the best of the best, it also explores the fine line between cheating and gamesmanship in sports as it relates to values and integrity in the workplace. As a working member of the media in his home state of Minnesota, Ross has a unique behind the scenes access to all of the local sports franchises in the area, including the Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves, Wild and Gophers. As such, he spends lots of his time in dugouts, club houses, locker rooms, and press boxes — and it’s here where Ross has met and interviewed thousands of professional athletes over the years. Ross and his wife Sara have a 16 year old daughter and presently reside in Apple Valley, MN.
"Top 10 Retail Trends You Need to Know for 2020"
The business of gift and home retailing has never been more complex -- or confusing. But Warren Shoulberg, veteran journalist for such media as Forbes.com, The Robin Report, and Gifts & Decorative Accessories, will do his best to help you try to sort it all out with as close to 20/20 vision as possible. Spoiler alert: the words Amazon, Target, Wayfair, and independent retailers are likely to be mentioned.
Warren Shoulberg knows gift and home. As a career journalist covering the home furnishings and gift industry for a number of important business publications he has watched the evolution, revolution and convolution of the trade. He is often cited by media sources including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN and ABC News for his expert commentary. He is a guest lecturer at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business and has been recognized by industry groups including FIT and IFDA. He currently writes for The Robin Report, Forbes.com, his own Stupidbusiness.com blog and Gifts & Decorative Accessories. He expects to be doing this for the duration.
"Evolve or Dissolve: Industry Insights for Leveling Up"
As a developmental psychologist and organizational development expert, Lisa will take us on a journey through the eyes of the consumer. Franklin Fixtures' work is nationally recognized with hundreds of museum store projects, and Lisa has documented insights - with a researcher's approach - to understand merchandising and the psychology behind consumer buying trends. She will provide engagement strategies for manufacturers, as well as provide insights for sales agencies alike, in how to provide more consultative solutions that increase sales for their boutiques.
A thought leader researching the Pattern Languages of successful specialty retail systems, Lisa Uhrik pulls from her experience as co-owner of Franklin Fixtures and expertise as a Developmental Psychologist and Organizational Development specialist. Lisa is a passionate community literacy advocate who appreciates her unique visibility into the elements of store success that are part of the physical display and interaction spaces across the country. By serving retailers small and large, she has seen benchmark best practices that she hopes to share in the interest of improving community literacy and quality of life across the country.
Great American Media Services
"Understanding the Specialty Retailers Path to Purchase"
Bob Ziltz, with Great American Media Services, will review in-depth Buyer's Journey Mapping research to help you best understand what influences a retail buyer's decision-making process. You may think you know the answers, but you also may be surprised! With results from more than 500 retailers, this presentation will cover everything from social media to the manufacturer sales rep, and how different sources impact buying decisions.
Currently VP Sales, Publishing Director for Great American Media Services (GAMS) including specialty retail brands Gift Shop, Stationery Trends, Museums & More and Party and Halloween Retailer. Bob joined GAMS from NewBay media where he led the Music Group and it's 7 brands. Prior to NewBay Bob had a 18 year career at Rodale Inc where he led Prevention as VP, Publisher and launched the Women’s Health brand. Bob has been in publishing for over 30 years, leading teams across digital, social, magazines, and events. Bob has led a number of research projects to help clients better understand the challenges and opportunities within a specific market in both B2C and B2B.
Various Industry Experts [Panel]
Panelists: Barbara knight, Just Got 2 Have It!; Julia Higgins, Corkcicle.; Eric Dean, Whereoware; Ashley Crouch, DEMDACO; Amy Sterns, DEMDACO
Moderator: Becky Tyre, Retail Details the Podcast and Gifts & Decorative Accessories magazine contributor
"Brand Stories That Sell"
This intimate Q&A will open up discussion on how companies are utilizing concise branding to scale. Now, more than ever, branding is a vital piece of the puzzle for every company, as consumer buying patterns have shifted. These days, consumers are NOT purchasing products, they are purchasing an experience, and providing clear brand messaging can help seal the deal with your potential B2C customer. The industry veterans on this panel will touch on: utilizing branding to gain and protect market share; heightening brand recognition; increasing sales and creating competitive advantage through branding; knowing when it’s time to rebrand; and much more.
Below is an overview of our breakout topics confirmed to date. Full session and speaker details - plus additional breakout sessions - coming soon.
How to Succeed Together: Vendor and Agency Relationships
moderated by: Andy Bjork, Ivystone Group
panelists: Meg Gilmore, Anne McGilvray & Co.; Erik Legenhausen, Lotus Jewelry Studio; more panelists coming soon!
The good, the bad, and the ugly. We’ve all danced around it - and maybe said some things behind closed doors - but now it’s time to face things head-on. This panel discussion will feature 3 vendors and 3 sales representatives/agencies, and will allow both sides to honestly share what struggles and successes they have experienced working with the other, along with what is required to have prosperous working relationship.
Prospecting, Preparation + Pitch = Closing the Sales Gap
led by: Tara Dikos, Transpac and Michelle Manningham, Pink and Associates
Whether it’s key accounts or independent retailers/buyers you’re working with, they all crave the same thing: results! Tara and Michelle will share sales tips and trade secrets about closing the gap in the sales process. This inclusive breakout will teach you how to: identify a buyer contact and what they want; utilize creative email tactics that trigger a response; develop a pitch deck and deliver a meeting that will close a sale; and more.
Mitigating & Eliminating the Expense of Electronic Transactions
led by: Tim Chew, NXGEN
Credit card processing, is complex. Merchants are faced with confusing statements and hundreds of various payment processing fees. In addition, a merchant can easily fall trap to unfair pricing and pay large fees to accept credit cards. Join Tim Chew of NXGEN North America as he discusses the shifts in the electronic payment industry and how it is affecting business in North America. Tim will take a deep dive into: interchange optimization, payment gateways, convenience fees, changes in banking rules, and more.
The Silver Lining in the Downturn
led by: Warren Shoulberg, Forbes.com
Not all that long ago one of the biggest retailers in America found itself in a bad position: tired product assortments, stale store presentations, aging online platform and trapped in a pricing death spiral. Three years later it has become perhaps the country's best retailer. We'll set the stage for this hands-on breakout session as we find the growth opportunities within the downturn. We will run through a quick case study of what they did to turn around their business -- you'll have to come to find out who we're talking about -- and then together we'll discuss how those very same techniques and tools can be used in your business, regardless of the scale or scope of what you do. Your tool
Increasing Engagement Through Relevant Forms of Content Marketing
led by: Dylan Schauben, The Company
In the past decade, Inbound marketing has been proven to increase the quality and loyalty of customers, in turn making it infinitely more beneficial for sales than traditional outbound marketing. In order to have an effective inbound marketing strategy, you have to focus on creating useful and valuable content that resonates with your followers. With so many forms of content available, how are you supposed to know what is the most effective in our industry? We will be discussing relevant forms of digital content marketing in the Gift & Home industry that are guaranteed to increase your follower engagement. Learn about the forms of content you should be focusing on, including how to create, manage, and distribute that content. What are your frustrations with creating valuable content? The end of the session will include an open discussion regarding technology, apps, pain points, and more.
Give Me What I Want + Free Shipping [Retailer Panel]
moderated by: Becky Tyre, Becky Tyre, Retail Details the Podcast and Gifts & Decorative Accessories magazine contributor
panelists: Coming soon!
Just how well do you know your retailers? This panel discussion-style breakout will feature successful, independent brick and mortar retailers talking about how and when they make purchases for their retail stores and what they expect from the process [including the impact of sales representatives, sales agencies, vendors, and trade show personnel], the struggles and successes of online shopping and competitive platforms, and additional factors that influence their business on a regular basis. This breakout will also include a Q&A session.
led by: Bob McKinnon, 3S
With tariffs on the rise in China, have you considered sourcing from elsewhere, like India? This market offers an abundance of exceptional products, low cost manufacturing, currency stability, raw material availability, low labor cost, and more. While all of that sounds attractive, there’s plenty more you need to know. During this session you will learn about this emerging market and the basics of sourcing from India, including: how to choose the right sourcing partner, the cost of doing business, the impact on profit margins and best negotiation tactics, managing and minimizing risk, guarantee of quality and compliance, and delivery reliability and timelines.
E-Commerce Disruptors: What You Need to Know [Open Discussion]
led by: John Toler, Evergreen Enterprises
If there’s one thing there isn’t a shortage of these days, it’s online shopping platforms, and every day there’s a new disruptor emerging in our industry. This open discussion will highlight some of the largest and newest platforms currently causing both strife and sales growth for companies. Participants will be encouraged to engage in this guided, but slightly unstructured, session by openly talking about experiences with e-commerce sites, best practices, and other relevant information, within his/her own comfort levels.
The Art & Power of Visual Display
led by:Lisa C. Uhrik, Franklin Fixtures
Whether new or deeply seasoned in visual display, explore the practical and engaging art, incorporating an understanding of timeless pattern languages and key visual merchandising techniques along with the fundamentals of store fixtures that facilitate them. This in-depth workshop is constructed in three parts: an overview of concepts, a collaborative learning exercise and a discussion debrief using group photos and findings. Take away both inspiration and practices for immediate use no matter your size or situation.
We will be returning to the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix, AZ for this year’s conference. Our return to this resort is due to the overwhelming praise for the property and requests to go back for a second year in a row.
GHTA Group Rate: $179/night + $10 resort fee (below amenities included) and applicable fees/taxes. The rate will also be available 3 days prior and 3 days after the Conference, based on hotel occupancy, for anyone that would like to extend their stay. Please note: GHTA cannot guarantee extended stay rates, as it is based on hotel occupancy and availability.
Resort Fee Includes:
Unlimited Internet access in guest rooms and lobby areas
Access to the Aji Spa Fitness - Workout Room
Complimentary bottled waters in-room, replenished daily
Any local, long distance (domestic), and 1-800 guest room calls
Expanded shuttle service to the new Phoenix Premium Outlets
Tennis court and full tennis equipment rental (based on availability)
About the property: Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass is a truly transformative resort experience. Located just a short drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, this Native American-owned luxury hotel feels a world away from everyday life. The resort has strived to maintain the heritage and culture of the Gila River Indian Community throughout the resort, preserving a sense of authenticity at every turn. Spend your days enjoying a round of golf at Whirlwind Golf Club, pampering yourself at Aji Spa or making a splash at the four resort pools. The resort also offers dining options to please every palate including Kai, the state's only AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five-Star award-winning restaurant.
Thinking about bringing your family to stay the weekend, post-conference? Great news -- there’s something for every member of the family at the Sheraton Grand Resort at Wild Horse Pass. Splash around in one of their four pools with waterfalls and 111-foot waterslide. Discover horseback riding at the Koli Equestrian Center with lessons, trail rides, and outdoor events. For younger guests, the Sheraton Adventure Club offers daily activities. For a more active adventure, experience the tennis courts and extensive jogging/walking trails. Or enjoy a boat ride to Rawhide or Whirlwind Golf Club on the 2 ½ mile river that surrounds the resort. For additional off-site local attractions, please click here.
Airport + Transit
Attendees will want to utilize the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport [PHX] for the most convenient arrival and departure.
Ride share services, like Uber and Lyft
Directions to hotel from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport
Take AZ-143 South
Merge onto I-10 East toward Tucson
Exit Wild Horse Pass Blvd
Turn right onto Wild Horse Pass Blvd
Continue on Wild Horse Pass Blvd through two signal lights
Follow the signs onto to the resort grounds and guest registration
2019 Conference Attendee Roster
This section will feature a roster of those registered for the 2019 GHTA Annual Conference, as registrations are submitted. Have questions? Email the GHTA office at email@example.com.
Anne McGilvray & Co.
The Butler Group
Candle Warmers Etc.
Dallas Market Center
Darrah & Company
Gifts & Decorative Accessories
Gina B Designs
J. Brandes, Inc.
Kim Brandes Egar
Kimberly Wahlberg Company
Lotus Jewelry Studio
Maynard Sales Management
Michel Design Works
Next Step Reps
Nora Fleming LLC
Pink and Associates
The Portico Collection
Brad Leuthold [GUEST]
Stack and Company
Sunset Vista Designs
The Street Brands
Terry Moore & Assoc.
Total Biz Fulfillment
Twist Sales Inc
Unemployed Philosophers Guild
Trip van Roden
Pre-Conference Golf Outing
We will be hosting an 18-hole golf outing on Wednesday, November 13th, prior to the official start of the GHTA Annual Conference. The outing will be at the Whirlwind Golf Club onsite at our host hotel property - Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix, AZ.
Location: Whirlwind Golf Club
Date: Wednesday, November 13
Tee Times: 7:45AM - 8AM
Cost: $160 per golfer
Includes: Green fees, shared cart, range balls, and lunch
Format: Scramble format with prize for the winning team!
Whirlwind Golf Club is truly a unique southwest golf experience. The courses, clubhouse, and practice facilities are sensitively designed to preserve the rich cultural heritage of the Gila River Indian Community. Named for the prominent design feature of the hand-woven basketry of the Authum tribe, Whirlwind is the work of golf course architect Gary Panks. His design weaves the spirit and legacy of this ancient land into a marvelous test of golf. The Devil’s Claw course features sweeping elevation changes and dramatic bunkering. The Cattail course complements the Devil’s Claw, but lends a whole new flavor to this 36-hole masterpiece, with its rolling fairways accented by striking water features and deep canyons. Whirlwind promises a dynamic golf experience marked by spectacular landscaping, unrivaled course conditions, and genuine customer service.
Photo credit: Whirlwind Golf Club
The 2019 GHTA Annual Conference will be held at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix, AZ, November 13-15.
Member Rates (GHTA & GSMA)
> Until May 31: $599 per person*
> June 1 - November 12: $699 per person
*GHTA and GSMA members that register by May 31st also have the opportunity to participate in a two-installment payment plan. First half of the fee is due at the time of registration; the second will be charged to the card on file 60 days later.
> Until November 12: $849 per person