Expo East Combines Fun And Games With Business

Important Lessons Were Embracing Change, Rewarding Employees

Expo EastWhat do human puppets and excitable hitchhikers have to do with running a business? More than you think, as attendees of Expo East found out at a speech given by humorist and workplace expert Joel Zeff. At a reception following the first day of open exhibits in Atlantic City on Tuesday, Zeff played improv games with members of the crowd to drive home lessons ranging from rewarding employees to embracing change.

In one comedic game, two volunteers had to make sound effects for the actions that Zeff and an industry member were performing onstage. Zeff explained how it ties into the importance of working together to achieve a common goal and looking for ways to help others. "If you're out there helping people be successful, they will remember you," said Zeff, the author of Make the Right Choice. "And I promise you, it will come back around."

The keynote speech was part of the rebranded Expo East, the new name given to the Promotions East show that is jointly run by PPAI and SAAGNY. Under their agreement, PPAI has taken on responsibility for the production and growth of the event. "You cannot have an event like Expo East without recognizing the traditions that got us here," said PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, acknowledging the 16-year history of the Promotions East show.

On the show floor, made-in-the-USA products were an emphasis for a number of suppliers looking to capitalize on recurring concerns over the safety and quality of products sourced overseas. Kencraft Handcrafted Confections (asi/64233) makes its custom lollipops and circus sticks in Alpine, UT. Marni Ruller, promotional products sales manager for the company, notes how major retailers have their candy made a year in advance in places as far away as China. "Our candy is fresh, we have control over the ingredients, and we can change quickly with what the customer wants," Ruller said.