Association Insights: Owners Conference Advises, ‘Don’t Limit Your Potential’

As the economy begins to heat up, industry business owners will want to find the best ways to leverage improving conditions for greater profitability. In the printing, mailing, and marketing industries, the opportunities are bountiful for those who know how to take advantage of them. Exploring available “pathways to success” will be a key feature of the 2014 Owners Conference, Sept. 25-27, at The Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.

The conference program, developed specifically for digital and traditional printers, mailers, and marketing service providers, will offer standout keynoters, collaborative breakout sessions, and a lot of opportunities for knowledge sharing and all-important peer networking.

“Under the banner, ‘Don’t Limit Your Potential,’ we’ve put together a conference schedule that will help owners explore ways to expand their customer base, improve their sales success rate, widen their service offerings, and tap into their own boundless possibilities,” noted conference co-chair Craig Dellinger of New Haven Print, Fort Wayne, IN. “Basically, our conference committee has packed a tremendous amount of information and insight into a two-day program that will give attendees plenty of ideas and approaches to use in their own businesses as soon as they return home.”

“This year’s conference is back in Chicago and takes place immediately before GRAPH EXPO, so it will be convenient and economical for those who want to take part of both events on a single trip,” added co-chair Charlene Sims of The Master’s Press, Dallas. “And we have two terrific keynoters: Mike Rayburn, who was a standout speaker at our NAQP Owners Conference in Nashville last year, and radio personality Bryan Dodge, whose views of how to reach your full potential in both your career and family life will add a whole new dimension to this year’s event.”

‘Best Year Ever’

Following an evening welcome reception on Sept. 25, the 2014 event opens on Sept. 26, with the “How to Have Your Best Year Ever” keynote featuring Bryan Dodge of Dodge Development, Inc., an author and radio commentator who promises to “open your mind and heart to help you focus on the most essential aspects of life” and “inspire you to reach your full potential with your family and career.”

Dodge shows how top producers and effective leaders achieve excellence and coaches attendees on how to create consistent upward growth in their lives. His humorous stories and fun delivery style help make his sessions memorable as he encourages his audiences to develop a clearer vision and make the right choices.

Back by popular demand, guitarist and humorist Mike Rayburn will present the Sept. 27, keynote: “What If…?” In a funny, musically amazing, motivational program, Rayburn will use his guitar and comedy to teach three simple, powerful tools attendees can use immediately and forever to access their unrealized potential and leap beyond their perceived limitations.

Rayburn will show attendees how to set goals that take their organizations beyond what they’ve imagined to be possible, master the things that truly matter, and harness the most basic human brain function for powerful change.

In the trenches

Conference-goers will also be able to take a multi-faceted look at their industry in the general session, “Back in the Trenches: What I’ve Learned as Owner, Consultant, and Employee,” featuring Debra Thompson, who has experience as a printing company employee, former printing company owner, and long-time industry consultant.

After 37 years of experiencing the industry from three different perspectives, Thompson will pinpoint exactly what separates the winners from the rest of the pack, including the importance of having the right people on board, the characteristics of the best leaders and managers, the need for continual process improvement in a changing world, and the way to achieve optimum financial health for your business.

Industry sales expert Bill Farquharson will lead another general session on “The New Sales Process: What Will Work and What Won’t,” showing the latest approaches that sales reps can take when trying to connect with their target market in an environment of new technology, new buyers, and new challenges.

Jennifer Matt, president of Web2Print Experts, Inc., will lead a third general session on the latest developments in Web-to-print solutions that put these critical business-building tools within reach of even the smallest printing operation.  And I will moderate a “Selling on Value” general session, where a panel of company owners will discuss how they have battled competing on price and learned how to position their business to sell based on value.

Among other conference highlights are breakout sessions on what business owners need to know about the latest updates to the Affordable Care Act, the opportunities available in wide format, and ways to build a great team and achieve a work/life balance, as well as the always-popular Supplier Showcase.

“What we learn each year is that as important as the program is, equally valuable to those who attend is the opportunity to talk to others on the industry frontline and rekindle old friendships or meet new folks who are dealing with the same issues they face every day,” said Sims. “It is a great event that gives small business owners a chance to meet one-on-one with so many of their peers, as well as industry and vendor experts, in a perfect setting for sharing ideas and getting to know each other better.”

For more information on the 2014 Owners Conference, go to or contact Donna Komlo at (201) 523-6341 or