Young Innovators Conference a Success
Last March we caught up with Sarah Scudder, the newly appointed president of Procureit5, the youngest executive to ever serve on the board for the Print Services and Distribution Association (PSDA), and the founder of the Young Innovators group, to learn more about this group (that is comprised of young industry members) and its annual Young Innovators Conference, educational webinars, mentorship teams and regional events.
Scudder founded the Young Innovators group six years ago out of her concern, passion and love for the printing industry. What was born from that was the group’s annual Young Innovators Conference, which is marketed to owners, CEOs and executives as a way to reward and educate their future company leaders.
“The Young Innovators Conference is one of the only events that brings millennials and young print executives together to network, talk about technology and focus on innovation,” says Scudder. “It allows the younger generation to talk freely, share ideas with their peers and bring back actionable items that they can implement to improve their companies. It also provides owners with the opportunity to reward top millennial performers by investing in their personal development and career growth."
By 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce, Scudder points out. “We can’t ignore them. If we don’t find a way to recruit and embrace them, we will not have people to work at our companies, and to lead our companies and drive change.”
Just completing its fourth year, the Young Innovators Conference was held June 1-2, 2017, at the Grand Hyatt in Denver. More than 50 attendees turned out to the annual event that explored key topics such as building teams, creating a culture that promotes teamwork and creativity, recruiting top talent, how to be a thought leader instead of trying to play catch up with your competition, and the technology used to streamline internal processes.
In the workshops, AmyK Hutchens, a former executive of a billion-dollar global consumer products company and a leadership expert, provided activities and hands-on projects involving creativity and thinking about things differently. She also led exercises that sparked problem solving and innovation. The big takeaway from Hutchens' workshop was how to generate ideas that you can actually take to market.
Other workshop leaders included Ryan Lowe, a motivational speaker and trainer, who discussed the power of maintaining a positive attitude; and Jeff Korhan, a keynote speaker and digital marketing consultant, who shared tips on how to get buyers to trust you.
Lunch consisted of roundtable groups discussing useful tool and technologies, self-marketing, lead generation and digital marketing.
In addition, the conference featured a ‘fast and furious’ contest in which attendees shared their best, wildest, most creative and innovative strategy or idea that delivered results for their business to a panel of judges.
According to Scudder, this section was a conference favorite. “With three minutes on the clock, eight contestants competed in a Shark Tank-like format. The contestants presented exceptional ideas that they themselves actually implemented at their companies.”
The panel of judges (Darin Painter, editor-in-chief, Print Solutions Magazine; Adam McNeill, president, CE Printed Products; and Phil Sterling, CEO, Printco) selected Stephanie Page from Regency Business Solutions — who presented a project her team produced in collaboration with another PSDA distributor — as the winner. Page received a gift, trophy, and will also receive recognition in Print Solutions Magazine, the PSDA e-newsletter and blog.
According to Scudder, the feedback from the conference has been great. “We conducted a survey and personal follow-up calls with our sponsors. The attendees provided extremely high marks for the conference. Everyone who responded said they want to attend in 2018 and will recommend the event to others. Attendees highlighted the networking and idea sharing on how to improve their businesses as the most valuable takeaways,” she concludes.
Please stay tuned for more information about the 2018 Young Innovators Conference!
About Sarah Scudder
Sarah Scudder is the president of Procureit5. She co-hosts a weekly radio show, Career Conversations, in which she interviews entrepreneurs, community leaders and people who have made major career advancements. She’s a monthly columnist for the Print Services (PS) Magazine and Print+Promo, a winner of North Bay Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 award, Print+Promo’s Trailblazer Under 40 award, Print Services & Distribution Association (PSDA)’s Member of the Year award, and an entrepreneur, co-founding the company Zen Balance, the creator of Relax + Focus: a stress and anxiety relief supplement.