By Ashley Amidon, Executive Director, International Wood Products Association
A new year is always a popular time to make a resolution – start a new diet, exercise more, maybe finally pick up that copy of War & Peace you bought three years ago when you promised to read more and watch Netflix less. Yet study after study shows that New Year’s resolutions falter the most by the two-month mark; February is when the excitement has faded and the drudgery of the day-to-day has fully set in.
To ensure that a resolution lasts, it has to be iterative, building on work already being done. It’s the supercharging of a habit or behavior already in place that really builds success. And while I have never been one for personal New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve always thought that a new year is a great inflection point for any organization, to look at all that has been accomplished in the past year and to determine what work to build on for the upcoming one. For associations, it’s less of a resolution and more of a commitment to excellence.
For IWPA, that means a little bit of elbow grease and a little bit of crystal ball gazing.
The elbow grease comes in the form of the work IWPA is doing to ensure the industry has the information it needs. In case your calendar was not already marked, grab your planner and save March 29th through 31st for IWPA’s 67th Annual World of Wood Convention, taking place at the Hyatt Regency in Savannah, Georgia.
We all know how challenging it is to do business these days, so IWPA is gathering a wide variety of speakers and sessions for WoW 2023 to help you succeed. We’ve invited government officials to share what agencies are doing on topics as varied as shipping challenges, trade policies, and CoP19 CITES enforcement. We also have exciting presentations covering GSP, a Congressional look ahead, the difficulties of marketing in an uncertain economy, and legal challenges of the future. We’ve also built in plenty of time for you to see old friends and make new ones during receptions and networking breaks. No matter what your business focus, there will be something for everyone in Savannah, including a tour of one of the largest ports in the country.
IWPA is also hard at work on our education programs. By the time you are reading this column, IWPA will have announced not only our in-person educational sessions for 2023, but also rolled out our new online courses. Now you’ll have the choice to learn in-person or virtually, at a specific time and place or whenever works for you. IWPA is committed to ensuring that our industry remains on the cutting edge, and we’re excited to continue to offer the best in industry education.
The crystal ball gazing is a little harder: no one can ever truly know what a year will bring in economic, compliance or legislative challenges. Yet IWPA wants to equip the industry no matter what the economy or a new Congress has in store. We’ve engaged more on the Hill over the last year than ever before, lobbying on everything from supply chain disruptions and port issues to Lacey Act enforcement and duties. We’ve engaged with agencies familiar to our industry – Departments of Commerce and State, Fish and Wildlife, Customs and Border Protection – and less familiar agencies like the Small Business Administration. IWPA knows that the future is uncertain, but we’re committed to ensuring that 2023 is the strongest year for our association, our members, and our industry.
You might be treating that treadmill as laundry storage or using War & Peace as a doorstopper by the time this column comes out, but know that IWPA never stops working hard to ensure this industry has the best resources, education, and networking opportunities no matter when in the year it is. May your 2023 be profitable and productive!