President's Message

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Greetings from Janet Draper, PPA President 

Those of us who understand, appreciate, and work with perennials are involved in all aspects of the horticultural industry. The Perennial Plant Association (PPA) provides a unifying force to promote the use of perennials across disparate professions, markets, and trade organizations. We invite you to become a member of this exciting organization. Our membership includes growers, designers, horticulturists, researchers, educators, students, and many other professionals. You’re certain to find a place within our diverse organization.


PPA presents you with loads of opportunities to learn, connect with other professionals, and expand your horizons. Our symposia and regional meetings offer tours, lectures, visits with colleagues, and chances to make new friends from all over the country. Talk about fantastic networking opportunities! You’ll see new techniques, new plants, and discover new ventures that will energize you and give you ideas for your own projects.


Dr. Steven Still, PPA Executive Director, will retire this year after 35 years of service. Steve was one of the Association's original founders and was dedicated to sharing information about these "weird plants" called perennials, well before they were part of the mainstream vocabulary. We thank the Still Family for its years of dedication.


The PPA Executive Search Committee has selected Kellen, a global association management company, to manage the organization. We are excited to introduce our new Executive Director, Jill Gabbert. Jill and PPA’s new headquarters will be based in Chicago. 


JillGabbert croppedJill Gabbert is an account executive with over 15 years of experience working with volunteers in both higher education and association management. Previously, Jill was the Director Student Life at Rush University. While as Rush, Jill coordinated and oversaw many different areas student as commencement, orientation, housing and career services. Jill graduated with a Bachelor in Business Administration from Grand Valley State University and a Master of Science from Western Illinois University.  She resides in the suburbs of Chicago, IL with her husband and daughter.


As part of this transition, the board and the Kellen team will be evaluating PPA’s offerings. We will deliver the services that matter to you most as members.


We are looking forward to the 36th Perennial Plant Symposium to be held July 30-August 3, 2018 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The local site committee has been working for the past year putting together exceptional gardens to tour, retail and wholesale operations to visit, and speakers to inspire and teach us.


Your support is what will help us be successful and move the PPA into the future. I am confident that the new management team will help us to accomplish the many goals set by the board of trustees during the upcoming years.


Janet Draper, PPA President

Smithsonian Institution

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