Event Preview: Global Forum 2019

Dealing with the issues.


Having the time to discuss the burning issues of the day with industry peers in a confidential setting is a vital aspect of present and future business planning. This is exactly what the eighth OPI Global Forum provides.

Held once again at the Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile – this year from 17-19 November – this invitation-only event will tackle the biggest challenges in the business supplies sector today and explore the various dynamics and potential solutions. It also offers a unique occasion for senior executives from the various channels to come together and share strategic business insights.

While the majority of delegates come from all corners of North America, as the ‘global’ name suggests, there is also an international contingent in attendance, providing a truly unique perspective on worldwide business affairs in our industry.

Insider knowledge

Chaired this year by OPI CEO Steve Hilleard, the broad areas of discussion for the 2019 event will revolve around sustainability and the future of the office, both of which encompass a multitude of important subjects that are already affecting the business supplies sector.

With decades of insider knowledge, Hilleard will open proceedings with a brief overview of our sector. He says: “It would be an understatement to say that it’s been a very eventful ten months since we convened for the OPI Global Forum in 2018. This year’s eclectic gathering will certainly have a lot to discuss – all, as ever, obeying strict Chatham House rules.”

Hilleard adds: “No other event brings together such a comprehensive audience of industry leaders and I anticipate a hugely varied and on-point couple of days.”

Topics at the 2019 conference will look at Customer 4.0, for instance: who exactly are the office supplies customers of today? And how are US consumers being impacted by tariffs and trade wars, among many other factors.

The rapidly-changing dynamics of the workplace will be examined through several talks that explore the launch of 5G, the full integration of a sustainability strategy into your business, and successfully bringing the next generation on board – and retaining it.

Away from the larger plenary sessions, a wide variety of small roundtable meetings will offer plenty of time for debating a range of topics in more hands-on detail with peers.

Panel highlights

OPI forums always aim to include some of the big hitters in our industry. This year, there are two major highlights on the agenda. One is the Keynote Panel where ACCO Brands CEO Boris Elisman, S.P. Richards EVP Chad Lee, ISG CEO Mike Maggio, Rogards Office Plus President Tonya Horn, Office Depot SVP Bryan Wight, and Fellowes Brands VP of Sales Beth Wright will discuss the state of the industry, channel disruption, sector consolidation, and the impact of the Staples/Essendant merger on the first conference day. Further inside knowledge of that latter deal will be revealed as Hilleard conducts an interview with Staples Inc CEO Sandy Douglas on stage on day two.

One of the key benefits of attending the OPI Global Forum is the rare opportunity for delegates to engage in high-level networking with peers in an intimate setting. The event is carefully constructed to allow for plenty of time to catch up with friends and colleagues formally as well as over a drink or two.

For more information about the OPI Global Forum, visit opi.net/GF2019. If you would like to attend the event, please contact Chris Exner at chris.exner@opi.net.