APA's Maddux Raps With By Nicolas Gonzales, FPC
UK Payroll Magazine
Recently, Dan Maddux, Executive Director of the American Payroll Association, sat down with London's Purely Global magazine to provide a glimpse into the driving force behind payroll's most recognized trade association. He discussed his background, APA's modest beginning, and the secret behind the success of the Annual Congress franchise.
As modestly as APA began, so too did Maddux. His early aspirations as an actor led him to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City at the age of 19. It was during his senior year there that he began an internship with the budding APA. The position called for a charismatic individual who could help drum up sales and membership on the phone.
"I became the first person that everyone spoke to," Maddux told Purely Global's Dawn Gay. "I was 20 years old when I started and by 21, I had coordinated our first convention. After four years, I became creative director as many of the ideas stemmed from me."
Maddux hasn't looked back since. But rather than abandon his initial passion for theater, he found a way to integrate it into a corporate model to create an organization that was truly unique.
"I had a creative approach. Since I originally pursued technical theater, my strongest skill set was art and design, which was handy for our overall branding, marketing pieces, and direct mail," Maddux explained.
That creative approach also helped launch the industry's most successful, flamboyant payroll seminar, Annual Congress. Each uniquely memorable, the yearly event combines top-notch education and networking with a fun theme and unforgettable party in order to drive home payroll's latest regulations and legislation in a dynamic way.
"It was the close of the general session before the evening party," Maddux stated, reflecting on last year's Congress when he transformed Madonna's "I'm a Sinner" into a Bollywood-style payroll number. "I wanted to build momentum and reach a crescendo, and for people to reach that critical point where they play on an equal level and create a bond and unity."
But Maddux and APA haven't always been on the upswing. He told of a near-fatal brain tumor he had removed 20 years ago and how he turned that time in his life into a learning experience.
"For a small window of time, I had disabilities and I got to experience how 'not nice' society can be," he stated.
Similarly, APA suffered from a damaging economic crisis almost six years ago. Thanks to Maddux's leadership and a team of stalwart leaders, APA was able to see the global financial crisis through to a growing environment.
Today, APA consists of more than 21,000 members with new professionals joining every month and the Annual Congress remains the largest payroll event and expo in the world.