The Last Word: The Empowering and Inspiring APPO

The Last Word: The Empowering and Inspiring APPO


It almost takes my breath away: 5,728 photos and 696 videos saved on my phone. Some of them have been uploaded to the cloud, but I can’t be sure. So I don’t delete, just in case . . .  Am I really that busy?

Do I really not have the time to download these memories? Or worse, delete the photo I took of a pair of shoes I liked to get my friend’s opinion? Never mind the screenshot of that conversation I just had to share with my sisters.

Add those images to the 8,327 combined images on my laptop and hard drive. And don’t forget about the countless photos on Instagram and Facebook that I’ve uploaded or have been tagged in. Or the ones in the Snapfish and Shutterfly accounts I’ve created under more than one e-mail address. That’s quite a collection of memories. Some to be purged, others to be cherished.

Oh, what about all those prints I made before we were able to see our photos instantly? Some even made their way into albums, but mostly they’re in shoeboxes or drawers with no date or description attached. Then there are photos at our parents’ house; a time capsule of the most awkward years filed along with photos of grandparents, people we’ve never met and even mom’s high school graduation.

Or wait, is that just me?

Am I the only mom who loses sleep because only my firstborn was documented since practically conception, and mostly organized into photo books and scrapbooks? And the children that followed have a heaping pile of printed photos (well some are printed) or photos stored on USB drives for that rainy day when I’ll miraculously have the time to go through them all and put them into organized albums for each amazing year of these children’s lives.

I’m not the only one. I’m not sure of most things, but I am sure of this. There can be no way that every mom or dad can cook, clean, work, do homework, carpool, visit doctors, shop, run a household, serve on PTA committees, engage their children and spouse, do laundry—the endless mounds of clothes, sheets and towels that never seem to subside—while also finding the time to download, rename, backup, print and create everlasting photo books.

Well there is a solution to this madness I thought I couldn’t escape. We hire landscapers, housekeepers, bring in meals and babysitters. Why not hire someone to organize and preserve our life’s most precious moments to pass on to future generations?

Yes, you can hire a professional who will organize your life’s valuable memories. A photo organizer who has been trained, educated and given every resource available to make the process dependable and seamless.


I was given the opportunity to attend the Association of Personal Photo Organizers’ (APPO) conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. The five days of intensive training, brand building and networking events were attended by nearly 300 photo organizers, industry professionals and sponsors from all over the country. The conference featured products, tips, tools and every aspect of building a business from conception to execution.

I have had the privilege of working alongside Cathi Nelson, the CEO/founder of APPO. She also serves as a board member of the Imaging Alliance, a trade organization where photo manufacturers and specialty dealers serve to engage and enrich the imaging industry.  appo-member-logoI have heard Cathi talk proudly and passionately about APPO and its entrepreneur members. However, it was not until I witnessed for myself this magnificent group that I truly understood the mission behind these photo organizers.

Just as we all need to make a living to provide for ourselves and families, these fascinating professionals embraced a career. But it is not just any career; it is one that assists in preserving life’s most important moments for future generations to relive.

After the course of the week’s keynotes, presentations, breakouts and roundtable discussions, attendees confidently departed feeling educated and liberated, allowing them the ability to grow both personally and professionally.

I have attended many professional trade shows and conferences throughout my career. I can confidently say this was the most endearing, empowering experience I have had in quite some time.

Cathi Nelson and Lisa Kurtz, COO of APPO, are a dream team for the books. Their passion has driven this nearly 10-year-old association to where it is today. I have no doubt that its success will continue and photo organizers across the country will find a home within this welcoming and inspiring group.

About the Author
Michelle Tramantano

Michelle Tramantano is the program director for the Imaging Alliance, the consortium of leading imaging companies charged with defining the future of visual communication. Her leadership has driven the association’s commitment to philanthropy. The association hosts programs that use the power and creativity of images to shine the light on those who give back. She resides on Long Island with her husband and children.