The Power Of The Personal Connection
PPAI Hall of Fame inductee Margie Price, MAS, built industry success one interaction at a time.
By Julie Richie
You might think that after receiving virtually every PPAI award, from the 2011 Woman of Achievement Award to the 2012 PPAI Distinguished Service Award to the inaugural H. Ted Olson Humanitarian Award in 2012, Margie Price, MAS, president of St. Louis, Missouri-based distributor Premiums Plus, Inc. (PPAI 107727) might expect to be inducted into the PPAI Hall of Fame. But you’d be wrong.
Price says, “This is the epitome of awards. When I’m long gone, my name is still going to be there, leaving a footprint in PPAI’s history, and our industry’s history for that matter. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I don’t know that I deserve it. When I believe in something and I love something, I participate. I’ve known so many people over the years whom I’ve worked with that I think should be in the Hall of Fame and I wonder why I am there because I think I pale by comparison. I love that I’m going in, but I still don’t quite believe it. It’s all very surreal.”
Shortly after PPAI made its Hall of Fame announcement this past summer, Price received a congratulatory call from her friend and 2009 Hall of Fame inductee Jo-an Lantz, MAS, COO of Geiger. Price asked Lantz when the reality of being inducted into the Hall of Fame sank in, and Lantz told her that it was after the ceremony when she went onstage with former inductees and realized that she was now part of that group. “Maybe then, I’ll get it,” Price says of the upcoming presentation at The PPAI Expo. “But it means so very much to me. Other than my family and my faith, I don’t think anything else can top it.”
Price’s contributions to PPAI and the industry as an active member and devoted volunteer over the past 26 years are legendary. In 2004, she served as chair of the Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) and she was instrumental in the creation of the first Women’s Leadership Conference in 2005, chairing the event in 2008 and 2009 and serving as an advisor in 2010. She worked collaboratively to help develop the Women’s Leadership Conference Grant program that was introduced in 2012.
Price also served on the PPAI Board of Directors twice—once as the Regional Association Council (RAC) delegate from 2001-2003 and again as a director from 2005 to 2009. During her time on the board she chaired many board committees, including the End Buyer Task Force in 2006, the Governance Task Force in 2008 and subcommittees of the Leadership Advisory Committee from 2010 to 2011. She currently serves on the PPAI Government Relations Action Council and is a five-time Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.) attendee.
At the regional level, Price has also volunteered in numerous leadership capacities. She served on the Promotional Products Association of the Midwest (PPAM) board from 1995 to 2004 and served as PPAM president from 1997 to 1998.
Price’s nominator, 1994 Hall of Fame inductee Margaret Custer-Ford, MAS, founder of MARCO Ideas Unlimited (PPAI 106680), says, “Margie is a perfectionist. She does all manner of good and helpful things, never beating her own drum, but just quietly making it happen, and happen it does. Not only has she done many, many things for us as an association, but she seems to have unlimited energy for many charitable causes as well.”
In addition to running her company and volunteering with PPAI, Price is heavily involved in many organizations in her community, including the St. Louis Men’s Group Against Cancer, which she has led as executive director since 1985. Every year she plans its spectacular November auction and dinner fundraiser. The most recent event brought together 550 St. Louis-area business leaders to hear legendary football coach and ESPN analyst Lou Holtz speak, and it raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for St. Louis-area cancer patients and their families.
She’s also passionate about her work with the Center for Head Injury Services, a community-based organization that provides services to victims of head injuries and their families. Her son, Dennis, who suffered a severe head injury as a child, benefits from the center’s services. “He’s an amazing person—the strongest person I know,” says Price.
Her identical twin daughters, Melissa and Teresa, both St. Louis prosecutors, will be at The PPAI Expo to watch as Price is inducted into the Hall of Fame. “They are really, really good at what they do,” Price says proudly.
But to Price, family doesn’t just include her children and her husband, Herschel. It also includes everyone in her company and her friends in the industry. “So many people in our trade association are part of my family. I belong to The Partnering Group and I consider them my family. I have Diva sisters [a group of industry women] and they’re part of my family. That’s what this industry is all about. We meet people who become lifelong friends.”
Price is generous about sharing her friendship and knowledge with newcomers. “I love to see new people at the Expo, sitting in classes. I love to sit at a table and not know anybody there and introduce myself. They say it’s their first year or second year and I ask, ‘Did you volunteer for anything? Have you gotten involved? Are you part of your regional [association]?’”
She has this advice for newcomers on how to be successful in the industry: “Sit up front in general sessions and classes, and never leave an empty seat next to you. Sit next to somebody, introduce yourself and find out what they do. You could be talking to someone who has been in the industry for 40 years, who’s a Hall of Famer and has won every other award, and has so much to share with you in just five or 10 minutes. Spread your wings and meet more people. Don’t stay with your group of friends.”
And, Price says, be sure to volunteer with your regional association and PPAI because it pays off in your career. “Being involved with PPAI has made me better at what I do,” she says.
Julie Richie is associate editor for PPB.