A Small But Mighty Force
Teresa Moisant, MAS, is a connector. Whether she’s out selling for her family-owned distributorship, Moisant Promotional Products, sitting on the boards of various industry and community organizations, speaking to college students about the promotional products industry or attending a college basketball game with her grandsons, she’s always ready to help others find solutions to their needs, and she connects the dots to make that happen for them. In fact, Moisant says it’s her life’s mission to connect “the people that have with the people that don’t have,” and she often ends up in the right places, at the right times, to do just that.
This month, PPAI recognizes Moisant’s many years of inspired leadership and altruism with its highest honor: induction into the PPAI 2021 Hall of Fame.
When Moisant is involved, things just seem to click into place for those in need. For example, one time Moisant was working with an organization that serves the elderly, and they expressed a specific need for commercial hair-washing sinks to accommodate clients. Coincidentally, just a few days later, Moisant visited with the owner of a local hair salon in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where her business is located, who was about to discard the exact sinks needed during a renovation. Bingo! Then there was the time, says Christy Zelley, executive director of Leadership Oklahoma City—a nonprofit that Moisant has been involved with for years—and one of Moisant’s nominators, that she stepped in to help a young professional who needed fencing for a school, but was having trouble securing the funds. “The next week, Teresa was visiting a customer and saw some used fencing being thrown out,” says Zelley. “She talked to the customer and before Teresa left, she had that company moving and installing the fence at the school completely for free. That’s what Teresa’s connections are all about!”
“I’m very involved in the community,” says Moisant. “Fortunately, I have a very good memory and when I meet somebody, I will ask them, ‘What keeps you busy?’ That tells me that they can talk about something they like and they enjoy. When I’m out with my nonprofits, they will have a need and I, fortunately, have this wealth of knowledge in my head where I can figure out who can help.”
Above left photo: Teresa Moisant, MAS, (center) owner of Moisant Promotional Products, is joined in the business by her daughters, Christi Moisant (left) and Shelly Rainwater. Above right photo: Teresa and late husband Bill Moisant opened their distributorship in 1990 and built it entirely on word-of-mouth advertising.
Moisant’s knack for connecting to people and helping people connect to each other, coupled with her high-energy spirit—she is also a former high school cheerleader—is something that fuels her passion for the promotional products industry, and has led to a 30-plus-year career. Moisant and her late husband Bill Moisant opened their distributorship in 1990 and built it entirely on word-of-mouth advertising, she says, growing it to a $2.5 million business with 10 employees and thousands of clients. Now run by their daughters, Christi Moisant and Shelly Rainwater, she continues to sell for the business, and is always armed with a promotional product—usually a branded pen—in hand. “As long as I’m able to move around, I’m going to hand out promotional products,” she says. “If you meet me, you’re going to receive a promotional product, so you’re going to remember my name. There’s nothing I love more than sitting down with ‘Mr. Big,’ here in the big city, and he’ll look at me after a little while and say, ‘Do we do business with you?’ and I say, ‘No, but you should.’”
Moisant’s involvement in the community spans several organizations and industry associations. She has supported PPAI in many capacities, which includes serving on the Promotional Products Education Foundation Board from 2004-2007 and on the PPAI Women’s Leadership Conference Committee from 2004-2010, where she helped to develop the event, in addition to serving on various councils and taskforces. In 2016, Moisant was named a PPB Best Boss and is the recipient of the 2016 PPAI Distinguished Service Award and the 2017 PPAI Woman of Achievement Award. She’s also served in various capacities for Promotional Products Association Southwest, including as a board member and board secretary, and has been a mentor to many in the industry. During industry trade shows, Moisant says she’s known to many as “Mom.”
Moisant has also served as a PPAI ambassador since the mid ’90s, speaking to college students, chambers of commerce and other groups, including the University of Oklahoma, Price Business College, Oklahoma Baptist University and South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, on the ins and outs and importance of promotional products. A lifelong learner, speaking to students is something Moisant is particularly passionate about. “They remember my name became I give them a promotional product,” she says.
“People like Teresa drive this industry forward, not just through the force of their will, though that is mighty, but through looking around and pulling up the people around them,” says Kate Plummer, vice president of supplier Clearmount Plastics in Scarborough, Ontario, and another of Moisant’s nominators. “There is much to be said about the power of quiet leadership. While no one would ever use the word ‘quiet’ to describe Teresa, it’s fitting. Her form of leadership is to encourage, inspire, to push and nudge. You’re always going to get her take on situations but with it comes messages of support and care in the form of calls, emails, texts and more. When you’re trying something new, Teresa will make sure to reach out and give you the boost that you weren’t sure you needed.”
Teresa is constantly investing in others. “She has a way of teaching values and delivering life lessons that make people sit up and listen,” says Maribeth Sandford, CAS, CEO of Union, Illinois-based supplier BAG MAKERS, Inc., and another nominator. “The example she sets makes for a better world. It is this purpose that guides her everyday life. Consistency is Teresa’s middle name. That consistency is exceeded only by her compassion for others and her commitment to help them realize their goals.”
Outside of the industry, Moisant has served in various capacities for Leadership Oklahoma City from 2007 to the present, including on its board of directors and as its vice president, positions she’s held since 2018 and 2019, respectively. Moisant also serves on the Oklahoma Children’s Hospital Advisory Board and the Mount St. Mary Catholic High School Board of Trustees, positions she’s held since 2017 and 2016, respectively. She's served on the Oklahoma City Public School Foundation Board from 2012-2014, where she helped to establish a “Teacher’s Warehouse” and solicited donations for teacher materials from large and small businesses, and individuals. She also served on the Board of Regents for Oklahoma City Community College from 2009-2016, and was its chairman in 2015. In 2009, Moisant was recognized by the Oklahoma City Journal Record as its Woman of the Year, and was also named to its list of Fifty Women Making a Difference in the State of Oklahoma in 2009, 2010 and 2016. In this same year, she was named The Successful Woman of the Year by the Oklahoma Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“Teresa’s spirit of philanthropy and community service is unmatched,” says nominator Sherri C. Lennarson, MAS, who is retired from distributor Bankers Advertising Company in Iowa City, Iowa, and is a past PPAI Board Chair. “She goes about giving back in countless ‘silent’ ways. Teresa wrote the book on paying it forward.”
“Teresa lives her life as an example to all of us,” says nominator Paul Lage, MAS, president of IMAGEN Brands in Mason, Ohio, and a past PPAI Board Chair. “Her passion to mentor women in our industry is as heartwarming as it is impactful. Personally, I think she has mentored just as many men. Teresa is one of those ’givers’ in our world and we have all benefited from that.”
Moisant brings her passion to every project she engages in. In her free time she’s an avid gardener, and is known in her neighborhood as “the lady with all the flowers.” As meticulous in her garden as she is in business, she says, “I keep notes for each season and what I’m going to change for the next season.” She’s also a self-proclaimed sports fanatic, and her favorite team is University of Oklahoma football (Oklahoma Sooners). “I am passionate, passionate about it!” she says. “On a Friday night, you’re going to find me at a football or a basketball game, and Saturdays I’ll be at the University of Oklahoma.”
Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.