Inside PPAI: PPAI Welcomes Dawn Olds, CAS; Kevin Walsh And Vera Muzzillo As New 2020 Board Directors


In October, PPAI announced three new additions to the Association’s board: Dawn Olds, CAS, senior vice president of operations at distributor HALO Branded Solutions; Kevin Walsh, president at supplier Showdown Displays; and Vera Muzzillo, CEO of distributor group Proforma. Olds and Walsh were approved by the Association membership in the 2019 board election and will serve four-year terms, and Muzzillo was appointed to a two-year at-large director position on the PPAI board. All three new directors will begin their terms immediately following The PPAI Expo 2020 in January.

With three new faces joining the board next month, PPB reached out to them to learn more about their backgrounds and goals for their terms on the board.

 

PPB  Why do you want to serve on the PPAI Board?

Dawn Olds  I have been a PPAI volunteer for several years, and I appreciate what the Association does to protect and serve the industry. Volunteering at the board level is an exciting way to support the Association, and I appreciated the opportunity to do so.

PPB  What unique strengths and experiences do you bring to the PPAI board?

Olds  During my 31 years at HALO, I’ve had the opportunity to play a wide variety of roles. I started my career in accounting, moving to a software development manager in IT after I served on a committee formed to build a new ERP system. Being well-versed in both accounting and IT was very helpful for me in the more general operational role I have now, in which I work with highly entrepreneurial sales partners who share similar views of the industry as PPAI’s small to medium distributor members. I believe my experience in accounting and IT, in addition to the close collaboration I have had with suppliers and industry salespeople, bring a unique set of strengths and experiences to the PPAI board.

PPB  What would you like to accomplish during your board term?

Olds   Free health care for all! (Just kidding!) I have no formal platform or plan in mind for my term. Being part of a board is a team effort, so I’d like to be able to look back when my term is over and say that my contributions helped move the team forward in a positive way.

PPB  Are there any industry challenges or issues that you’d like to see renewed focus on?

Olds   As recent industry news has shown, it is critical that we join together as an Association to keep the message about the power and importance of promotional products front of mind with both legislators and consumers. Product safety is equally as critical, since a major public failure in this regard would make my first point on this question a lot harder.

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PPB   Why do you want to serve on the PPAI Board?

Kevin Walsh   The opportunity to give back to an industry that I’ve received so much from is my primary thought. I’ve been fortunate enough to have experienced this industry from so many different perspectives and in the process to have met, know and learned from so many remarkable industry people. Those experiences, interactions, relationships—those people have helped me to become who I am today. I can only hope that through my participation in the board that someday, far in the future, I will have had an equally positively influence on current members, who will be our future leaders.

PPB   What unique strengths and experiences do you bring to the PPAI board?

Walsh   I’d like to believe that I bring many skills but most important to this role, I believe, is vision. I’ve demonstrated throughout my career an innate skill of seeing opportunity where others have not. Equally important, my “practical strategist” approach allows for ideas to gain traction where they originate, developing and evolving directionally, rather than pursuing concepts of perfection too unwieldy or expensive to take flight. Finally, I understand the importance of relationships, both within an organization and across an industry. Throughout my tenure that skill has brokered preferred partnerships with 39 of the top 40 distributors and all nine of the industry’s buying groups. I feel strongly that those networks and associated relationships will be beneficial in this role on the PPAI board.

PPB   What would you like to accomplish during your board term?

Walsh   In my opinion, the PPAI Board has the honor and responsibility to act on behalf of the members of the Association, period. This requires a delicate balance of No.1, respecting the industry’s storied past and those members that have contributed to its success; No. 2, stewarding the industry’s present while deftly negotiating the multiple views and opinions of today’s members, and No. 3, charting the industry’s future based upon objective data, market forces and member feedback.

PPB   Are there any industry challenges or issues that you’d like to see renewed focus on?

Walsh   It’s my opinion that the acceleration of technology is the greatest challenge facing the promotional industry. Business forces both outside and adjacent to the promotional marketplace have developed and deployed efficient service and delivery technologies. This enables those entities to provide marketing products and services more efficiently and more cost-effectively than the traditional promotional model. As an Association and an industry, how we respond to this development will positively or negatively impact our members.

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PPB   Why do you want to serve on the PPAI Board?

Vera Muzzillo   Serving on the PPAI board provides me with the opportunity to serve the promotional products industry, and I am very passionate about the industry and all that it offers. Our industry is a perfect blend of entrepreneurism, creativity and fun; and PPAI has a demonstrated track record of leadership, advocacy and education. I am honored to be a part of such a successful trade association.

PPB   What unique strengths and experiences do you bring to the PPAI board?

Muzzillo   My background in business consulting, banking and business ownership dovetails well with the mission of PPAI, and I am looking forward to very productive collaboration with the other board members and the leaders at PPAI.

PPB   What would you like to accomplish during your board term?

Muzzillo   I hope that our board will continue to raise the professional level of the industry through further analytics, education and training. It is my belief that the industry will remain in a state of transition through increased acquisitions, consolidations and mergers; and it is critical that our industry members feel empowered and supported during this challenging time.

PPB   Are there any industry challenges or issues that you’d like to see renewed focus on?

Muzzillo   Compliance, product safety and sustainability should have a renewed focus as I believe that more and more buyers will demand that these issues are addressed and taken seriously.

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James Khattack is news editor of PPB.

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