These Rising Stars Ensure A Bright Future

Tina Featured PerspectivesIt’s no secret that I’m a magazine junkie. It’s always been one of my favorite media. One magazine I read is O, a women’s lifestyle magazine published by Oprah Winfrey. In every issue, she closes with a column titled “What I Know For Sure.”

Years ago, in an interview, the late Gene Siskel asked her, “What do you know for sure?” She got flustered and couldn’t answer—so she’s never stopped asking herself that question.

With so many transformational changes taking place in almost every facet of our world today, and so much uncertainty, answering this question helps keep me grounded—reminding me of the truths I can count on.

One thing I know for sure is that the future of the promotional products industry is in very good hands. This month, we introduce you to the PPB 2016 Rising Stars (see page 24), a dozen up-and-coming young leaders who are working hard and making great things happen in their companies and, subsequently, across our industry. Last month I had the privilege of introducing 10 of these very impressive young pros at a presentation in their honor during the opening dinner at PPAI’s North American Leadership Conference in San Francisco. As each one came to the stage to be recognized, I thought about the many others who had come before them.

Every year since 2010 we’ve devoted a cover story to these watchable young leaders—and in that time we’ve spotlighted 73 individuals from companies across the industry. I’ve continued to follow their progress as they’ve been promoted, moved to more responsibility at another company, started their own companies or volunteered to serve in key leadership positions with PPAI and their regional associations.

Brittany David, CAS, is an example. Always an overachiever, she was named a PPB Rising Star in 2014. Last year she was tapped to run for the PPAI Board of Directors and was elected for a four-year term. In January she begins her role as the board’s vice chair, financial services. Kim Newell is another who was honored as a PPB Rising Star in 2010 and is currently serving on the PPAI board as a member of the class of 2017. She was also appointed to serve a year as board rep on the Promotional Products Education Foundation board. Her long-time leadership as president of supplier World Wide Lines, Inc. also brought the company more opportunities for expansion when it was acquired by supplier Gold Bond, Inc. two years ago.

Former Rising Star Marc Held has been making strong career progress since he was named to our list in 2012. Since then he’s served on the PPAI Professional Development Committee, been a PPAI board candidate and was key in the transition when his then-employer Bodek and Rhodes was acquired by supplier alphabroder this past December. Just a few weeks ago he made news again when he stepped up to a new role as vice president at Hit Promotional Products.

Distributor Emoff is lucky to have two former Rising Stars on its roster—Jill Albers and Anita Emoff—named to our list in 2015 and 2010, respectively. Jill continues to drive powerful numbers in company sales while Anita ran for the PPAI board in 2014 and has taken on more responsibility for the company’s thriving Boost Technologies division. It has been named twice to the list of top 50 fastest-growing companies by the Women President’s Organization, and, in 2014, Anita was named to the Dayton Business Journal’s BizWomen’s Power 50 List.

Former Rising Star Jessica Hutwelker, MAS, who made our list last year, is another who has taken on more responsibility and significantly expanded her involvement in the industry. She has served on the PPAI Distributors Committee, Government Relations Advisory Council, NALC Work Group for two years and has presented a number of sessions at the PPAI Women’s Leadership Conference in recent years. And, after working in the industry as a distributor for a number of years, she moved to the supplier side to up her professional growth exponentially.

I could go on about this self-motivated and powerful group of young individuals because they continue to impress me with their vigorous dedication to their own growth and commitment to making the industry better tomorrow than it is today. The future of our industry is indeed in good hands. This is what I know for sure.