In A League Of Her Own

You could say that coaching people was in the cards for Teresa Moisant, MAS, owner and president of Oklahoma City-based distributor Moisant Promotional Products. Surrounded by four brothers while she was growing up, she quickly developed a love for sports.

“Sports has always been my passion,” Moisant says. “The sport I relate to most is football. My approach to building relationships is much like a football coach. A head coach has to be able to take responsibility, and that’s something I do.” Taking responsibility comes naturally to Moisant, who wears many hats: business owner, mother, grandmother, volunteer, mentor, friend and community activist, to name a few.

Entry Into The Industry
During the 1970s and 1980s, Moisant worked a series of corporate jobs, listening and learning keenly in each role. “I was a genuine workaholic,” she remembers. “My husband kept telling me, ‘If you are going to continue to work like that, you need to work for yourself.’”

It was a light bulb moment for Moisant, who realized what she wanted was to own her own business and be her own boss. “We began looking at other industries,” she recalls. “At the time, I knew three ladies who were in the promotional products business. I thought if they could earn their living selling promotional products, I could too.”

In 1990, Moisant and her late husband, Bill, founded Moisant Promotional Products and built the business from the ground up. “Bill had the background in operations and systems, and I had the sales skills and creativity,” she says. “It just worked.”

But the Moisants’ success was not easily won. “Surviving as a new business took every ounce of my time and energy,” she says. “I kept my corporate job for a year and a half as I started this company. I was out calling on accounts, so I began telling those people what I was doing.”

As it turns out, Moisant’s highly creative mind and sparkling personality were a perfect fit for the promotional products industry. “I was bored when I was in the corporate world,” she admits. “But I’ve never gotten bored in the promotional products industry. The reason I’ve stayed in this industry all these years is I’ve never gotten bored.”

Today, Moisant Promotional Products has attracted a diverse client base, including clients in industries such as oil and gas, medical, banking and credit unions, education and a number of different mid-sized business clients.

Mentoring Maven
Having spent more than 30 years mentoring people in the promotional products industry, Moisant is known as a strong proponent of building relationships. Happily, what goes around, comes around: Her enthusiasm for coaching others has come back to her business tenfold.

“Relationships that I developed 30 years ago are still rewarding me today,” she says. “I have always had a knack for getting to know people and evaluating how I could assist them. Long-lasting relationship are all about caring and trust. It is beautiful today to see how these investments have paid off.”

In June at the PPAI Women’s Leadership Conference, Moisant received the 2017 PPAI Woman of Achievement award, which recognizes an individual who has led the way in the advancement of women in the industry, exhibited outstanding leadership and made significant contributions to the industry and her community.

She believes it’s important to mentor other women in the industry because she was mentored when she was just starting out. “Early in my career, I had the privilege of being mentored by great executives who opened many doors for me,” she says. “I decided the only way to pay them back was to do the same for others.”

Moisant has helped countless women in the industry grow both personally and professionally by fostering a culture of inclusion and professional development. Take it from one of her female mentees, Nancy Jolly, vice president of sales for Lawrenceville, Georgia-based distributor In Stepp Marketing. “Teresa gets her greatest joy when those around her excel toward their goal,” Jolly says. “She stands beside you as you grow into who you want to be—encouraging and nudging you along the way. Teresa is my mentor. She is your mentor.”

But it’s not only women with whom Moisant builds relationships. She is an equal opportunity coach, as her one of her male mentees attests. “I’ve been blessed to have many amazing mentors along the way in my career, but few have touched me as personally from the very beginning as Teresa Moisant has,” says Brian Porter, vice president of sales and marketing for Pittsburgh-based supplier Pro Towels. “She transcends our world of branded products. And she will forever leave her brand on so many along the way.”

Sherri Lennarson, MAS, who retired from distributor Bankers Advertising Company several years ago and is a former recipient of the award, says Moisant has mentored hundreds of men and women in the promotional products industry. “I know of no other individual who shares so freely her secrets of success,” Lennarson adds.

Talking ‘Teresa-isms’
In the industry, Moisant has spent a lot of time educating and sharing her experiences, or “Teresa-isms” as she calls them. For instance, when facing an irritating situation or person, the Teresa-ism or saying she uses is, “If I had more time, I’d let that bother me.”

“Another one of my Teresa-isms is, ‘I’ll delegate that to the karma gods,’” Moisant says. “If someone is a jerk to me, they’re probably going to be a jerk to somebody else. I’ll let that person handle the jerk, so I don’t waste my time. The karma gods will take care of that one.” Another Teresa-ism Moisant has taught classes on is the concept of “managing your monkeys.”

“This is a situation where we get dragged down because somebody will come to us for help and we say, ‘Let me handle it,’” she says. “When somebody asks you for help and you say yes, that’s you taking on their monkey. Now you’ve got to feed and take care of their monkey.”

In other words, don’t assume the role of savior to your own detriment. Also, don’t over-commit if you can’t give it your all. “If you can’t give one hundred percent, maybe you’re taking on too much,” she says. “If you’re going to do something, give it a hundred percent.”

The guiding principle that Moisant lives by and embodies is integrity. “I believe you should do the right thing,” she says. “You know what the right thing is. Just do it. You will save so much time if you just do the right thing.” Lennarson bears witness to Moisant’s words: “Teresa gives back because it is the right thing to do and the way she is wired.”

Industry And Community Volunteer
Moisant has a distinguished history in the promotional products industry as an active volunteer and industry advocate. On the national level, she has served on the board of directors for the Promotional Products Education Foundation as well as on several PPAI committees and task forces, including the Women’s Leadership committee.

On the regional level, Moisant has served as a board member for the Promotional Products Association Southwest. She has even volunteered in roles that are somewhere between national and regional since she was a Regional Association Council representative.

Readers may be wondering how she finds the time for all this volunteering. “Once the business got over the early challenges, I started scheduling my time to include volunteering opportunities,” she says. “I schedule time for volunteering opportunities on my calendar, just like I do for my customer appointments.”

But there is a practical aspect to volunteering, too. “Many opportunities have come my way as a result of relationships I developed while volunteering,” she says. She is not only a visible persona in her industry, but also in the metro area that supports her business. “Teresa is very active in her community,” Jolly says. “She leaves a positive footprint everywhere she goes.”

As a promoter of positivity, Moisant acts as an ambassador for the promotional products industry in her hometown. “In my local community, I think I have made a very favorable impression as to what the promotional products industry is and how promotional products can impact a company’s marketing goals,” she says. “The people in my community know that promotional products work.”

Indeed, she has been recognized many times in the state of Oklahoma as an entrepreneur who goes the extra mile. “Teresa wholeheartedly gives back to the communities she serves. Her spirit of philanthropy and community involvement is unmatched. She quietly goes about giving in countless ‘silent’ ways,” Lennarson says.

Clearly, Moisant makes a lasting impression on everyone she encounters everywhere she goes. When it comes to coaching and caring for people in her family, community and industry, Moisant is in a league of her own.

Brittany Glenn is a Dallas, Texas-based writer and a former PPB associate editor.


Awards And Accolades
A short list of the honors bestowed on Teresa Moisant, MAS, and her company, Oklahoma City-based distributor Moisant Promotional Products, reads like this:

• 2017 Woman of Achievement Award – Promotional Products Association International (PPAI)
• Distinguished Service Award Winner for 2016 – PPAI
• 2010 Woman of Distinction for the Promotional Products Industry – Advertising Specialty Institute Counselor Awards
• 50 Women Making A Difference, 2009, 2010 -The Journal Record
• Winner of Best of Business 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017 - OKC BIZ magazine
• 50 Fastest Growing Private Companies, 1998, 2002, 2003 – Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce/Metro Journal
• Million Dollar Round
Table, 2002 - Advertising Specialty Institute
• Distributor of the Year, 2000
- Urban League Supplier
• Ambassador of the Year, 1997, 1999 – PPAI
• Outstanding Minority Business and Community Leader, 1994, 1995, 1996 -Southwestern Bell