Voting is under way for the PPAI Board of Directors Class of 2022, and will run through September 29. PPB Newslink is taking a closer look at each of the four candidates, and today spotlights Lori Kates, president of Mason, Ohio-based supplier IMAGEN Brands, parent company of Crown Products and Vitronic. 

Kates has worked in the promotional products industry for more than 21 years, and has served on the PPAI Professional Development Committee, PPAI Compensation Committee and the Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) Board of Trustees. She has devoted her time to participating in professional development events including the North American Leadership Conference, Women’s Leadership Conference, the PromoKitchen Mentor Program and the ASI Power Summit. She is a 2013 recipient of the ASI Supplier Woman of Distinction honor and has been recognized by the ASI Power 50 program four years in a row. 

Prior to joining IMAGEN, Kates worked with Crystal Tissue Company, a manufacturer and importer of specialty paper and gift bags serving North American retailers. She holds a degree in accounting from Ohio Northern University. 

Outside the industry, Kates participates in the Female Integrators Mastermind program, which helps women integrators of entrepreneurial operating systems share ideas and contribute to one another’s professional growth. She is also a volunteer with Matthew 25: Ministries. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, biking and watching baseball. 

Asked how PPAI can best use its limited resources to fulfill the Association’s mission of protecting and growing the industry while simultaneously ensuring the success of a diverse and sometimes disparate constituency, Kates says, “PPAI should continue to focus resources to foster education within and beyond the industry. These efforts will ensure a strong future by continuing to advocate for the industry, share research and technology trends/tools, educate the buyer community on the power of promotional products and the importance of product safety, and promote efforts to attract the next generation of talent.  

“While we are a diverse group, we have a common need for a strong, healthy industry. If we keep our minds open, discuss the difficult issues and truly listen to each other, we can achieve what could never be done by any single member. The smartest person in the room, is the room.” 

The annual PPAI board election gives members an opportunity to select leaders who can transform the Association. This year's Board of Directors election will be conducted online and by paper ballot. Paper ballots have been mailed to all voters. To learn more about the election, who can vote and how to vote, and the distributor and supplier candidates, visit PPAI's website. The results of the election will be published in early October.