April 2022
A Message From Our PPAMidwest President......

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success."
– Henry Ford

Since our last newsletter, we had the opportunity to come together at our Spring Product Premieres in both St. Louis & Kansas City. The energy of being in the same rooms with our supplier, distributor & service provider members was palpable!

From packed trade show tables, to conversations about upcoming projects & new products, to hugs, high fives and handshakes … it was a great couple of days! Whether you joined us at the Museum at Prairiefire or at Orlando’s, we are grateful for all who attended & exhibited!

Congrats to our raffle winners Janie Gaunce with Grapevine Designs and Jill Droege with Jillian’s of Ideas. Not only do you get to enjoy the exciting raffle items from our generous donors at Ariel Premium Supply … you can enjoy them even more knowing that the money raised helps support the PPAMidwest Education Scholarship!

April showers bring May flowers

What are you doing nowt o make sure your business and your professional connections flourish in the future? Make sure you are taking advantage of all that PPAMidwest has to
offer … education, networking, events, scholarships, discounts and more! Save the date for our upcoming golf tournament & more!

Please let me know how I may be of help to you. If I don’t know the answer, I can surely connect you with someone who does. What would you like to see from PPAMidwest this year? Please feel free to reach out to me directly at mandi@brandenergymarketing.com


Mandi Rudd
2022 PPAMidwest President
April 12, 2022 Tuesday Learning Lab:
"Introduction to the Soapbox Platform" 

Over the past two years, virtually every aspect of life and business has been affected by the changes brought on by the pandemic. The promotional products industry has felt those changes in several ways including events being canceled, sales forces being trimmed, and more and more people working remotely. Since launching in January of 2021, the Soapbox has hosted over 5,800 one-on-one virtual meetings between distributors and suppliers. The platform offers a convenient and free communication solution for distributors looking to keep up with what's new in the industry while expanding their industry network and growing their bottom line. For suppliers, the Soapbox represents an affordable option to meet with distributors and have deeper-dive conversations without the hassle and expense of travel.

Learning Lab attendees will learn:
  • Learn why industry changes led to the development of the Soapbox
  • Learn exactly how the format is structured for this new promo industry communication platform
  • Discover if the platform is a good fit for each attendee

April 27, 2022 Wild Wednesday Webinar: "Hiring, Retaining & Motivating To Staff" 

ASI Editor-In-Chief C.J. Mittica and Sara Lavenduski, Executive Editor of Digital Content, will share highlights from the 2022 Counselor Best Places to Work package, featuring tips for hiring and retaining top employees in a tight job market while creating a winning corporate culture at your workplace. 
Learning Outcomes:
  • Redefining a great place to work in 2022
  • Top tips from winning companies
  • Creating a company culture in the age of remote, hybrid and in-person work models

Get Your Teams Together Because Registration Opens Next Week!!
PPAMidwest News
Vantage Apparel Sponsors Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweeps; Company Becomes State Sponsor for New Jersey Based Non-Profit

Avenel, NJ Vantage Apparel is sponsoring the Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweeps for 2022. The company has been a site sponsor for the bi-annual event since its first involvement in 2019 and will now become a state sponsor as of this year.
The next sweep will take place Saturday April 9th, 2022, at more than 60 locations along the New Jersey coastline. Vantage employees, along with their friends and family members, will be volunteering at one of the Monmouth County locations to remove trash and debris. 
Along with volunteering, Vantage also annually donates a portion of sales from its Earthwise Collection to Clean Ocean Action. This is done through their partnership with 1% for the Planet, a global movement inspiring businesses and individuals to support environmental solutions through annual memberships and everyday actions. Vantage chose Clean Ocean Action as their 1% partner for their dedication to change, as well as their locality which allows employees to regularly volunteer with them. 
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion
and Belonging

At last year’s Midwest Leadership Conference, an important discussion on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging as a strategic business issue was held. This is an important topic that our industry must be aware of and work toward to create opportunities for growth.
This session was hosted by Maureen Dwyer and featured Michelle Source Robinson, the President and CEO of the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Corporation, Julie Kwan, the HR Talent Development Consultant for Hilltop Holdings, and Johanna Gottlieb, the VP of Sales for Axis Promotions.
If you missed this session and would like to hear more, the recording has been provided for our members to watch and may be accessed by clicking here

Glenwood, MN American Solutions for Business and BrandCo have acquired Innovative Promotions under new contract. The owners of Innovative Promotions and BrandoCo owner Brandon Kennedy met by way of a vendor introduction.
Kennedy, as well as the ASB team, is most looking forward to assisting previous IP owners, Mary & Al, into a smooth transition after retirement. In addition to the acquisition, Lee Ann Satt, Kathy Dunn and Natalia Alvarez will also be joining BrandCo and Kennedy’s team.
“I always ask vendors who visit us and make presentations if they know of any unhappy sales reps or distributors looking to get out of the business,” explained Kennedy. “They were looking to retire, and I provided a solution for their sales reps to stay on board and for us and ASB to help support their sales and growth into the future. Lee Ann, Kathy & Natalia come with great experience, amazing client relationships and I feel that they are going to be a fantastic addition with our current team.”
“Brandon and the whole team at BrandCo have been an incredible asset to American,” expressed Founder & CEO of American, Larry Zavadil. “Now that Innovative Promotions is joining our family, we couldn't be more excited to have them on board as well.”
Looking for Talent?
Looking for a new position?

PPAMidwest Members may submit job openings or job search listings to be posted on the PPAMidwest website and the PPAMidwest monthly newsletter. Please send your listing information to: admin@ppam.org.
The listing should include your company name, the position title and include important information such as: Compensation, Location, Company background, Essential Duties and Responsibilities, Requirements, Who to contact and any other pertinent information
Want to earn points and join in on the fun?
Simply complete the easy request form to have your points credited
for the activities you participate in. For live events and activities, your attendance will automatically be recorded and points assigned, provided you are an active member of PPAMidwest. For recorded webinars, referrals and completion of PPAI Certifications or renewals, simply complete the easy request form to have your points credited.
It is that simple! (click on above image for more information).
Industry News
2022 PPAI Pyramid Awards
PPB Newslink
Captivating Campaigns:
20 Best-In-Class Promotions
These PPAI Pyramid Award-winning marketing campaigns showcase the resourcefulness and bold ingenuity of talented marketers who knew they had to find ways to persevere through the staggering limitations.
With in-person meetings and trade shows at a standstill during these awards’ window—April 1, 2020 to April 1, 2021—they turned up their creativity to roll out new products, launch new initiatives, grow sales, bring people together, provide inspiration and even punch the daylights out of one of the most challenging eras in industry history.
For more than 60 years, the PPAI Pyramid Award, sponsored by Pacesetter Awards Co., has been the industry’s most coveted company recognition. Read on to see the promotions conducted during the contest period that won gold and silver in marketing in five categories: branding, cause advocacy marketing, digital self-promotion, self-promotions and supplier sales support materials.  
How to get the most out of remote work
Stiven Cartagena  Entrepreneur Contributor Geektime in Spanish

Without proper planning, you will not be able to take full advantage of remote work. Here we tell you how to be more efficient when working from home.

Being able to work from home has many advantages, but there are also big challenges to staying productive. The key to being able to take advantage of remote work is to come up with a clear plan to overcome challenging situations such as distraction, procrastination, and lack of productivity.
How to be more effective taking advantage of remote work
Millions of people worked remotely before the pandemic caused by covid-19. However, as soon as the spike in cases and the spread of the pandemic began, tens of millions of people began to move their work home. And even now, after many countries managed to contain the spread of the virus, remote work is still considered normal.
Nowadays, it is quite likely that you will be asked to work remotely at some point in your work activity. The big question is: how do you handle it? Read More
Ukraine Relief Efforts
PPB Newslink
Promotional Products Companies Supporting Those Affected In Ukraine
Even in difficult times such as these, the work must go on. But rather than conducting “business as usual,” many companies in the promotional products industry have quickly moved to aid humanitarian efforts and soften the toll associated with the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Whether due to personal connections within the company, business generated from implications of the conflict, or simply stepping up to do the right thing, suppliers and distributors alike are donating to people affected by the Russian invasion.