Mary Jo Tomasini, Board Candidate 2013

Mary Jo Tomasini, CAS

CE Competitive Edge LLC (D06)


Stevensville, Michigan

29 years in industry

PPAI Involvement: PPAI Public Relations Committee 2013-2016

Other Industry Activities: Michigan Promotional Products Association (MIPPA); North American Leadership Conference (NALC) 2013; ASI member

Non-Industry Business, Professional and Community Organizations: United Way of Southwest Michigan (Executive Committee member, vice chair, campaign cabinet member, campaign chair, board member); St. Joseph/Benton Harbor Rotary Club (member); Junior Achievement of Michigan (board member, prior chair, classroom instructor); Lake Michigan College Foundation (board member); Lake Michigan College Alumni (board member); Lake Michigan College Board of Trustees (board member); Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor (advisory board member)

Nonprofit Community and Business Service: Lake Michigan College (trustee, alumni & foundation board member); Michigan Women’s Business Council (new business mentor); Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce (member); Better Business Bureau (advisory board member)

Other Business Experience: WBE (Women’s Business Enterprise) Mentor for women in Michigan starting a new business or considering WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council) certification

Personal Information/Hobbies: Dancing, boating, spending time with family and friends, and volunteering in community, education and industry-related causes.

Education Background: Lake Michigan College, marketing

Industry-Related Question:

PPAI’s board will continue to reduce in size between now and 2016 when there will be a total of 11 voting board members. As a member driven, board directed, staff managed organization, it is essential that we remain engaged with a growing membership and a smaller board will require changes to how it gathers and disseminates information. How do you propose the board remain in touch and engaged with members? How will you measure your success in this area at the end of your board term? 

Our current economy requires all businesses to do more with less, and board service is no different. Fewer members means more targeted responsibility and efficiency through streamlined communication and prioritization of the issues.   

Current technology and media, including Skype, Linked In, Twitter and Facebook, allow us to communicate with large groups that share common interests in a timely and cost effective manner. Within these social media applications, I would recommend the creation of a board group (to discuss open issues) and a collaborative (distributors and suppliers) member group to disseminate current issues and gather field input.

I would also seek continued diversity within the smaller board size to ensure all groups, expertise and perspectives are represented across the membership.

Engagement success can be measured by followers and activity in the form of posts, favorites, retweets, etc. I would lead the effort to set benchmark goals and track our performance to these goals. If goals are not being met, we will know and be able to make real-time adjustments to increase membership engagement. Success will also be measured based on the growth in our industry, which should be a natural by-product of true collaboration which will drive the right initiatives. Like other things in life, when you truly focus on “the right things,” results follow naturally.

I would also work to continue the elevation of our industry reputation and our value to the overall marketing mix. Promotional Products have always been and will continue to be the only form of media that has lasting and repeat impressions long after the bill is paid.

As an entrepreneur, I have experience building things from the ground up, and scaling growth with the right resources at the right time. I would like to share this discipline with our industry so that existing and new members may achieve the same level of success and provide opportunities for others along the way.

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