Meet Our Staff Liaisons

Awards & Recognition Committee

Carol Gauger — As Director of Member Engagement & Regional Relations, Carol oversees all volunteer experiences, member loyalty and awards and recognition programs as part of PPAI’s member engagement initiatives as well as all activities between PPAI, the RAC Board and the 27 regional associations ranging from strategic planning, LDW and EDLF and regional tradeshow participation. She loves to crochet and is the consummate foodie. Photos of her culinary expertise can be viewed on Facebook.

Jennifer Oats — As a PPAI Marketing Manager, Jennifer handles marketing for PPAI’s Public Affairs, Awards, Volunteer Engagement and Executive areas as well as PPEF and various regional associations. A mom to two energetic boys, she often spends her free time at sporting events, or fun-filled birthday parties. However, blast some Harlem Shake and she swiftly transforms into the next “So You Think You Can Dance” contestant (probably due to her many hours practicing on her kids’ Wii).

 



Certification Committee and
Professional Development Committee

Rachel Robichaud — As the Director of Professional Development, Rachel oversees the educational programming and content for all live education events, online learning and certification programs. She also serves as the staff liaison to the Professional Development and Certification Committees. Rachel is an Aggie through and through; enjoys spending every possible moment with her two daughters, Rylee and Raegan and husband Ricky; and tries to escape to the mountains for snow skiing as much as possible.

Christina Sanders — As the Recognition Programs Coordinator, Christina manages communications and entry processes and tracks judging processes, collateral and winners’ toolkits for eleven member awards programs along with providing administrative support for association volunteer programs and management of IDEA Source strategy and content. In her downtime, she enjoys reading, cross-stitch, patio gardening and spending time teaching and enjoying her amazing daughter.

 



Distributors Committee
 

Tina Filipski — Tina is Editor and heads up PPAI’s Publications team which is responsible for producing PPB, PPB Newslink, Promotional Consultant Today, The Expo Daily and Expo East Daily. She’s also staff liaison to the Distributors Committee. A Dallas native, she likes to spend her spare time with family, friends and dachshund puppy Abby.

Paul Bellantone, CAE — Paul is the President and Chief Executive Officer of PPAI, the not-for-profit association for more than 10,700 member companies of the $18.5 billion promotional products industry. He is committed to the advancement of the promotional products industry through visibility, viability and credibility. Paul is focused on delivering compelling member value and responsible for successfully executing the strategies and vision of the PPAI Board of Directors and advocating for the industry and its professional practitioners.

 



Events Committee

Darel Cook — Darel is the Director of Expositions & Meetings and is responsible for presenting all the many services and products of PPAI to the membership at The PPAI Expo and Expo East. Darel has been in the tradeshow industry for 25 years, having managed shows for horses, heavy road equipment, apparel and raw leather. Darel is a proud father of four and a huge sports fan. His ideal day is watching his kids play their sports.

Gage Chariton — Gage is the PPAI Senior Marketing Manager overseeing the Membership and Expositions marketing execution. In his eight years at PPAI, he has served in just about all the marketing roles and now serves as co-liaison on the Events Committee. In his spare time, he likes to hunt, fish, travel and spend time with his niece and nephew.

 



Government Relations Advisory Council (GRAC),
Product Responsibility Advisory Group (PRAG) and
Green Work Group

Anne Lardner-Stone — Anne is the Director of Public Affairs and is responsible for guiding PPAI’s legislative and government relations efforts—including taking a contingent of PPAI members to Washington, DC, to advocate directly to US lawmakers on issues important to the promotional products industry. Anne also oversees the Association’s product responsibility programs including the development of industry best practices and the PPAI Product Safety Summit—a two-day education event focused specifically on product responsibility issues. She currently serves as staff liaison to both the Government Relations Advisory Council and the Product Responsibility Advisory Group.

Seth Barnett — As Government Relations Manager, Seth is responsible for the legislative workings of PPAI; this includes monitoring state and federal legislation and communicating to members based on legislative need. In his free time, he enjoys spending time outside with his dog Wrigley and going to Rangers games.

Veronica Kelley — Veronica is the Public Affairs and Government Relations Coordinator and is responsible for PRAG and Green Work Group meetings and correspondence, public safety and legislative issues, social media, webinars, COC adopters and any other support needed by her department. In her downtime, she enjoys mountain biking, swimming, painting and hanging out with her 18-year-old when he has time.

 



Leadership Advisory Committee (LAC)

Lisa Beck — Lisa celebrated her 27th anniversary with PPAI in March 2013. Her expertise has touched most departments inside PPAI from Marketing to Awards to PPEF. For the past 15years, she has worked with the PPAI Board of Directors, committees, councils and other volunteer leaders. A native Texan, Lisa grew up in the Texas Panhandle and learned how valuable family is and, most importantly, how to be a survivor. Lisa and her husband Kevin celebrated 25 years of marriage earlier this year. Together, they have raised two very successful sons: Taylor, 23 and Preston, 17.

 



Marketing Information & Research Committee

Keith Vincent — Keith is Director of Marketing and Communications and currently serves as the staff liaison to the Research Committee. Keith has been with PPAI for 11 years. Prior to joining PPAI, Keith worked for the International Association of Exposition Management. He is a product of the great state of Louisiana and the “City That Care Forgot”—New Orleans.

 



Membership Services Committee

Blake Bozeman, MBA — Blake has been with PPAI since 2008 as part of the Membership and Business Development teams. He has 10+ years of experience in the promotional products industry, starting his career with a Dallas-based supplier. His primary responsibilities at PPAI are developing, implementing and overseeing member benefit and affinity group programs, as well as overall responsibilities for the Business Development Sales department. He serves as staff liaison to the PPAI Membership Services Committee and plays an active role in growing/retaining membership among traditional and non-traditional industry groups. He enjoys long walks on the beach, sunsets, deep conversation and spending quality time with his wife and child.

Gary Slavonic — Gary is the Director of Business Development and oversees the sales teams at PPAI for exhibitions, memberships, sponsorships and advertising. Gary has been in the promotional industry for 25 years, starting on the supplier side and then owning his own "rep" business for 20 years. Gary is a native of Oklahoma City, so when his radio is not on a sports station, it will most likely be playing country music.

 



PPB Editorial Advisory Committee

Tama Underwood — Tama is an Associate Editor on PPAI’s Publications team, which has her writing pieces on technology and business, profiling industry professionals and tracking apparel and product trends. Never one to do things halfway, her ideal place to live is either remotely rural, or densely urban. And of this she is sure: Bob Dylan is the greatest musician to have ever lived.

Jen McCall — A PPAI Associate Editor, Jen writes and edits for PPB, PPB Newslink and other department publications. Her hobbies are genealogy research, baking ridiculous amounts of cupcakes for office birthdays and seeing how long she can outlast her husband in putting off laundry duty.

 



Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF)

Sara Besly — As PPEF Manager, Sara works with the 18-member PPEF Board of Trustees to award college scholarships to industry families and to secure funding from companies and individuals to provide these scholarships. When not at work, Sara can be found chasing her two daughters, ages two and five, or working with her husband on the renovation of their almost 100-year-old house.

 



Public Relations Committee (PR)

Kim Todora — As PPAI Public Relations Manager, Kim is responsible for the direction of comprehensive integrated public relations strategies and implementation, including social media strategy and execution, media relations, buyer-targeted initiatives and tradeshows and such industry awareness programs as the ADvocate Program, PromotionalProductsWork.org and the new industry awareness campaign, Promotional Products Work! Week.

 



Regional Association Council (RAC)

Melissa Hall — Melissa currently serves as Regional Programs Manager and works with the 27 regional associations in the promotional products industry on a wide variety of issues including governance, Board management and tradeshows. In her free time, you can find Melissa curled up with her two dogs with her head stuck in a book, or enjoying a nice glass of wine on the patio.

Cassondra Franze — As Manager, Regional Relations, Cassondra works with the RAC community and acts as liaison to the RAC Board. She delivers Regional Affiliate Program benefits and is also responsible for developing LDW educational programming and regional Executive Director training. When she’s not at work, she is busy preparing her daughter to start kindergarten and supporting her ambitious gymnastics dreams.

 



Suppliers Committee

James Khattak — James is the News Editor on PPAI’s Publications team and is responsible for PPB Newslink as well as contributions to PPB, The Expo Daily and Expo East Daily. He is also staff liaison to the Suppliers Committee. When not at the office, he enjoys pursuing his photography enthusiasm, traveling with his wife and assuring the family cat Molly that the alarm clock will wake him up just fine, thanks.

Robert McLean, CPA — Bob is PPAI’s Executive Vice President. He was hired in June 2008 as CFO and is responsible for Finance & Administration, Information Technology and the Promotional Products Education Foundation. In October 2011, Bob was promoted to EVP and assumed responsibility for all the revenue-producing products and services at PPAI. These include Business Development, Membership Sales, Tradeshows, Publications, Education and Certification departments. His goal is to integrate fully the way the Association goes to market by approaching each sale in a consultative manner by first understanding the needs and wants of the member.

 



Technology Committee

Paul Elfstrom — Paul is the Director of Information Technology for PPAI and is responsible for the management, strategy and execution of IT infrastructure for the Association. He also oversees technical projects that align with PPAI’s strategic plan to ensure effective delivery of Association programs. Currently, he serves as staff liaison to the Technology Committee. In his spare time, he enjoys family activities and playing guitar.

Vicki Sypien — Vicki serves as IT Project Manager for PPAI’s web and infrastructure projects and acts as a co-liaison for the Technology Committee. In her free time, she serves as PTA President at her daughter’s school and enjoys playing classic board games on the weekends with her family.



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