Since 2010, this magazine has showcased our industry’s brightest Rising Stars—those up-and-coming young leaders who are pumping new energy into our profession with their relentless passion and boundless ambition.

In that time, we’ve recognized 138 individuals from dozens of companies across our great industry. They have come from supplier, distributor and business services companies of all sizes and from all types of positions including sales, marketing, management, customer service, administration and others. They’ve been business owners, recently promoted managers and members of second- or third-generation families who’ve been in the industry for decades. Different but similar, they all share a common thread for recognizing their limitless potential and having the courage to challenge what’s possible and create their own destiny.

Beginning on page 20, read about this year’s PPB Rising Stars—14 individuals who are mature beyond their years and provide a fascinating perspective on life, the industry and their profession. They answer the tough questions about their biggest challenges and share their best advice for those new to the industry.

PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, and I had the pleasure of recognizing each of them on August 11 during the opening event at the PPAI North American Leadership Conference in Irving, Texas.

Their enthusiasm is a joy to experience and it’s inspiring to follow them as they rise up in the industry through promotions, new jobs and volunteering with PPAI. One such person is Brittany David, MAS, who was tapped as a Rising Star in 2014 and was elected to join the PPAI Board of Directors in 2016. She’s now board chair and vice president of sales at SnugZ USA.

For more insights from a next-generation point of view, turn to Fresh Voices Of Promo on page 46 for an interesting Q&A with six who attended PPAI’s SPARK conference, an annual event geared to Millennials and Generation Z. Associate editor Danielle Renda interviewed them about their jobs, the industry’s biggest issues and how we should be attracting more young people to the industry.

Finally, see how the industry’s nonprofit, Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF), is helping to send 151 college students to school this fall with scholarships totaling $230,000—it’s a record for the foundation, which has been awarding scholarships for the past 30 years. In total, PPEF has handed out more than 1,200 scholarships worth over $2 million to deserving college-age children of industry professionals, and in some cases, to those working in the industry themselves. The story, Making The Grade, starts on p. 80.


Tina Berres Filipski is director of publications and editor of PPB.