Amid personnel changes within PPAI, the Association this week is announcing some significant restructuring of its departmental reporting and committee structure.

Most significantly, PPAI has committed to hiring a dedicated staff leader to drive sustainability and corporate responsibility within the promotional products industry.

  • While the individual has not yet been identified, the intention signals PPAI’s shifting focus to sustainability while still maintaining ongoing governance and advocacy efforts.
  • The announcement is timely, as a longtime staff leader prepares to depart PPAI. Anne Stone, MAS, CAE, a 17-year veteran of the Association, has said she will leave PPAI effective September 6.

Stone, who began at PPAI as a senior public relations manager, has held a director level position since 2011, most recently under the title of member engagement director. Her roles have encompassed such essential functions as governance, product safety, professional development and more.

Leadership of those efforts will transition to a variety of departments and individuals, affecting PPAI’s org chart, but also the structure of several committees that help to steer the promotional products market’s non-profit trade association.

PPAI president and CEO Dale Denham, MAS+, describes the new sustainability and responsibility role and the transition of staff alignment as an effort to support the organization’s current strategic plan while leveraging staff skills where they are best applied.

The current strategic plan was approved by the Board of Directors in October 2021. At its center is the Association’s mission to “Be the voice and force to advance the promotional marketplace for the benefit of our community.”

Other notable moves announced this week:

  • Professional development will report to Lindsey Davis, MAS, PPAI’s director of business development, leveraging her industry knowledge and experience for further elevation of the Association’s education efforts.
  • Among the first commitments is a plan to revamp the TAS training model in 2024, to better help all new hires entering the industry.
  • Logistics for all events, from The PPAI Expo to conferences such as NALC, WLC, LDW and more, will report to the expositions team, which is headed by Ellen Tucker, CAS, CAE, and managed by Ashley Van Der Stuyf.

Davis called the opportunity to oversee professional development humbling. She previously spent nearly six years as president of Solar Advertising, a supplier founded by her parents. Davis was director of sales at supplier Raining Rose before joining the PPAI staff last year, initially to help ignite the Promotional Products Work initiative through buyer events.

She had been a member of the PPAI Board of Directors as the Regional Relations Committee delegate.

“Our industry’s strength is the people who make up the workforce at each company,” Davis says. “And so we owe it to them to equip every employee with the training and knowledge to be their best. When I was growing up in the business, these people became a part of my family. It’s a passion for me, and a great responsibility, to serve them by leading PPAI’s professional development into the future.”

PPAI is also reorganizing committees to align with the strategic plan and best use volunteers’ time.

This includes the creation of an umbrella committee overseeing corporate responsibility.

  • Workgroups of the new umbrella committee will encompass diversity, equity and inclusion, product responsibility, government relations, and sustainability.
  • These committee changes are pending approval by the Board of Directors.

Additionally, committees will be overseen by the staff leaders responsible for the area the committee serves rather than all funneling through the member engagement department.

In a note to staff, Denham emphasized how these changes support PPAI’s strategic plan, which has already been the impetus behind numerous recognizable changes at the organization over the past two years, from a revamped PPAI Media, to a new emphasis on buyer outreach, the launch of PDX and the recently released PPAI 100 ranking of industry leaders.

Denham also applauded Stone for her time and contributions to PPAI. “We will all miss her and wish her well,” he said. “Thank you, Anne, for all you’ve brought to the Association for the past 17 years.”