Professional development within the industry continues to be a priority for PPAI. It was made a category to determine placement and rank in the inaugural PPAI 100 list. Now, the Association has expanded its professional development team to further its learning programs and online education.

Jessica Gibbons Rauch, CAS, brings years of promo experience as well as a passion for professional development to her professional development manager role at PPAI.

  • Her focus will concern learning programs within PPAI and online education. 

Her Role At PPAI

In this position, Gibbons-Rauch will be looking to structure the programs within PPAI in order to provide the education that industry members need.

  • She will oversee PPAI’s certification program.
  • This will mean working on online education, with an immediate focus on updating TAS content and other tools for those new to the industry.
  • In the role, Gibbons-Rauch will also create valuable and timely education for all members focusing on trends impacting the industry.
  • She will work with member committees, task forces and subject matter experts to implement new ideas, review current offers and design and create curriculum.

“My deep passion for providing professional development for members of the industry made this an ideal match for the position,” Gibbons-Rauch says.

PPAI’s newest hire says she can already picture in her mind what the future of the program can look like, but she knows it’s one step at a time.

“I will [first] be focusing on updating all required courses, getting feedback from our members on what is needed and improving the education management system to make the execution of coursework easier for everyone,” Gibbons-Rauch says. “But that will just be the start. Amazing things will be coming.”

Her Journey In Promo And Education

Gibbons-Rauch has an accomplished and active history in the promotional products industry.

  • She has 15 years of experience working with distributors in roles such as account manager, sales manager and marketing and vendor relations at companies including Concord Marketing Solutions, AIM Smarter and others.
  • In 2014, she was named a 2014 Rising Stars award winner.
  • Gibbons-Rauch has served on the board of PPAChicago and on the board of PromoKitchen.

Even with all those promo achievements, there was another passion tugging at her. Continued education remained on her mind.

“One of the things I absolutely adore about this industry is our ability to forge our own unique path and create something amazing and I have absolutely done that,” says Gibbons-Rauch.

  • After utilizing a scholarship for the education side of her MBA with an emphasis in Strategic Marketing, Gibbons-Rauch worked in various consulting roles, eventually becoming a marketing manager at ZOOMcatalog, a SaaS company focused on the promotional products industry.
  • Gibbons-Rauch balanced this with a role as an adjunct professor at Northern Illinois University in their Digital Marketing and MBA programs.

“This is truly where I found my love of professional development and education,” Gibbons-Rauch says.

Now, she has managed to fully combine that promo experience with her love for being an educator and a facilitator of professional development opportunities.

“[The professional development manager role] blends my unique industry background with my teaching experience and will allow me to build a robust program to make sure we are providing the education needed for the industry members, both what we need now and looking ahead to what will be needed in the future.”

Outside The Office

Based in the Chicago area, Gibbons-Rauch lives with her husband, daughter and their two cats.

She’s a proud co-leader and cookie manager for the third-grade Brownie Scouts. In whatever spare time she can find, Gibbons-Rauch is an avid reader, a self-proclaimed “coffee snob” and a UFC boxer.