The Association has announced this year’s recipients of the 2024 PPAI Woman of Achievement Award: Janet McMaster, MAS, and Joy Smith, MAS.

For 15 years, PPAI has awarded women who’ve spurred the industry forward. Their outstanding leadership, dedication and talent have impressed peers, empowered other women and energized entire communities. For McMaster and Smith, their impact is undeniable and deserving of praise.

At a special ceremony, McMaster and Smith will be recognized Monday, June 24, during the 2024 PPAI Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC), taking place at the Hutton Hotel in Nashville.

McMaster’s Impact

McMaster is regional sales vice president at Geigerranked the No. 5 distributor in the 2024 PPAI 100 – and a 38-year veteran of the promotional products industry. She’s proudly spent her entire promo career at Geiger, where she has been instrumental in growing sales from $15.1 million to north of $38 million since 2009.

Upon hearing the news, McMaster said, “It’s an incredible honor to realize that others believe that you have accomplished significant things and are worthy of such a distinction. Too often we’re all consumed with ‘what’s next’ that we forget to take a pause, to take a breath, to realize that we have become the next generation of leaders and have made meaningful and memorable contributions to this industry through our work and by our example.”

A proven and driven leader, McMaster has served on several committees and boards of regional associations, most recently as chair of the Virginia Promotional Products Association (VAPPA). In 2023, she served as chair of the Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) board. In 2016, she was named a PPAI Fellow.

In McMaster’s application, nominator Jo-an Lantz, MAS, president and CEO of Geiger and herself a past recipient of the Woman of Achievement award, calls her “truly a woman of achievement.”

“Janet and I have worked alongside each other for more than 30 years,” Lantz says. “Her evolution as a leader embodies what the WOA award was designed for. It embodies what the WLC is all about. She began her career providing sales support to Geiger sales partners. Her career goal was to expand her responsibilities to a future leadership position within the company. Over the course of her career, step by step and risk by risk, Janet did so by rising to the level of vice president.”

Smith’s Impact

Smith is the owner of New Mexico-based distributor Joy of Advertising and a 30-year promo veteran, having spent the past quarter century leading her own firm.

Upon hearing the news, Smith remarked on how grateful she was for the recognition. “I love the industry,” she said. “I love when I help a client create something and it’s successful. The joy I see in my clients and the growth of their business or the success of their campaign just thrills me.” 

A devoted volunteer, Smith has served on numerous committees and advisory councils, including being chair of the Professional Development Committee from 2020-2022. Beyond the promo industry, she’s served in leadership positions for various nonprofit and civic organizations, including being named Honorary Chairwoman of the Business Advisory Council for New Mexico, receiving the 2003 National Leadership Award. In 2016, she was named a PPAI Fellow.

In Smith’s application, nominator and PPAI Hall of Fame member Mary Ellen Sokalski, MAS, says that the former is very deserving of this recognition.

“If you know Joy, you immediately smile when you hear her name,” Sokalski says. “She helps everyone. Not just when you ask. But because she wants to make you better, to support you, because she loves to see people grow. Especially women, which is why she was a passionate founding task force member of the first PPAI Women’s Leadership Conference and a participant for so many years since.”

PPAI invites the industry to join in congratulating and thanking these two women for their immeasurable contributions to our lives and industry.