Photo: Remi Walle  /


In January, two PPAI committees with complementary goals and purposes—the Certification Committee and Professional Development Committee—temporarily merged their roles and resources under a single committee. The new entity will review, revise and manage the certification program and provide advice and direction on relevant educational opportunities to advance the knowledge and professionalism of those in the promotional products industry. Lisa Parker, MAS, southeast sales manager for American Ad Bag, and Joy Smith, MAS, owner of AIA/Joy Of Advertising, are co-chairs. The combined committee is a trial run to evaluate the advantages of the two committees working together. If all goes well this year, the move will likely become permanent starting in 2022.

Parker explains specifically how the committee addresses certification. “Its primary responsibilities include revising test items, writing new test items, working with PPAI staff in overseeing the administration of the program and developing ways to evaluate and improve the assessment process. The committee also recommends needed changes to the prerequisite, certification and recertification requirements,” she says.

The PPAI Certification Program is an all-inclusive industry-wide program and does not require membership with PPAI. There are four certifications for all stages of a promo professional’s career: Trained Advertising Specialist (TAS) certificate, Certified Advertising Specialist (CAS) certification, Master Advertising Specialist (MAS) certification and Master Advertising Specialist Plus (MAS+) certification. Earning a certification demonstrates commitment to the industry and improves career opportunities, along with many other benefits for the individual who earns the certification. 

As far as the committee’s responsibilities for professional development, it serves as a liaison between PPAI, its staff and its member base to provide informed opinions and feedback for education offered by the Association. In the past year, the Professional Development committee assisted the Certification Committee by reviewing programs and writing quiz questions. “Our projects include review and feedback of speakers’ submissions for Expo education, and we promote education offerings and gather feedback,” says Smith. “This past year we participated in several Forums For The Future with our various committee members serving as facilitators. We designed and approved a sticker to be given out at the PPAI Expo to those attending classes to help promote education. These will be used at in-person events in the future.”

 This year, the committee is focusing on social media. “We want to find a way of using social media to create better awareness of all education opportunities, to build a following on Facebook or Instagram and to utilize the committee members to carry the message forward,” says Smith. 

In addition, the combined committee will see what it can accomplish together. “Combining the Professional Development and the Certification Committees will be our biggest opportunity this year,” says Parker. “In doing so, we will be able to provide a higher level of educational opportunities to help our members achieve their certification designation, and educational resources to achieve personal and professional growth within our industry.” 

Certification And Professional Development Committee Member Roster

  • Joy Smith, MAS, AIA/Joy Of Marketing, Co-Chair
  • Lisa Parker, MAS, American Ad Bag, Co-Chair
  • Renee Jones, MAS+, A Creative Touch, Board Liaison
  • Rob Baumgardner, CAS, Goldstar
  • Lisa Greyhill, MAS, Grey Hill & Associates
  • Nancy L. Hoffman, MAS, Geiger
  • Deborah Mann, MAS, DMannding Results, Inc.
  • Kim Reinecker, MAS, Starline USA, Inc.
  • Suzanne Simpson, MAS, Gemline
  • Andy Church, Insight Quality Services
  • Jeff Franklin, CAS, Headwear USA
  • Erika Leary, MAS, Geiger
  • Rhonda Reilly, MAS, Pilot Corporation of America
  • Traci Simonis, CAS, Maple Ridge Farms, Inc.


James Khattak is news editor of PPB.