September 2022
A Message From Our PPAMidwest President......

"I learned the value of hard work by working hard”
– Margaret Mead

Labor Day. The holiday that honors workers as part of the American organized labor movement from the 19th Century. To recognize those who fought for fair working conditions.

For the majority of us it signifies the ending of summer. A long holiday weekend filled with cooking out, going to the pool and spending time with friends and family. A day to relax and not work. When you think about it, it’s actually a great way to honor those who fought the good fight from which so many of us now benefit. Relaxing in appreciation. That’s a thing, right?

Another really good way to honor those who fought for fair work conditions is to treat everyone with the same level of respect as we’d each like to receive. By now you might be used to me admitting in these newsletters a personal failure or a way that I could improve or grow.

It’s important for me to point out that I’ve never yelled at someone in a business scenario (that doesn’t help anyone or anything; plus it’s just rude). A few weeks ago I was faced with a supplier telling me that they don’t do virtuals – only proofs once the order was placed. In this day and age of, well, technology and knowing how important virtuals are to help us sell (and that 99.999999% of suppliers offer them), I was dumbfounded by this.

After a few back & forths and hitting my head against a wall getting nowhere, I secured a virtual from outside of this supplier. I also took the time to call the rep and share my disdain for their company policy. I was to the point in sharing how it’s done everywhere else, but I was never rude. After I was done saying all of the things I thought this supplier should know, I found out she was still in her first week on the job. She didn’t understand the difference between a proof, a virtual or a mock up.

She apologized for not knowing. I apologized for airing my frustrations. With the craziness of labor shortages over the past couple of years, so many companies in so many industries are finding themselves hiring new people and relying upon on-the-job training. As was the case here. We talked for a bit longer and I followed up with an email offering additional help if she ever had any questions (she’s reached out!).

It was a humbling lesson for me and one I won’t forget.
Huge thanks to everyone who came out to play Pickle Ball in both KC and St. Louis! Check out some of the fun photos here.

And don’t forget to save the date for these upcoming in person events!
  • Fall Holiday showcase in St. Louis (9/28) & Kansas City (9/29)
  • Factory tour at Cap America (10/19)
  • Holiday Parties 11/30 (St. Louis) and 12/1 (Kansas City)

Please let me know how I may be of help to you. If I don’t know the answer, I can surely connect you with someone who does. What would you like to see from PPAMidwest this year? Please feel free to reach out to me directly at

Thank you!


Mandi Rudd
2022 PPAMidwest President
September 13, 2022 Tuesday Learning Lab: "Increasing Revenue Through Online Stores

Technology continues to revolutionize how we work. To remain successful, distributors must stay on top of technology trends, implement the best solutions, and seize opportunities as they appear. In this session, you will learn about OrderMyGear (OMG), online company store trends, and how to scale your business by expanding into new markets with online stores.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Impact of technology on your business
  • Ways to increase sales through online stores
  • Creating an experience for your clients

Mark your calendars and register to attend our
upcoming Fall Holiday Showcase!
Don't miss this year's Fall Holiday Showcase which will be held in
both St. Louis and Kansas City. Our annual end user friendly tabletop
show format will be at two fun and unique locations that you
and your customers are sure to love!

The Foundry Arts Centre
520 North Main Street
St. Charles, MO 63301

The Museum at Prairiefire
5801 W 135th Street
Overland Park, KS 66223

Exhibits Open: 10 am - 1pm

Register to exhibit or attend today!
 For event details and registration links, click here
September 28, 2022 Wild Wednesday Webinar: "Winning Distributor Sales Campaigns" 

ASI’s Distributor Sales Senior VP Bob DeFord will share several distributor success stories and campaigns from companies of all sizes, across numerous markets and product categories, along with sales tips for success.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Sales strategies from top companies
  • Tips for success in face of economic stress
  • Idea generating examples of recent winning campaigns

We are limited to 30 participants so act quickly to reserve your spot!

 For event details and to register, click here
PPAMidwest News
Glenwood, MN HALO American Solutions for Business is excited to welcome Steffany Rivera as the organization’s new Marketing Specialist & Graphic Designer. Located near Houston, Texas, Steffany will be a remote team member and is tasked with creating marketing content, tools and resources for ASB sales associates to successfully market to their end user buyers.
Steffany began her work in the industry as Marketing Manager of KTI Promo, a promotional vendor that works closely with American. The shift from supplier to distributor is Steffany is excited to make.
Steffany explains, “I am excited to join American Solutions for Business because the way I live aligns 100% with the way ASB operates: family, relationships, and community. Working for the distributor side will be an adjustment, but I plan to advocate for the suppliers and serve as a liaison to American sales associates.”
“We’re so happy to welcome Steffany to our team and ASB family,” expressed Director of Marketing, Events & PR, Taylor Borst. “I’m confident she has the talent and passion to be successful here and will create valuable content and resources to help our salespeople succeed.”
PPAMidwest Members..... Did you know that you have access to our member only coupons two different ways? Visit our Members Only Section for information on this awesome Member Only Benefit!
American Solutions for Business raises $10,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation during American Summit

Glenwood, MN American Solutions for Business hosted a charity event, raising $10,000 during this year’s Summit. The Summit event features two days of supplier education sessions for top ranking ASB sales associates from around the country to celebrate their achievements over the last year. The fundraising started a month before the event, in which participants could purchase a paper star for $25. Those stars were then displayed throughout the ballroom during the Summit week.
“We set a goal of $5,000, knowing how giving our American family usually is to our host cities,” explained Justin Zavadil, President of American. “We were blown away once we realized that the funds raised were double that. I couldn’t be prouder of these efforts.”
A representative of Make-a-Wish Illinois was present to accept the donation and explain further the importance of the charity.
“Make-A-Wish Illinois was overjoyed by the generosity and the support of the American Solutions for Business team,” expressed Make-A-Wish Gift Officer, Ashley White. “To walk into their conference room and see all of the stars on the wall was so impactful. Because of their team and supporting vendors, another future wish child will experience the hope, strength, and joy that wish provides.”
Want to earn points and join in on the fun?
Simply complete the easy request form to have your points credited
for the activities you participate in. For live events and activities, your attendance will automatically be recorded and points assigned, provided you are an active member of PPAMidwest. For recorded webinars, referrals and completion of PPAI Certifications or renewals, simply complete the easy request form to have your points credited.
It is that simple! (click on above image for more information).
Industry News
Product Responsibility Summit 22
September 18 - 20, 2022 ~ Newport Beach, CA
Get The Information You Need to Know
The promotional products industry is an industry like no other. And that means we need content like no other—especially when it comes to product responsibility and safety. 
PPAI’s Product Responsibility Summit provides just that - content targeted at the topics you care about in promo. At this Summit, you will have the opportunity to hear from subject matter experts during sessions such as:
·    Country Risk Assessments
·    PFAS Deep Dive
·    CBP Enforcement Updates
·    Waste Diversion Solutions
And so much more, all focused specifically on the promotional products industry. 
Whether you are new to compliance or have been in the industry for a long time, PPAI’s Product Responsibility Summit will provide you will all the information, tools, and strategies you need to stay Product Safety Aware. See all the details and register at 
7 Tips for Creating the Perfect Pitch
Scott Baradell  Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor CEO of Idea Grove

Whether selling your content idea to a publication editor or CEO, it's essential to do your homework and prepare a pitch that hits the mark.
Whether you're a content writer, copywriter or journalist, pitching is the first step to getting published. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most nerve-racking aspects of writing. But, if you want to make a living at it, it's something you'll have to master. After all, being a great writer won't mean anything if you can't get editors on board.
Thankfully, pitching isn't as scary as it first seems, especially once you know what you're doing. Here are seven tips on writing the perfect pitch to help you get on the right track and the good side of editors.
1. Do your homework
Many publications explain what they're looking for from writers on their websites. So, it pays to check for any submission guidelines first. Read them thoroughly if they are provided. Whether or not their site tells you what they want to see, it also pays to see what kind of content a publication has already published. For example, what type of subject matter is typically covered? What sort of tone do their readers enjoy? Editors will soon know if you haven't read their content and probably won't bother reading yours.
Typically, publications are looking for fresh content they haven't covered before. As such, it's often worth performing a quick google search to see whether your ideas have been covered on the site. Finally, be sure to find out who exactly you will be pitching to so you can address them by name when you come to write your pitch.   Read More
PPAI Media Welcomes Robert Fitzpatrick
PPAI Media
PPAI Media Welcomes Research Manager Robert Fitzpatrick To The Team
PPAI has added a new member to its staff and the PPAI Media team – Robert Fitzpatrick has joined the Association as research manager. In the role, Fitzpatrick will oversee research on and for the industry to help suppliers and distributors make business decisions.

With a focus on building PPAI’s research on the promotional products industry, Fitzpatrick will conduct regular consumer studies and membership benchmarking, and oversee Association surveys, like the Distributor Sales Volume study, among other projects. Read more
Ohio Distributor Appointed to PPAI Board
PPAI Newslink
Kara Keister Appointed Regional Relations Committee Delegate To PPAI Board
Kara Keister, MAS, who holds the title of “Promise Keeper” at her Ohio-based distributorship Social Good Promotions (PPAI 758284, D1), has been appointed as the Regional Relations Committee (RRC) delegate to the PPAI Board of Directors.
Keister began her career in promotional products 12 years ago in distributor sales, working at City Apparel for over eight years as a corporate image and sales consultant. “My role allowed me to use my marketing background and love of all things brand to become a top-level salesperson within the company and eventually birth and grow Social Good Promotions,” Keister says.
Keister will replace Lindsey Davis, MAS, who filled the position from January 2021 until joining PPAI’s staff as the Association’s Promotional Products Work manager in July.