Women's Leadership Conference 2021 Direct-2-You

The vision of the PPAI Women’s Leadership Conference is to create an engaging, collaborative community that enables diverse women in the promotional products industry to be authentic, learn together and from each other, and build relationships that’ll grow throughout the year.

Throughout the year, look for WLC-sponsored webinars that feature content specifically for women in our industry, as well as other opportunities to connect with the Women’s Leadership Conference community. 

Event Agenda

Monday, June 21, 2021

10 - 10:30 AM CT

First Time Attendee Meet And Greet

New to WLC? Please be sure to join this interactive reception and get to know members of the workgroup.  They will provide insights into the DNA of WLC and how to make the most of both the online session and the valuable connections you are sure to make.

11 - 11:05 AM CT

Welcome And Opening Remarks

Speakers: Carrie Pitre, MAS, The Magnet Group and Kelli Denes, MAS, The Vernon Company

11:05 AM - 12:05 PM CT

Session 1: Dream It. Make It Happen.

Speaker: Jo-An Lantz, MAS, Geiger


What do you dream about? What does it really take to turn your dreams into reality? Many are afraid to allow themselves to dream big because the cost is too high or the effort too great. But strong leaders dream big and hustle to make it happen. Jo-an Lantz, one of the original founders of WLC, will share what it takes to achieve your dreams and how leadership makes all the difference.

12:15 - 12:45 PM CT

Association Update

Speaker: PPAI Interim President Bob McLean, CPA, CAE, CEM

Join Bob McLean as he welcomes you to the 2021 Women’s Leadership Conference Direct 2 You and provides a brief update regarding the state of the Association and the industry.

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM CT

Session 2: Girl Grit…The Story Of Trials And Triumph Powered By (S)heroes, Courage And Endurance

Speaker: Paula Wygonik, MAS, CE Competitive Edge LLC


Do you ever feel like the hits keep coming? Do you look at women around you and wonder “how do they do it”, “why are they successful”, “have they faced any adversity”, “are they smarter or stronger than I am”?


Rising above adversity and succeeding isn’t something you do once and then check it off your list like a grocery item. It is a series of decisions and “character grit” that allow you to acknowledge a new challenge, evaluate your options and dig deep to fight back and win. Understanding your “why” when facing adversity can help you through the most painful of hows. Hint…mobilizing your (S)heroes will lighten the darkness and give you the courage and confidence to go from victim to victor!


Trigger warning: The session mentions sexual assault.

2:30 - 3:15 PM CT

Roundtable Chat

Networking is a critical aspect of WLC so small group conversations are scheduled at the conclusion of each day. This is your chance to network in small groups, reflect on the day and identify tangible takeaways from the sessions.

6:00 - 7:00 PM CT

Reception And Woman Of Achievement Celebration

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

9 - 10 AM CT

Optional: Morning Yoga

Speaker: Roni Wright, MAS, The Book Company


Join us for morning yoga and set yourself up to be focused, relaxed and ready to engage in day two of WLC!

11 - 11:05 AM CT

Welcome And Opening Remarks

Speaker: Poetry by Laura Brewer—Promo Poet Laureate

Get ready to be inspired as our own Promo Poet Laureate welcomes you to day two with an original poem.

11:05 AM - 12:05 PM CT

Session 3: Economic Outlook For 2021 And Beyond

Speaker: Chad Dziedzic, Blackrock


Chad Dziedzic will address the current economic conditions and outline what you can expect going forward.

12:10 - 1:10 PM CT

Tuesday conversation: At The Intersection Of Diversity, Inclusion, & Equity: What We Can DO To Advance Systemic Opportunity In Our Workplace

Speaker: Arlene Pace Green, PH.D.


It has never been more important to understand concepts of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity, and how these concepts impact our communities and organizations. In this interactive discussion, we will explore issues of race, gender, and what we can do to advance equal opportunity within our workplaces.

Learning Objectives:
• Diversity, Inclusion, & Equity: Understand key definitions of diversity, inclusion, and equity; and how these definitions have changed over time.
• Organizational Leadership: Explore what individuals can do to advance racial and gender equity in our organizations today.

1:15 - 2:15 PM CT

Session 4: Programs That Matter—The Power Of Purpose

Speaker: Megan Baker, Stryker

2:30 - 3:15 PM CT

Roundtable Chat

Networking is a critical aspect of WLC so small group conversations are scheduled at the conclusion of each day. This is your chance to network in small groups, reflect on the day and identify tangible takeaways from the sessions.

6 - 7 PM CT

Virtual Dine-Around

Join the WLC Task Force as they invite you to “join” them at their favorite restaurants for a virtual dine-around. While we won’t be able to break bread together, we can promise the same great conversations and laughter in small group settings.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

9 - 10:00 AM CT

Optional: Morning HIIT Workout

Speaker: Gabrielle Holgate


Start your day energized and ready to go after a high-intensity interval training session led by professional fitness coach Gabrielle Holgate. Want to know what you’re getting into? The workout plan is linked to the session on the online platform.

11 - 11:05 AM CT

Welcome And Opening Remarks

Speaker: The WLC Workgroup

11:05 AM - 12:05 PM CT

Breakout Sessions

Breakout 1: Finding Your Why

Speaker: Jessica Gibbons-Rauch, Trend On Brand

So many times we focus on how to do something or what we need to do that we forget about why we are doing it in the first place. Sometimes, especially for women, we have a hard time clearing out our "dragons" and creating our purpose. This workshop dives into how to find your why and create inspiration to continue to grow and develop with your individual reason in front.
TIP: Since all sessions will be recorded, you won’t have to suffer FOMO – pick one to watch live and the other on demand!


Breakout 2: Promo In A Virtual World

Speaker: Becki Heinen, Facilisgroup; Joe’l Bastien, AIA; Javier Melendez, Walker Clay; Ray Rodrigues, Tekweld; Karen Foy, Gorman Foy; Trina Bicknell, HPG


How can we continue to create client experiences that wow in a virtual world and what do we need to start learning now to be able to succeed in the hybrid universe that is quickly approaching? This session will identify industry trends and challenges, the value of the meaningful message and more.

12:15 - 12:45 PM CT

Wednesday Conversation: Remarks From PPAI Leaders

Speakers: Dawn Olds, MAS, HALO and Brittany David, MAS, SnugZUSA


Join Incoming PPAI Board Chair Dawn Olds and Former Board Chair Brittany David as they reflect on lessons learned during a year like no other, leadership during uncertainty and expectations for the industry as we move beyond COVID-19.

1:15 - 2:15 PM CT

Session 5: Talent Matters: Strategies For A People-Centered Team

Speaker: Kate Alavez, PromoShop, Inc.


Managing a team or organization is about more than numbers. It's about creating an inclusive, equitable workplace in which every person has a voice and is encouraged to bring their experiences and ideas to the table. When your people flourish, your team and organization thrive. So, what does it take to build and manage this type of people-centered team? Join this conversation and learn strategies to manage your team through inclusive leadership.

2:30 - 2:45 PM CT

Session 6: Trooper Tillman Presents Purses With A Purpose

Speaker: Trooper Andrea Tillman, Michigan State Trooper

3 - 3:30 PM CT

Roundtable Chat

Networking is a critical aspect of WLC so small group conversations are scheduled at the conclusion of each day. This is your chance to network in small groups, reflect on the day and identify tangible takeaways from the sessions.

3:30 - 3:45 PM CT

Closing Remarks

Event Speakers

Play Speaker Video

 Kate Alavez 

 Chief Operating Officer 

 PromoShop, Inc. 

 Megan Baker, CPA 

 Associate Manager 


 Joe`l Bastien, MAS 

 Senior Vice President of Owner Success 

 AIA Corporation 

 Trina Bicknell 

 Chief Revenue Officer 


 Brittany David, MAS 

 Chief Revenue Officer 

 Snugz USA 

 Chad Dziedzic 

 Director, Market Leader 


 Karen Foy, CAS 


 Gorman Foy 

 Jessica Gibbons-Rauch, CAS 


 Trend On Brand 

 Arlene Pace Green, PH.D.  

 Organizational Psychologist, Executive Coach, and Leadership Development Speaker 


 Becki Heinen 

 Director of Partner Development 


 Gabrielle Holgate 


 Jade Design & Consulting 

Play Speaker Video

 Jo-an Lantz, MAS 



 Bob McLean, CPA, CAE, CEM 

 Interim President 


 Javier Melendez 

 National Sales Executive 

 Walker-Clay, Inc.  

 Dawn Olds, MAS 

 Senior Vice President of Operations 

 Halo Branded Solutions 

 Ray Rodriguez 

 VP, Sales & Marketing 


 Andrea Tillman 


 Michigan State Police 

 Paula Wygonik, MAS 


 CE Competitive Edge LLC 

 Roni Wright, MAS 

 Vice President 

 The Book Company 

WLC 2021 D2U Sponsors

WLC Workgroup

 Becki Heinen 

 Director of Partner Development 


 Carrie Laufenberg Pitre, MAS 

 Director of Key Accounts 

 The Magnet Group 

 Cathy Cummings, CAS 

 Vice President of Supplier Relations 

 AIM Smarter, LLC 

 Danielle Augustine, CAS 

 Vice President of Sales 

 FAST Decoration Automation 

 Jamie Ondrejko, MAS 

 Division Vice President 


 Jane Sparks 

 Vice President Prepress/Traffic 

 Gill Studios, Inc.  

 Joèl Bastien, MAS 

 Senior Vice President Of Owner Success 

 AIA Corporation 

 Jenna Herchenbach 

 Account Coordinator 

 Overture Promotions 

 Kelli Denes, MAS 

 Director of Business Development 

 The Vernon Company 

 Kim Bakalyar, CAS 

 Chief Compliance Officer/Director 

 PromoShop, Inc 

 Meghan Pyecha 

 Key Account Manager 

 Hit Promotional Products 

 Laura Brewer, CAS 

 Senior Sales Manager 

 Ariel Premium 

 Paula Wygonik, MAS 


 CE Competitive Edge LLC 

 Terri Sparkman, MAS 

 Sales Development Manager