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  • Writer's pictureBill Petrie

Powerhouse Women of Promo - 2023

A list of the amazing women who are pushing the branded merchandise industry forward

March is National Women’s Month – a time when we recognize the accomplishments of the amazing women who have played a critical role in making the United States a forward-thinking and progressive nation.

For those who don’t know, my pal Kirby Hasseman and I have produced a weekly podcast since 2016 – first unScripted and now Promo UPFront. For over 350 combined episodes, there’s always been one that’s been the most fun to do: the annual Powerhouse Women of Promo list. It allows us to do more than acknowledge the tremendous things women do in the branded merchandise industry; it lets us highlight them so that others can admire and learn from their teachings.

We dropped this year’s Powerhouse Women of Promo podcast on Friday, March 17th – and we invite you to listen and watch it here. However, we thought we would also share this list in a more traditional format. For each category, we chose two individuals: the first person we thought of and an honorable mention. To be clear, these aren’t winners or “women of the year,” as Kirby and I don’t feel we should make those sorts of definitive declarations. Instead, these are the women Kirby and I notice doing incredible things and women we all need to watch in the coming year.

Before you read the list below, Kirby and I strongly urge you to listen and watch the podcast to hear WHY we chose these specific ladies. We think our rationale and thoughtfulness behind each selection will give you a complete picture in ways a simple list cannot.

Distributor Woman to Watch

Melissa Young – Corporate Incentives

Johanna Gottlieb – Axis Promotions powered by HALO

Mandi Rudd – Brand Energy Marketing (honorable mention)

Rachel Levin – Stran (honorable mention)

Supplier Woman to Watch

Samantha Kates – Spector & Company (both of us chose her independently)

Dawne Browne – CPS/Keystone (honorable mention)

Venus Thom – Imagen Brands (honorable mention)

Service Provider Woman to Watch

Lindsey Davis – PPAI

Amelia Madl – PromoCorner

Kate Maeswich – commonsku (honorable mention)

Sara Lavenduski – ASI (honorable mention)

Woman on the Rise

Joelly Goodson Genumark

Allison Eysoldt – Showdown Displays

Halle Moore – PromoCorner (honorable mention)

Ashley Colautti – Spector & Company (honorable mention)

Janelle Nevins Memorial Woman Trailblazer

Kathy Cheng – Redwood Classics

Taylor Borst – American Solutions for Business

Roni Wright – The Book Company (honorable mention)

Janet McMaster – Geiger (honorable mention)

Tee Hamilton Memorial Creative Woman

Renya Nelson – Brand + Aid

Jessica Gibbons-Rauch – Trend on Brand, Zoom Catalogs

Melissa McCauley – Numo (honorable mention)

Charity Gibson – Peerless Umbrella (honorable mention)

Woman You’d Hire to Run Your Company

Brittany Frase – Hirsch

Catherine Graham – commonsku

Kara Keister – Social Good Promotions (honorable mention)

Summer Nichols – Zebra Marketing (honorable mention)

That is a TON of powerhouse women who are actual movers and shakers in the promotional products industry. Of course, it goes without saying that many incredible women were left off this list, which should not diminish their accomplishments. In the comments, we’d love to know who we missed and how women – either on or off this list – are making the industry better from YOUR perspective.

Finally, thank you to all the women who have been an inspiration. It’s truly a blast to create this every year, and we hope you enjoy listening/watching/reading this list as much as we enjoyed making it.

Here’s to all the women who consistently make our shared industry better.

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