DEI Roundtable Discussion
Join us for a facilitated discussion on the importance of trust in the workplace sponsored by PPAI’s Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Taskforce.
Taskforce members Kathy Cheng, Cindy Tsuji, Ed Hammer, Nenette Gray, Hugh Lawson. and Johnanna Gottlieb will guide discussions within small groups to address the critical questions related to DEI and the workplace.
President and Founder
Kathy Cheng is the President of WS & Co., one of Canada’s leading full-service apparel manufacturers, and the founder of its in-stock apparel line, Redwood Classics Apparel, which provides promotional and retail resellers with high-quality garments that are handcrafted in North America.
With the innumerable recognitions and awards that Kathy has been accredited for over the years, she was most notably named on Inc. Magazine’s 100 Female Founders List and was recognized for her significant contributions in Supplier Diversity, receiving the WBE President’s Award and the LGBTQ+ Ambassador of the Year Award for 2020.
As a result of Kathy’s contributions to women-focused efforts, she was presented with the prestigious Counselor Supplier Woman of Distinction Award by ASI (Advertising Specialty Institute®) in 2016, was one of three Canadians inducted into The EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ program in 2014, and was on WXN (Women’s Executive Network)’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada list in 2013.
Senior Account Executive
Cindy discovered the promo industry after 20 years of Corporate Sales. She identifies as a 2.5 generation Japanese America born and raised in San Diego. A world traveler and endurance athlete has completed a half marathon on all seven continents. Lived in Japan four years after graduating from San Diego State University. Survived the Kobe Earthquake and now resides in Kirkland, WA. Passionate about D E + I, committed to see a more diverse and inclusive Promo Industry of the future.
Howling Print and Promo
Ed Hamner, CAS is the owner of Howling Print and Promo, an independent distributor based outside of Cleveland, Ohio. He has been in the industry for approximately 10 years, however can trace his Print and Promo origin story back to the 5th grade.
As the owner of a certified LGBT business enterprise, Ed is a proponent of DEI initiatives in supply chains and corporate HR. In his free time, you’ll probably catch him hiding away at the local coffee shop (pre-covid) with his ear pods in, book in hand.
Lemonade Creative Marketing
Staples Promotional Products
Johanna Gottlieb (Moderator)
VP of Sales, Midwest
Johanna, a New Yorker at heart, lives in Chicago with her husband (who she met through work) and proudest accomplishments, her daughters, Olivia Bella and Lola Grace. Johanna, known as Jo, loves working out, family time, and practicing gratitude and a positive mindset daily. Her unwavering belief in the importance of connections and work ethic have helped mold her career into a love of hers, as well.
Over 15 years ago, Johanna began at Axis, an award-winning promotional products agency, as an associate account manager. With her enthusiastic, fun-loving attitude and in-depth understanding of account management, she rose to her current role as VP of Sales, Midwest. Her impressive work ethic and love of her industry have opened the doors to key roles in many projects, such as new business development at Axis and opening and heading the Axis Chicago office. Named to Advertising Specialty Institute’s “Hot List” in 2017, Johanna’s optimistic worldview and love of her work earned her the identifier of, “who we all want as the spokesperson for the promo industry”.
Despite her incredibly busy, rewarding work at Axis, Johanna makes time to chair two teams that are important to her values: PromoKitchen (2019) and the PPAI (Promotional Products Association International) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force (2021). Johanna is involved in speaking engagements nationwide to discuss two topics near to her heart: best business practices and diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Her passion for promotional products and persistence for excellence have created genuinely fulfilling career opportunities for years with no sign of slowing down in the future.
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