WLC 2017: Industry Leader Insights

Recorded On: 06/26/2017

Don’t miss this one hour, fast paced session filled with insights from some of the most accomplished women in our industry with various backgrounds and approaches to running business. This facilitated panel discussion including Jo-an Lantz, MAS, Mary Jo Tomasini, MAS, Sonya Beam, MAS+, Sharon Willochell, CAS, Lori Kates. This session will include discussions on industry trends, business development, perceptions, consumer behavior, the future and best practices in the promotional products field.

Jo-an Lantz, MAS

Chief Operating Officer, EVP and a member of the Board of Directors for Geiger

Jo-an Lantz, MAS is Chief Operating Officer, EVP and a member of the Board of Directors for Geiger.  She represents Geiger as the sole US member of the international group WAGE (World Advertising Gift Exchange) serving on their Presidium as Secretary / Treasurer. She served as President for 6 years. WAGE is a 60 year organization with 21 members from 20 different countries.  She has served on a variety of different industry groups and associations including former Chair of the Board of Directors of PPAI.  Jo-an was inducted in the PPAI Hall of Fame in 2009. She is a former ASI International Person of the Year (2004), and a member of ASI Power 50, and the 2014 PPB Woman of Distinction.  Jo-an is an avid Fund Raiser serving on the PPEF Board twice, once as Chair.  She also works with a number of non-profits in training fund raisers in endurance events.

Mary Jo Tomasini, MAS+

Founder, Owner, PPAI Board of Directors

Mary Jo founded Competitive Edge in 1993 working alone in a store basement. Now, over 20 years later, she has 25 employees working in an office building overlooking Lake Michigan. Mary Jo’s success is driven by her belief in going above and beyond customer expectations to deliver incredible levels of service. Prior to being elected to the PPAI Board of Directors in 2014, Mary Jo served on the PPAI Public Relations committee, and in 2015 she served on the Certification Committee. She currently serves on GRAC (Government Relations Advisory Committee) and is a Michigan delegate for LEAD (Legislative Education Action Day).  In addition to being a successful business person, Mary Jo still finds time for volunteer work. She currently serves on the Lake Michigan College Board of Trustees, Foundation and Alumni Boards.  Her desire and dedication to give back to the community is evident as she offers her services and expertise to a long list of organizations that include United Way, Junior Achievement and Hospice.  Mary Jo lives in Stevensville, Michigan with her husband and number one fan, Fred.

Sonya Beam, MAS+

Owner, Award Winner, Speaker

Sonya Beam, MAS+ is an industry sales leader with a fresh perspective on trends, creativity and consultative selling in the promotional industry. Based in Atlanta, Sonya has used her expertise to serve clients for over 18 years. She is passionate about connecting the client’s message with the hearts and lives of their audience through branded products.  Her background includes a B.B.A. in Marketing, along with prior experience in the areas of printing, advertising, trade shows and marketing. Sonya co-owned a distributorship for 10 years alongside her husband, Brian. She was juggling clients and day-to-day operations before Geiger acquired The POP Shop in 2009. Now she has a renewed focus on business development along with the sales and marketing process.  Saving the day is all about teamwork. This superhero is creative, responsive, resourceful and backed by and extraordinary team to help bring client projects to life! The POP Shop is a high performance selling team, positioned for growth, scouring the globe for new and fresh product to rescue clients from marketing mayhem. PPAI has awarded The POP Shop with a number of Pyramid, Technology and Image awards, exhibiting their creativity and excellence in the industry.

Sharon Willochell, CAS

Chief Operating Officer, PPAI Board of Directors

Ms. Willochell joined Leeds in 1998. In her tenure at Leeds she has driven results in critical areas of the business, including overseas operations, supply chain, warehouse, production, customer service, order and artwork processing, as well as information services and human resources. Ms. Willochell has been instrumental in the company’s tremendous growth and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in October 2004. Prior to joining Leeds, Ms. Willochell was a Manager at Deloitte & Touche LLP for four years, providing management consulting services to a broad range of clients in a variety of industries. She started her career at Alcoa working on systems supporting Procurement, e-commerce and Financial and Operational reporting. Mrs. Willochell received a B.S. degree in Management Information Systems from Duquesne University (summa cum laude) and a M.S. degree in Industrial Administration from Carnegie Mellon University (with distinction). She is a board member of the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). Ms. Willochell is also active in her community and passionate about leadership development and key issues impacting women. She is a member of the board of Leadership Pittsburgh, Inc. and has served on advisory councils for Strong Women, Strong Girls and the local American Heart Association “Go Red for Women”.

Lori Kates


Lori Kates, most recently served as President of Top 40 Supplier IMAGEN Brands. A 23-year industry veteran, Lori’s background has been in providing strategic direction, overseeing daily operations and financials. She has experienced five, buy side, acquisitions to date. Lori is a member of PPAI’s Board of Directors. Lori currently serves as the board liaison and co-chair for the PPAI Supplier Committee and the board liaison for PPAI’s Certification Committee.  She served on the PPAI Professional Development Committee, 2017, and has previously served on the PPAI Market Research Committee and PromoKitchen’s mentor program.  Lori was recognized in 2013 by being named ASI’s Supplier Woman of Distinction.   She has been listed on the Counselor Power 50 for the past five years. Lori has a Bachelors degree in Accounting and Communications from Ohio Northern University.  She resides in Liberty Township, Ohio, with her husband of 23 years, Rick, and teenage sons, Jacob and Drew.  She enjoys baseball, hiking and biking.


1 Point


Event Recording
Recorded 06/26/2017
Recorded 06/26/2017 Please make sure your pop-up blocker is turned off in order to access the session once you select it. Once you have completed the session, please close the event recording or webinar window and proceed to the session launch page for the Online Education Survey to receive credit. Please note, it will not be on your event recording or webinar window.
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Certification Credit
1.00 MAS credit  |  No certificate available
1.00 MAS credit  |  No certificate available