You don’t just need another business conference. You need an experience that will revolutionize your thinking, help you find that inner grit, and challenge you to rise higher, go deeper, and reach further than you ever have. skucon 2022 is the ultimate conference for distributors and suppliers in the promotional products industry who want to connect, learn, and re-energize alongside other progressive, like-minded pros.
It’s a unique, interactive virtual experience with breakouts, keynotes, and real connections. Join us as we kick off your new year with a blast of optimism, energy, and new ideas to ignite your growth!
Who should attend?
Distributors and suppliers (in any role)! Everyone can benefit from skucon, owners, salespeople, operations, creative - skucon is the perfect event for teams! We’ve scheduled skucon for the beginning of the year on-purpose, to kick start your new year with high inspiration and actionable ideas.
Historically, skucon has been limited to 1-2 people per company. Now you can include the rest of your team by having them tune in for the virtual experience.
skucon is hosted by commonsku, cloud-based software for the promotional products industry. commonsku was created to empower your business: to streamline your workflow, connect your team, impress your clients, and allow you to close deals faster. We believe strongly in the power of events - in-person and virtual - to connect and inspire professionals in the promotional products industry.
Meet Our Speakers
Hear from some of the marketing industry's most passionate and creative personalities. Walk away inspired and ready to tackle 2022.
Draplin Design Co.
Draplin Design Co.
Located in the mighty Pacific Northwest, Aaron Draplin of the Draplin Design Co. proudly rolls up his sleeves on a number of projects related to the Print, Identity and Illustration categories. He makes stuff for Coal Headwear, Union Binding Co., Richmond Fontaine, Esquire, Nike, Wired, Dinosaur Jr, Timberline, Chunklet, Eaux Claires Music Festival, Poler, Incase, Sub Pop Records, Fender, Marc Maron, Cobra Dogs, Jill Soloway, Sasquatch Music Festival, Chris Stapleton, Old 97s, Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell, Nixon Watches, Bernie Sanders, Patagonia, Target, Adobe, NASA/JPL, John Hodgman, Timex, Ford Motor Company, Woolrich and even the Obama Administration, if you can believe that.
He’s traveled the world telling his story, with over 450 speaking fiascos under his belt and counting! He co-created Field Notes with his older brother Jim Coudal, and their memo books are sold in over 2,500 stores worldwide, with limited-edition special editions shipped quarterly to a booming subscriber list. His seven Skillshare classes are raging along, teaching design enthusiasts all over the world. His first book titled “Pretty Much Everything” came out on May 17, 2016 on Abrams Books which, incredibly, is in its eighth printing. The roster of DDC Merch is up to 285 products and growing! You’ll see those goodies at DDC merch tables from coast to coast or in the DDC online shop. Aaron prides himself on a high level of craftsmanship and quality that keeps him up late into the wet Portland night.
Davis is the founder and CEO of Cotopaxi, an outdoor gear brand with a humanitarian mission. He is a member of the United Nations Foundation's "Global Leadership Council" and a Presidential Leadership Scholar. Davis was Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s “CEO of the Year” and previously started Brazil’s "Startup of the Year." Davis holds an MBA from the Wharton School, an MA from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA from Brigham Young University. Davis is an adventurer who has floated down the Amazon on a self-made raft, kayaked from Cuba to Florida, and explored North Korea.
Lemonade Creative Marketing, LLC
Lemonade Creative Marketing, LLC
Nenette Gray is the Chief Lemonade Maker of Lemonade Creative Marketing, LLC, a branded promotional merchandise agency located in South Louisiana. Her company focuses on helping businesses excite, engage and inspire while maximizing their brand. Nenette spent nearly 20 years working with Fortune 500 companies in Marketing Management and as an award-winning sales consultant. Nenette was laid off from her Pharmaceutical job in 2010 and decided to turn the lemons of using her pharmaceutical job into lemonade. Nenette's agency has grown to service a number of Fortune 500 companies including ExxonMobil.
Nenette is a native of Baton Rouge, LA. She is also an alumni of the Goldman Sachs 10000 Small Businesses program. Outside of the office, she can be found traveling, devouring Louisiana fresh seafood, and exploring the great outdoors. Nenette credits part of her success in the industry to her authenticity. Nenette is an eternal optimistic and lives the lemons to lemonade mantra every day.
As Managing Director and a co-founder of Advoc8, Ben leads the vision and growth of several of our core business functions, such as brand merchandise and client services. In addition to his management responsibilities, Ben leads the strategic development of Advoc8’s work with partners such as the National Association of Manufacturers, YouTube Gaming, Events DC, Facebook and others.
As a proud resident of Washington, D.C., Ben is active in promoting the District as an engine for inclusive innovation and opportunity. He was named a 2019 WeDC Ambassador through Washington, D.C. Economic Partnership, in addition to participating in the Made in DC program through the Department of Small & Local Business Development.
Prior to Advoc8, Ben was on the founding team of Campaign Promotions (CP), Washington, D.C.-based brand merchandising firm. He supervised day-to-day operations, client management, suppliers, and finances for the company’s extensive political, issue-based, and corporate clients. In the years before Advoc8, Ben worked on the advance team for Governor Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, worked as an interest rates trading analyst for Barclays Capital, and served as the West Virginia Advocacy Director for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Fairware got its start in Sarah’s garage in 2005, and now has a bustling office in south Mount Pleasant where she and the Fairware team work on changing the world, one t-shirt at a time. Sarah’s day-to-day involves systems, human resources, project management and making sure Fairware’s culture of humour, creativity, inclusion and high fives is alive and thriving.
Social justice and equity have been central to everything Sarah has been involved with. She believes creativity and collaboration, through the lens of social justice, makes positive change possible. A willingness to explore what it takes to hold others’ differing perspectives with respect, is a cornerstone of her leadership capacity.
Sarah is an active volunteer and serves as president on the Board for the Vancouver Street Soccer League, an organization that uses soccer to inspire and empower marginalized people on the downtown east side of Vancouver. She is also active in the B Corp community and has immersed herself in learning and sharing with her team the importance of diversity and inclusion.
In 2017, Sarah joined the Presidents Group, a network of change-driven BC business leaders who are champions for more accessible, inclusive workplaces. The Presidents Group is engaging with employers and business owners around the province to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities in BC and create a more accessible consumer marketplace.
Before Fairware, Sarah was doing what she still does today – working for something she believes in. Sarah’s path has always been one of creativity and building something new. Her passion for community, empowerment, and collaboration to reach shared goals has been realized through her work facilitating large scale community public art and design projects, including Mosaic Creek Park in East Vancouver, and in the elementary school system.
Outside of work, Sarah cherishes time spent with her family and friends, and encouraging vegetables to grow in her backyard. You’ll also find her very content watching or playing sports of any kind. She lives in Vancouver with her partner and is venturing down the path of empty nesting, with two sons away at university.
Kathy DiFrancesco started her career in Promotional Products in 2007. Kathy built a foundation learning and developing in sales, marketing, and product development, working for manufacturers and consumer goods companies ranging from pharmaceuticals to luxury brands. Starting out as a market research assistant and sales support, Kathy took advantage of every leadership opportunity she could throughout the years and today, is the VP of Sales at SnugZ USA. As a 14-year industry veteran she has been with SnugZ USA for the last 10 years. She is responsible for sales, customer service, strategic partnerships, and business development strategies, and brings a unique perspective given her background of working with manufacturers and consumer goods. In addition, Kathy has dedicated the last 11 years volunteering with Soka Gakkai International, a not-for-profit Buddhist organization that focuses on culture, peace and education with a goal to foster capable people. This has driven her passion to foster dynamic and collaborative team environments. Above all, Kathy is a passionate advocate of people, service, personal development, overcoming obstacles, helping others, and staying positive!
Stephen Musgrave is the Vice President and General Manager at Rightsleeve. Headquartered in mid-town Toronto, Stephen leads an eclectic (largely millennial) team that creates innovative, design-driven merchandise for many well-known tech clients. Rightsleeve has received numerous industry awards including ASI Distributor Entrepreneur of the Year, PPAI Web Award, Counselor’s Best Places to Work, and PPPC Awards. As a musician and artist, Stephen brings a unique perspective to the business, developing a wide array of improvisational, creative solutions for his customers while building a young, imaginative team in one of the most respected distributor companies in the industry.
Big Bunny Creative
Big Bunny Creative
Candace Parker is the Founder of Big Bunny Creative, a branding & design studio in Houston, Texas. With a background in marketing and graphic design and over ten years in the industry, she has the skill set and the passion to grow strong brands through unique and intentional promotional products. She sits on the board of AMA Houston and has created the artwork behind several award winning projects. You can find her on adventures with her son Dylan, sipping champagne with her fam, or jamming to some h-town rap... always while wearing pink.
Jeremy Picker is the creative director and CEO at AMB3R Creative, a Colorado-based merchandise design firm with over 20 years of experience in the fashion industry. His passion for color, trend forecasting, and apparel decoration has made Jeremy one of the foremost thinkers and respected trend-leaders in the apparel and promo industry. Jeremy has helped launch, create, and grow merchandise sales for major label bands, top-rated podcasts, and big-box retail brands. His heart and strategic mindset also drives him to create retail quality merchandise for the non-profit sector to fuel their fundraising efforts and expand awareness. Jeremy is a cancer survivor and a co-founder of ESTAINE, a high-end accessory line to support cancer education.
Maple Ridge Farms
Maple Ridge Farms
Jodie started her promo career cleaning at Maple Ridge Farms at the ripe age of 12. In between now and then, she has defined the vision and culture where she desired Maple Ridge Farms to reach. The company had the reputation of being legendary, she wanted to put it on steroids! Tasting the flavor of excellence is a thing with her…it is her essence and her grit. She emanates that with all aspects of life. What brings meaning to her is lifting others, removing lines that restrain us, connecting, reframing all opportunities to gain perspective, hustle and grind, a little hike here and there, her kiddos, family and raw photography-capturing moments and memories…that tell a story. With great hopes that it speaks to someone on a faraway planet and we can all beam up together and enjoy a delicious sip of vintage tequila.
Over 25 years ago, CEO Stephanie Leader founded Leaderpromos with a vision of helping brands define themselves and communicate their message in an impactful way. With thoughtful leadership, strategy and an emphasis on innovation, Stephanie has led the company to the top of the promotional product industry.
Stephanie’s foray into the branded merchandise business began when she was a student at The Ohio State University. An incoming freshman who needed to find a way to pay for her education, Stephanie quickly saw an opportunity to sell branded apparel and promotional merchandise to the largest Greek Community in the United States.
Stephanie’s business bloomed overnight, and she quickly discovered the power of branded merchandise. She thrived by helping companies and organizations find just the right branded products to best represent their initiatives and their causes. There was no stopping her now!
Stephanie’s passion for marketing became so strong that she completely changed her career course. Initially planning to attend law school after graduation, Stephanie decided instead to follow that passion and immersed herself in the merchandise-based branding industry. In 1995, she began focusing and selling to other corporations, building her client list with phone calls, referrals, and drop-ins.
In early 1998, Stephanie recognized that she was in a unique position to disrupt the traditional promotional products industry by capitalizing on the growing .com craze. And so, in 2000 Leaderpromos.com was born as one of the very first e-commerce based promotional branding companies.
In two and a half decades, Stephanie’s passion and vision for bringing clients’ branding and messaging to life has been the driving force behind the company’s success. Leaderpromos has grown into a full-service strategic branding agency that has earned a spot in the top 1% of all promotional product distributors nationwide. Leaderpromos is also the largest wholly woman owned WBENC certified company in the promotional industry.
While her business was growing and expanding, Stephanie raised two children with her husband, Brian. Often on school holidays, the kids would “work” at the office, and both still stop in when they are home from college. Thankful for her healthy family and thriving business, Stephanie committed her philanthropic efforts to organizations that help women and children. Along with financial support, Stephanie, her family, and employees regularly participate in fund-raising activities such as holiday gift drives, marathons, making meals for those less fortunate, and helping at-risk children.
Stephanie is a driven leader who is committed to her team and considers them family. And while she started the company as an individual, she knows the “we” is much stronger and valuable to their clients than the “me.” After 25 years of success, this entrepreneurial spirit and team mentality lives in the heart of every Leaderpromos Associate.
From her humble beginnings in Columbus, Ohio to being the go-to branded merchandise agency for the hottest brands, Leaderpromos thrives on customer-centric values. These values are laser focused on delivering more than expected to impact key customer initiatives in meaningful ways.
Sandy Gonzalez is the CEO of California-based MadeToOrder. An industry veteran with nearly 40 years of experience, Sandy is passionately dedicated to mentoring tomorrow's elite sales professionals. Words like unstoppable, confident, heart, hustle, fearless, and respect have each been applied to Sandy and her attitude toward life and work. After taking the reins as CEO at $20+ million MadeToOrder, she helped to successfully navigate her team through the Covid crisis.
Foxtrot Marketing Group
Foxtrot Marketing Group
Jill Haspert is a transformational servant-leader currently serving as CEO of Foxtrot Marketing Group, a full-service provider of promotional products and e-commerce branded merchandise stores. Part of the Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures family of companies, Foxtrot is proud to be one of the largest ethnic-minority owned businesses in the Twin Cities.
When she was promoted to CEO in 2018, Jill oversaw the transformation of Foxtrot’s business model, strategic priorities, branding, and company culture, resulting in company-best financial performance and engagement scores.
Prior to joining Foxtrot, Jill spent over 15 years in finance, marketing, and general management with General Mills and American Express.
Jill has served on numerous philanthropic boards throughout her career and is currently on the board of Carlson Women Global Connect and a member of Leadership St. Paul class of 2021. Jill was named a “40 Under 40” leader by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal in 2021.
Jill holds a BA in economics from Gustavus Adolphus College, and an MBA from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, where she served as President of the National Association of Women MBAs.
A native of rural Minnesota, Jill resides near St. Paul. She enjoys traveling, exercising, and spending time outdoors with her family.
Hasseman Marketing & Communications
Foxtrot Marketing Group
Kirby Hasseman is the CEO of Hasseman Marketing & Communications, a full service marketing company and promotional products distributor. Hasseman Marketing has 4 full-time internal employees and 6 sales people.
Hasseman is making a name for himself in the promotional products industry! He is on the board of PromoKitchen, a non-profit agency that is dedicated to education and mentorship in Promo. He was also named as a Rising Star in the industry by PPB magazine. Recently, out of 300,000 (some) industry professionals, he was recognized as a top social media influencer on two different industry lists.
Kirby hosts a weekly Web show called Delivering Marketing Joy where he interviews business leaders from around the country. In addition, he puts out a Monday Minute, a short video on personal development (of course) each week and cohosts the popular industry podcast, Promo UpFront. He has also begun a new Delivering Marketing Joy Podcast with new episodes each business day (available on iTunes).
Kirby has published four books. His first called Think Big Marketing For Small Business, an eBook called Give Your Way to Success and a third called Delivering Marketing Joy (about how to do Promo right). His most recent book called Fan of Happy is available now. Learn more here.
Kirby is most proud of his titles “father” and “husband”. He is married to Amy Hasseman and father to Skylar and Jade.
Catherine Graham is the Co-Founder and CEO of commonsku, a cloud-based CRM, order management and social collaboration platform that empowers entrepreneurial excellence. Designed for the promotional products industry by promotional products experts, commonsku makes it fun and easy to collaborate and connect with promotional products professionals. Distributors and suppliers use commonsku to share best practices, find great products, build closer relationships, and learn from industry experts and peers.
Catherine has over 15 years of experience in banking, management consulting, and growing businesses through her time at TD Bank, eBay, and A.T. Kearney. Catherine was also an owner and Managing Director at RIGHTSLEEVE, a leader in the online category of the promotional products industry, who sold to Genumark in 2019.
In her work with RIGHTSLEEVE, Catherine has been recognized as a PPB’s Best Boss and as an ASI Power 50 list honoree and she led RIGHTSLEEVE to multiple awards including ASI Distributor Entrepreneur of the Year, PPAI Web Award, and Counselor’s Best Places to Work. Under her leadership, commonsku has received two PPAI pyramid awards and twice been recognized as a PPB Best Places to Work.
Mark is the co-founder of commonsku, a business software application designed specifically for the promotional products industry. Mark is one of the founding chefs of PromoKitchen and is the host of the popular PromoKitchen podcast where he interviews industry thought leaders as well as business luminaries such as Seth Godin and Dan Pink. Recognized with multiple honors in the industry, including ASI's Distributor Entrepreneur of the Year, ASI’s Hot List, and PPAI’s Rising Stars, Mark has been featured in several major media publications (PPB, Counselor Magazine, Stitches, and Advantages). An innovative leader, Mark frequently mentors promotional entrepreneurs through writing, speaking, and training, and shares his technology expertise with promotional professionals across North America (PPAI Expo, ASI Chicago, ASI San Diego, PPPC, MAPPA, SPPA, Promo East, Partnering Group, NALC, ASI Power Summit).
Bobby Lehew is the Chief Content Officer at commonsku. A 25-year industry veteran, Bobby was formerly the CEO at Robyn, a branded product fulfillment company that specialized in private-label, e-commerce company stores. Bobby is a national speaker on topics related to B2B marketing, company stores, productivity, and storytelling. Featured in ASI’s Counselor magazine as one of “41 people who are shaking up the market with new and innovative approaches” (2010) and in OKC Biz magazine’s “Forty Under 40″ (2009), Bobby is an ardent bibliophile and loves working at the intersection of art and commerce.
Tuesday, January 18, 2022
All times listed in Eastern Standard Time (ET)
skucon features main stage presentations, tactical discussion groups, skucon stories and networking.
Each year our in-person skucon attendees receive a collection of curated products that we select and design with our supplier partners. We've partnered with our fantastic sponsors to create a limited edition gift pack for skucon 2022 which previously registered in-person attendees will have shipped to them.
If you registered for skucon 2022 virtual, you will receive your limited edition Aaron Draplin x SanMar T-shirt post event (shipped to your address tied to your registration).
Frequently Asked Questions
We will not be offering refunds for skucon Virtual. We will be recording the sessions and sharing with all registrants post-event.