bio-photo
Photo Credit: Jill Greenberg

Seth Godin

Hi. I’m Seth Godin. I’m a teacher, and I do projects.

For more than thirty years, I’ve been trying to turn on lights, inspire people and teach them how to level up. This blog has been appearing daily for more than a decade. One day, if we meet, I hope you’ll share with me your favorite posts. Even better, I’d like to hear about how a book or course helped you interact with the world differently and make a difference.

I’ve spent most of my professional life as a writer. I’ve published 19 bestselling books. These books are a great way to go deep into a concept, and I think many of them stand the test of time.

Along the way, I’ve found countless detours, interesting projects designed to inspire and entertain you as you continue to do your work.

My latest project is THE PRACTICE, a book publishing in November 2020 and it's already a bestseller. It's about shipping creative work.

In 2015, I created the altMBA. It’s a life-changing 30 day workshop and it’s entirely possible it will change your life.

More than 60,000 people have taken my online courses, including The Marketing Seminar and several on Udemy.

I’m in the Guerrilla Marketing Hall of Fame, the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame and, just recently, the plain old no-modifier Marketing Hall of Fame. Which is pretty cool.

You can read my free ebooks on the placebo effect and education. And there are five TED talks.

A Conversation with Seth Godin

Seth Godin is the champion liberator of the entrepreneur. He unlocks your boldest ideas, opens avenues of possibilities within you, and helps put into practice the discipline required to bring forth your most fiercely original and ingenious self. In this exclusive conversation with the communsku community, Seth will share insights from his new book, The Practice, a book that will “inspire the entrepreneur and artist in you to stretch and commit to putting your best work into the world.“

Seth will share a brief presentation followed by an interview with commonsku’s President and Chief Brand Officer Mark Graham who will explore Seth’s vision of what a more authentic and creative marketing discipline can look like, plus, his reflections on how we can utilize our medium to make real connection in the world and activate our work with purpose and meaning. Join us as we close a day of amazing insight at the intersection of art and commerce, with the modern day master of purpose-driven marketing and we’ll learn together how to “dance with our fear, take risks worth taking, and embrace the empathy required to make work that contributes to authenticity and joy.”

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Ann Handley

Ann Handley is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author who speaks worldwide about how businesses can escape marketing mediocrity to ignite tangible results. IBM named her one of the 7 people shaping modern marketing.

Ann is a digital marketing pioneer and the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, the leading marketing training company with more than 600,000 subscribers.

She is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, and co-author of Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business. Her books have been translated into 19 languages, including Turkish, Korean, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese.

A LinkedIn Influencer, she has more than 420,000 followers on Twitter and is consistently named one of the more influential marketers on social media.

She has contributed commentary and bylines to Entrepreneur magazine, IBM’s Think Marketing, Inc. magazine, Mashable, Huffington Post, American Express, NPR, and the Wall Street Journal.

Ann lives in Boston, where she is Mom to creatures two- and four-legged. She is an E.B. White Superfan, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel enthusiast, and a novice tap dancer.

She escapes it all by retreating to her tiny-house office, which houses her vintage typewriter collection.

The Big, Bold, Brave New World of Content and Storytelling, a Conversation with Ann Handley

Content marketing and storytelling offer a vast opportunity for all businesses. But too many of us aren’t embracing the opportunity. Our own marketing seems puny and underdeveloped, when it should be strong and buff. So the question is: How do we inspire our teams to create more robust, effective marketing? Or, how do we up the quality of what we are producing? (And how do you define “quality,” anyway?) In this exclusive interview, Bobby Lehew, commonsku’s Chief Content Officer, will chat with Ann about how we can set apart our organization and serve our clients better through creative marketing that is compelling, engaging, and authentic to our unique identity. We’ll talk about the shift from quantity to quality and how storytelling is a vital component to the future of our marketing success.

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Elizabeth Segran

Elizabeth Segran is the author of The Rocket Years: How Your Twenties Launch The Rest of Your Life. She's also a senior staff writer at Fast Company, where she writes about fashion. She graduated from Columbia College in 2005, then went on to get her Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley in Indian literature. Elizabeth lives in Boston with her husband, whom she met her freshman year at Columbia, and her four year old daughter.

In 2018, Liz wrote an article in Fast Company magazine entitled, “It’s time to stop spending billions on cheap conference swag,” that created a firestorm within the industry. What followed was an open conversation between Liz, Bobby Lehew, and Mark Graham on a skucast episode and we’re excited to continue that conversation with Liz by bringing her to the skucon stage to talk about how we can bring sustainability into sharper focus and learn from her perspective as a journalist who focuses on fashion and sustainable merchandise.

A Sustainable Perspective, An Interview with Fast Company’s Elizabeth Segran

In 2018, Liz wrote an article in Fast Company magazine titled, “It’s time to stop spending billions on cheap conference swag,” an article that created a firestorm within the industry. What followed was an open conversation between Liz, Bobby Lehew, and Mark Graham on a skucast episode. We’re excited to continue that conversation with Liz by bringing her to the skucon stage to talk about how we can bring sustainability into sharper focus and learn from her perspective as a journalist who focuses on fashion and sustainable merchandise. In this session, we’ll explore what Elizabeth has discovered from the latest market demands through her reporting, who are some of her most emerging and innovative brands and what we can learn from them, and what the future holds for consumer (end-user) expectations.

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Mitra Khayyam

I am a Creative Director and Brand Strategist based in Los Angeles. With over a decade in branding, management, marketing, and product development, I curate authentic brand experiences.

Named one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s top emerging entrepreneurs in 2011, I founded the art collective brand Blood is the New Black, revived country legend Waylon Jennings, celebrated musc icons like Janis Joplin and Miles Davis with my company Midnight Rider, and paid it forward to up-and-coming brands in a series of panel discussions and lectures.

My work has been found in Urban Outfitters family of stores, Colette in Paris, Isetan in Japan, Planet Blue, Selfridges in the UK, Nordstrom and better boutiques worldwide and covered in the NY Times, Nylon, Teen Vogue, Refinery29, the NY Post, Fox News and others.

To keep things fun, I can be found DJing and creating playlists, building my first lowrider, tending to my garden, and walking my dogs in East LA.

Creating Merchandise Experiences That Connect, An Interview with LA Fashion Designer Mitra Khayyam

The Los Angeles Times called her a pioneer in using emerging artists’ original artwork on stylish t-shirts that reflect a strong point of view. Her previous work through the fashion line she created, “Blood is the New Black,” featured illustrators and photographers, sculptors and writers like Todd Tourso (Beyonce’s Creative Director) and Kanye collaborator Cali DeWitt, and sold in stores all over the world. Today, the LA based fashion designer is creating work through a new line, Midnight Rider, and her apparel, once again, is in high demand and sought after by fans and celebrities alike, including Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Band of Horses, and many other artists and musicians. We’ll chat with Mitra about what she’s learned creating a unique line of high-demand apparel, including how to create merchandise that connects with an audience and creates passionate fans, what she has learned about the creative process as it relates to successfully selling merchandise and how to find the story you want to tell through apparel collections. We’ll also explore the need today to produce work that shares a strong point-of-view, and what we can do through our businesses to promote merchandise with a bold mission.

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Simon Polet

Courier Magazine, the defining media brand for a new generation, called Merchery “the brand disrupting corporate merch.” From his tiny country in Belgium, Simon Polet started two businesses with his best friend, Benoit Fortpied. Together, they pursued a passion for sustainability and utility and a distaste for useless things, and with their European sensibilities, they live by the phrase: less is more. Two years ago, they started their first business as a side project: Drink Big. With humble beginnings, the project erupted in the retail market to a point where they both quit their job to pursue creative, sustainable merchandise full-time. While working on Drink Big, demands started pouring in from corporate clients wanting to personalize the bottles and they began to expand their product line as well as their creative team. Merchery quickly gained attention from notable design professionals, creative agencies, as well as the media, for their focus on beauty + sustainability as a remedy and a lifestyle.

The Surprising Magic of Authenticity

Unlike most startups stories out there, Merchery was born by accident. Simon Polet and his business partner Benoit Fortpied jumped into the promotional products industry not even knowing how big and varied it was. In this session live from Brussels, Simon will share how to turn ignorance into success and why knowing less about the market -but more about yourself- is all you need to make an enduring impact. Simon will also reflect on the viewpoint they brought into the industry as outsiders, how transparency is the future of buying and selling, why sustainability is not just for the eco-conscious, the primacy of design in everything you do, and how each of these principles contribute to an authenticity that shapes success. It’s a no-holds-barred session where Simon will take a hard look at the negative practices that make the perceptions of our industry shitty and the reality of how we can make it amazing. Bring your sense of humor because you’ll need it!

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Quianne Savoy

Quianne is a former music artist and in many ways, her early experiences in the music industry helped fuel the creativity and drive that still exists to this day! Guerilla Marketing and The "Machine" simply fascinated this young creative and nothing was more exciting to her than taking a project from obscurity and molding it into a tangible, viable, in-demand product or service! Interestingly enough Quianne was Quianne's very first client landing not one but, three record deals and signing with notable record labels Universal Records and Blackground Records. The pursuit of music was an eye-opener and she quickly realized that she enjoyed the pursuit almost as much as the music itself... this realization has set the stage for her to chase her second love...Marketing!

Always and forever a Howard University Bison, Quianne thought that majoring in marketing sounded too "fluffy" and would be deemed as easy so instead majored in International Business....

The Co-founder of Moore & Moore Merch aka The Merch Studio Quianne pulls daily from her work experience in event production, event marketing & film publicity, which also paved the way for her to combine her passion for helping brands to be more visible, helping brands to think outside the box and helping brands to look good while doing it.

Wife and mother of three Quianne's greatest accomplishments include being named Prince George's County Top 40 Under 40, Sitting on the Board for The Women of Prince George's County, landing WMATA (Washington DC's Local Transit Authority) in what was then the first year in the Promotional Business. In addition, Quianne finds great pride in her role as Chief Taco Maker and second place winner in her family's Spaghetti Cook-off.

Unleash the Passion in Your Influencer Marketing

Most of us misunderstand influencer marketing, we think it’s only for 20-somethings that post every moment of the day about make-up and travel tutorials, but influencer marketing is much more than that and it all starts with passion. Whether you’re a really small business or whether you’re a large supplier, you have two crucial traits that are vital to marketing your business: your passion and your messaging, but are these apparent and are you driving influence? In this session with Quianne Perrin Savoy, she’ll share the secrets behind the world’s most powerful influencers plus insights from her experience as she has learned to lead Moore and Moore Merch into a respected influencer brand! In this session, you’ll learn how to identify your influencer tribe and tell a mean social story (nod to Mr. Seth Godin), why thinking small -regardless of your size- is a superpower, and how to get your dream influencer on the phone in 5 minutes or less … yes, even a Real Housewife … or whoever!

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Denise Taschereau

Denise is chief executive officer (CEO) and cofounder of Fairware where she is responsible for business development, product sourcing as well as Fairware’s ethical sourcing and sustainability programs.

Denise got the idea to launch Fairware when she noticed how difficult it was to source promotional merchandise that reflected the social and environmental priorities of many of the brands and organizations she admired.

Prior to starting Fairware, Denise spent seven years as the Director of Sustainability and Community for Mountain Equipment Co-op, Canada’s largest outdoor retailer. At MEC, she oversaw the Co-op’s national environmental programs, community grant-making and ethical sourcing programs, and wrote their award-winning first Sustainability Report.

She is currently a mentor for Spring.is, an accelerator and incubator that is using business as a force for good to empower social impact leaders with the know-how, network and support needed to build a better business. Denise was a member of ETSY’s Manufacturing Advisory Board, a Board Member with the Green Meeting Industry Council and the past co-chair of Vision Vancouver. She has a Masters of Resource and Environmental Management from Simon Fraser University.

When she’s not working, Denise obsesses about anything to do with bikes and municipal politics. She lives in East Vancouver with her partner, their two boys and lots of bicycles. Future plans include becoming an interior decorator for political backrooms and drinking coffee on the sidelines of Giro d’Italia.

Advocacy, Activism, and Transparency: A Conversation between Denise Taschereau, Kierstin De West, and Chris Miller, Head of Global Activism with Ben & Jerry’s

With a focus on advocacy, activism, and transparency, Ben and Jerry’s is a vital and conscientious voice in our world today. In this interview with Chris Miller, Head of Global Activism and Strategy at Ben and Jerry’s, Denise Taschereau with Fairware will explore Chris’s thoughts on why it’s crucial for brands today to express a conscientious point of view, how we can lead our own companies and organizations to build more inclusive perspectives, how to utilize our brands for the power of good, ways we can seek to build more transparency and sharing through our supply chain resources, and how to empower advocacy and activism within our teams and our communities.

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Chris Miller

Chris Miller is the Head of Global Activism Strategy at Ben & Jerry's, a unique position within the corporate world focused on advancing social justice through the day to day operations of an ice cream company. He is responsible for development and execution of the company’s issue advocacy campaigns that are rooted in its progressive values. Ben & Jerry’s has a long history of running campaigns on issues as diverse as support for mandatory GMO labeling, marriage equality, voting rights, climate change, and criminal justice reform. Chris leads a team of 10 activism managers in countries around the world.

Before joining Ben & Jerry's, Chris led the sustainability work at Seventh Generation, the leader in natural non-toxic household and personal care products. In addition to his for-profit experience, Chris directed Greenpeace USA's national climate change campaign and prior to that served on the staff of Congressman Bernie Sanders.

He currently serves on the board of directors of Car Share Vermont and the Vermont Public Interest Research Group.

Advocacy, Activism, and Transparency: A Conversation between Denise Taschereau, Kierstin De West, and Chris Miller, Head of Global Activism with Ben & Jerry’s

With a focus on advocacy, activism, and transparency, Ben and Jerry’s is a vital and conscientious voice in our world today. In this interview with Chris Miller, Head of Global Activism and Strategy at Ben and Jerry’s, Denise Taschereau with Fairware will explore Chris’s thoughts on why it’s crucial for brands today to express a conscientious point of view, how we can lead our own companies and organizations to build more inclusive perspectives, how to utilize our brands for the power of good, ways we can seek to build more transparency and sharing through our supply chain resources, and how to empower advocacy and activism within our teams and our communities.

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Tracey Clingen

Tracey Clingen is the VP of National Programs for Genumark, Canada’s largest promotional products distributor. With Genumark since 1997, Tracey managed to “do” every job in the company over the years and ended up creating her own new job by developing the Programs Department from a “party of one” that put out two paper catalogs a year, to an entire division managing over 150 distinct shops. Her shop experience varies from small stores for not-for-profit organizations to large shops for Fortune 500 companies. Tracey has overseen the evolution of store commerce from physical catalogs that were largely inventory-based through to the e-commerce revolution, the advent of on-demand merchandise, and the integration of custom ERP’s and warehouse shipping systems. A PPPC national board member, PPPC Momentum Award Winner, and recognized on ASI’s Hot 25 List (2017), Tracey is an animal lover, tree hugger, rower, and sailor.

Secrets to Successful E-Commerce and Shops with Tracey Clingen and Bobby Lehew

As the largest distributor in Canada, Genumark builds the most innovative and enduring shops for some of North America’s most respected brands. In this interview, Bobby Lehew, the former CEO of Robyn (a successful shops distributor in the US), will sit down with Tracey Clingen to talk about the best practices for shops including the ideal customers for shops and what shops to avoid, how to determine the greatest potential for future sales with shops prospects, how to build for long-term profitability, contractual arrangements, integrations, and how to focus on shops as a vital part of your sales future. Join in on a conversation between two of North America’s most shop-experienced voices as they …. talk all things shop!

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Maria Corpuz

Maria Corpuz is a Filipina-American woman from Omaha, Nebraska. She has been Soul & Swag's Brand Manager for the last two years. Corpuz found her merchandising passion when she started touring with the bands, Tennis and Tuxedo, as their merchandise manager. From city to city, she saw the excitement that art-based merchandise created amongst fans. Like bands, she realized that brands are more than a logo or a name, they are a package of culture and values shown by the people who work with purpose towards a specific mission. In 2018, Corpuz discovered another part of her purpose - to engage in conversations with folks from all different corners of Omaha's vibrant community. She founded Nite Caps, a quasi-townhall remix that provocatively engages her guests and audience to consider alternative perspectives on important issues in the Omaha community. Corpuz believes that every piece of swag, brand, conversation and story should exist with a purpose.

How to Design Merch for Purpose, Mission, and Values

Over half of the end-user audience today is comprised of millennials and Gen Z. They’ve grown up with social networks and global trends that are producing relevant designs faster than we can get a proof back! They are also at the forefront of a huge shift happening in the design world, a demand to produce designs that are minimalistic, thoughtful, and express purpose and meaning. Our role, between the end-user and the client, is to be more than just order takers. We are experts in messaging through merchandise and it is our job to help clients think through a more comprehensive and cohesive marketing strategy that reflects their overall mission. To discover this, and to deliver these expectations successfully on behalf of our clients, we need to understand their intent and most of all, their values. Join Maria as she helps us move beyond maxing out an imprint space with just a logo, to discovering how to empower a product-canvas through true artwork and to help brands stay relevant by digging deeper into purpose, values, mission, and meaning. Learn the creative staying power of combining the weight of thought with badass merchandise design!

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Jonathan G. Isaacson

Jonathan G. Isaacson is the Chairman and CEO of The Gem Group, Inc, a privately held, multiple award-winning supplier of bags, business accessories, electronics, stationery, and gifts to the Promotional market. The company, going to market under the trade name Gemline, has been recognized as one of the 15 largest companies in the industry. It has its primary operation in Lawrence, Massachusetts, where they are one of the largest employers, with a technical facility in Shenzhen, China.

Mr. Isaacson is also the Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Lawrence General Hospital, where he sits on several committees and chairs Governance. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Lawrence Partnership, a public/private economic development agency, the Advisory Board of the Department of Industrial and Operational Engineering at the University of Michigan School of Engineering, the Global Council at Junior Achievement, the Board of Overseers at Brigham and Woman’s Hospital, and the Parent Leadership Council at Harvey Mudd College.

Mr. Isaacson has served on the Board of the Young Presidents’ Organization of New England as Day chair, Membership Chair, Education Chair, and Chapter Chair. He has also served on the Advisory Board of pet product distributor, PetEdge, the Strategic Planning Committee of the Promotional Products Association, and the PPAI Product Responsibility Action Group, and he was a founding member of the Quality Certification Alliance. In 2008, he was named The Counselor Magazine’s International Person of the Year. He has been on the Counselor Power 50 list since its inception and continues to speak at many shows and events in the Promotional market.

Acceleration in the Age of Deceleration

For many, the world has slowed as a result of the pandemic. Ironically, it is becoming increasingly clear that Covid19 will actually accelerate many of the transformations already impacting our lives. Understanding the nature, intensity, and consequence of these changes will help you plan for the future of your business.

In this presentation, Jonathan Isaacson will examine how the pandemic has impacted the long-standing critical trends affecting our world and our market, with an eye towards driving customer value in a changed environment.

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Paul Bellantone

Paul Bellantone became president and chief executive officer of PPAI in 2011. During his tenure he has made bold changes to reposition PPAI and the industry for the future, investing in strategic foresight, technology and infrastructure. Under Paul’s leadership, the Association has grown to be the world’s largest not-for-profit trade association, serving the more than 16,000 corporate members employing half-a-million professionals in the $24-plus billion-dollar industry.

Bellantone has also established numerous collaborative partnerships to foster economic growth and member-centric products and services. These strategic partnerships have been instrumental in building consensus, amplifying the industry’s voice and positioning PPAI as the industry’s leading authority.

This ever-present leadership empowers the Association to meet the ever-evolving needs of a diverse corporate membership, as well as 27 regional association affiliates, while representing the interests of the promotional products industry as a whole.

Bellantone is a certified association executive and a distinguished leader in the promotional products, event and exhibition and association industries and has served on the not-for-profit boards of the Texas Society of Association Executives, Incentive Research Foundation and is currently the chair of the Small Business Legislative Council. He holds an undergraduate degree from Rutgers University and an MBA from Texas Woman’s University.

2021 and Beyond: The Future of the Industry with Paul Bellantone, Tim Andrews, and Catherine Graham

Three of the largest organizations in the industry, ASI, PPAI, and commonsku, each accumulate a significant amount of research data about current market trends, the health of the industry, as well as the changes that are in store for our industry’s future. In this special session with ASI’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Tim Andrews, and PPAI’s President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Bellantone, and hosted by commonsku’s CEO Catherine Graham, we’ll explore the revelations each of these leaders have discovered through the outcome of the pandemic, what positive changes can emerge from a volatile season, how the supply chain is radically transforming, and what we need to do to lead our teams through to success for the future. Join us for a brief glimpse backwards but a long look forwards as we envision a bright future into 2021 and beyond!

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Tim Andrews

Timothy M. Andrews is president and chief executive officer of the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), which has 450 employees and serves a network of 25,000 suppliers, distributors and decorators in the promotional products industry.

Andrews joined ASI as president in 2003 and is responsible for the vision and operations of the privately held company. Under his guidance, ASI has become the industry leader in technology and multimedia marketing across all platforms.

Andrews is also president of ASI Show, which hosts virtual and in-person trade shows and events, and vice chairman of ASI Computer Systems Inc., whose accounting and business platform is used by nearly 1,000 companies.

Andrews has more than 30 years of experience in digital media, publishing, information services, marketing and advertising, including 16 years at Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

2021 and Beyond: The Future of the Industry with Paul Bellantone, Tim Andrews, and Catherine Graham

Three of the largest organizations in the industry, ASI, PPAI, and commonsku, each accumulate a significant amount of research data about current market trends, the health of the industry, as well as the changes that are in store for our industry’s future. In this special session with ASI’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Tim Andrews, and PPAI’s President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Bellantone, and hosted by commonsku’s CEO Catherine Graham, we’ll explore the revelations each of these leaders have discovered through the outcome of the pandemic, what positive changes can emerge from a volatile season, how the supply chain is radically transforming, and what we need to do to lead our teams through to success for the future. Join us for a brief glimpse backwards but a long look forwards as we envision a bright future into 2021 and beyond!

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Alyssa Inkrott

Alyssa Inkrott is the National Sales Executive at Raining Rose, Inc. Since entering the promotional products industry in 2016, Inkrott has worked diligently with a number of the industry’s top national accounts and buying groups on the development of programs and applications. Inkrott is currently on the Board of Directors for UMAPP, was a member of the PPAI SPARK work group from 2017-2018 and served as the PPAI SPARK workgroup chair in 2019, working to help bring more focus to the younger generation of industry professionals across the country.

Emerging Voices: Tips From the Next Generation of Salespeople with Alyssa Inkrott, Porshia Carter, and Alex Branstrator

One thing is clear: the next generation of salespeople have already experienced and survived a tremendous amount of change! In this session, you’ll hear a lightning round of quick tips shared by three of the brightest and boldest reps as they bring with them a wealth of insight into how the new generation of salespeople think, act, and sell! We’ll explore the creative energy they bring to their projects, how they work with clients and the communication tools they rely on, their outlook on the salesperson’s role in the future, and the biggest lessons that have shaped their (early!) careers! Join us for a fun journey through the mind of emerging sales voices today!

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Porshia Carter

Born and raised in Georgia, Porshia Carter is a passionate advocate for brand integrity, self-integrity, and performing your work at the highest possible level. Only three years into the industry and she has found a home here: thriving amid the chaos, growing despite setbacks, and channeling her positive energy and enthusiastic smile into every project she works on. An account exec with Intandem Promotions, and though only three years into the industry, Porshia is already CAS certified with PPAI and a client-obsessed maverick who loves delighting customers and working within the wide variety of opportunities the industry presents.

Emerging Voices: Tips From the Next Generation of Salespeople with Alyssa Inkrott, Porshia Carter, and Alex Branstrator

One thing is clear: the next generation of salespeople have already experienced and survived a tremendous amount of change! In this session, you’ll hear a lightning round of quick tips shared by three of the brightest and boldest reps as they bring with them a wealth of insight into how the new generation of salespeople think, act, and sell! We’ll explore the creative energy they bring to their projects, how they work with clients and the communication tools they rely on, their outlook on the salesperson’s role in the future, and the biggest lessons that have shaped their (early!) careers! Join us for a fun journey through the mind of emerging sales voices today!

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Kate Masewich

Her team calls her the glue, the conductor, the creator of magic, and the secret ingredient behind all our marketing and our events. As commonsku’s Marketing Director, Kate has not only guided the marketing efforts but orchestrated the ops behind every event: skucon, skucamp, commonsku University, and now, successfully hosting thousands of people through our virtual experiences. Kate is passionate about community, a detail-fanatic, and possesses an incredible agility, navigating commonsku toward future-focused branding while delivering on fast, target-rich marketing execution. Whether driving sales results for the sales team, crafting another award-winning skucamp collection, or guiding the team through another successful event, she loves bridging the world of commerce and creativity. 2020 PPB Rising Star, Pyramid Award winner, and avid traveler, when she’s not planning a new place to explore, you can find her cooking meals for friends, playing board games, and spending time outdoors.

So, you want to host a virtual conference?

With the global pandemic, we've witnessed the rise of virtual conferences, and with good reason: they are scalable, cheaper, and they provide networking possibilities in times where in-person events are not an option. But they aren’t as easy as just hosting a zoom call and are an adjustment! In this session, Kate will share from her experience essential tips that will help you avoid the pitfalls and fast-track you to becoming a pro at creating live experiences. She’ll share the benefits of hosting a virtual conference and why you should consider it, how to select the best platform for your event; creating a successful team structure to manage virtual events, and organizing your event for maximum impact!

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Britney Godsey

A snowboard and wakesurf junkie at heart, Britney Godsey is the Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for top 40 supplier Gold Bond Inc. Starting as the company’s first ever support role, her chief mission now is to ensure that her team becomes customer obsessed in a way that we’ve never seen. Britney was voted a 2018 PPB Rising Star and ranked number 6 on this year’s Online 18’s most socially influential people. As a six sigma green belt, Britney loves to find process improvements that promote a frictionless experience which she feels is an inescapable need in today’s ever-changing environment. A dog mom of one- when she’s not working Britney’s favorite pastime is binge watching shows with her husband Mark.

Optimum Operations In Uncertain Times

For both suppliers and distributors, it has been a radical year of uncertainty but also an amazing time for innovation. And while Britney Godsey is seen as the face behind much of the social media energy of the Gold Bond brand, what you might not know is that she has been a passionate advocate for extraordinary operational changes for their company through a continual process of improvising and improving. In this session, Britney will share some of the vital lessons they’ve learned about how to lead a team to tackle big changes through a continual effort of process improvement. She’ll share how to focus your team and their energies toward changes that impact the client most; how inspire your team to invest in real-time learning; how to utilize digital tools in a way that creates actual change in your business, and how the role of leadership in your company needs to move from passive engagement to kick-ass involvement that inspires your team to radical change. If you’re a supplier, this is a must-tend session to see how the inner workings of a supplier adjusts to the waves of change, and if you’re a distributor, you’ll appreciate Britney’s insight into leading a team through uncharted territory. Join Britney as she shares how to create an optimal operation in uncertain times!

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Kierstin De West

Kierstin is a brand and marketing executive and leader, with a rare combination of world-class brand building and marketing expertise, entrepreneurship and deep knowledge of social impact and sustainability. She has worked with multiple global brands leading them in their understanding of the cultural shift to sustainability, purpose and impact and the brand, storytelling, partnership and product opportunities this presents.

Most recently she was the Global Vice President of Brand Management and Strategy at lululemon, where she was part of the leadership team delivering 8 consecutive quarters of growth, 300% increase in stock price, community growth, significant increase in consumer acquisition and brand strength, and increase in perception as a socially responsible brand.

Prior to lululemon, she founded and led the first brand strategy and insights agency, Ci: conscientious innovation, focused on the intersection of brand, sustainability/ impact and marketing in 2003, forecasting the culture shift to purpose and impact. Ci’s clients included adidas, Nike, NBC Universal, Nestle, The North Face, Miller Coors, Molson Coors, Rainforest Alliance and more. Kierstin created the first brand insights and brand planning tool tracking consumers’ social responsibility perception of brands and its relationship with values, attitudes and omni-channel behaviour. And Ci was the first agency to design a values based consumer segmentation model including a holistic view of sustainability: environment, personal, social and spiritual sustainability.

She has been a leading industry speaker on impact/sustainability, brand, marketing and culture shifts whose work has been presented at a range of sustainability, business, design and marketing platforms: UNEP, Davos World Economic Forum, Sustainable Brands, Greenbiz, Adweek, AIGA and others.

Kierstin is a Mum to three boys (17, 13 and 5), lives in North Vancouver after stints in NYC, San Francisco and Paris and loves food, the arts and the outdoors.

Advocacy, Activism, and Transparency: A Conversation between Denise Taschereau, Kierstin De West, and Chris Miller, Head of Global Activism with Ben & Jerry’s

With a focus on advocacy, activism, and transparency, Ben and Jerry’s is a vital and conscientious voice in our world today. In this interview with Chris Miller, Head of Global Activism and Strategy at Ben and Jerry’s, Denise Taschereau with Fairware will explore Chris’s thoughts on why it’s crucial for brands today to express a conscientious point of view, how we can lead our own companies and organizations to build more inclusive perspectives, how to utilize our brands for the power of good, ways we can seek to build more transparency and sharing through our supply chain resources, and how to empower advocacy and activism within our teams and our communities.

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Dominique Volker

Dominique Volker is a Senior Project Manager at Whitestone Branding, a New York City based distributorship. Whitestone was recently honored with a spot on the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. for the third year in a row. Dominique has a degree in Fashion Merchandising with a focus in Product Development from FIT, and has five years of agency experience. After first working in operations, she eventually became a multi-million dollar producer, selling $1M - 2.5M annually.

Strategic Positioning to Increase Sales

Have you struggled to determine how to properly position your business when pitching to potential clients? If so, you are not alone, many others run into the same roadblock, which can make pitches less powerful, and also, may lead to prospecting for the wrong customers. Join Dominique Volker as she discusses sales tactics to use whether you are making calls or making pitches, plus, how to optimize your time spent on the phone and in meetings with potential clients. And finally, Dominique will unpack the magic behind attracting the most profitable type of buyer for you by demonstrating how your company’s brand identity and marketing determine your future customers, and how to change your strategy in order to amp your sales.

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Alex Branstrator

As an avid adventurer and explorer (and still in his mid-twenties!), Alex Branstrator has been to over ten countries and counting. Shortly after getting his license as a realtor, Alex decided to step into the family business (Bagley, located in Lakeland, FL) and he immediately became hooked on the wild adventure of the profession, working as a national sales executive for clients in the auto industry, sports, and healthcare. While working with his national client base, Alex got the idea to take his business on the road -literally- so in 2021 (‘thanks to commonsku,’ Alex says), he will combine his love for travel adventure and his newfound love for the promotional products business and drive across the US to see customers while continuing his passion for exploring the world.

Emerging Voices: Tips From the Next Generation of Salespeople with Alyssa Inkrott, Porshia Carter, and Alex Branstrator

One thing is clear: the next generation of salespeople have already experienced and survived a tremendous amount of change! In this session, you’ll hear a lightning round of quick tips shared by three of the brightest and boldest reps as they bring with them a wealth of insight into how the new generation of salespeople think, act, and sell! We’ll explore the creative energy they bring to their projects, how they work with clients and the communication tools they rely on, their outlook on the salesperson’s role in the future, and the biggest lessons that have shaped their (early!) careers! Join us for a fun journey through the mind of emerging sales voices today!

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Samantha Kates

Samantha (Sam) Kates is the Vice President of Sales at commonsku. Samantha has contributed to the sales success of some of the most notable brands in the industry, including iPROMOTEu, Charles River Apparel, and Fruit of the Loom. With over 15 years experience as a successful distributor and supplier, she is known as a catalyst for sales growth and for her ability to develop robust sales teams.

Emerging Voices: Tips From the Next Generation of Salespeople with Alyssa Inkrott, Porshia Carter, and Alex Branstrator

One thing is clear: the next generation of salespeople have already experienced and survived a tremendous amount of change! In this session, you’ll hear a lightning round of quick tips shared by three of the brightest and boldest reps as they bring with them a wealth of insight into how the new generation of salespeople think, act, and sell! We’ll explore the creative energy they bring to their projects, how they work with clients and the communication tools they rely on, their outlook on the salesperson’s role in the future, and the biggest lessons that have shaped their (early!) careers! Join us for a fun journey through the mind of emerging sales voices today!

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Bobby Lehew

Bobby Lehew is the Chief Content Officer at commonsku, a cloud-based CRM, order management platform designed for the promotional products industry by promotional product experts. A 25-year industry veteran, Bobby was formerly the CEO at Robyn, a branded products fulfillment company that specialized in private-label, e-commerce company stores. A PPAI Gold Pyramid Award winner, a PPAI Silver Technology recipient, an Addy Award recipient, and recognized (in his work with Robyn) three years in a row by Inc. Magazine as one of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., Bobby is co-host of the popular industry podcast, skucast and he is a national speaker on topics related to B2B marketing, company stores, productivity, and storyselling. Featured in ASI’s Counselor magazine as one of “41 people who are shaking up the market with new and innovative approaches,” Bobby is an ardent bibliophile and loves working at the intersection of art and commerce.

Secrets to Successful E-Commerce and Shops with Tracey Clingen and Bobby Lehew

As the largest distributor in Canada, Genumark builds the most innovative and enduring shops for some of North America’s most respected brands. In this interview, Bobby Lehew, the former CEO of Robyn (a successful shops distributor in the US), will sit down with Tracey Clingen to talk about the best practices for shops including the ideal customers for shops and what shops to avoid, how to determine the greatest potential for future sales with shops prospects, how to build for long-term profitability, contractual arrangements, integrations, and how to focus on shops as a vital part of your sales future. Join in on a conversation between two of North America’s most shop-experienced voices as they …. talk all things shop!

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Mark Graham

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).

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Catherine Graham

Catherine Graham is the CEO of commonsku. Catherine has been named to the Counselor Power 50 list, PPB’s Best Boss and an ASI Rising Star.

Catherine was the President of Rightsleeve before co-founding commonsku. Prior to Rightsleeve, she spent several years doing financial planning for fast-track individuals and entrepreneurs at TD Bank. She then went on to pursue an MBA at the Rotman School of Management during which time she joined the newly formed eBay Canada and launched two categories in the Canadian marketplace. After leaving eBay, Catherine worked as a management consultant at A.T. Kearney, working with Fortune 500 companies in a wide variety of areas including merger integration, marketing strategy and operational efficiencies.

Outside of work, Catherine is a mother to 3 children ranging in age from 15 to 10 years old and spends a lot of time in the hockey rink, coaching the teams for all 3 kids. She also sits on a variety of boards and committees in the non-profit space including the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, the Loran Scholar Foundation, Communitech, Next Canada and Futurpreneur.

2021 and Beyond: The Future of the Industry with Paul Bellantone, Tim Andrews, and Catherine Graham

Three of the largest organizations in the industry, ASI, PPAI, and commonsku, each accumulate a significant amount of research data about current market trends, the health of the industry, as well as the changes that are in store for our industry’s future. In this special session with ASI’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Tim Andrews, and PPAI’s President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Bellantone, and hosted by commonsku’s CEO Catherine Graham, we’ll explore the revelations each of these leaders have discovered through the outcome of the pandemic, what positive changes can emerge from a volatile season, how the supply chain is radically transforming, and what we need to do to lead our teams through to success for the future. Join us for a brief glimpse backwards but a long look forwards as we envision a bright future into 2021 and beyond!

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