When a group of the 2022 PPAI Rising Stars visited the Association’s headquarters this summer to celebrate their honor, they were also given a challenge: Prepare to lead the promotional products industry.

Indeed, this select group of high-achievers, chosen among hundreds of worthy nominees from across the marketplace by a PPAI judging panel, represent the emerging future of promotional products. They may go on to lead companies, regional associations, or even help guide PPAI itself as board members. They are the boldest and the brightest, joining a group of just over 160 professionals who have claimed the honor since the program began in 2010.

This annual recognition of young people spotlights some of the industry’s most promising up-and-coming figures based on their accomplishments, demonstrated leadership and involvement in the marketplace and their communities. In these interviews, they reveal the strengths that make them special, the challenges they deal with and their vision for where the industry is soon headed.

Nicole Baker, 30
Account Executive
American Solutions for Business
Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Get To Know Nicole


Hilary Barnes, 29
Field Sales Manager
Greater Toronto Area

Get To Know Hilary


Johnny Beig, 40
Senior Vice President
Dioz Group
Beverly Hills, California

Get To Know Johnny


Mel Bettua, 37
Director of Sales
Greater Boston Area'

Get To Know Mel


Derek Boyer, 39
Success Coach
Stow, Ohio

Get To Know Derek


Kelly Brown, 29
Director of Marketing & Operations
Green Giftz
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Get To Know Kelly


Melissa Gayl, 34
Senior Manager of National Accounts
Los Angeles

Get To Know Melissa


Lane Hokanson, 28
Global Key Accounts Marketing Manager
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Get To Know Lane


Indigo Shea, 24
Sand Scripts / AdBibLine
Brielle, New Jersey

Get To Know Indigo


Brad Kaeser, 32
Business Development
Kaeser & Blair
Newport, Kentucky

Get To Know Brad


Mitch Kaeser, 30
Event Planning
Kaeser & Blair, Inc.
Newport, Kentucky

Get To Know Mitch


Javier Melendez, 30
National Account Executive
Walker-Clay, Inc.
Greater Boston Area

Get To Know Javier