The 2023 PPAI Women Of Achievement Award Recipients
For 14 years, PPAI has honored women who’ve spurred the industry forward with the Association's Woman of Achievement award. Their outstanding leadership, dedication and talent have impressed peers, empowered other women and energized entire communities.
Brittany David Is ‘Full of Gratitude’
An 18-year veteran of the promotional products industry, David is chief revenue officer for SnugZ USA and one of PPAI’s Women of Achievement recipients for 2023. She says it’s a feat she couldn’t have done alone.
In late June, Brittany David, MAS, was recognized as a PPAI Women of Achievement. Taking the stage at PPAI’s 2023 Women’s Leadership Conference in Eagan, Minnesota, David thanked her family, friends and colleagues for their support and love.
“I am so full of gratitude, and I have a happy heart,” said David. As a team player, David says solo recognition is foreign territory. “Life is a journey you just don’t do solo.”
When David first heard she was being nominated, she felt awkward. “If anyone knows me well, they know I am not an uber self-promoter. I like being a part of the team.”
An 18-year veteran of the promotional products industry, David is chief revenue officer for SnugZ USA – ranked the No. 9 supplier in the PPAI 100. Also a strong advocate for the industry, David completed a five-year term on the PPAI Board of Directors, serving as chair in 2019.
“Unlike few others I’ve ever known, Brittany has a way of inspiring others to join the fun, which is another way of saying that people want to be doing whatever she’s doing,” says nominator Todd Pottebaum, MAS, president of Quality Resource Group. “If that’s leading teams and initiatives, she’s inspiring others to do the same. If it’s volunteering, she’s inspiring others to join and contribute. If it’s inspiring change, people view her as a tastemaker and want to model themselves after her. Ultimately, her achievements inspire others to do just that – achieve.”
David is a PPAI Fellow and recently was presented with the Supplier Visionary award by A Woman’s View, an organization dedicated to supporting women in the promotional products industry. She has also been named one of the most influential people in the industry.
Nominator and PPAI Hall of Fame recipient Teresa Moisant, MAS, president of Moisant Promotional Products, calls David the “jewel of the industry.” The two women met at a WLC event 14 years ago and forged a powerful connection.
“In 2013, I was asked to head a panel at the Women’s Leadership Conference on the topic of emerging leaders in our industry. Once we got to the Q&A, it became the ‘Brittany session,’” says Moisant. “The questions were all directed toward Brittany. In my 10-plus years of attending the conference, I haven’t witnessed an event that inspired such interaction. What I saw that day was someone who was totally committed to helping others achieve their success. Over the many years, that spirit, combined with the wisdom she has gained, has impacted many in our industry.”
To women in this industry, David says, “Don’t ever let anything stop you, especially yourself. It all starts with you. If you want it or will it, you are likely going to achieve it.”
She says her parents gave her a head start in life. “My parents put my brothers and me in tons of sports and activities growing up. I learned at a very early age: one team, one voice. I learned how to win, how to lose with dignity, how to celebrate and lift others up.”
Chasing runaway softballs taught David about hard work. “Sometimes, you have to do the things you don’t love doing just to get the results you want.”
She believes timing is everything, especially when it comes to opportunity. “There is a saying that goes, ‘Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor,’” she says. “You have to show up, you have to say yes, you have to put in the hard work, and you can’t fear rejection.”
Nominator and co-president of BrandFuel Danny Rosin, CAS, says, “She has a sense of extreme warmth, balanced with her ability to make tough decisions even when her ideas or opinions were unpopular. She has earned the respect of her peers. When she walks on stage, the room lights up. People listen but more importantly, they act.”
Speaking to her colleagues at WLC, David said, “Thank you to all those who have given me an opportunity. Thank you to those who took a chance on me and elevated me. I am forever grateful.
Age is just a number. You can start a new journey and tackle a new challenge any day. With hard work, integrity and the right opportunity, you can do anything.”
Patricia Dugan Is Forever Inspired
For almost 50 years, Dugan has worked in promo. Today, she is the vice president of sales and marketing for BUDGETCARD and one of PPAI’s Women of Achievement recipients for 2023. She says it’s a celebration for all.
“What an incredibly huge honor,” said Patricia Dugan, MAS, beginning her acceptance speech at the PPAI’s 2023 Women’s Leadership Conference in Eagan, Minnesota.
PPAI Hall of Fame member Mary Ellen Sokalski, MAS, says she was “flabbergasted” that Dugan hadn’t already been recognized. “Here is a superstar volunteer and fundraiser for over 43 years who should be on one of our industry’s highest pedestals, but she continually dodges the limelight.
“When I first met her over 40 years ago, I watched her from afar, noting the lines of raving fans and friends who waited to speak to her, to be helped by her. Always smiling, always a solutions provider, Pat built an army of customers and competitors as friends and supporters.”
Today, Dugan is the vice president of sales and marketing for BUDGETCARD. She remains an active volunteer, dedicating her time and energy to her industry, community and church.
“Pat is a true champion,” says nominator and NEPPA Executive Director Carol Boutwell. “Pat earned the distinction of receiving the NEPPA Person of the Year Award 1986-1987 and served as NEPPA’s president from 1987-1988. She has been an advocate for NEPPA, offering advice and guidance to the board with NEPPA’s best interests at heart.”
Dugan has served in dozens of board positions within PPAI, as well as Promotional Products Education Foundation chair from 2015-2017, leading the nonprofit through a defining period of change that ultimately led to increasing scholarships.
Former PPAI Publications Director Tina Berres Filipski says, “I worked directly with her during her years on the PPEF Board of Trustees, starting in 2013. Under Pat’s guidance, PPEF increased scholarships from $25,000 to $150,000, the highest dollar amount ever awarded in a single year at that time. Throughout her career, Pat has been a very well-liked and respected role model for all women working in the promo industry. No one is more deserving of this honor than Pat Dugan.”
Speaking to the WLC crowd, Dugan said, “This award is really about us,” and added that she sees a healthy blend of women at all stages of their careers. “We can continue building women power. This award is a roadmap to keep us focused so we know where we are going.”
Nominator and Spector & Co. Strategic Partnerships Director Kippie Helzel, MAS, says Dugan is an exceptional person. “She has been a fixture in this industry for as long as I can remember and was always a standout, even before I really knew her. From her days at Pilgrim Plastics to her current work at BUDGETCARD, she made the whole concept of selling custom-printed plastic exciting. She never let a customer down, worked all hours until the work was done and always stayed true to the work at hand.”
Dugan says industry women need to keep the momentum going, nominating each other for esteemed awards like PPAI’s Hall of Fame.
“1977 was the year the first person was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Today, we have 90 people who are inductees of this prestigious group. Only 11 are women,” said Dugan. “That’s a little more than 10 percent.”
But in the last six years, seven women have been honored. Dugan said, “What incredible motion, and we don’t want to lose that. We need to mentor women coming up, and we need to nominate deserving women who qualify for any awards, boards and committees.”
Despite her monumental career, Dugan says the honor took her by surprise. “It was incredible. There are just so many emotions. I never would have expected it.”
Nominator Dale Johnson Cornell calls Dugan a “gentle giant.” She says, “She does not seek recognition for her involvements and achievements, but instead, feels it is simply the right thing to do.”
Looking back, Dugan thanks the mentors in her life. “I was a very lucky person coming through this industry. I’ve had incredible mentors. I worked very hard, so when something happened, I was ready, but I never did it for that. It was just the way I am.”