On Wednesday, PPAI announced that Chris Anderson, CEO of Braintree, Massachusetts-based supplier HPG, and Denise Taschereau, co-founder and CEO of Vancouver, British Columbia-based distributor Fairware Promotional Products, have been selected as candidates for its Board of Directors class of 2026. The election to approve the slate begins September 7 and concludes September 28, with results available in early October.

Chris Anderson joined the promotional products industry in 2002 with supplier HandStands and became president of the company in 2009 and CEO in 2010. Under his leadership, HandStands expanded its distribution into 138 countries and closed multiple strategic acquisitions, including the sale of the business to HPG in 2018. Anderson became CEO of HPG in 2019.

“In addition to serving as chief executive of multiple companies, I have also served on several boards over the years—from the board of my alma mater’s business school, to the boards of successful corporations. This cross-exposure has been very valuable in helping to shape the way I lead but, more importantly, the way that I work with peers and colleagues to help bring about the best possible outcome,” says Anderson, describing his leadership style. “To this end, I have learned to always be open to new information and to be persuadable by fact. These two concepts may sound obvious, but for many—especially those who have been successful in prior ventures—the temptation is often to rest on laurels or that which has worked in the past. Instead, I have sought to become more humble with time, and to always seek to be learning, adapting and growing—as yesterday’s successful formula only guarantees future success in a static environment. And, if we have learned anything over the past year, the world is far from a static environment.”

Anderson adds, “I subscribe to what I call the ‘engine and transmission’ philosophy of getting things done. In this philosophy, the ‘engine’ represents the mind, and is the generator of ideas, creative concepts and solutions. The ‘transmission’ represents the ability to effectively work with others to transfer the ideas, creative concepts and solutions into action. Just as with a car that has a powerful engine, but a broken transmission, the most brilliant ideas generally don’t go far if the innovator cannot effectively communicate and work with others.”

Denise Taschereau launched Fairware after realizing how difficult it was to source promotional merchandise that reflected the social and environmental priorities of the many brands and organizations she admired. Previously, Taschereau oversaw the Mountain Equipment 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 board member of PromoCares, an industry group driving awareness and education around sustainability issues in the promotional products industry.

“My experience on multiple boards exemplifies my dedication to volunteerism and my commitment to engaging in strategic efforts and seeing lasting change,” says Taschereau, speaking on the strengths she would bring to the PPAI board. “I have experience leading governance committees and acting as chair. I have a clear sense of board/staff roles and appreciate the critical partnership between the two. As co-chair of a political board, I had extensive opportunities to practice the skills of diplomacy, coalition building and, most importantly, the art of compromise.”

Taschereau adds, “My ongoing role co-facilitating Eco-Partners, a private, invitation-only group that has been running for over 20 years, keeps me at the forefront of thought leadership through bi-annual, two-day meetings with the leading minds of corporate social responsibility, diversity, equity and inclusion, and advocacy from over 20 leading North American brands.”

Click here to view the candidates’ career highlights, skills and education, and see how they describe their leadership style and the strengths they will bring to the board.

Each PPAI member company’s voting contact is eligible to cast a vote for the slate. Voting will be done electronically, and a new 2021 username and password will be emailed to the voting contact on September 7.

On August 24 at 12 pm CT, PPAI is hosting a webinar “Get to Know Your Board Nominees,” in which PPAI President and CEO Dale Denham, MAS+, and Board Chair Todd Pottebaum, MAS+, will introduce this year's nominees. For more information and to register, click here.