PPB June 2022

Anne S t one Rolling Stone More than a decade and a half since she joined PPAI, Anne Stone has had a massive impact on the promotional products marketplace in a variety of ways— and she’s still working hard for the Association’s members. by Jonny Auping In June, Anne Stone will mark 16 years at PPAI. It’s another milestone for the Association’s director of member engagement, but her tenure alone can’t fully capture the immensity of her contribution. For distributors and suppliers—perhaps more than Stone, who remains focused on the job at hand—the anniversary is worth reflection. Because of Stone’s efforts, someone in these industry companies, both large and smaller, may have avoided unwittingly violating a government regulation. Maybe they returned from one of the conferences she spearheaded, having networked with soon-tobe collaborators. Or perhaps they reported back to their executives with a new plan for sustainability goals. She might have even initiated some facetime with their senator in Washington. There have been various titles and responsibilities for Stone in those 16 years, but her leading role organizing events such as this month’s Women’s Leadership Conference, the North American Leadership Conference and Product Responsibility Summit are maybe the most tangible representations of the work she’s done over that time. Stone gets companies to put competition aside while they listen to the things they all need to hear to make the industry stronger, safer and primed to keep growing. “Anne is dedicated and incredibly thorough,” says Roni Wright, Vice President of The Book Company. “She thinks through each question, comment and discussion, being certain to look at it from all perspectives.” Sixteen years ago, though, Stone had been out of the workforce for over a decade. Previously working in public relations and communications for various associations and tech companies, she left that career behind to become a stay-at-home mom raising her two daughters. When she was ready to get back to a full-time job, it was Tina Filipski, PPAI’s director of publications for 26 years, who hired Stone as a public relations manager. “It was just kind of perfect,” Stone says. Immediately, the industry’s goals and needs made sense to her. “I was on the board when Anne first joined PPAI,” Wright says. “I was impressed with how quickly she engaged with staff, with the board and with members of the Association.” She had spent a few years working in public relations under Filipski when the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 passed. Relative newcomers to the industry may only have a passing understanding of how this act affected the 34 | JUNE 2022 | GROW