About Product Summit
The goal of Product Summit is to elevate how we think about Sustainability in the industry as well as equip distributors with cutting-edge product ideas in the eco-space.
We want to eliminate greenwashing, proactively lead our teams and our businesses with sustainable solutions, and provide ideas that honor our clients’ brand values. It’s time to join forces as a supply chain, come together and inspire one another to learn and lead.
Join us for an inspirational experience combining real-world learning with on-trend product ideas that are solely focused on sustainable solutions. Let’s change our world - one product, one buyer at a time.
Product Summit is hosted by commonsku, cloud-based software for the promotional products industry. commonsku was created to empower your business: to streamline your workflow, connect your team, impress your clients, and allow you to close deals faster. We believe strongly in the power of events - in person and virtual - to connect and inspire professionals in the promotional products industry.
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.
John Borg is founder of San Francisco-based distributor, ECO IMPRINTS. A writer, designer, activist and entrepreneur, his background intersects the areas of communications, product development and environmental sustainability. After starting his career as a journalist, John transitioned into corporate communications. In 1991, he founded Three 8 Creative, a boutique advertising design firm. As a frequent promotional product buyer, he saw opportunity for a new kind of firm focused on more responsible solutions and less waste. He established Eco Imprints in 2007. John works with organizations and brands that put a premium on corporate social responsibility. He is deeply involved in the zero waste movement, specializing in product solutions that minimize single-use plastics. An avid surfer and cyclist, John lives with his wife and two teenage children on a 4-acre certified organic farmstead in rural coastal Marin County.
As a Sustainability Manager, Emily works to ensure that all SanMar products are produced in compliance with the highest social and environmental standards. She believes that business done well has the power to do good, and joined SanMar in 2016 to see that vision through. Her mission is to have a positive impact in the communities where we do business and minimize environmental impacts in the apparel supply chain. With diverse experience spanning apparel, international community development and sustainability, she’s a Pacific Northwesterner who’s happy to be back in Seattle after years living and working in Los Angeles, Thailand and Peru. She holds an MBA in Sustainable Business from Presidio Graduate School and a BA in Diplomacy and World Affairs from Occidental College.
Brandon Conovitz is the Chief Operating Officer of twelveNYC, overseeing its global operations and vast supply chain. With more than 20 years of industry experience, he’s seen and solved it all, from port strikes to supply shortages and now even a global pandemic.
Working alongside CEO + Founder, Katie Conovitz, Brandon has helped steer the company from its start-up phase to become a multi-million-dollar business, exceeding $40 million in revenue in 2019. He has been instrumental in the exponential growth of the company’s overseas operational functions, using his expertise in negotiation and relationship-building to deepen twelveNYC’s global supply chain and establish offices in Hong Kong and London. He also manages the myriad teams at twelveNYC, acting as central conduit of information, timeline management and navigation of day-to-day challenges.
Anna Lepry is the Director of Marketing at twelveNYC. Prior to joining twelve, Anna found her passion for storytelling through gaining work experience in copywriting and strategic planning across different advertising and PR agencies in New York.
Now, after being on the twelve team for over five years, Anna leads the Marketing department, overseeing telling twelveNYC’s story through all marketing initiatives including social media, photoshoots, and sustainable strategy, working to create brand content and marketing tools that exemplifies twelveNYC’s mission and connects with the needs of their hundreds of global clients.
Sara Miltenberger has made a name for herself in the sustainability world of science and technology for the past eight years. In 2019, she was appointed head of sustainability at twelveNYC to create new programming for a carbon positive business strategy.
In addition, she founded Restore Media & Strategy LLC to utilize creativity and communication to make sustainability a positive experience for client programs. Her clients have included small to large businesses around the world that are looking for help telling product stories that marry science and strategy with life cycle analysis, supply chain development and employee education.
Beyond strategy, she has assisted clients with developing energy solutions and installing solar arrays and EV charging. Sara has helped clients receive awards and certifications with B Corp, Ecovadis and 1% for the Planet.
A Forbes 30 Under 30 Scholar, she also produces a podcast "Make Climate Cool Again" that brings on CEOs, ecopreneurs and leaders to talk about how they are making positive climate change and to normalize imperfect action in our everyday lives.
Prior to her consultancy, Sara worked for Tesla’s EHS team and managed new initiatives for health and safety programs and built a software platform for company compliance. Prior to Tesla, she founded and ran global sustainability initiatives at Delos Living LLC and worked mainly on AI product development, supply chain and strategy. Other work experience includes roles as an Environmental Scientist and a Lab Technician for environmental remediation consulting firms.
A natural entrepreneur, she has previously built two small businesses during her undergrad experience at Union College while receiving a B.A. in Environmental Policy. In 2019, she graduated from Columbia University as President of her class with an M.S. in Sustainability Management.
Sara lives in Connecticut with her two cats, Mac and Roni.
Eco Promotional Products
Eco Promotional Products
Michelle Sheldon worked for 12+ years for a $4 billion Dutch manufacturing company in sales and sustainable marketing. 3.5 of those years were spent living, working and having a family in the Netherlands. Michelle learned to appreciate a very different lifestyle. Grocery stores did not provide bags, you had to bring your own. Recycling your glass jars meant money back in her pocket. There were no garbage disposals, all your “green” garbage was composted. Energy was half-price after 9 PM, that is when she did laundry. This eye-opening experience led her to truly understand how valuable our resources are.
After returning to the US and working numerous large trade shows, attending umpteen meetings and conferences, she knew there was a better way to help companies brand themselves more responsibly. In 2008 she launched Eco Promotional Products, Inc. with her father who had 20 years industry experience. She created a vetting process that continues to evolve based on ethics, transparency, community, the environment and so much more.
Michelle’s journey has defied many odds as a woman owned small business focused solely on sustainability. With over 13 years’ experience and many unbelievable stories, she’s more passionate than ever about helping to change our industry. Eco Promotional Products, Inc. is a certified B Corporation, certified WBENC and WOSB and Green America Gold certified.
Michelle is past president of Green Meetings Industry Council Chicago and board member of Aprendiendo/Jugando (Learning While Playing), fosters for AEAR (Animal Education and Rescue), member of the Sierra Club, organizer of local cleanup events, Fest Booster for One Earth Film Festival and loves to play volleyball and pickleball. Michelle graduated from The Ohio State University with a BA focus on IO Psychology.
Redwood Classics Apparel
Redwood Classics Apparel
Kathy Cheng Redwood Classics Apparel, President Kathy Cheng is the President of WS & Co., one of Canada’s leading full-service apparel manufacturers. She is also the founder of WS & Co.’s in-stock apparel line, Redwood Classics Apparel, which provides promotional and retail distributors with trending garments that are handcrafted in North America.
2020 was a milestone year. Kathy was named on Inc. Magazine’s 100 Female Founders List for 2020 and was awarded the CAMSC Special Recognition Award for her philanthropic work and inclusive local procurement during COVID19. She was also recognized for her significant contributions in Supplier Diversity, receiving the WBE President’s Award, and the CGLCC LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year Award.
Kathy was honoured with the WBE Accelerator Award in 2017, was a recipient of MBE Magazine’s “MBEs Who Rock” Awards in 2016 and honoured by CAMSC as the 2015 Supplier of the Year. In 2016, Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) presented Kathy with the prestigious Counselor Supplier Woman of Distinction Award for her positive mark in the industry through her business acumen and leadership abilities. In 2014, Kathy was also one of three Canadians inducted into The EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ program, a North American competition and executive leadership program. In 2013, she won a position on the Women’s Executive Network’s list of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada.
As a diverse certified supplier of CAMSC (Canadian Aboriginal Minority Supplier Council), WBE Canada (Women’s Business Enterprises Canada) and WE Connect International, Kathy is on the Board of Directors for CAMSC, served on the WBE Canada Supplier Advisory Council Member, and is an Ambassador for CGLCC (Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce).
Hit Promotional Products
Hit Promotional Products
Traci Tarquinio is the Vice President of Product Development for Hit Promotional Products with over 20 years of Product Development, Sourcing, Marketing, and Sales experience in the Promotional Products Industry and the Corporate Retail Channel.
Traci has been developing Eco-friendly products for over 15 years starting in Apparel with recycled tees for a large international retail chain. She also developed numerous products and collections around sustainability from RPET to recycled cotton for the promotional industry over those years. Traci traveled overseas often throughout her career to visit factories and study the manufacturing process across all product categories, while also focusing on the development and requirements of how RPET products are manufactured from Post-Consumer Waste.
Because lifestyle and retail trends are constantly changing at a rapid pace, to remain educated, Traci continues to partner with top marketing and merchandising associations. She also organizes a focus group of customers for Hit Promotional Products to keep current on feedback for what our end users are looking to see in the industry. Traci is passionate about trends, influencers, and brands, so in her free time she loves traveling and shopping. She also enjoys spending quality time with her husband and 19-year-old twins.
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).
Bobby Lehew is the Chief Content Officer at commonsku. A 25-year industry veteran, Bobby was formerly the CEO at Robyn, a branded product fulfillment company that specialized in private-label, e-commerce company stores. Bobby is a national speaker on topics related to B2B marketing, company stores, productivity, and storytelling. Featured in ASI’s Counselor magazine as one of “41 people who are shaking up the market with new and innovative approaches” (2010) and in OKC Biz magazine’s “Forty Under 40″ (2009), Bobby is an ardent bibliophile and loves working at the intersection of art and commerce.
David is the VP of Supplier Partnerships for commonsku. With 20 years of industry experience, David enjoys collaborating with his industry peers to address technical challenges affecting our industry with a focus on workflow connectivity. Prior to joining commonsku David served as the VP of Operations for industry service provider, DistributorCentral. He currently sits on the board of directors for the Promotional Products Association Midwest (PPAM), the PromoCares Board, PPAI's Regional Strategic Foresight Committee and PPAI's Awards & Recognition Committee.
All times in ET
Within 16 years, twelveNYC has become one of the most respected companies in branded merchandise, creating custom product stories for the world’s most covetable brands in the fashion, retail, beauty, tech, and consumer products spaces. Sustainability is an ever-evolving passion for twelveNYC. Recently, they released their second annual Sustainability and Responsibility Report, sharing with clients the changes they’ve made as an organization by weaving sustainability into everything they do - from their internal infrastructure to sustainably driven design to creating more sustainable supply chain resources. In this interview with twelveNYC’s Director of Sustainability, Sara Miltenberger, and Chief Operating Officer, Brandon Conovitz, we’ll explore the lessons learned from their journey as they’ve worked to educate and motivate clients, team members, and the community with more sustainable initiatives. We’ll discuss some of the steps they’ve taken to create a sustainable focus within their organization as well as the supply chain initiatives they’ve launched, plus, the impact they’ve made with clients to inspire more sustainable solutions. Join us as we chat with one of the most respected consumer brand partners as we explore how to create a climate positive culture!
2:30 pm - 3:00 pm -
Distributor Panel: Selling Sustainability and Avoiding Brandfill
Distributors are often in a state of reacting to sustainability requests: more often than not, many distributors shift to sustainable options only by direction of the client. But what’s changed is that more and more clients expect us to lead with sustainable and ethical sourcing options, and to present product ideas that honor their brand values. In order to do that, we need to learn how to communicate and position the right products for the right opportunity. In this session, Denise Taschereau, co-founder of Fairware, will interview two veteran eco-focused distributors who are experts at just that: leading with sustainable options, exploring product opportunities that honor a client’s objectives, and navigating pricing options while helping customers achieve their objective. Join us for a real-world discussion held by those how have pioneered the sustainable mission in our industry.
3:00 pm - 3:30 pm -
Supplier Panel: Sharing the Supply Chain Story
Net zero. Carbon offsets. Blockchain. Circularity. Ethical sourcing. Let’s face it: Sustainability is a broad and deep topic with many subtopics, from packaging to imprinting process. It requires thoughtful attention and clarification. In this session, we’ll chat with some of the leading suppliers today to talk about what we -as a supply chain- are doing now to positively impact our world in these areas and ideas on how we can improve. Plus, buyers are increasingly wanting more transparency into the supply chain, we’ll discuss how we can provide that visibility by exploring compelling ways to share the supply chain story.
3:30pm - 5:00pm -
Product Breakout Sessions (15 min rounds)
Breakouts are an opportunity to learn from some of your favorite supplier partners. In these 15 minute sessions, suppliers will share their top sustainable product ideas, each accompanied by a commonsku Collection. Pick the best track for you and if you can’t make them all - don’t worry! All breakout sessions are recorded and will be sent to attendees after the event.
Breakout Sessions Round 1 with Hit Promotional Products, Spector & Co., iClick, Snugz USA
Breakout Sessions Round 2 with S&S Activewear, Polyconcept North America, Fields Manufacturing, Fill It Forward
Breakout Sessions Round 3 with alphabroder Prime, Chocolate Inn/ Lanco, Marine Layer, HHPLIFT
Breakout Sessions Round 4 with Gemline, Redwood Classics Apparel, Timbuk2, Sandlot Goods
Breakout Sessions Round 5 with hpg, Denik, Raining Rose Inc.
Breakout Sessions Round 6 with Logomark, SanMar, Chameleon Like, Peerless Umbrella
5:00pm - 5:30pm -
Just like at our conferences IRL, we want to provide an opportunity to connect, face-to-face, for real-time engagement and the sharing of ideas! Over the course of 30 minutes, you’ll be matched with 10 different attendees to exchange thoughts on the event and ideas on how we can improve this industry.