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ASI Earns Best Employer Title

Filed under: Community, News About ASI

Validation is wonderful. In the case of corporate culture, it’s assurance you’re on the right track, that the work atmosphere you’ve created results in high productivity and happy employees. Here at ASI, our validation is tangible – a recent award for “Best Employer Overall” in an employee-driven competition recognizing outstanding workplace environments.

It wasn’t our first “Best Places to Work” award, and I’m confident it won’t be our last. Our employees have voted ASI a great place to work every year since 2010.

Some years we win for a workplace that’s most appreciated by new college grads. Other years, we’ve been honored as a “Best Place for Working Moms” for perks like our private nursing room, parking spaces close to the entrance for pregnant women and eight weeks of free day care for new parents at our on-site day care.

This year, we competed with companies throughout the greater Philadelphia area, against large hospitals and other media companies. My favorite part wasn’t the nice plaque we got (see photo above, featuring HR employees Jeannette Rhodunda, at right, and Ashley Locker), but quotes from some of the employees who voted for us, shared by the judges:

  • “We’re encouraged to share our thoughts and ideas on how the company could do better, and often those ideas promote change. It allows me to take ownership of my role within the company.”
  • “I feel like I snatched the golden ticket by working with such friendly and talented folks who welcome and motivate you to achieve the best of your abilities.”
  • “We are on the cutting edge of technology in our industry. The management and employees are great people always pushing forward and it is a great learning experience.”
  • “ASI is an amazing place to work. I am very happy coming into work every day. There are great perks and they treat their employees well.”

As anyone competing to hire the best employees knows, finding top talent is an art and a skill. Lucky for us, we have a seasoned expert leading our recruiting: Carol Albright, ASI senior vice president of human resources. Carol’s been with ASI since 1986 so she knows the value of long-standing employees as well as fresh eyes and ideas.

Sales can be competitive. All the changes in technology can make your head spin. Finding ways to communicate those changes to clients takes real finesse. But when I look around our building, at our IT and user experience experts, ace copywriters and video editors, our sales teams and so many others, I see sharp minds and dedicated people working together to help everyone in the promotional products industry be the best they can possibly be.

It helps, too, to offer employees good salaries and competitive benefits, an array of educational programs, an award-winning Wellness Program and diversity initiatives, along with a fitness center, Starbucks, a café featuring healthy options, casual dress every day and community service events.

I’m proud that we’re an award-winning company and especially proud that we get to claim the “Best Place to Work” title thanks to votes from our employees.

And if you want to join our team, we do have openings in IT, sales, marketing and finance. Click here to visit our careers page for more info on ASI, our community (90 minutes to New York City!) and our current opportunities.


Cool, Charismatic and Paying it Forward

Filed under: Community, Industry Initiatives, Members, News About ASI

If you read nothing else this week, I urge you to peruse the stories of the innovators and game changers who made the 2016 Counselor Hot 25 list.

You’ll find entrepreneurs like Bayo Simmonds, the rock-star owner and founder of the apparel company Assertive Creativity (asi/37166), who was born in Brooklyn to a Nigerian father and a mother from St. Thomas. He’s passionate about this industry and determined to succeed.

You’ll also find Dat Dang, president and founder of supplier firm Chao (asi/48102), which brings a truly unique product to the industry: artful, customized pop-up greeting cards. Dat immigrated to the U.S. as a seven-year-old following the Vietnam War, and Chao is now one of Inc.’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies.

Although I could have highlighted any one of the creative business leaders on this year’s Hot 25 list (#CounselorHot25), I’m singling out Bayo and Dat because they represent the future of our industry. They’re young – and they don’t look like everyone else I see on the trade show floor.

Back in 2012, I challenged the audience at the ASI Power Summit to hire one minority sometime in the next year. “Don’t hire someone like me,” I said. “We don’t need more 50-year-old white males!” If every top distributor heeded my call for greater diversification and hired and trained a minority, in five years we’d have 25,000 experienced representatives courting new business.

We may not be there yet, but I was heartened by the people on our 2016 list, which is a mix of industry veterans and newcomers, children of industry legends and heads of overseas companies. Also of note: our list also includes 13 female business leaders. Considering that women overall currently hold a paltry 4% of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies the number on the Hot 25 list is truly impressive.

Will hiring more minorities and women automatically boost your bottom line? Of course not. But as study after study tells us, people tend to trust and buy from people who look like them, culturally and ethnically. So it’s good economic sense for every company in this industry to take an aggressive stance on shaking things up.

It may not make a huge difference this year, but it will as soon as the next generation comes of age. More than half of the nation’s children are expected to be part of a minority race or ethnic group by 2020 – four short years from now – the U.S. Census Bureau reports.

Who will relate to – and sell to – them? Happily, many people on Counselor’s 2016 Hot 25 list. I’m proud of that, and you should be too.

The results and more info on all our winners are in the March issue of ASI’s award-winning Counselor magazine, and profiles and photos of all winners are available online.

Check out their stories. They’re inspiring – and they also contain a ton of smart business advice, like this nugget from industry veteran Jill Stirnkorb, BIC Graphic’s vice president of inside sales: “Email, social media and all the technology in the world does not replace a good phone call or face-to-face meeting.”

When she started at BIC, Jill was only the third female in the sales force. It’s a big part of the reason why she mentors younger women today. She’s paying it forward. And you should too.