Commitment to the Cure


At pep’s core is a group of people who care deeply and passionately about two things: driving unparalleled value to clients on a daily basis and being conscious and consistent contributors in driving positive change in our communities.

Our people give everything they have while at work, only to continue putting forth just as much effort and care into activities outside of the workplace such as volunteering and supporting organizations that impact the world for the better.


pep recently attended the Once in a Lifetime Gala put on by The Cure Starts Now, a non-profit foundation that supports a cause close to many of our hearts — finding a cure for cancer. “The Cure Starts Now represents something truly different. For us it’s not about fighting just one cancer, but the elimination of cancer as a whole. We believe as the experts do, that in order to truly cure cancer you have to focus on those cancers that are the biggest bullies like DIPG. The Cure Starts Now is the first cancer charity dedicated to this “homerun cure” – curing cancer, one child at a time” (thecurestartsnow). The foundation has funded over $10 million dollars for the cause, a number that continues to grow with each function that they spearhead.gala

The 11th annual benefit, one of Cincinnati’s most unique galas and largest silent auctions, was a night full of  Alice and Wonderland themed fun. The event was held in Duke Energy Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom and presented by Graeter’s Ice Cream. As a gold sponsor for the event, pep was allotted a table to enjoy the evening firsthand. Overall, the event was a huge success and raised over $587,000!

A Cure Starts Now gracefully unifies compassion & purpose to create a tangible, intentional mission that impacts the lives of many. pep is honored to play a very small role in supporting their efforts. All proceeds raised benefit cancer research directly and better position us to eliminate this disease, freeing our communities and children of cancer, for good.


Jamie Arroyo
Marketing & Communications Coordinator



Reaching new heights while keeping grounded – a lifetime of adventure with Susan Goodyear.

Susan GoodyearOn the heels of International Women’s Day and with a strong sense of “girl power” filling the atmosphere; it seems only fitting that this “Executive Spotlight” should recognize one of pep’s powerhouse women, Susan Goodyear, Vice President of Sales & Marketing. When you have a conversation with Susan, you immediately recognize her energy and passion for life, which is truly an infectious quality. It is no wonder that she has blown all of her sales goals out of the water and motivated teams to conquer and surpass every objective.

In the beginning of her career, Susan fully intended to become a lawyer. She started her journey as a paralegal at a law firm in New York City, but quickly observed that the lawyers seemed very unhappy, working arduous hours that may or may not ever lead to making partner. This lifestyle was not how she imagined her future and she sought other opportunities in the exciting world of advertising sales. Eventually, she crossed paths with George Valassis and began what would be a 29 year career in sales at Valassis. Susan reflects that it was a “fun, amazing, and successful ride” that she will forever be grateful for. Just looking at Susan’s resume or LinkedIn profile speaks for itself, but what is also truly incredible are the accomplishments Susan has achieved behind the scenes of her business successes.

After 29 years at Valassis, Susan was ready for a new challenge both professionally and personally. The first new challenge presented itself on a personal level in the form of climbing a mountain – literally! Susan explained that her personal life was feeling out of control for various reasons and she needed to regain that control. A co-worker and friend encouraged her to start climbing and she agreed. Susan reached the summit of Mount Rainier in the summer of 2014. Just reaching the summit of a 10,000 foot vertical is beyond a triumph and something most of us will never experience, but what Susan took away from this experience just speaks so much to her character. She says, “No one can climb a mountain alone – it takes a team. We had three very competent guides, seven men, and me. Our leaders mapped out the vision, the strategy, and showed us the tools and techniques that were essential to a successful and safe climb.” And this is exactly how Susan leads her team in the professional setting, by clearly communicating her vision and ensuring that they have the tools to be successful. Further, Susan reflects: “Great teamwork requires communication, trust, and an understanding of everyone’s strengths and weaknesses – recognizing when to take the lead and when you need to let others take the baton.” Who knew there was so much you could learn from a mountain! Susan went on to explain that the accomplishment of summiting Mount Rainier gave her the courage to pursue a career change after spending 29 years with the same company, which is what brought her to pep.

As if Susan didn’t seem fierce enough, she went on to begin afresh at pep leading a totally new team, navigating a rebrand, meeting sales goals, and learning the ropes of a new culture within the first few months of her start date. While tackling this massive career adjustment, she also tackled a 202 mile bike ride in two days for the VeloSano race in Cleveland. Sometimes I look at Susan and think, “gosh, how does she do it?!”, but I’ve come to learn that it’s no accident that Susan achieves so many amazing things and still has time to be an incredible friend, family member, and co-worker. I asked Susan if she could give her younger self any advice what would it be and her answers had a very clear and profound underlying theme – balance. She is exceedingly mindful of her priorities and her designation of time to each priority. She stresses that this wasn’t always the case and has taken her time to learn, but goes on to say that “…when you don’t have your personal life in order it’s really hard to be successful at work. Nothing is ever perfect so try to find harmony knowing there will be an ebb and flow in life. Don’t strive for perfection, strive for balance. Nothing can ever be perfect. Perfection is not attainable but if we chase it we can catch excellence.”

Echoing this theme, I recall countless occasions that I’ve heard Susan reference “the glass balls” in meetings and private conversations. If you’ve never heard of them, check out the full story, but the simple version is that life consists of glass balls and rubber balls. The glass balls are family, health, friends, and spirit while the rubber ball is your career because a career can always bounce back, but if you damage your family, health, friends, or spirit – those glass balls will shatter and be irrevocably in disrepair. This seems to be Susan’s guiding light and the essence of her success. Candidly she says, “oh gosh, family and friends and health and spirit… keep that spirit…remember those glass balls in life because work is important and critical to success, but life flies by and you have to make sure you take the time to enjoy it and be aware of all the elements of life – be sure to keep those glass balls in a safe place.” This is Susan’s mantra, something we could all live by or at least learn from. Clearly it has served her well. Cheers to knowing women like Susan! May we know them, may we be them, and may we raise them!

–                By Ashley Martina

Executive Spotlight: Tim Drost

tim-drostCareer paths never seem to follow a straight and narrow road. There are many twists and turns along the way, but these reroutes ultimately provide enriching experiences and can lead to a rewarding career you may never have expected. This rang true for Tim Drost, Vice President of Sourcing Operations at pep. Tim and I met to chat about his experiences and journey before joining and also during his tenure at pep. When I asked what he majored in at Ohio University, I was shocked to hear him say “sports marketing” – what a vastly different focus from procurement! But the more we chatted, the more I could see the connections between where he started and where he is now.

Tim earned a Bachelor’s of Science from OU in Sports Marketing. As priorities changed he decided a home base was more important to him than a career of moving from city to city and job to job as is often required in Sports Marketing. Following graduation, Tim began his career in project management with a home builder where he would oversee the production of homes and communities. Reflecting on the interview, he said he couldn’t believe he got the job, that it was one of his worst interviews ever – but the interviewer saw something in him and decided to give Tim a chance. This seemed like it was the first curveball along Tim’s career path leading him to where he was today. It was his first point of exposure to timelines, schedules, contracts, and POs. “Most importantly, it taught me the significance of establishing relationships and building trust with your partners to achieve a common goal,” Tim shared.

As the housing industry began to decline in the early 2000s, Tim found his next opportunity in Cincinnati at pep. Two highlights really stood out to him, “startup” and “you’ll have the opportunity to service Procter & Gamble”. Tim began on the client side of the business as an Account Executive. He was given a leadership role with just four years of professional work experience. I asked him how he felt being tasked with this amplified responsibility at such a young age. Was he scared? Did he feel up to the assignment? Tim said, “Actually, I was really excited… that’s just how the company grew up. pep embraced a ‘promote from within’ mentality and I was up for the challenge”. In another two years Tim was promoted to Client/Sourcing Manager where he handled pep sourcing and client management responsibilities. Tim reflected that he always had the desire to be on the supplier side, it was what he enjoyed the most. Working to solve challenges with the supply base came naturally to Tim.

I asked Tim where he sees pep in 10 years. He said that he is more than confident pep will continue to be a leader in the marketing services industry – assessing, implementing, and optimizing its clients marketing operations.   He looks forward to seeing the go-to-market strategies evolve and helping pep position itself to deliver exceptional value and insights to the clients. He said that pep procurement will continue to see growth throughout the Americas with a continued focus in the four pillars: commercial print, digital, direct-to-consumer, and point of purchase. However, all this being said, Tim believes the growth potential is significant now with pep’s acquisition by WPP. Tim is excited about the acquisition and feels that it will provide the opportunity for pep to deliver a greater value to its clients within WPP’s family of agencies.

-Ashley Martina, Marketing & Communications Executive, pep

Promotion Execution Partners (pep) has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by WPP

pep_logoCincinnati, Ohio – November 29, 2016 – Promotion Execution Partners, LLC [“pep”,], a Cincinnati-based marketing management and procurement company that oversees marketing promotions for clients, announces that it has agreed to be acquired, subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions, by WPP [NASDAQ:WPPGY], the world’s largest communications services company.

The acquisition continues WPP’s strategy of investing in high-priority segments, such as shopper marketing and e-commerce, and important markets, such as the US. According to a recently published study, client spending on shopper marketing will approach US$15 billion this year, an increase of 6.4% over 2015.

“This acquisition will be extremely positive for our clients, employees, and supplier partners,” said Dave Kroeger, pep, President. “It combines the power of WPP; the world’s largest communications services parent company, with pep’s industry-leading marketing management and procurement expertise. Our clients will realize incremental value and savings with pep’s increased scale in procurement as well as the marketing solutions that WPP will bring to pep. It positions pep well for continued growth and innovation and I am tremendously excited to see the possibilities unfold.”

About pep

To date, pep, which was founded in 2004, has managed over $3.5 Billion in marketing spend across 35,000 campaigns for over 500 brands worldwide. Clients include Procter & Gamble, Kraft Heinz, Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, and Mars. pep, oversees budgets, timelines, and vendor coordination for Commercial Print, Digital, In-Store, and Direct to Consumer programs, which are seamlessly executed utilizing pep’s industry-leading marketing management and procurement platform called pepconnect®. The company employs 240 people in 20 offices servicing 14 countries across North and South America.

About WPP

WPP is the world’s largest communications services group with billings of US$73 billion and revenues of US$19 billion. Through its operating companies, the Group provides a comprehensive range of advertising and marketing services including advertising & media investment management; data investment management; public relations & public affairs; branding & identity; healthcare communications; direct, digital, promotion & relationship marketing and specialist communications. The company employs over 200,000 people (including associates and investments) in over 3,000 offices across 113 countries. For more information, visit



Ashley Martina



2016 Supplier Summit and pep Charity Golf Outing – a huge success!

ss-bags-and-tablesOn Wednesday, September 7th pep hosted its annual Supplier Summit at the Renaissance Cincinnati. The event welcomed roughly 150 clients and suppliers from organizations including Procter & Gamble, Kao, Axis Promotions, Innomark Communications, WestRock, Don Jagoda Associates (DJA), UM Marketing, and many more!

Tim Drost, Vice President of Sourcing Operations, explained in his keynote address that the goal of the summit is five-fold: to say “thank you”, to provide an update on pep’s goals and kpi’s, to communicate insights in order to educate for future success, to award exceptional supplier performance, and finally to share some of the success by giving back to the community via the pep Charity Golf Outing.

Drost went on to discuss pep’s KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) explaining that these are the unifiers for marketing and procurement. They include:

  • Value: Quality, Service, Cost Savings
  • Relationships: Collaboration, Stewardship
  • Innovation: Technology, Processes, Product Services
  • Operations: On time, On Budget, Expertise, Operating Procedures
  • Social Accountability

Working hard in all of these areas has led to a less than 0.24% error rate out of 1000’s of campaigns each year. It has also led to a 9% increase in RFEs and deliverables within those RFEs meaning there is more volume going out than ever before! Further, cost savings is up by 5% as an organization.

 It’s a great time to choose pep as a strategic agency partner!

Drost encouraged everyone in attendance to identify one thing in their business that they could improve upon and work toward that goal. He also stressed that pep as an organization is focused on its clients, as well as passion and dedication for innovation and continuous improvement.


The Summit concluded with Supplier Awards going to Axis Promotions, Innomark Communications, WestRock, Don Jagoda Associates (DJA), and UM Marketing for great performance and innovation.

Golf_Carts.jpgFollowing the Summit was the 6th Annual pep Charity Golf Outing at Ivy Hills Country Club. Through the generosity of suppliers and clients, the outing raised $140,000.00! The funds raised at this year’s event were distributed among a variety of organizations including The Boys & Girls Club of America, the Freestore Foodbank, Habitat for Humanity, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the Special Olympics of Hamilton County. Each charity participated in the event and was awarded a check at the evening banquet.

“For pep to be able to donate $140,000 at our charity golf outing in 2016 – and $640,000 over the past 6 years is unbelievable. So much work goes into the golf outing and it wouldn’t be possible without the amazing committee members, supplier partners, and volunteers.” said Derek Kroeger, Senior Sourcing Specialist and Chairman of the Golf Outing Committee. “I feel honored to be a part of an organization that is willing to dedicate the resources to put on such an amazing event. Personally, it is one of my favorite days of the year. To be able to give back to those who aren’t as fortunate or have landed upon tough times is such a rewarding experience. We look forward to continuing our partnership with these organizations throughout 2016 and can’t wait for another successful event in 2017!”


-Ashley Martina, pep Marketing & Communications Executive

Executive Spotlight: Adrienne Stewart

Adrienne StewartFrom delivering Pep’s first promotion to leading Pep’s largest global account, Adrienne Stewart has been a fundamental figure for Pep’s growth and success since the very beginning. Adrienne began her journey at Pep as one of the original seven employees. As her impact within the company expanded and her relationship with the clients grew, she was promoted to Account Director of the   Procter & Gamble account overseeing all aspects of the business. Reflecting on the last twelve years, Adrienne provides insight into the journey she has taken from Pep’s inception to the present.

Background on Adrienne

To prepare for her future in the corporate world, Adrienne participated in the Future Business Leaders of America program and obtained her degree in Marketing and International Business from the University of Cincinnati. Adrienne had always known she wanted to be a businesswoman, but was not exactly certain how her career path would take shape. Her approach to future planning did not include a five or ten year plan, but rather a day-by-day mentality. She credits this to the entrepreneurial spirit that Pep adopted twelve years ago. The focus: to drive the business forward one day at a time by setting short-term goals and achieving them with hard work.

Adrienne was hired immediately upon graduation as a Promotion Coordinator, the equivalent of an Account Executive (AE) today. Having seen the position listed in the Cincinnati Enquirer, she applied in the midst of a furiously competitive job market. After approximately 30-40 interviews with various companies, she was invited to interview at Pep’s Michigan office. Receiving the offer on her five hour drive home, Adrienne was thrilled to accept the position.

In the beginning, Adrienne ran promotions for the P&G Beauty Care team. Her favorite promotion type was sampling. Getting the product into the consumer’s hand in order to drive trial was something that she became passionate about. The current technological landscape makes it difficult to imagine an Account Executive running promotions without PepConnect®, or generating Purchase Orders (PO) by hand, but when Adrienne started in 2004, PepConnect® was an item of the future, and POs were written by hand before being walked down to the client’s headquarters for creation.

In her early days with Pep, Adrienne’s reach extended far beyond just promotion execution. Her direct leader, Ben Seinen, was and still is a tremendous motivator in Adrienne’s career, always pushing her to take on new challenges. When the development of a proprietary project management system became a reality, Ben encouraged Adrienne to reach out of her comfort zone and help lead the implementation of PepConnect®. With Adrienne’s guidance, the PepConnect® software has become one of the fundamental aspects of Pep.

Adrienne’s Journey

Adrienne QuoteAdrienne’s work ethic and positive attitude were quickly recognized by Pep’s management and she was promoted to a leadership role just two years after joining. Adrienne reflects on this promotion by recognizing it was both an honor and an obstacle; an honor to be trusted with greater responsibilities so quickly and an obstacle as she felt unprepared for leadership being so new to the corporate world. But, Pep was growing rapidly and this required the team to step-up wherever there was a need.

Adrienne credits her success as a leader to her quality support system. She feels that growing as a leader is never a process that reaches completion; it is something that requires constant evolution and refinement. She stresses the importance of finding a mentor that can properly coach and guide a leader’s development based on their past experiences. Another challenge Adrienne encountered was the need to speak publicly. This is something she had always shied away from, but became crucial for her role at Pep. Adrienne reflects that she had to embrace this as a responsibility and she acknowledges practice, preparation, and experience as keys to successful public speaking.

Pep’s Growth

Pep has grown from the original seven members in 2004 to over 240 individuals in 15 locations across North and South America. The family-oriented, entrepreneurial, collaborative nature of the company has been a major catalyst in the achievement of its goals.

Pep strives to be the best marketing partner in the world by setting annual goals and developing its keys to success. Personal goals are created around Pep’s five keys to success focusing on metrics, building relationships, and maintaining strong systems and processes. Looking back on her previous goals, Adrienne recalls that one of the first objectives the original seven members set was to remain in business by the end of the year! While not surprised by the accomplishments reached in such a short period of time, Adrienne is grateful for and proud of the successful, mid-sized company that has come to be.

Adrienne believes that Pep will continue its prosperous track-record in the years to come and predicts that there will be an expansion of clients on a global level. She forecasts that Pep will emerge as a leader in Shopper Marketing and Digital project management and procurement. Additionally, Adrienne looks forward to Pep’s creation of more client facing solutions by leveraging technology to provide more customized offerings. The sky is the limit at Pep!

                                     -Ashley Martina & Abby Riazzi

How Extrinsic Value is Becoming Increasingly Relevant

Network of Executive Women – Cincinnati Chapter: Event Summary


History has witnessed various revolutions from the Industrial Revolution to the Technical Revolution, to now what seems to be an “Emotional Revolution”. The desire for an emotional connection stems from the residual effects of the technical revolution’s rampant anonymity in which everyone could hide behind a computer screen or phone. But, as Gary Vaynerchuck said; “Saying ‘hello’ doesn’t have an ROI, it’s about building relationships.” Sounds crazy – a business taking action without wondering how it might affect the ROI, but extrinsic value is becoming increasingly relevant across industries. All revolutions produce greatness and the successes of each are countless, but with the greatness of the Technical Revolution comes a critical lesson – relationships matter!

In following this principle, Pep has actively committed to find relevant organizations with which it can get involved. The Network of Executive Women (NEW) is one such organization. NEW has a membership of 9,600 men and women from all age groups; largely from the CPG industry, but also the technology and retail industries. NEW’s manifesto and mission is as follows:

It’s time for a new workplace. One that’s less rigid and more flexible. Less authoritative and more collaborative. Less conformist and more diverse. More authentic and less impersonal. NEW is creating a new model for workplace transformation. To advance women and create a workplace with no limits for everyone. It’s time for a Movement.

On Thursday, April 25th,Pep had the opportunity to attend the NEW Cincinnati chapter’s “Strategize to Win” event at the Horseshoe Casino. The event began and concluded with networking opportunities for attendees representing companies such as Kroger, P&G, Deloitte, Hormel Foods, Nielsen, The Clorox Company, Morgan Stanley, and many more. The highlight of the event was the keynote address, “Strategize to Win”, given by Carla Harris, Vice Chairman of Global Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley. Carla’s vibrant personality, colorful stories, and valuable insights were truly inspiring. Two key take-aways from the presentation were as follows:

  1. Perception is the co-pilot to reality.
  2. There are two forms of professional currency: performance and relationships.

Carla explained that the way people perceive you is the way they will interact with you. For example, if you want to be a manager, but people don’t perceive leadership qualities within you, then it won’t happen. Determine which qualities you possess and how they will take you to the next level. It is possible to be yourself while achieving your goals as new quotelong as your behavior is consistent. Never forget that your “authentic self” is your competitive advantage. As Carla said, “no one can be you better than you can”. So leverage your talents and make sure they are apparent to your co-workers and leaders.

Further, Carla spoke about the two forms of professional currency, performance and relationships. Performance is self-explanatory, but relationships go a little deeper. Carla advocated the importance of pinpointing a mentor and a sponsor. A mentor is someone to guide you and make constructive suggestions about how to advance in your professional life. A sponsor is someone to go into the boardroom and advocates on your behalf. This was an interesting point as most believe a mentor is one in the same. Carla encouraged everyone not to be shy about approaching a mentor or sponsor, but to also be sure there is a successful track record to back you up.

Finally, Carla closed the session with this strategy to win:

  • Leverage your team. Create an environment where people want to participate.
  • Efficiency. Define what success looks like so that the team can deliver and outperform.
  • Authenticity. Bring your true self, it is your distinct competitive advantage. This will inspire.
  • Decisive. The price of inaction is greater than the cost of making a mistake.
  • Engage with your team and co-workers. Understand how you can uniquely engage each person.
  • Risks, take them. If you don’t, you become irrelevant.

She concluded by emphasizing the necessity of being clearly aware about what you are playing for – your goal. If your leader has not clearly defined what is essential to be successful in your position and what it will take to reach the next step, then be sure to set time with them to delineate these requirements. Once this understanding has been achieved you can work with your leader, mentor, and/or sponsor to create a strategy to win. Do not do anything without being intentional!

Overall, the event was beneficial and a great place to begin building relationships in the Cincinnati area with people who are passionate about being diverse, authentic, ever-growing, and successful. Though there might never be an ROI on joining various organizations, the value of a connection sometimes just can’t be quantified. From strategic introductions, valuable speaking opportunities, a great conversation about what’s on the horizon for CPG business, to a potential sale – the possibilities are endless and this is an exciting new venture for Pep!


Ashley Martina,  Marketing and Communications Executive