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October  2 0 1 5

E X E C U T I V E   D I G E S T

24th Annual Party for Life Award Recipients Announced

Howard Henschel, Suzy Batiz and Arun Agarwal to be Honored

Gift for Life, the gift and home industries’ sole charitable organization, has announced that three industry leaders—Howard Henschel of The Norman Group, Suzy Batiz of Poo-Pourri and Arun Agarwal of Nextt—will be honored during Gift for Life’s 24th Annual Party for Life, taking place February 1 in New York City.

“These amazing honorees are dynamic, generous, inspirational figures who personify compassionate leadership,” said Frank Joens, chair of the Gift for Life board. “They are worthy of recognition for their continuing influence and contributions to our industry.”

Howard Henschel, president and CEO of The Norman Group, is the recipient of the Chuck Yancy Lifetime Achievement Award. Henschel is being honored for his decades of leadership and service to the industry and for his business achievements with Norman’s Hallmark, founded 75 years ago in Trenton, N.J. The company currently has more than 45 stores.

Suzy Batiz, the creator and CEO of Poo-Pourri , is being honored with the Norman Glassberg Trailblazer Award. Poo-Pourri began in 2006 and is now available in 100 countries and is sold in more than 9,000 stores across the United States.

Arun Agarwal, CEO and director of Nextt, is being honored with the Bert Tonkin Gift of Giving Award. Agarwal’s leadership of the largest bedding company in North America is complemented by a spirit of generosity across organizations and institutions in the U.S. and internationally. Arun’s personal involvement in organizations such as Gift for Life has resulted in more money contributed, more awareness raised and more education and care to individuals impacted by HIV/AIDS.

LaserGifts Names National Sales Manager

Daren Aitken.

LaserGifts recently announced that Daren Aitken has been named National Sales Manager. Aitken will direct the sales efforts of the company’s nationwide network of independent sales representatives.

“Daren’s strength is in supporting and training his sales reps. His experience will lead LaserGifts’ sales representatives to the next level in superior sales and service.” said LaserGifts’ President and CEO David Mudrick.

Aitkin brings several decades of experience in the souvenir and gift business to his new position. He is a stable force within the industry as is evidenced by his 14 years with previous employer Western Woods.

Souvenir Source Adds Brandon Gottlieb to Its Staff

Brandon Gottlieb.

Souvenir Source is excited to announce the addition of Brandon Gottlieb to its team. Gottlieb brings with him over 10 years of experience in the souvenir industry and is well respected not only by his associates but by customers as well. The company welcomes him and looks forward to the beginning of a new chapter at Souvenir Source.

SWIBCO Names Greg Johnson as Vice President of Sales

Greg Johnson.

SWIBCO has announced that Greg Johnson has joined their team as Vice President of Sales. A 20-plus year souvenir industry veteran, Johnson will assume sales responsibilities on both a regional and national level.

"We’re very excited to welcome Greg on board. He brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge of our industry that is sure to be a win/win situation for Swibco and our customers. Greg will be helping to introduce new programs at all the Fall shows.¬†Please stop by and say hello," said SWIBCO President John Isaacson.

SWIBCO, founded in 1970, is a leader in the gift and souvenir industry with personalized name programs, custom souvenirs and unique gift items.

LaserGifts Promotes John Rodgers

John Rodgers.

LaserGifts has named John Rodgers to the post of Key Accounts Sales Manager. In the position, he will manage the sales and partnerships between LaserGifts and its key accounts.

Rodgers joined the company in 2006. With his extensive background in souvenir retail, John immediately made an impact, and his passion for the business and care for the company’s customers made him a successful leader for the Operations team for over five years. John rejoined LaserGifts in 2014 as a regional sales manager.

“John’s background allows him to quickly connect with customers. He listens to them and helps to find successful solutions to their needs. These are the skills that elevate John to our Key Account Sales Manager. I am confident our customers will find John to be an excellent partner in enhancing their business,” said David Mudrick, president and CEO of LaserGifts.

(For more information, contact Ross Johns at 888-674-6612, ext. 235, email or visit

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