Profile on Madison Conradis in Promotional Products International Association's (PPAI) Magazine
Madison Conradis is young and full of fresh ideas, but she grew up in the industry and knows her stuff.
By Terry Ramsey
(This article was published in PPB Magazine December 2017)
When talking to Madison Conradis, you can't help but wonder if she ever sleeps. She is a top executive at distributor Your Logo by Geiger, holds key leadership roles in several community organizations and writes articles for publications and blogs on topics ranging from Millennials to women to college sports. Oh, and she acts and models in her free time.
Growing up in Melbourne, Florida, Conradis watched her mother, Cathy Bell, start a business from scratch out of their two-bedroom apartment. In 1991, Bell founded Your Logo and started selling promotional products. She soon grew the company into a full-service distributorship and embroidery facility. In 2009, Bell partnered with Geiger to better position herself in the marketplace.
“As a child, I’m not sure I entirely grasped the concept of our industry,” says Conradis. “I did, however, see my mother support our family in a job that she loved. I really couldn’t see myself being a part of any other industry.”
Conradis earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the Florida Institute of Technology, and she went on to complete her master’s in finance. Her diverse educational background has given her expertise across the business spectrum, and it has helped her to pinpoint where to best direct her ambition. “After specializing my MBA in finance, I knew that was one industry that I would not pursue,” she laughs. “I think it’s safe to say that most people would agree I belong somewhere in the marketing/advertising realm.”
To balance the grind of pursuing her master’s degree, she felt the need for a creative outlet. So she trained at Truthful Acting, a Meisner Studio, and took on roles in several films including Discovery Channel’s Dead of the Night, In-Between Days and Bullet of Madness. She’s also appeared in various TV commercials and print ads touting brands such as Disney and Ron Jon’s.
While in school, Conradis got her first taste of real-world marketing by working as a brand ambassador for a wide range of companies, including Mazda and Microsoft. In those roles, she gained sales experience and exposure to customer service and event management. She also witnessed firsthand how organizations utilize promotional products, helping her to phase into selling marketing materials and apparel.
Now working with Bell at Your Logo, Conradis oversees the embroidery operation, works as an account executive and manages the company’s social media presence. “I am responsible for promoting our company’s products and services, and for building relationships with new and existing accounts,” she says. “My main focus is to help our clients succeed in their marketing efforts while achieving [our] sales and profit goals.”
Bell admits that the sometimes-tumultuous relationship between parent and child can be challenging in the business world, but for this pair, it works. Conradis and her twin sister, Christine, started working for the company part-time as high school students, learning to operate the embroidery machines. By the time she accepted a full-time position, Conradis had dedicated herself to mastering the complexities of being an effective distributor of promotional products.
“Madison has made a huge impact on Your Logo,” says Bell. “She taught me that if we do not have an active social media presence, we will miss out on marketing opportunities. Along with expanding our online outreach, she has brought a new level of awareness for our company through extensive community volunteerism.”
One of those volunteer initiatives is with the Space Coast American Advertising Federation (AAF), a trade association that serves the local advertising community. Bell explains, “The AAF educates advertising professionals and students, monitors legislative issues, drives traffic to all businesses, and helps build our economy.” The organization also sponsors the annual Addy Awards, which recognizes excellence in the advertising industry.
Bell was deeply involved with the organization for years—including serving as president in 1991—but she and other leaders were concerned that it was in decline. In 2011, Bell and a group of past presidents got together to brainstorm ideas to breathe new life into the group. Intensely passionate about the unifying voice that AAF provides, Bell jokingly offered her firstborn child as a volunteer.
Starting as the social media/communications chair, Conradis encouraged the board to broaden their target market. “Traditionally, members consisted of different disciplines and career levels in advertising, but my thought was, ‘If you are in business, you are in advertising.’ We wanted to include owners and employees of smaller businesses that are charged with marketing as part of their roles,” she says.
Conradis was elected president of the local AAF in 2016. “My mother initiated me, which was pretty special,” she says. Bell agrees. “I was extremely proud and emotional that evening. In the history of AAF, they have never had a mother initiate her daughter into the president position.”
Conradis’ volunteerism doesn’t stop there. She also sits on the board of the Brevard chapter of Friends of Children, which serves children who are abused, neglected or abandoned. “One of my goals has been to utilize technology and social media to make an impact for this critical organization. For example, we implemented an online campaign for holiday gifts for the children, which greatly expanded our outreach and helped us surpass the number of gifts we had received in previous years.”
Conradis’ drive to positively influence the community often transitions into her work at Your Logo. Conradis recalls a meaningful project for which her team was tasked with creating a kit for children being adopted. “We came up with a branded teddy bear and soft blanket that we hoped the child would keep forever,” she says. “Instead of just placing a logo on the blanket, though, we also personalized it with the child’s name and adoption date. Not only did that project have a positive impact in our community, but I also did my job in recommending a product where the client’s brand will be seen for years to come.”
Since Your Logo has its own decoration facility, the company is able to position itself in the market as a one-stop-shop. Conradis adds that the team at Your Logo can focus on growing sales thanks to the support and resources that Geiger provides. She says, “I am lucky to have a huge Geiger family with endless people to run ideas by. This industry is so overwhelming, and I honestly believe that we, as an industry, need to provide more training, mentorship and support to young talent.”
As a formidable young talent herself, Conradis brings unique insight to the industry. “My perspective as a Millennial is that the future of our industry will increasingly be driven by the internet and mobile social media. To reach newer, younger generations, nearly all marketing should concentrate on increasing promotional products that appeal to younger people. The method in which we reach new consumers and business owners will change, but the demand for promotional products will remain strong.”
One thing’s for sure: Conradis is proof that community engagement and the pursuit of diverse personal interests can complement and even enhance professional success. Now, if she would just share her secret of how she gets it all done in a 24-hour day.