Gift for Life welcomes five new members to the Board of Directors

This press release is submitted and posted here in its original, unedited form by Furniture Today.

April 7, 2022 — Gift for Life, the only national charitable organization in the gift, stationery and home decor industries, today announced the addition of five people to its Board of Directors: Andrea Padilla of Transpac, Angela Jacobson of Stephen Joseph, Inc., Crystal Vilkaitis of Crystal Media, Landon Metts of Creative Brands and Maureen carpenter by nora fleming.

Gift for Life has also acknowledged the resignation of a longtime member and former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gift for Life. Frank Joens, formerly with the LA Mart.

“We look forward to the ideas and energy these newcomers bring to Gift for Life and our fundraising efforts throughout the year,” said Cole Daugherty, President. “We will be launching new initiatives across the country in the coming months that will help provide food assistance in support of World Central Kitchen’s incredible work in the United States and around the world.”

Andrea Padilla

Director of Sales and Marketing, Transpac

Prior to becoming Director of Sales and Marketing at Transpac, one of the largest gifts and seasonal decorations companies in the industry, Andrea Padilla rose through the ranks from an entry-level marketing position to National Sales Manager . She has been a member of the gift and homeware industry since 2010 and was named one of Magazine Gift Shop 40 under 40 laureates in 2021.

Padilla said: “I have always admired the awareness and support that GFL brings to the fight against AIDS. I feel privileged to be able to participate in these efforts with so many of our incredible industry leaders. In the past, I have volunteered for Meals on Wheels and local food banks and feel especially connected to the additional support from World Central Kitchen; I look forward to doing my part and contributing to such incredible philanthropy.

Angela Jacobson

Director of Marketing and Sales, Stephen Joseph, Inc.

Angela Jacobson is a relative newcomer to the gift and homeware industry with only three and a half years working with the Stephen Joseph Companies team after spending over a decade in the video game industry. In 2019, she joined the SJC team to lead marketing and later added the sales role in both gifts divisions, Karma and Stephen Joseph, allowing her to be part of a growing female-led team. and remarkable transformation.

Jacobson commented, “I chose to join the Gift for Life Board of Directors because marrying my personal passion for helping others with my professional life is a natural fit. Gift for Life is well established with potential for visibility and growth with a rising generation of home and gift industry titans and I want to be part of the group that increases the influence and impact of this. It is an honor to be asked to be part of such an influential group and I will love to serve our communities with greater impact through the work World Central Kitchen does to feed our underserved populations.

Crystal Vilkaitis

Founder, Crystal Media

Crystal Vilkaitis is the founder of Crystal Media and a leading speaker who has worked exclusively with independent retailers since 2010. She has developed a team of social media experts who have worked with thousands of store owners to dramatically increase their traffic pedestrian, their sales and profits through training programs and an agency made for you. By helping retailers scale through new social selling channels and easily adapt to the ever-changing world of digital marketing, Crystal Media is on a mission to help Main Street thrive.

Vilkaitis said: “I have always been inspired by Jose Andres’ mission to feed the hungry attitude and take action to help people today. That’s why I’m honored to join the Gift for Life Board to further raise awareness and make an impact in partnership with World Central Kitchen.

Landon Metts

Sales Manager – Gifts Division, Creative Brands

Landon Metts has over 10 years of experience in the gift industry and today serves as Director of Sales for Creative Brands Gift Division, which includes Santa Barbara Design Studio, Slant Collections, Stephan Baby and Heartfelt. In this role, he works with territory representatives nationwide and oversees customer service and key account relationships. In 2021, Landon was named one of Magazine Gift Shop 40 less than 40 winners.

Metts commented, “Having spent my career/life in the gift industry, always striving to improve the practices and culture within my microcosm; I’m extremely excited to join the Gift For Life Board to work with industry peers and branch out beyond my limits to find out how we can work together to support truly important causes that affect so many people. To me, there is so much value in this wonderful industry, driven not just by profit, but by the bond of supporting good causes together, which abounds in cultivating an incredible and synergistically rewarding culture.

Maureen Charpentier

vice president and director of sales, nora fleming

Maureen Carpenter is vice president and director of sales at nora fleming, responsible for managing relationships with sales representatives and 1,700 outlets in 48 states. Maureen joined nora fleming in 2010 as her first employee and her career has grown alongside nora fleming’s success. Maureen is active in the gift industry and is currently President of the Gift Sales Managers Association (GSMA). She is an active volunteer and advocate for many causes in the Chicagoland area.

Carpenter said, “Through local groups in Chicago and my work with St. Jude, I have experienced first-hand what can be accomplished when many people are united around a common goal. For many years I have admired Gift for Life and am honored to join the talented and dedicated Board of Directors and do my part to continue the great work they do.

With the retirement of Frank Joens, the current 23 members of the Gift for Life Board of Directors are: Andrea Padilla of Transpac; Angela Jacobson of Stephen Joseph; Ari Lowenstein of MarketTime; Cathy Steel of Steel Associates; Cole Daugherty of the Dallas Market Center; Crystal Vilkiatis of Crystal Media; Doug Self of JDouglas; Emalee Hoffman of Studio Oh!; Jessica Barile of Paddywax; Julie McCallum from Gift Shop Plus; Kim Wahlberg of the Kimberly Wahlberg Company; Kristi Forbes of 41 Madison; Landon Metts of Creative Brands; Lenise Willis from Gifts and decorative accessories; Matt Katzenson of Fine Lines; Maureen Carpenter by Nora Fleming; Meg Estevez of Emerald Expositions; Monica Loving of Ivystone; Nancy Michael of the International Housewares Association; Peter Schauben of Appelman Schauben; Russ Jones of Ivystone; Sarah Mount of Juniper by IMC; and Sheila Charton of Springboard Futures.

gift for life was founded by Peter Schauben of Appleman Schauben in 1992 in response to the industry’s tragic loss of life to AIDS. The organization’s first meeting at the National Stationery Show brought together a cross section of the industry’s leading publishers, market centers, sales representatives, manufacturers and retailers – all ready to come together and work together towards a common goal. Since then, Gift for Life has raised nearly $6 million for AIDS research, education, treatment and care through national market events, marketing programs and direct donations. With COVID-19 causing the temporary cancellation of in-person events in industry marketplaces, Gift for Life has shifted to online digital events with a particular focus on COVID-related hunger relief . As Gift for Life celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2022, the all-volunteer organization will continue to support hunger relief programs. More information is available at

Founded in 2010 by chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen (WCK) uses the power of food to feed communities and strengthen economies in times of crisis and beyond. In 2020, as COVID-19 strained traditional food safety nets like school feeding programs, municipal services and food banks, WCK pivoted to safely distribute fresh, individually packaged meals in communities in need of support and launched the Restaurants for the People program nationwide. . This program addresses critical needs on two fronts: buying meals directly from restaurants and delivering them to Americans who need help. To date, the program has worked with 2,500 restaurants to serve more than 12 million restaurant meals and has paid more than $135 million directly to restaurant owners in 400 cities in 35 states. For information, visit

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