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Feature article
28 September 2023

APPA's 2023 Young Achiever is Kelly Dinkelaar From TRENDS

Kelly Dinkelaar, Product Manager at TRENDS, recently received the Young Achiever Award at the 2023 APPA Awards for Promotional Products Marketing Excellence.

Libby Murton, Marketing Communications Manager at TRENDS, explains why Kelly is such a valuable asset to the team and the promotional products industry:

Kelly Dinkelaar has been an instrumental part of TRENDS’ growth over the last ten years. Progressing from receptionist to account manager, to her current position as product manager, she has given her all to the company and wider promotional products industry. While many in the industry follow established trends and practices, Kelly works with innovation and forward-thinking front of mind. These qualities, along with her can-do mindset and willingness to take risks, have been major contributing factors both the company’s success and her own.

Her incredible people skills have seen her invest significant time and effort in building strong relationships with suppliers and distributors. Her ability to connect with others on a personal level has not only helped in forging strong partnerships but has also allowed her to gain valuable insights into the industry. Kelly's extensive network of contacts gives her a competitive edge and keeps her finger on the pulse of industry trends and opportunities.

Kelly leads by example, empowering her team and encouraging them to grow and take ownership of their projects. By setting high standards for herself, she inspires her team members to do the same. By fostering a collaborative and supportive work environment, people are encouraged to explore their potential and contribute their ideas.

Kelly is also deeply committed to the growth and development of her team members. She actively builds career pathways for her employees, fostering an environment of mentorship and support. Under her guidance, the product development team has expanded and achieved autonomy, fostering a culture of innovation, and cultivating creative and critical thinking. She takes pride in seeing her team members succeed and actively seeks opportunities to provide guidance and mentorship. By investing in her team's professional development, she is not only developing their skills but also shaping future leaders for the industry.

From humble beginnings to her current role as TRENDS’ product manager, Kelly's career path has been extraordinary. After becoming an account manager, she spent five years building strong relationships with distributors, providing her with a deep understanding of the industry's demands and the specific requirements sought by distributors in a supplier. As product manager, she has spent years curating relationships with suppliers around the world, learning about production processes and limitations, procurement processes and product design techniques.

Her keen interest in product development and sourcing led to her becoming the first member of the product development team. Working alongside Jim and Pat Robertson, she played a crucial role in advancing the TRENDS product range to where it is today, seeing niches in the market and finding ways for TRENDS to fill them. Throughout the past five years, she has made remarkable strides in solidifying the company's position as an innovative industry leader.

Kelly puts distributor’s needs first and keeps them front of mind when developing new products. Her curiosity and hands-on approach mean she is constantly looking for new ways to improve and evolve the company’s offerings – both in product and service. Her growth and development not only as a product manager, but also as a team leader and individual during her time at TRENDS is second to none and our distributors, her colleagues, and the industry have all benefited from her knowledge.

Kelly is a hard-working individual who has become integral to TRENDS and the company's success. Her strong work ethic, ability to connect with people from all areas of the company and promotional industry, and her positive impact on her colleagues is second to none.


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