2023 Women in Print and Promo: Amy Rabideau, Facilisgroup
Vice President of Product
Facilisgroup, St. Louis
Amy Rabideau loves technology and is fascinated by its potential in the promo industry. As the vice president of product for Facilisgroup, a role she was promoted to in January 2022, Rabideau is responsible for the strategic vision of all current and future software products of the company. She leads a diverse cross-functional product team consisting of product managers, product owners, user experience designers, and researchers, along with business analysts. Rabideau also collaborates with the engineering and go-to-market teams, and partners, to ensure they’re delivering the “right product at the right time with the right resources.”
“Amy continues to push our industry forward, specifically in the area of technology,” her nominator says. “From her daily responsibilities in driving the vision of Facilisgroup’s technological innovations, to her responsibilities as an advisory board member of PromoStandards, Amy remains devoted to the advancement of technology. … As a colleague of hers, I can say it is such a joy to work with someone so knowledgeable about the industry, genuinely excited about what the future holds, and committed to do whatever it takes to get there.”
Rabideau first fell for technology while overseeing a long-term ERP migration project for a top 40 distributor. She was intrigued by the disciplines of project and product management, and during that time, her curiosity led her to deeper pursuits. Specifically, where did technology fit in the promo space? But Rabideau had an entire career before she got to this point, so let’s rewind.
In the early ’90s, when Rabideau was a high school student, she and her family moved from Southern Illinois to Western New York. Sports apparel was in high demand there, and one of Rabideau’s first jobs was with CanAm Textiles, a wholesale distributor located in the Buffalo area. CanAm Textiles wasn’t familiar with promotional products, as its focus was selling blank apparel to screen printers and embroiderers. When the company decided to relocate to Las Vegas, Rabideau wasn’t interested in leaving her home behind. In 1998, she accepted a sales job at Starline Inc. and quickly immersed herself in the promo community.
“I fell in love with the industry and learned the players — suppliers, distributors, multi-line representatives, decorators, and service providers,” Rabideau says. “I was fortunate to have a great mentor and the opportunity to travel across the country with our multi-line representatives.”
Rabideau moved to Atlanta in 2008, still working for Starline as its regional vice president of sales. She enjoyed the work, but the intense travel schedule was exhausting. She became involved with many regional promo associations, eventually serving as the RAC delegate to the PPAI Board. Rabideau joined the Bodek & Rhodes team, followed by Harry & David and Kencraft. However, when an unnamed promo distributor recruited her, that’s when things changed for Rabideau, who always strived to make it in promo. Initially hired for its promo and recognition program, as well as inventory management, Rabideau turned to process improvement to grow sales and to protect margin.
She then oversaw the distributor’s previously mentioned long-term ERP program, and once complete, Rabideau accepted a contract position for senior project director at ExtendTech, an industry service provider, assisting industry companies in their NetSuite migration and integration projects. Her journey with Facilisgroup began in August 2021 as a product architect. After assessing the products and teams, Rabideau enhanced the product management experience and culture. The results were good.
Going forward, Rabideau plans to embrace this new stage of growth, taking Facilisgroup with her to the next level.
Her Proudest Career Achievement
I am most proud of my current role at Facilis. Using my knowledge of the promotional products industry and the challenges we have overcome as an industry, I am excited for the opportunities ahead of all of us. Our industry has many successful and transformative years ahead, and I want to be a part of that. I want to help our partners succeed beyond their wildest imaginations.
How Failure Taught Her Resiliency
ERP migrations are tough. There is the technical aspect of moving business processes and systems to new software, which often comes with a significant investment. I feel the most overlooked investment in any large technology project is change management. Trying to communicate the why of change and the how of change to large groups of stakeholders can be challenging. I’ve learned this the hard way. One cannot succeed without the team succeeding. This experience has changed how I frame and tackle large projects. Communication, transparency, and structure build trust in the process and people when the days are the darkest and longest.
Her Most Significant Barrier as a Female Leader
I feel gender roles have the opportunity to challenge anyone finding their place in any industry. Finding yourself in go-to-market, project management, technology, or development roles based on anything, but imagination, passion, and experience is stifling to the innovation our industry needs. I have been fortunate to have many mentors and sponsors over the years that pressed me to push past any obstacles in finding my place and purpose.
How She Thinks Companies Can Attract and Retain Female Talent
Today’s market is tough all around. Competition is high to find candidates. What makes a person choose one company over another? Companies that show the candidate “I see you. Your strengths will shine here. You will have the support and mentorship you need to overcome any weaknesses. Let’s grow together!” are going to win long term and attract more female talent.
Her Job Advice to Women
Relationships are so important to this industry. Network through volunteering. Find your tribe and start cultivating authentic relationships. Now is the time. Make the jump.
Her Upcoming Goals
Professionally and personally, I [looked] forward to facilitating the first annual PromoStandards Technology Summit in February 2023. I am fortunate to serve on the PromoStandards board of directors and be the Membership, Marketing & Education Committee chair. Sharing this event with the industry’s top product and technology innovators is exciting. This year, I will swim with sharks. This has been on my bucket list for years. I don’t know where or what type of sharks yet, but it will happen.
How She Recharges
Over the years, I have learned to be purposeful in my down time, allowing myself to recharge doing my favorite things or tackling new adventures. I love scheduling quick getaways to see new places or just hiking a new trail with my husband, Michael. We recently rescued a 3-year-old American Bulldog, Maci, who is teaching us a few things about the importance of playtime.
Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.