Amanda Gianotti is president of Allogram, Inc. in Timonium, a company that specializes in creating customized recognition products, awards and crafted memorabilia. Though she has been working in the awards industry since 1988, Gianotti explains that when she was in college, she originally planned on attending medical school but decided to take a different path—one in selling medical supplies. This move eventually opened the door to selling award and recognition products.
Gianotti graduated from Loyola College with a biology degree. She opened her showroom in Timonium with her parents in 1991 and became a certified registration specialist in 1994.
What are the responsibilities of your current role?
“I currently oversee the production of our products at both facilities, manage our 17 employees and continue to sell. I continually work to put systems in place for our different production processes, sales, customer service and communications to allow the business to function efficiently.”
What is your favorite part about your daily duties?
“I love working with customers to create an award that fits their vision. We are masters of the perfect moment. I work with customers to find out how they define their perfect moment. We help their vision become a reality, stress free. We gather all the information needed to assure their perfect moment happens just how they envision it. Once we know their vision, we go to work to create the award that fits their vision and budget. Another favorite part of my day is seeing the resulting award come to life. I get to see the finished product before the customer sees it. Sometimes I have to take a cell phone photo and email it to them. Sometimes I just send them an emailed update. But every time, I am excited for them to see the finished product and make the presentation to their recipients.”
How has your education prepared you?
“I believe education is vital and would encourage anyone to get a college degree. I believe having a degree shows a potential employer you have the ability to start a project and finish it.”
What do you do to continue your education and training?
“I attend two to three industry-based educational conferences each year. I belong to an invitation only buyers group called ‘the Award Associates of America.’ The 65 members of our group make up the top award retailers in the country. We meet twice a year and share ideas, best practices, production tips and numerous other aspects of running our awards businesses.”
Do you have any advice for others looking to enter this field?
“If you want to find success in the manufacturing of awards, you must commit to make an investment in technology and equipment. There are so many options; an experienced mentor could help navigate the many choices. Joining the industry association, ‘Awards and Personalization Association,’ is also a must. Their trade shows and educational conferences will put you in touch with the vendors and equipment manufacturers you need.”
Laura Catherine Hermoza has a lifelong love for writing. In addition to serving as a contributor to various media publications, she is also a published novelist of several books and works as a proofreader/editor. LC resides in Baltimore County.