Strategies, Ltd.

Meet the Strategies Team

While clients deal principally with one account executive to achieve their communications goals, they are actually accessing all of us. Each week, we meet to evaluate, discuss, and develop strategies that make sense for you. This collaboration yields results that combine our experience, background, and training. The whole truly is greater than the sum of its parts. With Strategies, the "sum of our parts" represents more than 150 years of experience.

The following individuals (owners, managers, and account executives) combine to develop, deliver, and deploy effective promotional efforts on your behalf.

Douglas J. Dobbe, President/Owner

Doug Dobbe can be reached at or by calling extension 215.

After ten years of field sales and sales management service with two of the promotional products industry's most respected firms, Doug and his wife Renae launched Strategies, Ltd. in April of 1991.

Dobbe's goal in founding Strategies was to focus on applying the strengths of the promotional products medium to challenges faced by the customer. This goal remains the driving force to this day.

Dobbe has garnered one Golden Pyramid and two Silver Pyramids in pursuit of his stated objective. This recognition is Promotional Products Association International's highest honor for creative application of the medium. He currently serves on the Wisconsin Promotional Products Association board of directors.

Doug's life partner, Renae, is also his business partner. They have two sons and a daughter. The Dobbes are avid boating enthusiasts, spending many hours on area waters as well as cross-lake excursions of Lake Michigan.

An accomplished barbecue-pit master, Doug annually presides over more ribs and chicken than his family of five eats in five years; all to entertain and thank Strategies' clients at our fall barbecue and customer appreciation event.

Renae Dobbe can be reached at

As co-founder of Strategies with her husband Doug, Renae brings a great deal to the "dance." She graduated from Freed-Hardeman University, Magna Cum Laude, with a major in marketing and a minor in computer information. Before meeting Doug, Renae was territorial sales manager for an industry supplier for five years. This experience has served Strategies well, given the importance of supplier relations and the company's corporate goals of service to the client.

Dobbe has earned her Certified Advertising Specialist (CAS) designation from the Industry's College of Continuing Education. An active member of Women in Management (WIM), Renae has held several positions within the organization.

With husband Doug at the helm, Renae enjoys boating and proclaims "It's a great family endeavor."

Ralph Schrank can be reached at or by calling extension 213.

Since 1970, Ralph has pursued promotional product excellence at the local, regional, and national levels. Never satisfied with merely a sale, he has worked tirelessly to teach his craft to hundreds of industry practitioners across the country. As a board member of our trade association, the Promotional Products Association International, Schrank achieved tenured professor status in the industry's College of Continuing Education. He is the only industry participant to achieve this recognition.

As a frequent speaker, he has addressed industry gatherings which number in the thousands as well as groups of two or three. Always willing to share his wealth of knowledge, he gladly goes wherever there is an interested audience.

Schrank is the author of industry-specific promotional campaigns which have won both client accolades and industry awards. His ability to "see what everyone else sees but think what no one else thinks" is documented. When industry knowledge is combined with knowledge of industry, remarkable results are certain.

Schrank founded his distributorship, Ad-Vantage Corp, in 1974 and grew it to a national presence with offices in Milwaukee, Chicago, Hartford-CT, and San Francisco with headquarters in Appleton. The Lion's Pride, a stand-alone manufacturer of custom sweaters and shirts was founded in 1988. Both enterprises were sold in 1991. For the next decade, he focused on catalog development for industry suppliers and achieved client sales increases for every catalog produced – sixty-five in total.

Re-entering the promotional products sales arena in 2003, it was apparent the "strength of the group" was paramount to success; thus he joined Strategies.

Jeff is one of the strongest links in an otherwise very sturdy chain at Strategies. Armed with a marketing degree from Marion College, he first applied his several talents to the funeral service profession, earning an associate degree in Applied Science of Funeral Service along the way.

The desire to serve influenced Jeff's entry into the funeral service profession. This very urge-to-serve is what has propelled him to the forefront of the promotional products profession. As corporate liaison to all Strategies supplier partners, Jeff insures a continuous flow of ideas and support without which the company could not remain competitive. Jenson's client list includes many of the area's "Who's Who." His reputation for innovative ideas and client service is what people respect most about this industry leader.

Married to Ann and father of three, this Sherwood resident enjoys family outings. An avid hunter and fisherman, Jenson is never too busy to talk about the one that got away!

Hunting for some new business? Give Jeff Jenson a call.

Melanie has been a Strategies Account Executive for over a decade. Her business experience prior to this was in a marketing capacity at a respected area financial institution. As a client of Strategies, Mel saw firsthand the success of our efforts for her firm and wanted in.

"Everyone at Strategies was having way more fun than me," she claims. But we believe Melanie applied to Strategies because she is tremendously well suited to the task.

Mel studied the marketing and public relations disciplines within the UW System; this has afforded her the ideal base for her work here at Strategies.

When not applying her many skills to serve and support her clients, Mel and her husband Larry tend to their other passion – power boating. As proud owners of a small marina in Oshkosh, their weekends are spent on or near the water.

The Akstulewicz's reside in rural Neenah with their two golden retrievers and three cats.

Melanie fits the Strategies mold perfectly – dedicated to serve. When you're ready to launch a promotional effort, give our gal Mel an "ahoy!"

Betsy brings to Strategies an extensive background in marketing, advertising, and tradeshow production – most recently in Boston. She started in "show business" in New York City with The Ski Show Company and then spent the next decade at SKIING Magazine in editorial and advertising sales capacities as well as being in charge of the magazine's participation in consumer and tradeshows throughout the county.

After a stint with Ski Racing Magazine, Betsy moved to Boston to co-produce the Boston Ski Show. Brauer was then recruited by Reed Exhibition Company, the world's largest producer of consumer and tradeshows. As Advertising Manager and Media Buyer for Reed, Betsy managed promotions, public relations, sales tools and advertising efforts for such shows as the Boston Boat Show, the Eastern Sports Show, the New Orleans Auto Show, the SHOT Show, and the New England International Auto Show. A move to Boston's Seaport World Trade Center put her in charge of Marketing and Communications for the Boston Wine Expo, Titanic, - the Artifact Exhibition, Build Boston, and the Investor Discovery Conference.

A Wisconsin native, Betsy moved to Appleton in 2000 and worked as an independent consultant to events in the area before joining Strategies.

As a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Betsy serves on the Board of Directors of the Fox Valley Alumni Association and is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Executive Women's Golf Association of the Fox Valley.

If your business is in the "show business," Betsy Brauer can assist in your pursuit of a critically acclaimed event.

Karin has been a Strategies Account Executive since 2002. Her sense of fashion serves her clients well when identity apparel is required. That certainly makes sense when you discover that Karin came to Strategies from a 5-year stint at the industry apparel manufacturer/decorator Lion's Pride. Knowledge gained there has enriched all of us at Strategies. Consider for a moment that all apparel decorated and distributed can either remain in a dresser drawer or be worn with pride and distinction. The difference is often subtle, but the difference is knowledge. Grohman has that knowledge.

Karin was born in Edmonton, Canada, to parents who emigrated from the Netherlands. She and her husband Rick have two grown sons and a "teddy bear" dog, PT.

Karin Grohman, Strategies' resident fashion apparel expert, knows clothes. Perhaps you should get to know Karin.

The mental abilities required to master a musical instrument are the same areas of the brain used to access creativity. Perhaps that's why this accomplished musician is so creative!?

Moskal has been creating successful promotional campaigns for his ever-expanding list of clientele since 1994.

A resident of Marinette, Jim travels throughout Northeastern Wisconsin as well as the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. "Wherever there's an opportunity to serve," he's been heard to say.

In his spare time, Jim enjoys boating and of course making beautiful music. If you are in need of a marketing maestro, Jim Moskal will gladly orchestrate some marketing "music" for you.

Every stop in order processing is critical. It does no good to accurately select and decorate an item only to send it to the wrong address. Enter . . . Kurt Koerner, Strategies' Ph.D. of the postal process.

Inventory, pick-and-pack, reorder triggers, product care, packaging concerns, freight/shipping options – all are addressed by Kurt. He completes what is initiated by your account executive and our processing staff. Without a proper conclusion to your order, everything else is worthless.

Kurt Koerner: Experienced, knowledgeable, able and willing. Call on him for all shipping related questions.

Jay Zelinski, Account Executive

Jay Zelinski went all the way though school last in line. That includes earning a BS from the University of Dayton where he played Division I baseball.

Being last in line was, of course, an alphabetical circumstance and had nothing to do with achievement. In fact, Jay's career in sales promotion has year after year placed him at the head of the line.

Since entering the industry in 1993, Zelinski has continued his education, learning both the basics and the "brain surgery" of the promotional business.

The result of his knowledge is obvious to Strategies. Jay has led all colleagues in number of orders written for the past four years. Translated, Jay's clients respect and reward his knowledge, experience, desire, and enthusiasm with their loyalty.

That places Jay Zelinski at the head of our line here at Strategies.

Jay resides with his wife Cari and two children, Nathan and Anna, in Darboy. He coaches "whatever my kids are involved with" and is a board member of the Appleton Little League.

Never afraid to roll up his sleeves and get involved, whether in his community or his vocation, Jay Zelinski can be counted on to deliver results.

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