2010 Hall of Fame: Joan Davidson – Setting a Blazing Pace

Joan Davidson, group president of Sheridan Publication Services in Hunt Valley, MD

Joan Davidson is flanked by her two favorite men, husband Tom (left) and son Ryan.

Joan and husband Tom take a break from exploring the Grand Canyon.

“I was fortunate to have worked with Bob and John at P&G, so I was accustomed to their excellent management and leadership capabilities. Given their achievements and my desire to be working with a strong management team at a smaller organization…I am glad to have made the change into printing. All the experiences and challenges have made me a better person and leader.”

The third of six children born to Jerome and Jeanne Beach, Joan Davidson relished her childhood years in Maryland, where she played basketball, soccer, softball and lacrosse. Between school, athletics and part-time jobs, “We all learned multitasking at a very young age.” She enjoyed the love and support of a large family unit.

Not a Family Affair

Though she doesn’t boast of a print lineage—her father worked in sales for 7-11 parent Southland Corp.—Davidson did receive early exposure to ink on paper by working as a proofreader at The Aegis, a small-town newspaper where her mother keyed in copy and wrote her own community column.

“My mother had many followers with her newspaper column. Many times her kids were the focus of her column, which could prove to be rewarding or just simply embarrassing,” Davidson recalls.

She earned her undergraduate degree from College of Notre Dame in Baltimore, then attained an MBA from Loyola University. From there, Davidson embarked on her Procter & Gamble career, with the world of printing not even a consideration until the mid-1990s, when the opportunity to switch industries afforded itself.

Davidson joined an organization that, although paled in size to P&G, was enjoying a dynamic flux, fueled by acquisitions that escorted The Sheridan Group’s product and service menu into new directions. Braun-Brumfield (1988) added books, and United Litho (1994) ushered in magazine printing. Dartmouth Printing (1998), which specialized in journals and magazines, and BookCrafters (1999), also gave the organization more depth. Catalog printer The Dingley Press joined the fray in 2004, and The Sheridan Group is now 1,500 employees strong.

Related story: Joan Davidson, Sheridan Publication Services, 2010 HOF Speech

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