2021 Rising Star: Brianna Caso Driven to Success in Printing Industry
Here is one professional from this year's crop of “Rising Stars.” Seven exceptional 20- and 30-somethings recommended to Printing Impressions as exemplars of the next generation of leadership in the commercial printing industry. We asked each of them to tell us how they got here, what keeps them dedicated to the industry, what they’re proud of having accomplished so far, and where they hope to be going forward.
We also made a point of asking them why, in their opinion, it’s so perennially difficult for the industry to recruit people of their age group. The most compelling answer was basically, “Nobody from the printing industry ever told me what a rich career opportunity I’d find in it. I had to figure that out for myself.”
This bears thinking about. So does the fact that there are many more young stars like these just below the horizon, waiting for the outreach that will let them rise and shine as print professionals in their own right. We’re pleased to profile their role models here.
Grit Printing & Direct Mail
Brianna Caso’s personal passion is for horses — not surprising in someone who worked on a breeding farm and earned a degree from Penn State in animal science with a minor in equine science. But when a career path in the equine professional field failed to materialize, Caso pivoted to something she also knew well: working at Grit Printing & Direct Mail, a trade printing company that once published the famous independent family newspaper, Grit.
Grit Printing & Direct Mail’s hometown is also Caso’s, and she had worked at the company throughout high school and during college breaks. She approached her former employer in 2018 with an offer to kickstart its social media presence. Having realized that she’d discovered the career priority she was looking for, she accepted a full-time position the following year when a sales position opened up.
Caso cites “the company culture, and the opportunity to have growth and to pursue my passion for account management and marketing” as her reasons for entering the industry as an employee of Grit Printing & Direct Mail. She is realistic about the challenge ahead of her, but confident of her ability to rise to it.
“I’m still trying to learn about my role, to be totally honest,” Caso says. “Each day is a learning curve for me as I continue to build relationships with our customers and the team at Grit.
“My core values, work ethic, and my high energy are really helpful for the company,” she continues. “I like to be able to be responsible for my own success, and I really enjoy the flexibility of managing my own responsibilities. My work ethic really plays off that, and it’s motivating.”
Caso says she hopes the fact that she is always willing to listen to and learn from her customers will encourage them “to trust me, and to come to me for anything. That’s what I really care about.”
She describes a strong culture of customer service at Grit Printing & Direct Mail, and the sense of satisfaction that this gives her.
“Our team is always providing solutions to our customers, from the basics of just getting the job done right and out the door on time, to complications of there needing to be a rush, or there was a change in mailing. We’re always here to help them, and to work with them to make it right.
“At the end of the day, I feel like I’m always accomplishing something,” she adds. “The feeling of having accomplishments on a daily basis is really motivating.”
Caso also values the openness of Grit Printing & Direct Mail’s management style. “I feel like I have a voice; I can voice ideas, and they provide feedback. It’s just a great working environment of positivity.”
Driven to Succeed in Her Profession
Caso doesn’t hesitate to answer “kick ass” when asked to state how she intends to achieve her long-term professional goals. What this will require, she explains, “is just to go out there and be the best that I can be.” After a year on the job, she feels ready “to take on the industry, and give it my all.”
Caso would like to see others of her age group get the same exposure to the industry that she has received, and she doesn’t believe that the difficulty of attracting them is insurmountable.
“Once people realize the importance of print,” Caso declares, “we’re going to crack that code.” She says she’s been able to enlighten friends with her explanation of why print — in the form of banners and signage — has been such a vital means of communication during the COVID-19 pandemic. She points out that in other contexts, print can “strike emotions,” engage consumers, and motivate behavior.”
Caso admits that until she joined the industry, “I didn’t realize how cool it was to make a book.” That’s a revelation she wants to share with others: “that there’s a lot going on in the print side of things. There are a lot of cool things happening. My generation just needs to be aware.”