NEW EXECUTIVES - At the Helm
Informco Inc., Scarborough, ON, Canada
As a youngster growing up in Canada, Carolyn Horan participated in the same activities as most children. She enjoyed swimming and sailing, and had a variety of summer jobs. Unlike some of her peers, however, Horan had definite plans concerning her career—even at young age.
"While I had a variety of interests growing up and a variety of different careers I wanted to pursue," she recalls, "by the time I was a teen-ager I knew that I wanted to run Informco one day."
Informco was co-founded by Horan's grandfather and a partner in 1947, and has remained in her family's control ever since. After graduating from the University of Western Ontario's School of Business in 1985, the 39-year-old Horan started as a marketing assistant to the vice president of sales. She later became a sales manager and eventually ascended to vice president of marketing and business development.
Her childhood dream came true in August when she replaced her father, J.D. Stephens, as company president. Her father remains on the company's board as chairman, while her brother, Sandy Stephens, is vice president of operations.
The family business is just that, Horan points out, even for employees who don't share a surname. She feels that all 130 employees are part of her family, and that's why she has scheduled quarterly reviews with employees to keep the lines of communication open.
"We're very much an old organization that is a new organization at the same time," Horan explains. "We've got a great team here, and we really want to involve everyone and help them understand the important role they play in our future."
The foresight that led Horan to pick her career at a young age is paying off as she is billing Informco as "integrated graphic communication specialists" and is using the Internet to the company's advantage. Last year, Informco put its warehousing and fulfillment services online, and is currently working on some innovative projects with clients where they will be able to order, customize and view proofs online.