Girls, Girls, Girls
So I just got back from GRAPH EXPO 2012 today. I spent the majority of my time at the Girls Who Print booth inside of Deb Corn’s Printerverse section of the show floor. I got to see a bunch of people I haven’t seen in ages, like my homie Bev Burger who is now a bigwig at HP Indigo, but used to be a little person like me at a digital press shop many moons ago. And I’ll have a whole ’noter blog about Frankie Grey and some cool things you can do easily and cheaply with mobile apps. I mean like free cheap.
But for today, we’re gonna talk about girls. Girls in the printing industry and why it’s important that we stick together via groups like Mary Beth Smith’s Girls Who Print. Here are five reasons why:
1) Networking—It is always a good idea to meet as many people as you can. And in this industry, it is good to surround yourself with like-minded evangelists with whom you can share ideas and experiences with (see numbers 4 and 5 below).
Today, for example, I met a really cool lady who has been teaching graphic arts here at the College of DuPage for the last 26 years. [I didn’t even know that COD had a graphic arts program.] And she knew Bev. Small world, right?
2) Mentoring—Today there was a panel discussion on the importance of mentoring in sustaining our industry by encouraging the younger generation to pursue careers in the graphic arts. It’s a pretty basic concept, but one that should be embraced much more than it is. Get a mentor, and be a mentor. Talk to younger people about geting into our industry. Tell them why it’s a great idea. If you don’t know why, tell them to call me.
3) Support—Given that we all have a vested interest in seeing our industry not only survive, but thrive and evolve, it is better that we embrace the attitude that when one of us succeeds, we all win. So lend a hand when you can, and ask for help if you need it. A friend in need...and all that.
4) Commiseration—Sometimes it just feels good to blow off a little steam and complain or swap horror stories. We’ve all got them. It’s the one instance when I really don’t mind being one-upped. Anytime I ever think I’ve had a tough time, someone can tell me a story that beats mine. And that’s OK.
5) Ideas—I make it a habit of listening to people, asking questions, and diving into offering unsolicited advice. I am quite sure that this is often welcomed and just as often really not appreciated at all. But I just can’t help myself.
The exchange of ideas is often a great springboard for innovation, change and improvement. Get a bunch of girls together in a room and, I can promise you, we won’t just talk about boys and lipstick. Give us 30 minutes and we can just about save the world.
For all of the above reasons, I really hope I don’t have to wait until PRINT 13 to have another adventure with the Girls...We should break up into small groups and meet as regularly as we can. I can use the help!
Blogger, author, consultant, coach and all around evangelist for the graphic arts industry, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include sales and marketing coaching, enabling clients to find engagement strategies that work for them and mentoring the next generation of sales superstars.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league. She is also the mother of two sets of twins under the age of ten, so she fears nothing.