Stephanie Gaddin Managing Director, Rocking Rose

LinkedIn Profile:

What do you do?

While I came to work in print almost accidentally, I do have enormously fond memories of sitting in my mother’s office which was above a carbon paper factory, she was the EA to the CEO. The rumbling of the floor and the warmth rising up from the machinery underneath us is a fond memory- as is the smell of hot paper and ink!  I have a varied background and a cross-section of industries spanning small businesses to large corporates, in client services and into IT and software development. I worked at an MIS software company from early 2010, eventually becoming their Global CEO , and have traveled to several countries exploring expansion opportunities – I settled into my own consulting space and now work part-time as the Editor of Digital Image Magazine, a trade publication in the Sign, Display and Wide format niche, and run a high-end website development agency called Rocking Rose. I often joke, that every time I try to move into the digital world – print just pulls me back. Who can resist? It’s tactile,  most of the industry is eco-friendly, and becoming more so each day, and whatever you’re looking to promote or do, some form of print is guaranteed to be the most impactful. I love crossing the divide between digital and print and being able to weave together the best of both worlds. And I love being able to tell the stories of the up-and-coming apprentices in our industry in a regular column that I pioneered in Digital Image. Sucha. Privilege to see first-hand that there are engaged motivated young people and they are choosing to enter our industry when they know it’s a viable option.

What investments have you made in your professional career development?

When opportunities are offered for training or certifications, I take them with both hands and give them everything I have. From a post-graduate diploma in Business Analysis to short courses and certifications such as being Google and AWS certified at various points, I’m always curious and looking to learn new skills and take in new information. I have even taken unpaid and paid annual leave from a corporate job to complete courses that I could not get approval to do through our official channels, and I paid for them myself.

How can the industry proactively invest in women, and why should this be a priority?

We need several angles of investment. We can’t just encourage women into trades, or help them find office jobs at a printer – we need to provide the support that encompasses the challenges of working in a male-dominated environment. If you are the only women printer on a factory floor of men, it’s that much harder to navigate when inappropriate things happen, or are directed at you. Women should not only be trained and promoted. Additionally, I am strongly of the belief that diversity in the industry across more than gender is crucial. Inclusion is something I live and breathe, and I believe we should be investing heavily in attracting diverse talent, and working to keep all talented bright individuals in the industry for as long as possible.

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