women's print herstory month girls who print

Name: Kris Mento

Title: Creative Department Manager

Company: TopInc Print Imagination

Company URL: www.topinc.co.za

LinkedIn Profile URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristinmento

Please share advice for young women considering or starting a career in print… Which includes design, sales, marketing and all jobs within.

Print is like a contact sport: understanding the theory of how it’s done will only take you so far. In order to sharpen the instincts needed for you to really play the game and be able to think on your feet, you have to gain experience by learning from those around you and those who came before you.

Sometimes this means observing, asking then practicing in order to learn the legendary tricks of the trade; sometimes this means learning current protocols and practices in order to develop better ones. You may also come across colleagues who are unwilling to teach you, but don’t let that stop you from learning. If anything, take it as a compliment and work around them where possible.

Lastly, when you lead a team one day, lead with a sense of humanity, integrity and respect for your team, but also be firm, fair and humble. Stand your ground on the floor and be prepared to back up your opinions or directives with sound reason and experience if necessary. When you do make a mistake, own it, apologize to your team and move forward. Being able to provide valuable input could get you noticed and praised, but remaining honest, steadfast and in-control during a storm is what garners trust.

How have mentors helped your personal and career development?

Throughout various stages of my career, mentors have helped to advise me or equip me with tools to make more informed decisions or see a problem from a different perspective. It is invaluable to have a sounding board that innately understands your role or industry and in whom you’re able to confide when things get a bit crazy.

The best part about having mentors is that you can have more than one for various aspects of your life and career – sometimes, they can even be your mentor without knowing it. As I’ve progressed in my career, I’ve felt increasingly passionate about giving back to my creative community and about passing my knowledge on so, in turn, I’ve also mentored various young designers to pay homage to those who took the time to mentor me.

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