Did you choose print or did print choose you?
I chose print! I was an Art major/ Econ minor at Grinnell College and after I graduated my goal was to combine art and business! I interned in Chicago for a summer at an auction house called Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.
It was a really cool internship but didn’t pay. That same summer I was introduced to Joan Vanderbeck, who was the President of Service Web Offset, a printing company on the south side of Chicago. It was very rare in 1992 for a printing company to be run by a woman. She hired me and the rest was “herstory”.
How do you establish credibility with customers, colleagues and bosses?
I believe in being honest and caring. And when I make a promise, I always deliver. First, I ask questions to better understand what’s going on for my client or colleague. I listen carefully and relate directly to the client’s goals and objectives. Second, if I say I’m going to do something, I will do it. It’s important when you make a promise, to keep it. If there are delays or challenges, my clients know that I’m on it and will always come to them with solutions.
What advice can you offer regarding negotiating salary raises/addressing fair pay issues?
My pay has been 100% commission since I was 25. So I’m not sure I’m as experienced at salary discussions and fair pay issues as others. However, I strongly believe that you should not be afraid to talk about money. As a woman, I think we are often taught to work hard and do our jobs and be “good girls” with an expectation that our hard work will be noticed (not always) and then fairly rewarded (don’t count on it). I would encourage women in the workforce to speak up about their pay and be sure they are being paid equally and adequately for the work they are putting in. Don’t be afraid to talk about money!
What advice did you receive early in your career that you wished you had followed?
I think my mantra at times being a woman in a male-dominated industry, is to “kill with kindness”. Be kind. Smile. And be thoughtful of others. But that doesn’t mean be walked over, bullied or allowing people to take credit for your ideas. Be professional, hold your ground and stick up for yourself.