Did you choose print or did print choose you?
Print chose me. When my family immigrated to Paso Robles in 1980 without a word of English, my parents worked multiple jobs (which seemed like 24/7) to survive and feed our large family. My father landed a fork-lift driver and web pressman position at ProForms (now International Security Products, Inc) in 1986 which allowed him to purchase our first home in America and raise my sisters and me in the world of print.
How do you establish credibility with customers, colleagues and bosses?
I am a firm believer in seeking to be a servant leader in all facets of life and work. To be a servant leader, I follow the model taught at CCL.org (Center for Creative Leadership): 3 dimensions of trust https://bit.ly/2UHvr68.
Trust, to me, is everything in life and work. Building trust is how I establish credibility with customers, colleagues, and bosses. Like trust is everything in marriage and family, it applies to business relationships equally.
What advice can you offer regarding negotiating salary raises/ addressing fair pay issues?
Well, I come from a different perspective on salary negotiations. Since I am a consummate salesperson (by the way, I believe everyone is a salesperson “To Sell is Human” -Daniel Pink), I am more concerned about equal opportunity in opportunities to sell and make commissions. Success in shattering sales targets by a woman in the print industry is exceptional, growing up in the industry. So, I focus on how our leaders are equally creating the playing field and giving me the equal opportunity to be successful in hitting sales targets and earnings potential.
Salary in sales is only a small portion of your income. It is about ensuring that you are with a company that doesn’t “cap” or put a ceiling on your earning potential (commissions), meanwhile, safeguarding the territory given has the equal potential as your male counter-parts to leverage your commission plan. Sales commission plans drive behaviour. So, if a companies’ commissions plan and bonus structure are all about driving how many “units” install in the field in a given year, a woman like me, tend to get drowned out by aggressive extroverted male sales reps whom always only want more substantial and extensive territories to sell equipment whether the business can justify it or not. However, if commission plans are incenting their reps to provide total business solutions to help printers grow and be a strategic partner to their businesses (long term business stability strategy), I will be very competitive 😉.
What advice did you receive early in your career that you wished you had followed?
Speak up sooner than later. Advocate for yourself. I have double things against me. I am a woman and an Asian minority. I have to battle many stereotypes and biased perceptions before even opening my mouth. Being quiet (oh, “Quiet” by Susan Cain hits every brain synapses like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter does for my then 6-year-old daughter in the picture who read the whole Harry Potter Series. Twice.) has served me well in my sales career as I listen more than talk. However, there are times where women have to speak up and stand up for what is right, equal and fair. Not only for ourselves, but for our female community at large.
Our daughters depend on us to do so and continue to carve out a path for them to thrive equally. Moreover, speaking up is not necessarily vocal. Speaking up can be done in a written format, and these days using social media platforms to speak-up, stand-up, and fight for causes you believe is paramount. #noexcuses #nogendernonsense #speakup. I leave you with a favorite quote: “The Soul has no Gender” – Clarissa Pinkola Estes