Celebrating Women in Print at SGIA

Female leaders and innovators recognized at expo.

Members of the industry came together to celebrate female leaders in the wide-format digital print world at the 2018 SGIA Expo in Las Vegas at a number of events. On Friday afternoon, winners of the third annual Big Picture Women in Print Awards joined Editor-in-Chief Adrienne Palmer for an engaging panel conversation, discussing their entries into the wide-format industry; accomplishments and projects they’re most proud of; best business, hiring, and training practices; the future of print; and much more. 

2018 Women in Print Award Winners

After the panel, SGIA attendees and exhibitors joined the 2018 Women in Print Award winners and Big Picture editorial team for an award ceremony and cocktail hour at the ST Media Group booth. The 2018 Women in Print class received trophies, posed for photos, and connected with other industry leaders, including some past Women in Print Award winners.

The Women in Print Award winners were also recognized at SGIA’s Women in Print Alliance Breakfast Friday morning. Keynoter Kathy Korman Frey, founder of the Hot Mommas Project, spoke on the importance of mentorship for women in the workplace. Through a mix of interactive exercises and intriguing statistics, Frey touted the benefits of working toward goals and seeking out mentors. “When you share aspirations with others, it increases your perceived value of the event and decreases stress,” Frey said, adding that female employees with five mentors (plenty of people to share aspirations with!) have 50 percent more confidence than those without. Plus, those who seek out a mentor have higher pay and advance further in their organizational hierarchies.

It came as no surprise that mentorship was a hot topic at the Women in Print Panel, as well. “I’ve been incredibly blessed to have amazing mentors. It’s important to me to give back to those that I work with so I can help mentor them into their roles, and help to pave the way for them as well,” said Monique Berg, Big Ink VP of operations. Cindy Victor, senior director, superGraphics shared advice from a mentor that’s stuck with her throughout her career: “My mentor said, ‘Show up. Ask good questions. Lead with integrity. Be on time. Always remember to laugh and have fun.’”

Here are more snippets of wisdom, advice, and insight from the Women in Print Panel:

  • “We do a lot of training on new products. You never know what’s coming down the line. If you think you’re a finished product, you’re not.” –Dawn Homa, owner, Signarama Brighton Colorado
  • “If you take care of your clients, they’ll stay with you for a long time. They’re not going anywhere.” –Linda Fong, CEO, Fastsigns Oakland and Fastsigns Hayward
  • “Some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten is to really learn to listen and ask good questions.” –Allison Kast-Eichenberg, owner, Signarama Chandler
  • “Asking people questions and taking the initiative to make that phone call and talk to people in the industry has been key for me.” –Lauran Wang, president, Mustang Signs
  • “We live in a really global market and we are stewards of that.” –Victor
  • No matter what idea a client comes in with, “Figure out: ‘how do we do it?’” –Berg
  • “We’re [brick-and-mortar print shops] providing an experience that you’re not getting online.” –Wang
  • “Be willing to let go and reevaluate.” Don’t be so stuck in tradition that you’re not willing to change for the better. –Kast-Eichenberg
  • “You have to find the right people who care about your business and find people who are innovative. I love my millennials.” –Homa
  • “You learn from experience, from doing it wrong!” –Wang

Meet the 2018 Women in Print Winners here. Watch the Women in Print Panel here, or view the awards ceremony here.

For live updates from industry conferences and shows around the world, follow Editor-in-Chief Adrienne Palmer and Big Picture magazine on Twitter.