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Wide F♀rmat

(November 2011) posted on Tue Oct 25, 2011

Five women changing the face of large-format printing.

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By Paula L. Yoho

Among McLaughlin’s first agenda items was to file for certification as a woman-owned business with the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). She received the designation last November, and is using it to differentiate her company from competitors.

“Being a woman-owned business has definitely opened doors,” McLaughlin says. “It takes a while to build momentum and it’s a process, but we try to use it to our advantage.”

The women-owned business status has put her company on the map with some large prospective clients she might not otherwise be able to reach.

“A lot of the big companies, such as the AT&Ts of the world, have minority and women business programs in place, but it’s really hard for me as Great Big Color to go to AT&T and say, ‘Hey I want to be your printer,’” she says. “It is easier for me to add value as a Tier II provider for a company like AT&T, who will hold their agencies to also have a quota of using minority and women vendors. So, I can go to their agency BBDO and I can say, ‘I fulfill your quota to AT&T, so let me be your printer.’”

Tina has made some changes to the business operations since taking the reins, but she is reluctant to attribute those changes to the fact that she is a woman. Sometimes, she says, it just boils down to personal style.

“I’m really numbers-driven, and I run the business a lot differently from how we’ve run it in the past,” she says. “When it comes to manufacturing, a lot of times it just comes down to brute force to get a job done. But for me, I’ll get out a stopwatch and time a print, then I’ll get an exact time and I’ll put together a schedule down to the minute for how long a job is going to run. I tend to be a lot more analytical, and I hold the production staff to those metrics.”