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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

One of the biggest challenges she has faced in her new role is finding time to nurture the client relationships she has built over the years. She says this has less to do with being a woman and more to do with being a human being, confined by the finite number of hours in each day. Ultimately, though, her transition to leadership has been a smooth one, thanks in part to the support of her team of more than 50 employees.

“I have found that, because relationships and driving the business from a sales standpoint are my forté, I have to make sure I have a savvy production staff, which I do, and it hasn’t been a problem,” McLaughlin explains. She also takes pride in hiring women in jobs that are traditionally viewed as ‘man’s work.’ “I have women on the floor in the production area and, even though I don’t have a woman printer yet, I have women in the finishing area.”

Despite her best efforts to employ women, McLaughlin admits there is a shortage of interested female candidates across the board.

“I don’t know that this is an industry that women are drawn to, and therefore I think it’s a huge opportunity,” she says. “I would tell women thinking about working for a print provider, don’t think of it as ‘Oh, I’m a woman, so I belong in the art department,’ or ‘I belong in customer service.’ I don’t think that’s the case at all. It’s an industry where women can be powerful and can succeed – I know this because I haven’t found any roadblocks myself.”

Finding a niche: Solar Imaging
For most students of fashion design, a job with industry giants like Banana Republic, Gymboree, Express, and The Gap mark the pinnacle of success, and for Sandra Burt, they did just that – for a while. But, in 1994 she was looking for a new challenge when she left her stable corporate job to join forces with her husband to open a commercial photography studio in their garage.

“I stumbled into the digital printing industry as a part of re-inventing and growing our business,” Burt explains, and she has learned a lot along the way.