Women In Print

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An interesting conversation

  • 1.  An interesting conversation

    Posted 09-17-2019 10:58
    In a recent conversation with a long-time business associate this past weekend, the discussion of our lifetime career paths came up. I asked him, in your opinion, what is it you see women struggling with the most in their print careers? I want to say his reply was shocking, but unfortunately, it was not, when he stated that he never really thought about the subject.

    Key take away for me; there is a profound lack of awareness men in our industry have regarding the roadblocks we present to women in print. I do have my thoughts on the matter but rather than share those here I'd like to hear from the women in the WIP community. What are your roadblocks, and how can we as men push them aside? Your input would greatly help me build a story the next time I am in similar conversations.


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    BobMonte
    Strategic Account Manager
    EFI
    Austin, TX
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  • 2.  RE: An interesting conversation

    Posted 09-17-2019 19:18
    If you had told me at 20, my long haul career path would be within a predominantly male industry; I wouldn't have believed you. I didn't have the confidence at 20 to deal with the pressure or lack of respect some men have for women. I've been with my company for nearly ten years. I have worn many hats and managed a variety of projects within my department while assisting other managers with theirs. Some of which I had little to no previous experience with, yet managed to achieve the desired objectives upper management was seeking. I attribute my successes to being a reasonably good observer, even better listener, and always, always a forward thinker. Recently, I received an offer to attain company stock and become the Assistant GM. This transition seemed to come as no surprise to my coworkers, and everyone seemed genuinely pleased and excited about the change.
         However, a few male clients that I have dealt with on many occasions in former positions with the company outright seemed shocked. Yesterday, I had the displeasure of interacting with two men that I would have never considered misogynistic until they needed assistance from a manager and got me. In one case, I was called a "little girl." When I didn't respond, he said, oh so you aren't going to speak to me today? I let him know in a kind fashion that I am a woman, not a "little girl." He seemed mildly taken back that I had said anything. He never apologized only said it was because I was the shortest in the room. I asked him if he would address any of the other male counterparts in the place this way. He said no, but then again, I don't flirt with men. I was offended. Not an hour later, another man I have helped many times came into my office and referred to it as the "big girl office now." Again, I was mindblown. It did not end there. His next statement opened with, it seems I have underestimated you. Then he says you used to do a great job taking my payments and you have made a noticeably positive change within the office.
    Not only did they make you AGM, but you are also VP of decorating now too. Maybe you can give me some creative advice for a sign I need. At this point, I was already feeling uneasy and disrespected. The man had a question about how a product is printed to achieve the desired effect he wanted. I showed him a sample and answered his questions about the print process. He seemed pleased with my response. Then inquired about our installation service. The moment I said our installer Jen, would be happy to help, he said ok, but I'll want to come to help her. (She is the only person in our facility that knows how to install!) Next, in walks the GM. He asked him right in front of me to confirm what I previously said about the print process. Again, I was very much, not ok.
         I consider my self thick-skinned. I have like most women experienced the catcall mess, etc. However, I have never been so offended and mad for smart, hard-working women everywhere than I was yesterday.
         So far within this industry, I've had to deal with this behavior often from men that are over 50. My biggest advice for men to help move roadblocks would be not to be one in the first place! If you wouldn't say it to your male counterparts, then you most likely shouldn't say it to a woman.

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    April Steele
    Director of Sales Ops/AGM
    April Steele
    Chattanooga TN
    (423) 351-3767
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  • 3.  RE: An interesting conversation

    Posted 09-17-2019 21:57
    Thank you for sharing your insightful thoughts April, and congratulations on achieving your Assistant GM role. I could not agree more with your closing comment. "If you wouldn't say it to your male counterparts, then you most likely shouldn't say it to a woman."

    Why is it some men feel it acceptable to use terms like "little girl" or "big girl office now" and to double guess your professional opinion? I always make it a practice to look at the person I am working with as just that, a person. Someone I can learn from, potentially grow my own business by listening to and help them with theirs in any way possible.

    Falling into the category of men over 50 in our industry, I can say that sadly, I have observed this behavior but that not all of us are stereotypical.
    Takeaway, respect the person you're working with, regardless of gender, act as though you are speaking to your mother. Would she have approved of your clients' behavior? My guess is not.

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    BobMonte
    Strategic Account Manager
    EFI
    AustinTX
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  • 4.  RE: An interesting conversation

    Posted 09-18-2019 09:43
    Thank you! I really appreciate the fact that you opened a conversation on this topic. I more women will reply with their perspective.

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    April Steele
    Director of Sales Ops/AGM
    April Steele
    Chattanooga TN
    (423) 351-3767
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  • 5.  RE: An interesting conversation

    Posted 10-27-2019 19:06
    April,
    Thank you for sharing your truth here. What an exhausting day! I've had to think long and hard about what additional I may offer to support you, but honestly it sounds like your doing all the right things. When faced with belittling comments, gently reminding they would never speak in such a way to a male peer, spot on. Even worse they'd never speak like that to a superior.

    It does not appear to be the case here, but sometimes I also like to keep in mind that men have a different communication style than women. They converse shoulder to shoulder instead of facing each other and they rib each other mercilessly. So I try to keep in mind if their teasing gets out of hand, it may actually be that they see me as more of a peer rather than an attempt to belittle me. Keep your head high and congrats on your appointment.

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    Heather Roden
    Strategic Account Manager
    Zund
    Franklin WI
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  • 6.  RE: An interesting conversation

    Posted 10-28-2019 10:07
    Thank you, Heather!

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    April Steele
    Director of Sales Ops/AGM
    April Steele
    Chattanooga TN
    (423) 351-3767
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