Our 2022 Young Influencers are paving the way to the future of the document imaging industry.
The Cannata Report is proud to present our 2022 Young Influencers. These five esteemed millennials are defining their own paths, driven by curiosity, integrity, and creativity. Their drive is rooted in confidence—they fully understand what they have to offer and are committed to excelling not only for themselves and their companies, but also, and most importantly, for their customers.
This year’s Young Influencers are looking to make a difference. For them, their jobs are more than simply booking the next sale, finalizing the next contract, or chasing the next big technology wave. They are looking to understand their customers holistically so they can guide them to the right solutions, improve their daily work lives, and continue the relationships well past the sale. Taking a consultative approach in all aspects of their roles, and offering up new ideas and new approaches, they are embedding themselves with their clients, making themselves and their companies indispensable and profitable.
These Young Influencers spoke about the need for young people to be heard by senior management in order to be seen and valued within their organizations. They also emphasized the importance of mentorship, actionable feedback, and workplaces that foster transparency, creativity, and passion. They want to take on the responsibility of doing their jobs well without being micromanaged, and opportunities to continue growing and evolving with companies that support them both professionally and personally.
In a post-pandemic, shifting workplace environment, these Young Influencers are already leaders in their own roles, and we’re listening closely to them as we follow them into our industry’s future.
Above: Left to right, Ledena Cayetano, Jocelyn Gorman, Katie Harrison, Erik G. Porter, Carson Stone
Ledena Cayetano, 40
Toshiba America Business Solutions
After studying marketing as an undergrad at Cal Poly Pomona, Ledena Cayetano went on to obtain a law degree at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. “My interest actually developed in undergrad,” she said. “I took a business law class and I had the most fun with that class. I TA’d for my professor for a few trimesters. He recommended I go on to law school, which I did.”
Despite securing a prized internship with the attorney general’s office and practicing litigation for several years, Cayetano realized she needed to change tracks. “My passion just wasn’t in it,” she told me. “I didn’t have that drive that comes from doing something that I’m excited about. I was working eighty hours a week to bill forty hours.”
After yet another late night at the office, her husband Chris encouraged her to finally try something different. “He had worked at Toshiba first and he was very happy there, and he knew I wanted to try something more corporate, and I thought this would be perfect,” recalled Cayetano.
With Cayetano joining Toshiba and her husband already on the company’s pricing team, they had to quickly adjust to navigating conflicting priorities on the clock. Ultimately, they found harmony by learning to compartmentalize. “We made a rule where we’re not allowed to talk about work after work,” Cayetano laughed.
Cayetano started at Toshiba as a program specialist, launching new products and creating resources to promote the sales program. In 2018, Toshiba’s top brass decided to build a new department, sales and operations, with a mandate to drive sales and support Toshiba’s field sales teams. Cayetano joined what was then a team of just five employees, although the department has since more than doubled in size. She now manages Toshiba’s new Consortium program, a new sales initiative focused on increasing contracts through a little-known system called national buying groups.
“We’ve always had them, but I don’t know if it’s because our dealers are resellers and they didn’t know about them or would shy away from them because there’s a particular process involved,” noted Cayetano. “There’s some complexity to it.”
Tapping into her legal foundation, she worked closely with Toshiba’s contracts, marketing, and pricing teams to build Consortium into a sales program that helps resellers take advantage of national buying groups, which often have as many as a million members. Usually, institutional buyers such as schools or hospitals aggregate their spending for all members and award contracts for certain commodities. A school might take advantage of its national buying group to purchase playground equipment, for example. These groups are especially useful to public sector entities that are often subject to RFP and bidding requirements. The national buying group handles that process and selects a vendor to award contracts to, saving members the time and effort of negotiating all that red tape themselves.
“We think of it like a product launch in marketing,” said Cayetano. “Here’s a list of a million members that you can target. There’s a lot of buzz around it, a lot of potential and opportunity.”
Buying group members still have flexibility about what specific products they buy but having the vendor pre-approved significantly streamlines the process, both for the buyer and the seller. Focusing on specific industries has allowed Cayetano to highlight Toshiba’s strengths, the things they can offer that their competitors don’t.
“We’re the only manufacturer that has a thermal printer line, which is huge in the healthcare vertical, and there’s digital signage, which our competitors don’t really have,” she said. “There’s ways to use the program offensively to target new business, but then defensively, maybe you have a current customer who’s happy they don’t have to go out to bid because of their state regulations. We’ve been able to maintain a lot of accounts by using that type of strategy.”
Focusing on institutional clients opened a lot of opportunities for Toshiba during the height of the pandemic, motivating Cayetano to make seller education one of her top priorities, and working to capitalize on what turned out to be a surprisingly opportunity-rich time. “In the public sector, they get their budget to spend, and because everyone was working at home, they had all this money that they had to spend, or they were going to lose it. Our reps were able to go onsite and do assessments and help people move to do things virtually. We were relearning best practices in this environment.”
Emphasizing saving time, money, and most importantly effort proved effective. With so many things changing at once, clients didn’t have the bandwidth to do their own research from the ground up on vendors or products. Having a contract already in place with a buyer group, knowing how to handle RFPs, and knowing what products would solve common pandemic-era challenges made everything easier for everyone.
“Research has shown it takes about three months, maybe even years for the most complex contracts. They could save all that time because the work was already done for them,” said Cayetano. Her legal experience gave her a real advantage with negotiating even the most complex contracts.
Going to law school may seem like a big investment in time and effort only to end up doing something other than strictly practicing law, but Cayetano appreciates the unusual place she’s in with her career, a synthesis of technical skills and creativity, leveraging both her legal education and her marketing background.
“I look at it as the best of both worlds,” she said. “On the legal side I’m reviewing these contracts, translating them into a sales program that our dealers can use, and on the marketing side I’m helping with campaigns to help educate our resellers on how to leverage these contracts.”
Cayetano would be the first to admit she never imagined doing the work she’s doing now back when she was in college, but recognizing opportunity, accepting mentorship, and embracing change have helped her along the way, and she hopes other young people will find their own niches in this industry the same way, especially at Toshiba.
“I’ve been fortunate to have had forward-thinking managers provide me with meaningful feedback and guidance to help me improve,” said Cayetano. “They generated a work culture that fostered open communication that brought out our best in creativity and passion, creating an atmosphere that allowed us to develop our own approach and think outside the box.”
With the hiring market turning toward the job-seeker’s favor for the first time in the working lives of most young people today, there’s a chance for supportive employers to stand out from the crowd simply by investing in their young workers and helping them see their potential.
“Opportunities for professional development, giving young workers a sense of purpose and a voice for contributing, and offering job flexibility would help attract and retain young workers in today’s competitive market,” said Cayetano. “As a young worker, it was exciting to have a voice and be able to contribute to projects of all sizes, big and small. And certainly, a flexible work atmosphere is always appreciated.” KG
Jocelyn Gorman, 33
Vice President of Sales, Document Solutions, Inc.
President, DSI Technologies
Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jocelyn Gorman, vice president of sales at Document Solutions, Inc. (DSI) and president of DSI Technologies, always knew her career would revolve around helping others and creating change. However, she never could have imagined it would be through her family’s business in office equipment and technology.
Gorman attended the University of Denver, where her academic career focused on global economics, international politics, business, and Italian. She spent her junior year in Milan and forged her own path. Rather than studying through the American program, she was able to test out to attend a local university, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. When she wrapped up her studies abroad, she returned to Denver to complete her bachelor’s with the intention of returning to Italy to help students with their academic experiences in Italian universities, as she did.
“I couldn’t get a visa, so I had to put those plans in the background of things I still wanted to do, but I had bills and the real world,” said Gorman. Post-graduation in 2011, wanting to stay in the Denver area, she leaned on contacts from DSI and reached out to Mike Malone, the dealership’s Konica Minolta representative, to help her get some leads on a first job.
“I told him, I think I want to try the office technology business, my dad’s made a great living, but I don’t want to move back to New Mexico, so do you know someone in Denver?” recounted Gorman. Malone recommended she look into All Copy Products to see if that dealership had any open roles. After some research and several interviews, Gorman took on a sales representative position, focusing on the downtown Denver territory.
“New reps, they think that’s the sexiest place,” said Gorman. “They’re like, it’s downtown, the biggest accounts. No, it’s the most brutal territory.”
While working in this challenging territory, Gorman developed resilience, tenacity, and perseverance. She appreciated All Copy’s thorough sales training and support, as well as the relationships she cultivated while working in this role. Looking back, she considers Denver as the place she got her feet wet in sales and learned some important best practices.
After nearly a year working for All Copy, Gorman felt called back to New Mexico to her family. She returned home, but kept her apartment in Denver, just in case. “I never imagined moving back to New Mexico or working in my family business for my dad,” said Gorman, who had spent her summers working at DSI alongside her immediate and extended family members.
However, once she was back in New Mexico, she realized how much she enjoyed being around her family and fully committed to DSI, founded by her father Phil Houser, and her mother Theresa in 1997.
“My dad told me, just because you’re not working in a non-profit doesn’t mean you’re not making an impact,” said Gorman. “We have the opportunity to make an impact with our customers, in doing business with integrity, coming up with solutions that do have an impact. I realized I could get the best of both worlds.”
Beginning as a field rep with a couple of ZIP codes, Gorman brought her spark, creativity, and hunger to succeed, and inspired her fellow DSI colleagues to move out of their comfort zones to spur growth. Driven by her tenacity, Gorman posted several big wins, and moved up to major accounts and eventually sales management. Along the way, she landed a large medical account, which served as the launching pad for DSI Technologies, DSI’s IT company.
The customer was very satisfied with the service, products, and impact DSI was delivering, but the client also wanted IT desktop support. While DSI hadn’t established itself in this arena yet, the dealership was looking for an entry point. Gorman viewed this as the dealership’s moment.
“This is true to DSI’s core: We listen to customers and our partners, and what they need, and ask how we can make that a reality, and how can we take that on,” said Gorman. She felt confident that DSI could bid on this 1,500 PC contract and win it. With the backing of her father, she quickly crunched some numbers, again did her research, and pulled together a comprehensive proposal—DSI won the deal. In 2015, Gorman started DSI Technologies to service this one client and has since grown to cover 7,000 PCs across New Mexico, supported by 19 IT technicians, two NOCs, and an extremely profitable division of DSI, led by Gorman as its president.
“I realize I may not have become this successful this quickly without being in the family business, and I don’t take that for granted,” said Gorman. “But I say to myself, what else can I do with this opportunity?”
Today, Gorman maintains a rigorous schedule that has her up at 5 a.m. to read her Bible and take some quiet time before she shifts into “mom mode” for her two children, three-year-old Grace Marie and one-year-old Kyle. By 8 a.m., she is in the office, managing internal meetings on Mondays and one-on-one sessions with her team on Tuesdays, prospecting on the road on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and back to the office on Fridays to address major accounts and review internal data, as well as focus on her own development. By the weekend, she is ready to relax with her husband Scott, who also works for his family’s business, and her two children.
“Our industry is changing so fast, and it’s an exciting time to join it because we have the opportunity to impact and create change more than in any other industry,” said Gorman. “It’s like a blank tablet. We’re able to change so rapidly and quickly, you can become something greater in this industry than in many other industries.” STE
Katie Harrison, 35
Partner Business Manager
Katie Harrison always knew she’d end up doing something in the corporate world, just like most of her family. “Everyone was in business in some way,” she recalled. A gifted softball player who made all-conference as an undergrad, she transitioned directly into graduate school at Anderson University in South Carolina, earning a master’s degree in business administration. After connecting with an HP executive at a college event, Harrison was even more certain about her planned path in life and started work for the multinational company shortly after graduation.
She started by working remotely from home in the Carolinas, selling ink and toner contracts for big corporate clients. “It wasn’t the sexiest job in the world,” she laughed, “but it was an awesome way to get my feet wet and understand what’s arguably one of the more challenging things to sell.”
Ink and toner are a notoriously difficult space in the market to defend, with a lot of price sensitivity from buyers and remanufacturers always nipping at the heels of major brands. “I had to learn early on that the conversation was not about the product and the price and the brand as much as it was the value of the research that went into developing it. That’s something you can’t replicate,” said Harrison.
A key message Harrison learned to communicate to clients was the value of extending the life of their printers by using the right ink and toner. “Some folks can’t be sold on that. For them, it truly is about that cost, but other folks get it. It’s like filling up your car. If you’ve got a premium car, you’re not going to put regular gas in it.”
A born networker, Harrison prizes getting to the heart of a conversation, discovering what matters most to people, and connecting with them about that. For the first seven years of her career with HP she spent a lot of her time traveling to meet with end users and sell them printers, PCs, managed service contracts, “just everything,” said Harrison. Her gift for connecting with people converted many clients into friends, which aided her well when she was promoted to her current position, managing reseller partners.
Those resellers carry other brands, as well as HP, so relationships are crucial for keeping HP’s products well positioned. “I work with my friends as well as colleagues, and that’s a difference-maker,” said Harrison. “One of my biggest print partners that I manage, I FaceTime with his granddaughter. My partners are small business owners, and I get to help them grow their businesses, and that helps them give their employees better lives.”
A large part of Harrison’s communication with partners is educational, helping them navigate the many changes currently impacting the industry. The focus is no longer on making large one-off sales like a single device, but on building ongoing relationships with steady repeating income, a process that necessitates a more long-term and trust-based connection with clients that Harrison helps her partner resellers navigate.
“A handful of years ago everything started shifting from that transactional business environment over to a purely contractual drive,” explained Harrison. “Everything is, how do we make this a complete solution?”
Working with large institutional buyers like hospitals necessitates a holistic approach, both identifying business problems and suggesting hardware and software solutions that can help. These days institutions aren’t solely concerned with improving workflow or cutting costs, but also addressing long-term problems such as environmental sustainability. “We’re creating the least amount of waste from an environmental standpoint because so many of our solutions help cut down on excess printing,” said Harrison. “I love being able to go in and talk to accounts about that, about how can we reduce your print load by twenty-five percent.”
Sustainability isn’t a hard sell these days, because frequently the most sustainable option is often the cheapest, which makes logical sense. Cutting out waste has always been a goal for improving efficiency, but process limitations and hidebound company cultures could be obstacles to reducing paper usage. One of the few silver linings of the pandemic has been giving companies a push to update their workflows since remote work depends much more on sending documents to the cloud rather than pushing physical paper around.
“It was tough for our partners at that time,” said Harrison. “Some were solely focused on print-as-a-service, which was tough for them to figure out. They asked, ‘Am I going to remain profitable? How do I do this without knowing what the print volume is going to be?’ They were going after really big opportunities in the pandemic, and we partnered with them and tried to be there as their support.”
Harrison’s commitment to learning is a two-way street. Even with 12 years at HP under her belt, she’ll often consult her professional mentors, such as Tami Beach, HP’s head of MPS channel sales, to discuss challenges that come up during the day and strategize.
“I watch folks who have been able to accomplish things that I admire,” Harrison said. “Folks who are able to handle situations in a way that I wish I could, and I try to figure out what is their ‘difference-maker’? What is it about them that makes them succeed? How do I emulate that? I’ve surrounded myself with mentors as much as I can from day one.”
Harrison finds value in both official and unofficial mentorships, and recommends that young workers, or anyone facing a new set of professional challenges, find people who have “figured it out.”
“Young talent has more options and opportunities than ever,” she said. “They’re needed. They’re the lifeblood of a strong succession plan for corporate America.” But, especially with the upheavals and balance shifts of the Great Resignation, attracting young talent has new challenges now. Workers are looking for things that were rarely on the table five years ago, such as full-time remote or home-office-related perks. Young job applicants have a rare opportunity to be choosy and they’re making the most of it.
“To attract them, positions that have flexibility on location, reward exceptional performance, and have a strong plan for personal development will be the ones to secure the younger talent,” said Harrison. “Retaining young talent takes effort from the hierarchy of the company. It is critical that these individuals feel seen by their leadership chain. Taking the time to include them in conversations, meetings, and strategy discussions early on in their career will invest them in the success of the company and in turn, create loyalty so they can be a part of the success that they helped plan years before.” KG
Erik G. Porter, 39
Certified Lease and Finance Professional
U.S. Bank Equipment Finance
For Erik G. Porter, certified lease and finance professional at US Bank Equipment Finance, a college class in business law provided the launching pad for his professional career. At Southwest Minnesota State University, the usual professor was on sabbatical the spring semester Porter had signed up for this course, and the then-president of US Bank Equipment Finance, Mike Rizzo, had stepped in. By the end of the semester, Rizzo had told Porter to see him in the fall for a job, and that is exactly what Porter did.
Starting his tenure at US Bank in his junior year of college in 2003, Porter took a part-time, entry-level role in the accounting department, entering check remittances into the company’s system. It wasn’t glamorous, but the job got him in the door and on a career path.
“I wanted to find a company whose values aligned with my own values, and fortunately, US Bank was a great fit,” said Porter, who describes himself as analytical and detail oriented. “I could tell at an early stage that they cared about developing their employees and helping them grow on an extended career path. US Bank is also focused on community outreach, and that’s something I love about it and made me want to remain a part of this team. Lastly, I think a lot of it has to do with honesty and ethics. US Bank strives and almost overcommunicates with its employees about doing the right thing, and that’s so refreshing in today’s environment. I like knowing the company has my back so long as I am striving to do the right thing for my clients.”
After receiving his bachelor’s degree in business finance and marketing, Porter fully committed to US Bank, taking a marketing manager position. Here, he learned about the various industries the company interacts with and how it conducts its business from a profit-and-loss perspective. While he enjoyed this work, he wanted to get closer to the clients.
“In marketing, I felt like I was standing in the background a little bit,” said Porter. “I wanted to be in a more business-development role, being that front-line interface with our clients each and every day.”
He was fortunate to find a sales position, and in 2012, he ultimately landed in the equipment finance division, supporting vendor clients in the office equipment group. The ability to explore different areas of business is one of the best benefits of working for a larger company. It gave Porter the opportunity to build his professional skill set and gain a broad perspective of US Bank’s customer reach.
“As I learned about the company, I learned about our different business lines, how strong of an entity the office equipment group is, what type of clients we support—both manufacturers and independent dealers—and I wanted to be part of the team and that success,” said Porter.
He now supports equipment finance clients as they develop their major account opportunities. Porter is the primary interface with these clients, assisting them with credit approval, rates, documentation, closing transactions, and monthly invoicing once the business is booked.
“I love the team approach, but I also love when we can offer our vendor clients a single point of contact,” said Porter. “I also really like to see a transaction come together from start to finish. A lot of these larger opportunities for larger corporate entities can take up to a year or longer to originate. Starting on those opportunities in the infant stages of credit approval, all the way through a successful invoicing relationship is what I find satisfying in this position.”
In this fast-paced office equipment industry, technology and trends are constantly shifting. Porter finds this environment challenging, but believes it is one of the core components of his role.
“The most challenging part about my role is staying abreast of everything that’s happening in the industry,” said Porter. “One of the keys to success within my role and for US Bank is staying close to everything going on, whether it’s the trends in moving from A3 and A4, what’s happening in the return-to-office climate, how companies are going paperless, software integration, inflation, supply chain challenges, and now, the rising [interest] rate environment. Trying to stay abreast of all these external factors and how they impact the company, as well as the value proposition we offer to our clients, is very important, but it’s challenging because there is so much to stay aware of.”
Porter is planning on a long career at US Bank, where he feels truly supported in his growth professionally and personally. Driven by a strong work ethic, enthusiasm for the industry, and integrity, he believes the office equipment industry has much to offer young people looking to carve their own professional paths.
“As a younger member of our team, I definitely have a lot of excitement for this industry and the value we bring to our clients, and that level of excitement, passion, and energy can really add value to what we do,” said Porter. “I also try to keep an open mind and fresh perspective so I can bring new ideas to our leadership to help our clients.” STE
Carson Stone, 26
Product and Solutions Specialist
Stone’s Office Equipment
The entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in Carson Stone, product and solutions specialist at Stone’s Office Equipment in Richmond, Virginia. He comes from a long line of family business owners from his mother’s father, who ran an electrical contracting company, to his father’s father, Frank Stone, who founded Stone’s Office Equipment in 1970. His father, Sam Stone, is the dealership’s current president and CEO.
Athletic and active in his church, Stone grew up on his family’s farm outside of Richmond. He gained a strong work ethic from both his mother, Kerrie, who worked for her father’s business and father, Sam.
“It was ingrained at a young age—whether intentionally or not—if you have the work ethic and drive, you can do it,” said Carson.
In his senior year at Old Dominion where he was pursuing his studies in criminal justice, Sam gently encouraged him to take on some courses that could be applied across any professional field. Carson aptly chose a minor in leadership and business ethics.
When Carson graduated in 2018, he took his father’s advice again. Sam asked him to temporarily fill in at Stone’s Office Equipment as a delivery truck driver until he found a full-time job. This is how Carson began to understand the depth and breadth of his family’s multigenerational business.
“I had no idea there were that many different segments in our market that we service and so many different people that did the same thing in many different ways,” said Carson, who remarked that the people were what initially interested him in the industry. “And the people who work for Stone are so impressive. The average tenure of our employees is about 15 years.”
Even though Carson was in the process of applying to the police academy, in a moment of reflection, he chose to shift gears. “I said to myself that I had a really good opportunity at Stone’s Office Equipment, and I loved what I did there,” he said. “I felt like I was trying to force myself into something—being a police officer—that wasn’t going pan out in the long term.”
While print may be the cornerstone of the office technology industry, for Carson, it’s the potential of other business-growing opportunities that propelled him to fully immerse himself into the family business.
“There is a lot in our industry that isn’t always spoken about like digital signage, content management, light production, and the more techie stuff,” said Carson who enjoys his position as product and solutions specialist. “There is so much about copiers alone that the average salesperson does not know. This role puts me in a great position to help them so that when a customer asks them questions, they don’t need to spend their day trying to find an answer. They can call me.”
Driven by an innate sense of curiosity, Carson aims to understand Stone’s products and services inside and out, as well as research new opportunities that can further support Stone’s Office Equipment as a business, but more importantly, its valued customers.
Carson offers a hands-on approach in his specialist role. In addition to working closely with the sales team on installations, he also assists with training and works one-on-one with customers to deliver that personal touch. He keenly acknowledges that not all customers are tech-savvy, and they often require a pressure-free environment to adapt to new hardware and software, as well as their capabilities. He has a distinct ability to connect with customers on a human level, creating a sense of ease and openness in the business relationship, which makes him a welcome and reliable resource.
“We want to show the value of our relationship instead of the value of a sale,” said Carson. “We want to be a trusted partner.”
Inspired by his father Sam, as well as other industry veterans, including Mike Stramaglio and Frank Cannata, Carson is optimistic and enthusiastic about the future of the office equipment industry. To gain perspective, he seeks out any opportunity to connect with longtime members of the industry to bounce news ideas off, seek advice, or understand what worked in the past, is working in the present, and may work in the future.
Even though he likens learning the intricacies of this industry to “drinking water from a fire hose,” Carson encourages young people considering a career path in office technology to be bold, unafraid to make mistakes and learn, and speak up with their ideas.
“I try to show people you can still have new ideas in an old industry,” said Carson, who is excited about the industry’s growth beyond copiers. “There are still new ways to do things. Just because it hasn’t been thought of or didn’t work 15 years ago doesn’t mean it can’t work now.” STE
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