While attending PRINTING United we learned that the Third Annual Women in Print Alliance Breakfast was scheduled for Thursday, October 24. Unfortunately, we were unable to attend the breakfast, which is open to men as well, because we were flying home early that morning.
Thanks to Toni McQuilken, a former associate writer for The Cannata Report who covered the breakfast for the publication Wide-format Impressions, we learned the details about this well-produced and well-attended event.
My reason for bringing this event to your attention is that it provides me with a topic I relish writing about—diversity.
Seven years ago, CJ Cannata, who had recently joined the family business, asked if we could do an issue featuring Women Influencers.
I had no clue what his motivation for doing this was and what it entailed.
“I want to stand for something because I believe we have a responsibility to address issues that matter to the segment of the industry we cover,” he explained. “Diversity is an important issue for me. I know we serve a conservative industry, but I am not looking to antagonize anyone.”
My response was I’ve never been shy about speaking out on issues I believe are important for subscribers to hear. I told CJ if you believe it is important then let’s do it.
Since then we’ve published one issue a year for the past six years devoted to Women Influencers in the world of print. We also publish three additional Women Influencer profiles throughout the year.
Three years after that first Women Influencers issue was published, we were approached by Tanya Flores, who at that time was the director of marketing for ESP. She asked if we would be interested in holding a Women’s Executive Brunch on the day following our Annual Awards & Charities Dinner.
Carol and CJ immediately said, “Let’s do it.”
Carol outdid herself in creating an environment where women can come together and share their career and workplace experiences. Each year the brunch is better than the year before.
To date, we have had 18 women featured on our cover, and with few exceptions, they have embraced attending our Awards and Charities Dinner and the Women Influencers Brunch as a responsibility to all the women employed in the industry. They have shared their experiences and taken advantage of the brunch as a vehicle to network with each other.
In our most recent Annual Dealer Survey, hiring and retention were one of the top concerns identified by dealers. Do you want a recruiting tool? This is it. Hire women and if they prove able, give them a path to management. Also, offer millennials a future and you will no longer be concerned about hiring and retention. An employment strategy rooted in diversity broadens the pool of candidates and you stand a better chance of hiring someone who could turn out to be special.
The Cannata Report is always looking for Women and Young Influencers we can profile in our publication. If you have women or young people under 40 (women or men) in your employ who are noteworthy and accomplished in their assigned tasks, please tell us about them. You can contact CJ or Scott and they will happily follow that recommendation up. Help us shine a light on these vital demographics. By doing so we will be viewed as a highly enlightened industry where there is an abundance of opportunity.