From the Editor: A Woman in Print
As we reveal our inaugural awards program, Palmer looks back on her years in the industry.
I began working for Big Picture magazine in 2012 as assistant editor. As an aspiring journalist fresh out of college, I pounced on the opportunity to work for an award-winning, international publication based in Cincinnati, only an hour from my hometown of Dayton, Ohio. Did I know what “wide format” meant? Nope. Did I know what digital printing was? Not a clue. Had I seen a vehicle wrap? Yes, but I had no idea the amount of material, equipment, and skill that went into printing and installing one.
At my first tradeshow (ISA Expo 2013 in Las Vegas), a few months into the gig, my lack of insight was still apparent. To say I was overwhelmed, intimidated, and lost is an understatement. Honestly, who wouldn’t be, surrounded by massive, unfamiliar machines, blinding LEDs, and the slight scent of solvent for the first time? But what I really noticed, as a 22-year-old woman, was the scarcity of female attendees and exhibitors (and no, the “booth babes,” an outdated term that implies women are there just to turn heads, don’t count).
After almost four years attending tradeshows, customer events, and annual meetings, plus interviews, shop tours, and day-to-day interactions with our readers, I can say my perception has changed. There are women in print, and the quantity, while not insignificant, is far surpassed by the quality.
You’ll see that in our first-annual Women in Print Awards, where we highlight six female leaders in the digital print industry who embody our current marketplace and the exciting future it promises. What you won’t see are the myriad of nominations we received these past few months. Our group of judges was impressed by each and every nomination – and so was I. We saw innovators, mentors, volunteers, ambassadors, designers, and dynamic businesswomen. We saw strength, determination, creativity, and drive. It was a difficult few days of judging to say the least. But it was also empowering and refreshing.
One of our winners (meet them all here), Elaine Scrima, sums up my feelings for the digital print world perfectly: “When I began in this industry 21 years ago, I never even knew this world existed. Now I can’t even envision myself doing anything else.” Neither can I.