Meet the Women in Print: Christine Walsh
In addition to running her successful business, Walsh launched a women's networking group.
Walsh has met with more than 60 women to help mentor them in their businesses. She also volunteers at Maryland New Directions, a work/life nonprofit that helps people get back into the working world after incarceration or being laid off. She is also a sponsor of many artistic and creative events in and around Baltimore.
You are the founder of Baltimore Cake & Whiskey, a women’s networking event that has more than 200 women each quarter who meet up, talk shop, and drink whiskey. Can you talk about why you started this? Has there been an event or relationship with a mentee that has been the most impactful?
This was my biggest accomplishment in 2014. I wanted to start something where women could feel comfortable and present. I work in an old-white-male-dominated industry, so finding the right women to network with to empower and feel empowered was something that needed to happen. It’s been a huge success in Baltimore and I still get people from around the country liking our posts on Facebook and wanting to attend Cake & Whiskey. Since starting it five years ago, we’ve managed to get into great venues and build relationships that would never have been started. I like to connect people that attend the event. If women are able to get business out of it then it’s a win/win. I met one woman who just started an inspirational speaking business. She speaks about shame and why women carry it with them but also how to release it! She was able to connect with a city organization called Family League that now hires her to speak with and support the women/families in their organization. It never would have happened if they didn’t meet at Cake & Whiskey last year. Everything about Cake & Whiskey is impactful. I am so glad that it’s still widely attended.
You became president of Alpha Graphics (unrelated to the AlphaGraphics franchise) in 2007 during the middle of a recession. In what ways did you change your business so you would be successful during this time?
I had no idea what I was getting into. Not only was the business in the red, but we were in the middle of the recession. I can’t tell you how many books and magazines I read to get myself educated on how to do sales, marketing, accounting, and customer service. I also read print trade magazines that helped me realize that we could do so much more than we were doing to get customers in the door. Our Epson 9880 and 9890 printers were able to help me make payroll because we were able to print banners. So many hospitals and universities in the area were using them and I needed to get the work. Because of our then-35-year history with our clients, they trusted us and we delivered. Since then, we have grown with signage, both indoor and outdoor, wayfinding, and cut vinyl. Our museums have been able to use cut vinyl as well as our custom color transfers. We continue to get proposals from around the country because of our national reputation for museum quality work.