2021 Women in Print and Promo: Livi Dalmau, American Solutions for Business
American Solutions for Business, Coral Springs, Fla.
Livi Dalmau is an account executive for American Solutions for Business, but those who know her believe “miracle worker” is a better title. She always goes above and beyond for her clients, working late hours to pull off the impossible. She considers many of them family, and for Dalmau, family is everything.
In high school, she spent summers working at her cousin’s print shop. No job was off limits. Dalmau assisted in the shipping and bindery departments, painting glue on notepads and separating the pads. When school was in session, she made plates in the darkroom, answered phones, entered orders and handled other customer service-related tasks.
The shop closed as Dalmau was about to begin her studies at the University of Miami. A client offered her a full-time customer service position at Karon Business Forms, where she spent the next four years while completing her business degree in computer information systems. After graduation, she split her time between customer service and sales, and was fortunate enough to take on extra work from clients on nights and weekends. A client that she sold payroll checks to stood out to her.
“[He] asked me to do the payroll for his two companies,” she said. “I learned a lot about how different companies worked just by selling them print and a little promo. While with this company, I met a fellow salesperson from another branch, Tom Keller, and we fell in love and got married.”
The couple worked together for many years, but as Dalmau tells it, she wanted her marriage to last even longer, so she changed fields. She spent the next eight years in the human resources department at a temporary employment agency before leaving to start a family. Even with little kids running around the house, Dalmau couldn’t leave print behind. She would help Tom write up the orders he brought home. That eventually turned into helping with inventory management, pricing and sourcing products. When Dalmau was ready to officially return to the workforce, her friend, Tom Perrin, told her about American Solutions for Business and the benefits of the distributor side of business. It gave her the flexibility she needed, and a year later, her husband joined her.
“I have small customers and large customers, but shortly after I began with American, I started selling to a franchise company—15 years later, and they are still a great customer,” Dalmau said. “We built an e-commerce site to service their 300 franchises and suddenly I had a specialty. I service all sorts of industries, but I love to really learn about the client and be a one-stop shop for all their needs, little orders and large.”
What Brings Her Joy Professionally and Personally
I really see my role as a problem solver. My client needs something, and I find it for them. My client has a certain budget and I provide suggestion for them to use it effectively. I like to treat my clients like family and spend their budget as if I were spending my own. When they call me “superwoman,” it makes me happy. When a client transitions from client to friend to family that brings me joy. My family is what brings me joy. So, whether it is by blood or by choice family is family. And work has extended my family.
Her Proudest Career Achievement
I am proud of many career achievements. My first President’s Club, my first Million Dollar Club, my Vendor of the Year award. I think that I am the most proud of an award that my husband and I received in October of [last] year. It was the GPO Excellence Award, given to only one person in our company. We have a large GPO account that we started working with in 2019 that has really grown, and my husband and I won this award together. My husband of 35 years passed away five months ago … and he was able to accept the award after being in the hospital for a month. We were so proud and honored that we were given this special award. I will always cherish the smile he had on his face when we received it during COVID-19.
On Working in a Traditionally Male-Dominated Industry
Printing is somewhat of a good ol’ boys club, but I play well with good ol’ boys. In the past, when I worked at the same company as my husband, people assumed that I was “just the wife.” So when I first started with American, I reverted back to my maiden name so that I would have a completely separate identity. We would go in as two separate salespeople, working an account together and that worked really well. When I started becoming successful with my franchise accounts, I didn’t have to worry about people thinking I was “just the wife.” My hubby was worried about being “just the husband.” So to overcome people’s assumptions, you show them what you can do. You prove your self-worth.
Her Job Advice to Women
This business is great for women, especially if you work with American. You can set your own schedule and work your business how you need it. Promo is especially conducive to women or anyone that has an eye for style. This business is great—you can express yourself; you can sell a company anything they need. You get to be creative and the more solutions you can offer, the better you do. If you are hesitant, don’t be. You can write your own story.
Who Inspires Her
Pastor Vidalis from my church is a young woman that inspires me. She is relentless in her faith and walks the walk. She was with me during my darkest times and has a true giving heart. I want to be like her.
How She Motivates Team Members
I think that to motivate you need to lead by example and treat others as you want to be treated. No job should be beneath you.
What She Learned About Herself in 2020
I could write a book about what I have learned about myself this year. This has been a very hard year, and I have found that I am very resilient and that I am a strong, dedicated person with an extremely strong work ethic. I have found that you have to rely on those around you in business and in pleasure and that when you help others, they help you and that helps you become successful.
Her Upcoming Goals
Professionally, I would like to break some sales records, but I would also like to share my good fortunes with others. I also have a goal to include more family and friends in my business—including my children.
What She Wants People to Know About Her
I don’t think that women have any limitations, so I don’t even think about having to work extra hard because I am a woman. I get up every day and do my best to work with my clients and do what I can for as many people that I can. I really feel lucky, even under the circumstances. I work hard and feel blessed that I work in a business [where] I can do what I need to make a good living and help my clients.
How She Recharges
Work recharges me—that and giving back. Every Saturday morning, I am involved in a food distribution program and that recharges me and makes me feel good.
What She’s Watching
I don’t really read much and sometimes I hate to admit that I spend my relaxing time watching Netflix miniseries. For motivational self-improvement, I like to go to Inspirechief.com. It always inspires me.
Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.