2021 Women in Print and Promo: Margo Yohner, RRD Commercial and Digital Print
Senior Vice President of Sales
RRD Commercial and Digital Print, Portland, Ore.
Margo Yohner’s path to print wasn’t a traditional one. There was no family-owned business to inherit, or graphic design class that stole her heart. Rather, it’s a classic tale of a recent college graduate looking to escape small-town life and make it big. As Yohner tells it, toward the end of her time at Ohio University, she and a group of friends pulled out a map, closed their eyes and hoped for the best.
“[We] found we had chosen Portland, Oregon,” she recalled. “This was a great choice as, at the time, they had the lowest unemployment rate in the country.”
The move happened according to plan, but there was a plot twist—unemployment had skyrocketed by then, so Yohner took a restaurant job to pay the bills. During one of her shifts, she struck up a conversation with a patron who worked at Bridgetown Printing, an RRD company. They were hiring, and at her customer’s suggestion, she applied and got a position in what is now known as the Associate Development Program.
She later found her way into sales and, like those before her, built her book of business from scratch. This led her into a corporate role as vice president of strategic sales, where she supported 18 of RRD’s companies and their reps. Executive leadership noticed her accomplishments and roughly two years later, they approached her about becoming a plant president at the Bridgetown plant where she “grew up.” The career opportunity she set out for as a young alumna had arrived. It was a “stretch assignment,” Yohner said, but knowing she had the grit and company support to take on a new challenge, she pushed through any insecurities. For eight years, she made it her own until joining the platform leadership team in commercial and digital print.
Yohner is currently senior vice president of sales for that segment and is responsible for growing revenue of the business through her team of approximately 175 sales reps across roughly 40 locations. “With the evolution we have seen in marketing and business communications, as well as buyer behaviors, we’ve transformed how we can—and should—engage our clients to ensure we are bringing them the most meaningful partnerships,” she said.
What Brings Her Joy Professionally and Personally
I enjoy breaking boundaries and inspiring others to do the same. As a sales leader, I stay on top of industry trends to see how print is evolving to address specific needs and remain relevant to our clients. What’s fun about my role and the career is that alongside these trends, I can re-imagine what it means to be in the printing industry. And I love this! It keeps my job interesting, thinking about what’s next and helping my sales professionals and RRD set itself apart.
Her Proudest Career Achievement
When I was first taking on my role as president of Bridgetown Printing, the sales were lower than they’d ever been. And, many thought that I was too young and inexperienced to be leading a company. I was determined and inspired to have the opportunity to prove to myself that I was capable.
Four years later, I had taken Bridgetown to a completely different level—tripled revenue and made a huge improvement to the bottom line. Experiencing this change gave me a tremendous sense of empowerment and further inspired me to not shy away from new opportunities.
On Working in a Traditionally Male-Dominated Industry
It has fueled my fire more than anything. My approach is to always be my authentic self and to be truthful and transparent in my thoughts and feelings. If I have ever felt slighted, I try to talk to those individuals directly in a way that’s honest and in an attempt to develop the trust needed to move forward.
It’s important to be professionally assertive, especially in a male-dominated industry. When you start to speak the truth, it can be uncomfortable to many. A great mentor of mine once said, “In order to succeed and push the boundaries, we all need to get comfortable being uncomfortable.”
Her Job Advice to Women
Be courageous and trust yourself—and others at the onset. Start everyone with 100% trust and if they erode that away, then have those uncomfortable conversations. Network and build relationships at all levels and all places. And, develop the need to be constantly learning and you’ll stay ahead of the curve!
Always lead from where you are. No matter if you have the title, taking a leadership approach will transform your mindset and open you to new opportunities. Ultimately, when given an opportunity, take it—even if you’re not sure if you’re capable. The experience will always provide value.
Who Inspires Her
One of the most influential women to me is Madonna. Not only is she just an incredible force of talent, but she is unapologetically herself, bold, courageous and not afraid to take risks—and has been since the day she took the spotlight. Madonna has shown perseverance over adversity and criticism, and has been able to demonstrate reinvention and versatility that has propelled her into the global superstar she is today.
How She Motivates Team Members
I have found that the best teamwork is done when all the members exude the same type of excitement and energy about what you’re trying to achieve. It’s important to lay out the vision, set the expectations, and be sure to empower those around you to achieve those outcomes and have authentic engagement and communication.
What She Learned About Herself in 2020
This year has been a whirlwind! I think we’ve all learned at some level that we are capable of so much more than what we had thought. In the last year, I was assigned tasks in areas that I had little experience with. However, I reached out to various parties to obtain the information I needed to proceed. It all goes back to networking, being open to new opportunities and trusting yourself that you can do it.
Her Upcoming Goals
I want to continue to drive the sales organization toward the client needs and make sure that I am truly informed of buyer behaviors that provide value to the team. Additionally, propelling the organization and embracing change through diverse thought leadership and collaboration. RRD has a strong 150-year-plus history and it’s important to honor our legacy, culture and resiliency by continuing to evolve with the world around us.
What She Wants People to Know About Her
You can have a career and start a family, too. I’m having a baby this year!
How She Recharges
I’m a huge believer in a true work-life balance. I play tennis, golf, dance and spend time with family and friends.
Her Favorite Podcast
Anything true crime related; I listen to a great deal of podcasts. My favorites are “Sword and Scale,” “My Favorite Murder” and “Crime Junkies.”
I have had so many mentors that encouraged me to really trust myself and know that I was supported. While I know the printing industry can have the reputation of being very male-dominated, I do have to give props as some the greatest mentors I have had at RRD have been men—and they’ve felt like true brothers to me.