2022 Women in Print and Promo: Pam Smith, RRD
Vice President of Inside Sales
When done right, print connects emotionally and creates action. Similar logic applies to the leaders driving real change behind the proverbial print scene. These professionals intuitively connect with their teams, preferring relationships over spreadsheets. They feel real. They are Pam Smith.
“No one is better at surrounding herself with good people and smart people,” according to her nominator. “Pam is always willing to listen and looks to promote her people. She has stood the test of time and seems to be getting better and better.”
Smith, a Dallas resident, has 21 years in the print game — all of them spent with RRD. Like many before her, print was never part of her long-term plan (or any plan, to be fair). After a move to Hollywood, Smith worked as the director of sales at Pure Life Nestle representing their brands, or as she tells it, “essentially selling water.” During this time, Smith and her husband, a musician, expanded their family. They re-evaluated their Hollywood life and decided it wasn’t conducive to raising a child. So, they headed back to Texas.
That’s when one of Smith’s mentors at Nestle tipped her off to a director of inside sales position opening at printer Moore Wallace. “I was thinking, what’s print? What is that about?” Smith said. “But then I remembered that if I can sell water, I can sell print. So, I moved up to Dallas and began working at Moore Wallace.”
A few years later, the company merged with RRD, and Smith was promoted to vice president of inside sales. She currently oversees a group of roughly 40 representatives and seven leaders who generate the revenue for inside sales with a focus on the small-to-medium market.
“We support national sales by collaborating through lead generation and marketing,” Smith noted. “Typically, we start off with the smaller accounts with the goal of transferring them to national sales.”
Her Proudest Career Achievement
A lot of the moments I am most proud of are a product of a true team effort, but I think the most recent rewarding moment started during the onset of the pandemic when the whole world went remote. We took our team home, which involved over 50 people working from home, within 30 days. We implemented new tools to manage our team and track performance remotely. We have continued to achieve our numbers and produce results, and I’m proud of our team’s ability to adapt and evolve quickly.
On Working in a Traditionally Male-Dominated Industry
When I first started, the industry was very male dominated, and I often didn’t have a seat at the table, literally. But RRD has done a phenomenal job of creating and fostering a diverse workforce. I’m not afraid to speak my mind, and know when it’s appropriate to share my voice. I face no challenges associated with being a woman in this industry anymore. Our team is diverse, and I appreciate the thoughts and opinions from different backgrounds.
Her Job Advice to Women
Just go for it! Look at how far RRD has come. It is no longer just ink on paper. We have packaging, supply chain, direct marketing — it’s a one-stop shop here. There are so many different opportunities in the printing world and so many different positions. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s fun!
Who Inspires Her
My mother. My mom has always had high standards, great morals and noble values. She raised my siblings and me to be respectful and accepting of all types of people. She was also a saleswoman her whole life and supported everything I wanted to do. My mom is the boss — anytime I see her, she always asks how our numbers are doing and what’s going on in the company. She has met many of the leaders at RRD. It’s amazing to have her support, as well as the knowledge she brings from her past. There aren’t enough words to describe how wonderful she is.
Her Biggest Lesson Learned
People are the most important. This has been very important to me since I became a leader. If you’re not there to help with training, recognizing and empowering your people, then you are not being a successful leader. We do monthly recognitions to highlight and celebrate our top performers. When you put all your people first, the revenue will follow.
I enjoy rolling up my sleeves. With my background as a sales representative, I know the difficult parts of the job and I know how to be successful. I appreciate sharing my knowledge and experience to enhance my team.
Her Upcoming Goals
Professionally, I would like to meet or exceed my numbers. It’s also important to me that I help build the future leaders of the company, so working with the people in my area of responsibility to develop them to their full potential. I would expect that I can help ensure women are part of that future.
Personally, I would love to actually finish all the crafts I decided to start during the pandemic and just enjoy life and travel (finally!).
What She Wants People to Know About Her
I absolutely love my job. Of course, as with every job, there are challenges, especially as we continue to work through the pandemic. I have the best support team behind me — who embrace me as I am, including all the crazy, bright clothing I wear.
How She Thinks Companies Can Attract and Retain Female Talent
I think RRD embodies a lot of the best practices for hiring and retaining its talent. Using more approachable terms in job descriptions, promoting ideals that attract female talent, allowing women to advance in the company and recognizing their achievements, among many other initiatives. In order to retain female talent, it’s important to make sure [women] feel included and heard throughout the organization.
Our leadership team is very transparent in the importance of creating opportunities for women and people of color and then supporting these employees during their experience at RRD. For example, we have a Women’s Mentoring Program, a Global Women’s Business Resource Group and an associate development program. Each of these programs allows women to feel welcome and appreciated at RRD, and offers the opportunity for us to teach these values and share our knowledge with our colleagues or even those outside of the organization. Companies can adopt similar resources for their employees to ensure their female workforce feels appreciated and understood.
How She Recharges
Everything usually includes my family and friends, and I also love crafting. I usually try to do a family trip with my daughter, who tells me all her fun stories while sitting on a beach, drinking a nice glass of wine.
Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.