Sam Wright, 34
Manager of Business Development
Pocket Folders Fast, Omaha, Neb.
How she got her start: I started in the industry straight out of high school [in 2003]. I began as an assistant in the customer service department [at Folder Express] and throughout college, gradually worked my way up within the department. I graduated from college in 2007, and at that point, I had started training other customer service representatives in the department. In 2008, I was promoted again to customer service manager and stayed in that role through the sale of the company. Later on, I left that company and took on a new role in a completely different line of work as the director of operations in a small, start-up call center [called Direct Voice Solutions]. I learned a ton about business operations and business growth, but in 2017 when the call came in [from Pocket Folders Fast] to come back to print and to the people I worked so closely with for many years, it was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse.
Her current role: My role is manager of business development. I immerse myself in all elements of the business—short- and long-term goals, sales and operations. There are so many different elements of this business that lead to our company continuing to grow and prosper. I spread out my time not only to focus on the goal of increasing our customer base, but also to work on our internal processes and procedures to streamline and maximize our efforts.
What she likes best about her job: I love that my day is never the same. Some days feel [like] you barely make a dent in the overwhelming pile of work that needs to be done, and other days, I look back and marvel at how far we have come as a team in bringing this company so far. It’s exciting that I’m involved in the planning of moving the company forward, but sometimes I need to get down and clean out the copier when the toner decides to explode over the room. Every movement, no matter how small, is movement in the right direction.
Age roadblocks and advantages: The biggest challenge with my age is just fighting against people’s preconceptions that I don’t possess any industry experience. Luckily, my age isn’t a neon sign that follows me around, and it’s not in my email signature, so I rarely get any push-back simply due to my age. I more often find that my age allows me to see different solutions to problems or view opportunities to enhance old processes because I’m constantly looking for that next step in how to improve. I’m rarely comfortable with the status quo; there always has to be a better way.
Her biggest career influence: There is no way to shine the light on one key individual. I’m lucky to have worked with some excellent and not-so-excellent people along the way. Some mentors, like Mardra Sikora, the CEO of Pocket Folders Fast, have coached me from day one. But each interaction I have with a coworker, a customer, a vendor or even just a barista who may be having a bad day, teaches me invaluable lessons on how to speak and properly listen to a wide range of different people. Those skills in communication are what everything I do is based upon. So, thank you, grumpy barista, for reminding me of the importance of eye contact.
Her most meaningful business accomplishment: In the big picture, every interaction and every order are small, but important, pieces that build relationships and a career. That said, I’m also proud of the work I’m currently doing in creating new internal systems for order entry and production workflow.
Her differentiating factor: I don’t think it makes logical sense to look at technology or the economy as opponents when it comes to printing. Those who embrace these changes within the print industry will continue to succeed and grow. For example, using technology to offer more capabilities to your product line or streamline how orders are processed through your facility is an opportunity. As far as the economy, we have found that by providing a fast, quality product with responsive customer service, the product sells itself.
Why she believes the future is bright: In regard to growth in the next five years for print and promo, personalization and creativity are key. Luckily, I believe the print and promo industry is ahead of this curb. Here at Pocket Folders Fast, we’ve seen an increase in requests for variable data folders, so that every person in a meeting or at a conference has their own folder. In regard to creativity, we’ve also seen an increase in folders that combine the feel of soft touch lamination with the striking appearance of Scodix Dimensional UV. By continuing to offer something new, interactive and personalized to the intended user, the print and promo industry will continue to advance and grow with opportunity.