2018 Women in Print and Promo: Michelle Ganz, InnerWorkings Inc.
Vice President of Enterprise Accounts – Beer, Wine and Spirits Vertical
InnerWorkings Inc., Chicago
Years of Experience: 16
How she got her start: My family was in the printing industry, so I guess it’s in my blood! I started working for my father’s company while I was in college. His company provided pressroom supplies to the printing industry. From there, I dreamed of working at an advertising agency when I graduated college. I fulfilled my “dream” for a brief couple of years before finding my way back into the printing industry. I worked for one other company for over 14 years prior to InnerWorkings recruiting me in 2016. [That company] had its own internal printing plant, which is where I started on the production side of the business. I’ve been fortunate enough to work for companies that not only manage print, but manage our clients’ shopper marketing spend from idea creation through execution at retail, including creative, digital, POS, displays, branded merchandise and packaging. I’ve been even more fortunate to find a niche in supporting clients in the beer, wine and spirits vertical, which is complex, but fun.
Her proudest career achievements: I am most proud of being recruited to work at InnerWorkings to support one of our largest global spirits accounts, Beam Suntory. InnerWorkings hired me for my expertise in supporting clients in the beer, wine and spirits vertical, and it helped that both InnerWorkings and the client were also in Chicago, where I reside. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave a company after 14-plus years; from my understanding, it wasn’t an easy recruit if you ask our chairman, Eric Belcher. Like many, I wasn’t keen on change, but after a few meetings with the folks at InnerWorkings, I knew there were many opportunities for me to grow and stretch beyond my comfort zone.
On working in a traditionally male-dominated industry: Ah, yes, the “good ol’ boys club.” If you ask some of my family and friends, they may refer to me as “one of the guys,” so that helps. All kidding aside, I recognize that club definitely exists, but I haven’t had much of a challenge being a part of it. I have a ton of respect for several males and females in this industry, and I’ve learned from both. I’d like to think that the feeling is mutual.
Her job advice to women: If it’s your passion, go for it!
Her industry mentors: My father, Frosty Botkin, former president of Prisco/Printer’s Service (Midwest), has been my mentor—both career and life, in general. Even though he’s retired and enjoying Florida, I keep him busy by seeking career advice. If I knew half as much now as I did when I was a teenager, I’m sure he’d be the one coming to me for advice.
Oliver Kimberley, senior vice president, head of global client solutions for InnerWorkings, has also been a recent mentor. He’s one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever worked with—very level-headed and always looking out for the best interest of others. Regardless of how busy he is, he always finds the time to chat with others and offer up his advice.
Her biggest lesson learned: I’ve learned to be humble. It’s OK to admit your faults. We can’t all be good at everything, all the time. I’ve also learned to ask for help. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness.
How she maintains a work/life balance: It’s not always easy, but I do my best. I know when it’s time to “shut down” from work, and focus on family. I may answer emails on my way to a baseball or hockey game, but I don’t answer them during a game. Having a great support system with family, friends and colleagues definitely helps, too.