Women in Print and Promo: Karen Tazioli, Complete Print Shop
Senior Account Manager and Print Champion
Complete Print Shop, Phoenix
Years of experience: 36
How she got her start: I was always good at grammar and English, so I started as a secretary in the advertising department at Sam Goody Records back in the day. But, I would do all the insertion orders, coordinate with both soft good and hard good vendors (CBS Records, Memorex, etc.) for the cooperative advertising and coordinate the assembly of the newspaper circular with the NYC ad agencies. After that, I went to the advertising department at a printing company in 1981. That printing company, which will remain nameless, was second to RR Donnelley at the time. I was fascinated with manufacturing and personalization, sweepstakes packages, the microencapsulation of perfumes in the glue on printed pieces, so the lead estimator mentored me. He would take me out to the presses on our lunch breaks and explain what turn bars were, etc. I then began in production, coordinating with all departments and confirming sales orders. I took a short leave of absence to start a family and when I returned, I was an assistant production manager at a medium sheet-fed commercial printer with an in-house advertising agency. Then, in 1990, I was instrumental in the start-up/transition of the 34th affiliate of Printing Industries of America, here in Ariz. We incorporated as PIAZ (Printing Industries of AZ), and there were only two of us who developed the programs, events, member development and member services. I spent the next 15 years in outsides sales, from color separations and large-format film output to commercial printing and promotional products and apparel. I decided about two years ago to come back inside to do traditional customer service, estimating, planning, inside sales and occasional outside sales calls to new prospects.
What she loves most about the industry: I enjoy being able to educate the customers on the processes. I have a lot of pride knowing I’m part of a skilled-trade and know the manufacturing processes well. There’s more to the picture than meets the eye, and I like how amazed and surprised clients get when I take them on a tour of our facility. I also like being able to make their jobs easier. My position is high-intensity and deadline-driven. I like it that way. I’ve also enjoyed participating on advisory boards for local colleges and universities, including holding the vice-president’s position for the Phoenix Club of Printing House Craftsman, back in the day.
An average day: I do anything and everything that pertains to trafficking jobs through production. From answering phones, getting specs for quotes, estimating, order-entry/spec review meetings, customer service and anything necessary to satisfy the clients’ and production’s needs, including, but not limited to, will-calling paper if the need arises. I also do the company’s marketing, e-newsletters and social media, to name a few. And, I’m the office manager, so anything required to manage the front-end office falls on my desk. I do tours for clients and go on outside sales calls. I also attend various networking events.
Her proudest career achievements: I’m mostly proud of, as I stated earlier, that I’ve had a career in a skilled trade. I’m proud of the knowledge that I have and continue to stay abreast of the technology to keep me “marketable.” Printing Industries of America also named me “Director of the Year” in the early ’90s. I’m extremely proud of the work I did with PIAZ, bringing the organization to over 200 member companies and maintaining programs, some of which I’ve presented myself.
On working in a traditionally male-dominated industry: Not only was it the “good ol’ boys network,” I was also a young 18 years old when I started. The only way I got through it was to prove myself. I earned [men’s] respect by the knowledge I gained and sometimes even knowing more than they did. I’m efficient at what I do and quickly became a team player and an asset to them. I enjoyed this challenge.
Her job advice to women: My advice to other women interested in our industry is to learn as much as you can. Subscribe to and read the trade journals, attend trade shows and research your clients’ businesses. Knowledge is key.
Who she turns to for career advice: I don’t. I’m closer to retirement than ever, so I’ll persevere and stay as relevant as I can, also heeding my own advice of reading trade materials.
When she’s off the clock: Firstly, I’m a mom to a beautiful 18-year-old woman. I like day trips exploring my beautiful state of Arizona, weekends to Vegas, San Diego and Venice Beach. I also volunteer for several nonprofit groups, foster rescue dogs and have three dogs of my own. I like football, NASCAR and other local sports. I do like snow skiing and roller blading, but shouldn’t be doing them any longer due to the broken bones I’ve received [along the way]. I learn to do what I want, when I want and whom I want to do them with.
(The following profile appeared in Print+Promo’s “These Women Mean Business” cover story in the May 2017 issue.)