President, Clear Focus Imaging, 60 Maxwell Ct., Santa Rosa 95401, 707-544-7990, www.clearfocus.com
Age: Young at heart! It's only a number.
Residence: Santa Rosa
Professional background: Lifelong career in sales and marketing. Prior to founding Clear Focus, worked with large electronic sign displays in Australia.
Education: Bachelor of science degree from San Diego State University
Staff: 20 in the U.S. and two in Europe
Clear Focus perforates, converts and supplies One Way Vision film all over the world for use as a medium for advertising, promotional messages, identity, and security on any glass surface -- from windows and doors of retail outlets and commercial buildings to public transit and other vehicles.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?: The loyalty of our employees. The strong name and reputation that we have built in the industry together as a team.
What is your biggest challenge today?: Competing against lower-quality imports while maintaining strong customer service and consistently high quality of our products.
Words that best describe you: This was hard to answer for myself, so I put it out to my employees to comment: "Incredibly energetic!" "Enthusiasm for our products and potential uses, and the printing industry in general." Values fairness." "Treats employees with respect." "Promotes equality throughout the company." "A hands-on owner not afraid to roll up her sleeves to get the job done." "Is aware of personal strengths and weaknesses, is a good delegator, and has assembled a strong team whose individual members complement each other well."
As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?: In a male-dominated industry, it was difficult to break through the barriers. The print industry is continually evolving, so it is vital to keep up with the technological changes to understand the demands of the market. We overcome this by having co-workers who understand and keep up-to-date on trends, technologies, media requirements, ink changes, and application demands.
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?: The profession is getting more and more integrated and sophisticated in the evolution of the sale. Different aspects of a marketing campaign are now involved from the top down. Where we used to need to know and work with only the distributors to the print market, we now need to be involved from concept and inception to fulfillment, through each level of the program.
Who was your most important mentor? And tell us a little bit about that person: My father and uncle, both very astute businessmen with exceptional integrity and successful small businesses. In their respective businesses they valued their employees and treated them with respect. Their customers were loyal and trusted the name behind the goods. They both were able to run their business by relationships, instinct and good business sense. Handshakes meant everything.
What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?: Treat everyone you deal with respectfully. While competition is healthy, your word and reputation follow you every step of the way. Don't promise anything you can't deliver. Treat co-workers as your partners, be part of the team.
Most admired businessperson outside your organization: There are many. I admire those that can run a successful business and balance it with a full personal active life.