Diversity and Equality in the Printing Industry: Where Do We Start?
There has been a lot of social media discussion on gender equity within the printing industry as of late. Much of it has been focused on Printing Industries of America and the number of women it has on its Board of Directors.
It is important to stress at the outset that PIA would love nothing more than to see greater numbers of women on its board. For that matter, there is a much broader issue of general diversity and equality that should be addressed as well.
Accomplishing this objective is easier said than done, however, and we are not the only traditionally male-dominated industry to struggle with this issue. It is not as simple as mandating a quota or demanding a certain percentage on a board.
But as Deborah Corn challenged all of us in her infamous blog post, Now Trending In Print: Mansplaining the Women's Movement, what are we going to do about it? Here’s where we plan to start, and I hope you will join me in addressing this important issue.
At the recent PIA Board Meetings in Dallas, Chairman Bryan Hall facilitated a lively discussion on the issues of diversity and equality with the goal of increasing the involvement of women and other minorities on the PIA Board, affiliate boards and committees. PIA’s 23 affiliates across North America were encouraged to address the issue as well, assessing if any barriers existed regionally that might deter women or minorities from becoming involved at the board level and to identify resolutions as needed. To serve on the national board of PIA, an individual must first serve at the affiliate board level and be selected by their affiliate to serve nationally. PIA does not select its board — as a federation, its affiliates do.
I am excited to announce in early 2019, we will be launching a Women’s Leadership in Print Mentoring Alliance that will connect industry veterans with students and individuals with less than five years of print experience. This robust multi-year program came to fruition from last year’s successful Women’s Leadership in Print event that was held at our President’s Conference, an event that we will be hosting once again this year on March 3, 2019, in Phoenix.
And let’s all rally behind this year’s winner in the SkillsUSA competition, Brittany Whitestone, a junior at California University of Pennsylvania. I was honored to push for a $5,000 PGSF scholarship to help underwrite Brittany’s involvement competing in the WorldSkills competition in Russia.
As Deborah so wisely wrote, it is not about the men in our industry telling each other what we should be doing - it’s about making opportunities for others, finding ways to increase participation with programs like SkillsUSA, plant tours for urban high school students, mentoring programs for young women, or just simply opening up our minds to the possibility that maybe the young woman you hired today could be your next CEO.
Michael Makin was appointed President and CEO of Printing Industries of America on August 1, 2002. Born and raised in Montreal, Makin attended Carleton University in Ottawa where graduated with honors with a degree in Journalism in 1986. He also holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix. After a brief stint as a reporter and public affairs officer with the Canadian government, he began his career in association management 20 years ago. Prior to joining Printing Industries of America, Makin was President of the Canadian Printing Industries Association and for almost 10 years served as an executive with the Canadian Construction Association.