Before I joined Pharos earlier this year, I never would have believed that I would come back to the print industry. Let’s be honest: office printing is never a topic of conversation over beers with your friends or that critical first date. It’s one of those technologies that we use on a regular basis but we don’t really think about it all that much, if ever. But one day I was contacted by a recruiter who asked about my past experience selling printers and print management software.
I immediately recalled how excited I was to leave this field when I took on my next big opportunity some years back. But, the recruiter quickly hit on some interesting points so I kept listening. Pharos sounded a lot different from my past experience in print. It became clear that Pharos is innovating in an industry that I had considered to be fairly static, and they’re innovating in important areas like security and cloud services. Plus, the culture sounded right up my alley.
“With some research I learned that business printing is actually increasing – especially among workers in my generation.”
I was all ears at this point. My guard was down. I wanted to learn more and started asking my own questions. I liked the answers, and I’m not an easy sell.
But I should back up a bit and explain why I was so jaded about the print industry as a whole. After graduating from Northern Illinois University, I worked for mid-sized company in Chicago for three years selling print management software, enterprise content management software, and multi-function office printers and related services. The culture there was reminiscent of the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, and if you haven’t seen it, this quote from the sales manager in that classic film will summarize the culture for you:
“Second place wins a set of steak knives. Third place is you’re fired!”
Okay, so it wasn’t quite that bad. But it was close! I was an Outside Sales Executive covering the east half of 60601 in Chicago (Lake Shore East), which meant that I had to make my way into high-security buildings like the Prudential Plazas and the Aon Center and “ninja” my way around security guards. I was eventually banned from a handful of buildings in Chicago. The process didn’t feel good.
“What piqued my interest the most is that Pharos is leading the way in cloud printing services. ”
It was tough work but it was also a great learning experience: It taught me that resilience and ingenuity lead to success. It also helped me understand how print management software works and the relationship dynamics between the software and services companies and the equipment manufacturers.
So I had this background that I had been eager to move on from, yet I was surprised to learn in the interview process with Pharos that innovation and growth in the print industry is alive and well. As a millennial, I figured that people are printing a lot less these days and that software to help reduce and secure employee printing is the wrong trend to be involved with. But I was wrong: With some research I learned that business printing is actually increasing – especially among workers in my generation.
What piqued my interest the most is that Pharos is leading the way in cloud printing services. At my last company, I sold SaaS solutions to software vendors and it quickly became clear where the software industry as a whole is headed. The experience gave me exposure to many of the top SaaS organizations in the world. Business leaders want to reduce their infrastructure, improve security, and let specialists like Pharos do what they do best – to make it easier for their companies to focus on what they do best.
“There’s a culture of openness that recognizes that we are all here to make each other better.”
I was also intrigued by Pharos’ expertise with the large corporate enterprise; I couldn’t believe some of the big names that Pharos serves and I am excited to continue my own enterprise journey and add to that impressive customer list. But it was the family atmosphere at Pharos that impressed me the most; there’s a strong sense of community and support, and they understand the importance of having fun together.
I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that Pharos is a Certified B Corporation – I hadn’t heard of that before but with companies like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Seventh Generation, Method, Hootsuite and Warby Parker in the fold, I knew it was important. I am proud to work for a company that strives to meet the “highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.”
When making my decision to join Pharos, it also didn’t hurt to learn that the company had been recognized as one of the best places to work in New York – for the third time!
As I continue to learn how Pharos is changing the way companies manage their printing, I also know I have the freedom to bring my own unique perspectives on sales and marketing; there’s a culture of openness that recognizes that we are all here to make each other better. I wouldn’t have believed it earlier this year, but it’s truly an exciting time to be part of the print industry and this company specifically.