Having the Right Mentor & Communication Style Advances Female Professionals

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The Sourcing Group, female professionals, businesswoman, Expect Diversity, Sarah Scudder,
Sarah Scudder

Sarah Scudder is the president of Procureit5, a company that uses proprietary software to manage print buying for companies. She’s also the youngest executive to ever serve on the board for the Print Services and Distribution Association (PSDA).

Prevue spoke with Scudder about her experience in the workplace and what advice she has for future generations of female professionals.

As a woman in the print industry, what obstacles have you had to overcome to achieve your success?

The lack of peer-to-peer networking can be an obstacle. The print industry has a senior workforce. When attending industry events, I’m often the youngest by 20-plus years. While I enjoy having a large network and learning from people with different experiences, it’s important to share ideas and discuss challenges with those who have similar experiences. To address this problem, I started a young innovators group that puts on a conference every year for print industry millennials. It’s two days of learning, sharing ideas and networking with people my age.

What advice do you have to other women looking to achieve similar success?

Find a sponsor. Get someone within your company to advocate for you. A sponsor challenges you to do more, improve and advance your career as quickly as possible. He or she promotes you when promotions, open spots on projects or committees and other opportunities become available. How you perceive yourself isn’t necessarily how others perceive you, so it’s important to get honest feedback from your sponsors on how you can be better perceived.

You emphasize the importance of communication in the workplace. What is the No. 1 form of communication that you find works best?

It depends on the person. It’s important to understand one’s preference and adjust your communication style as much as possible. I have a client that doesn’t like emails, so I text him. I had a boss that preferred face-to-face interaction so I scheduled a weekly in-person meeting. For mass business communication, I recommend LinkedIn. I suggest spending at least 30 minutes a day in it to build your community and network.

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