by Lindsay Odom
Communications Manager, Endeavor
1. How did you get started in your career?
I actually just got off of the phone with my boss this morning, because today is my 19th year with the company. Talk about how things have changed! I was a customer of BPI when I worked in the marketing department for a publishing company. I became friends with the sales representative, and when I left that job, she called me to see if I would be interested in working as a customer service representative myself for BPI. I was 22, I needed a job, I had my own place, so I told her, ‘yes, let’s talk.’
I really liked starting my career in customer service. I worked closely with the sales team, and I got to talk to a lot of different clients and different departments. Three years passed, and my boss asked if I wanted to move into sales, and I thought, why not?
I have now been an account executive for fifteen years. We’re not like sales people who are pushy – we don’t sell widgets, but we sell a service rather than a product. For the past ten years, I’ve been working for BPI remotely, moving to Atlanta and then South Carolina. It’s been neat to see my transition as a remote worker be farther and farther away from the main office, but I still have the opportunity to work for BPI and expand our territory.
BPI began as a general commercial printing company, and quickly turned into a true commercial printing company that sold brochures, catalogs, and more. Originally called Boaz Printing, we changed the name in 2008 to represent more of what we offered, including digital campaigns that were tied to print, landing pages, QR codes and augmented reality. It’s cliché to say, but we’re more than a printer, we’re really a one-stop shop that offers a lot.
2. What is a fun fact about you, or something that people might not know about you?
I’m a Crimson Tide fan! Growing up in Alabama, you declare your allegiance at birth. I get really excited when I meet other Alabama fans in Greenville, and I immediately strike up a conversation. My husband is a Clemson fan, which makes for an interesting household. We’ve had to learn how to support each other. Whoever has the biggest game on Saturday gets to dress our daughter in either Clemson or Alabama gear.
3. What projects are you working on right now?
Besides planning my daughter’s Elmo-themed, second birthday party, I’m working on a couple of big things with BPI. What is really exciting about sales is that you can call on someone for years and years, and all of a sudden, something changes, and they need your help. It’s been like that for the past few months. We have an international company who will be touring our plant in Boaz, Alabama soon. We will set up an online site for them where their end users can order their print material, co- brand it with their logo, and we’ll ship it directly to them, which cuts out on other shipping and distribution costs. We will also help them work through all of their logistics with their marketing materials and messaging.
Another project we’re working on is a text-to-enter campaign with a wine distributor. In the stores where the wine is sold, we will print aisle markers and signage encouraging consumers to take a picture with the bottle to win a gift certificate for a bed and breakfast.
I mentor a young woman who is fresh out of college, and it’s interesting because our worlds are so different in how millennials relate to print. You can easily dismiss things like pop-up ads on your computer screen, but if you have a printed piece in the store or in the mail, it has more staying power. There are so many statistics about how millennials love direct mail because they may or may not have ever received direct mail with their name on it until they get out on their own. People love tangible pieces – they love to touch it, to feel it or know what it’s made out of. Tactile pieces are a novelty now, in some respects. Print has become cool again, but it has to be relevant and have a marriage with digital, because neither is going away.
4. What is your favorite part about Endeavor?
I encourage anyone who is thinking about joining a coworking space to do it. Bite the bullet, whether your company pays for it or you do. Having an office environment invigorates me to be more productive. I’ve always been disciplined in working from home, but Endeavor makes you feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself.
Most importantly, I’m surrounded by creative, thoughtful people who are in the same boat as me. The connections I have with other members sparks my creativity, gives me new energy, brings my work to life, and keeps me from getting burned out. Plus, I finally have a work-life balance by leaving my work at the end of the day and not carrying it over into time spent with my family.
5. What advice do you have for other creatives?
Surround yourself with encouraging people. If they’re not encouraging, then you don’t need them in your life. One thing I’ve found at Endeavor is a positive energy where everyone is uplifting and supportive. If you have those type of people surrounding you, it sets you up better for success.
Get to know your industry and business, and rely on creative people in your life, especially those who have a different skillset than you. Strategic partners and people you meet along the way are really important, and can sometimes turn in to lifelong relationships who help you personally and professionally throughout your career. Whatever your passion, don’t hold back. Dive in, and go for it.