BY KATHERINE O’BRIEN
BARBARA STAINBROOK TALKS ABOUT THE MOVIES, MENTORS AND THE KONICA MINOLTA DIFFERENCE
The OutputLinks Communications Group’s Women of Distinction program is now in its tenth year and has honored more than 90 women. It was my privilege to be among the 11 members of the 2013 Women of Distinction class recognized at the annual Electronic Document Scholarship Foundation’s (EDSF) gala dinner. It was at this event, held during PRINT 13, that I first met Barbara Stainbrook, Senior Vice President, U.S. Direct Sales, for Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A.
I was surprised by how much Barbara and I have in common—we both grew up in small Midwestern towns and have parents with a tremendous work ethic and strong community ties. We also have a common passion—we will both watch any movie starring Morgan Freeman. “He exudes amazing leadership and confidence in every role,” says Barbara. “His characters have integrity; you are drawn to them. I can’t help feeling that Konica Minolta is a bit like Freeman’s frequent roles as the calm voice of experience.”
Here are six more things you should know about this Woman of Distinction.
1 SHE’S FROM OHIO
Barbara grew up in Dayton, Ohio, where her parents built a very successful dry cleaning business. “Beyond offering a great product, their success was built on exceptional customer service and loyalty. Working at their stores, I learned at an early age the importance of listening to and understanding the customer,” says Barbara. “It’s a lesson that has stuck with me and has shaped my career in the printing industry. This lesson has also helped me shape Konica Minolta’s production print sales philosophy—to be a trusted partner and advisor to our customers.”
Barbara and her husband, Todd, and their 12-year-old son, John, now call Florida home. “It’s a wonderful place to live, and on the weekends, as a family, we love golfing, boating, and traditional Sunday dinners with the grandparents,” she says.
2 MENTORS MAKE A DIFFERENCE
As a finance major at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Barbara hadn’t considered pursuing a career in the printing industry or in sales. “That changed when I took a sales elective with a professor who worked in the field,” she recalls. “This teacher impressed me. I spent my senior year researching the industry. I took my time making sure that my first job would be the right fit for me. And it was!” Barbara says she is extremely fortunate to work for and to learn from some of the most forward-thinking leaders in this industry.
3 SHE’S AN INDUSTRY VETERAN
Accounting for acquisitions, Barbara has been with the same company for 24 years. “I originally joined Kodak, and my division was later acquired by Danka, which was then acquired by Konica Minolta in 2008,” she explains.
“Konica Minolta is a performance-based organization—results are rewarded. It’s a very large company with countless career opportunities for those who work hard and attain their goals. That atmosphere, combined with award-winning technology and talented people, make Konica Minolta an amazing place.”
4 SHE LISTENS AND LEARNS
As I learned when I met Barbara at the EDSF gala, she’s an upbeat person and a great listener. “I enjoy learning from our customers,” she says. “I want to know everything about their business—what their environment is, their workflow and their business goals. At Konica Minolta, we understand the importance of taking the time to listen and ask well prepared questions. It’s not about talking; it’s about learning.” According to Barbara it’s in these conversations that Konica Minolta representatives can make a real difference and help a customer reach their goals. She says it “also allows representatives to showcase their innovation and deep expertise in the production print market and Konica Minolta’s desire to help commercial printers and in-plants maximize efficiency, take advantage of new opportunities and increase profitability.”
5 SHE PUTS CUSTOMERS FIRST
When asked to describe her job, Barbara says it’s about putting customers first. “We want to make sure that our customers experience the Konica Minolta difference and can count on us as a trusted provider that is invested in their business success. Through our production print consultative process, we develop customized solutions for customers, even when budgets are tight.”
Konica Minolta’s work with one university’s in-plant print department exemplifies this point. The customer asked for help developing a solution that was more cost effective than outsourcing. “We did—with some teamwork and some out-of-the box solutions, the in-plant was able to upgrade equipment, expand their offerings, show measurable results and a strong business case,” says Barbara. For her, the best reward came when the customer said, “You took a chance on us. Thanks to your creative leadership and direction we became a better and more effective service operation. You saved our department!”
Barbara says it’s all about connecting with customers. A point that is highlighted in her favorite business book by James M. Kilts’ Doing What Matters: How to Get Results That Make a Difference – The Revolutionary Old-School Approach - a book that was shared with the sales organization by the president of direct sales at Konica Minolta.
6 SHE LOVES HER JOB
Finally, you should know that Barbara is passionate about her job. “I love this industry and all that I have learned and been a part of,” she says. “Konica Minolta is a wonderful organization with the best print and solutions experts in the industry. It is rewarding to see how we help printers grow and succeed. We have brought new ideas, new applications, new solutions, cost savings, and innovative workflow improvements to customers. More than anything, I cherish the great friendships I have made with customers and colleagues along the way.”
Katherine O’Brien is the senior editor of American Printer.
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