Suzanne Ferguson

“Leadership roles as a woman are still challenging. I have spent all my career working in male dominated industries, first printing and now construction. The number one thing I learned early on was that for my voice to be heard, the team needed to know that I understood their perspective and I needed to earn their respect.

In printing, that meant being out on the production floor working alongside the pressroom, bindery, mail room, inserting, and shipping. I needed to fully understand all of what these guys did – and when there was an issue – I needed to be right beside them helping figure out the solution – not sitting in an office giving directives. Sometimes that meant jumping into a dumpster to help find useable copy, talking with the press about what was challenging on a job and what they thought was the best solution, helping to locate a missing pallet- whatever it was that was going on in their departments – I was there. Learning how they think, how they work, how they communicate – this gave me the foundation that over time made me part of them and gained their respect.

Today, I have the pleasure to work alongside my husband, and the challenges are different but still with hurdles. The most difficult aspect for me coming to work with my husband as chief of operations and co-owner, is that I am frequently stereotyped as the ‘secretary wife’. The most disgruntling aspect of that is it is usually other females outside of our industry that make that assumption. My message to all women would be: make it a goal to celebrate the professional women around you, because fragments of the glass ceiling still exist.”

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