While still in college earning a double major in foreign affairs and art history, Judy knew that when it came time to choose a career, she wanted a position in which she could continue learning — yet make an impact from the very start.
MBI’s management-track program, which provides associates with a wide variety of tasks right away, was a clear choice. “It’s perfect for liberal arts majors because we’re used to working in an interdisciplinary environment. You have to be both strategic and creative, understanding that no task is too big or too small.
“From day one, I was given my own products to manage. I started off in PCS Stamps & Coins, working on a wide variety of products – currency notes, Lincoln pennies, silver dollars and so on. But my main responsibility was for the Presidential Dollar Programs. There was a lot of pressure because this was a program with a lot of potential…if handled correctly. I had to learn quickly, and provide tangible results for the marketing programs for which I was responsible. Some of my friends outside of MBI who work in big companies find themselves as tiny cogs in a larger machine. Here, I was awarded more freedom from the start, with more opportunities to grow. It’s like starting my own business, backed by the advantages of a big company’s infrastructure.”
Judy works in the Easton Press division, one of the country’s foremost producers of leather-bound books. Besides learning about producing top-quality books, Judy notes, “I’ve been presented with daily challenges and find I’m a good problem solver. My perspective can be very different from others, but by bringing new ideas to the table, unexpected solutions evolve and lead to unanticipated opportunities.”
“This was especially true when we recently produced an incredibly unique and beautiful book: a leather-bound edition of Taschen’s Hiroshige. The publisher’s edition was bound in a traditional Japanese style, with plastic pegs inserted through a ribbon to close the cover. We loved this idea and wanted to reproduce it with bamboo pegs. This turned out to be MUCH easier said than done. Not only did we have to source bamboo, we had to then find someone who could whittle the pieces into the 'nonstandard' size necessary to fit through the ribbon. Overall, I would say the final product is beautiful enough to have warranted the effort.
“I’ve been presented with daily challenges like this, and find I’m a good problem solver. My perspective can be very different from others, but by bringing new ideas to the table, unexpected solutions evolve and lead to unanticipated opportunities. This is where my background in Art History and Foreign Affairs comes in handy. Neither subject has much to do with marketing or management. However, I find myself using what I learned in those fields to come up with selling points for books such as the Hiroshige, or political and historical titles.”
And what does this mean for the future? Judy is still learning and succeeding at the Easton Press, where on any given day she is involved with a variety of departments – from customer service and shipping, to advertising and product development, to accounting and design. She laughs, “It’s sure not boring!”