"What Were You Thinking???"
Girls Who Print? What a Hoot!!
Some of you have heard this before, so if you want to skip on down - no prob! Go right ahead!
When I formed Girls Who Print on LinkedIn in 2009, I thought that maybe 20 people I knew personally around the country might join up, and we'd chat and gossip about people who WEREN'T in the group or reminisce about printing companies we'd worked for, and just kind of stay connected across the miles and across the years. There was no serious purpose or grand plan.
By the end of the first week, I was dumbfounded to learn that nearly 100 people had joined, most of whom I did NOT know. Clearly I was going to have to take it a little more seriously - people were WATCHING - yikes!! Then...GUYS wanted in, which was perfectly fine with me, as long as they behaved and could laugh along with us when we teased them. Seems reasonable, don't you think?
Which brings us to the point of this post. Our name! While most people who join us seem to "get" the informal, lighthearted nature of the group right away, I am occasionally asked why I didn't use the word "Women" instead of "Girls". Perfectly good question, with a perfectly good answer.
Just because. :)
That's it. Nothing complicated or seriously thought-out with regard to sociology, political correctness, women's rights or anything else. Just a name that portrayed the friendly, welcoming, casual nature of women who share a common interest in a wonderful industry - that's all. Don't get me wrong - As a woman who came of age in the 1960s, I have very strong opinions about equal pay and equal opportunities for women in ANY industry. It's now the 21st century, and while there are still issues surrounding equality, the message is pretty much out there, and is not the strange new concept it was 45 years ago. GWP was never about choosing sides on important social issues - we're simply about making friends and encouraging each other.
In retrospect, I would still select the same name. Let's face it - there are plenty of professional organizations that offer special opportunities and education for women in our industry, and those organizations prominently feature the word "women" in their names - serious business, and they work very hard to fulfill their mission. I salute each of them. It's just not what I set out to do. (Remember that "20 people" theory I began with?)
I had no other goal than to create a friendly community for my sisters in the printing industry, and to foster a sense of camraderie during a time when our field was undergoing a great deal of turmoil. I was, and AM, quite happy to host a virtual "break room" where we touch base with each other, share stories, problems and generally cheer each other on.
So...what's changed? Well, the BIG thing that changed is our size - we're over 3600 strong now. [UPDATE; as of 2017 we're over 9,000 strong.] I view that as a responsibility on my part. If you've engaged with our somewhat quirky community to that degree, then it's clearly meeting some kind of need. However, as I've previously noted, I could find no compelling reason to attempt to duplicate the excellent not-for-profit groups that already exist.
Instead, I've come to the conclusion that the best thing I can do for all of us is to provide a platform where each woman (and the girls, boys, men, divas, princesses, dudes, and even the occasional leprechaun) can have a voice in giving our corner of the communications industry a higher profile and a better reputation.
I'll post a little more next week about how I hope to do that. National "Girls Who Print" Day is a big part of our continued bonding as a community, and there are some exciting ways that you will be able to participate.
OK - that's enough for one post. We are going to have one great year, and everyone is invited to join in. And THAT is what make this girl who prints happy!
(For more info about National "Girls Who Print" Day, see last week's blog post!)