Catherine Haynes Spotlight

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Catherine Haynes is the Vice President of Growth and Development at All Printing Resources. She is very involved in the FTA to include the FQC Committee and the WoF Mentorship Committee. She has chaired Forum and been a session chair and speaker on numerous occasions. She is also active with FLAG and TLMI and writes articles for various industry publications. Haynes was a recipient of a 2022 FTA President’s Award. Her knowledge, positive energy and engagement have inspired many women and men in our industry.

The WoF Leadership Development Committee recently interviewed Catherine to find out how her career in Flexography developed and some of the events that influenced the decisions she made.

  • Did you plan on a career in flexography?

It seems a lot of people answer this “No”, but I did. I graduated from Clemson’s Graphic Communications program. While at Clemson I worked at an Offset printer, a Gravure/Offset printer, and at Clemson’s Corrugated (Flexo) research center. By the time I graduated, I knew Flexo was my future.

  • Briefly describe your career path in flexography.

Upon graduation I was part of a small group to start-up a new Flexible Packaging department for a printer in Tennessee. In addition to assisting with procurement, orders, scheduling, lab testing, administrative, and customer service responsibilities, I helped to run the F&K press and Schiavi laminator. Though I had run a few different types of presses during my time at Clemson, water-based inks on film with solventless lamination was new territory for me and I learned a great deal! Eventually I moved to a Graphics Coordinator role and then managed the Prepress team. This was back in the day when film negatives were the norm to include manual film assembly (stripping) and overlay proofs.

Both the GC program and this start-up experience did wonders to ensure I had a broad understanding of the Flexo process from design all the way through converting operations. I found the whole process fascinating and fun! Becoming part of All Printing Resources’ Technical Solutions Group allowed me to take all my experiences and learnings and expand on them even further. Over the last 20+ years I have continued to support our company and our customers on many levels related to prepress, production, and training. My favorite part of this industry is that it is constantly evolving. I find I am in a constant learning mode, which I love.

  • Who was the most influential mentor in your career path so far?

The most influential mentor in my life is my dad. He is my sounding board and compass. I frequently seek his advice and perspective as I try to navigate decisions in my personal life and my career. He has inspired much of who I am personally and professionally.

Within the industry, David Nieman stands out as a key influencer for me. He has been an inspirational leader who has consistently provided me with encouragement and opportunities to continue growing.

Honestly though, there have been many men and women, colleagues and customers, in this industry that have inspired and guided me. I am routinely surprised and impressed and eagerly seek to learn and soak in whatever I can from each person I encounter.

  • Have you ever experienced obstacles you believe are unique to being a female in this industry?

I try not to dwell on what I cannot control. Yes, there have been isolated incidents I felt were inappropriate, demeaning, or obstacles starting as early as my first internships. I do feel I have had to work much harder over the course of my career to prove or validate myself to others where it seemed men were more easily accepted and trusted at face value for what they could bring to the table. That said, in the last 5+ years, there has been a palpable change. I hear it in the conversations and see it in the interactions all around me. I sense it for myself too. I genuinely feel that the female/male distinction is dwindling in relevance. There are more women than ever in our industry. It seems Graphic Communications was nearly 50/50 when I was at Clemson. Now the women outnumber the men at Clemson. You can see proportionate shifts in our industry events too. I look forward to the day when leadership roles also begin to mirror this new balance.

  • What do you wish young professionals knew right now?

We joke that “We print tomorrows trash!” It is a crude mockery of what we do, though not entirely false. Joking aside, the Packaging and Label markets are a vital part of our economy. This is a dynamic, fun, and involved industry. Constant advancements in technology ensure we are continuously evolving and remaining relevant. Change is always around the corner; it never feels stagnant. If you are eager to be challenged, you have chosen the right path. I am excited for where we go next!

My one piece of advice – Do what makes you uncomfortable, meaning seek things that challenge you. That is how you grow and evolve. If you feel nervous about speaking in public, you should do it anyway. If you have always lived in the same place afraid to move away, you should try it anyway. If you are afraid to join a committee for fear you have nothing to contribute, you should go for it anyway. You will likely surprise yourself and worst case, you have a story.

  • What book/podcast are you currently reading/listening to?

As part of the WoF Mentorship Committee process, we began collecting book recommendations from our participants. I plan to start working through this list soon. I am currently reading a book by James Clear called Atomic Habits. It is a great quick read! I am always looking for ways to improve how I live and work. Keeping my digital and physical desktops, emails, and files organized is the bane of my existence… but I won’t give up on myself J

  • What industry groups or associations do you find most helpful and why?

I am most active with the FTA, TLMI and FLAG. I attend and participate in events for all three organizations. All three offer events, training, and resources to help individuals and businesses. I am so impressed with the organization and commitment of the people that run these associations. That said, all three depend on the member companies. What I love about our industry is that the membership is equally vested, which is why all three are so effective. It is the people in our industry that have inspired me to take an active role in helping us grow!

Thanks so much to Catherine for being an outstanding role model in Flexography!

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