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Women in Print and Promo: Sharon Schiffelhuber Director of National Accounts

Women in Print and Promo: Sharon Schiffelhuber Director of National Accounts

For the 11th year in a row, Print & Promo Marketing is proud to present its annual “Women in Print and Promo” feature. In honor of Women’s History Month — and every month — we are sharing the transformative paths these women have taken to help drive the industry forward. Find out what motivates them, where they’ve succeeded, and how companies can advance female talent. Stay tuned throughout the month for more profiles, and check out the March issue of Print & Promo Marketing for the full feature.

Sharon Schiffelhuber details her decorated career in the promo space, which has been over 40 years in the making.

With 41 years of experience in the promo industry, Sharon Schiffelhuber has seen a lot. She knows a lot as well. But don’t be intimidated. Schiffelhuber is fun, kind, and never hesitates to help.

Schiffelhuber is an active volunteer for SAAGNY, a regional promotional products association that serves New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. She also co-chaired their summer camp, Happiness is Camping, a New Jersey-based nonprofit for children with cancer and their siblings. “In 2017, SAAGNY voted me Humanitarian of the Year,” she says. “I’m not much for awards, but that is one I proudly display.”

On HPG’s YouTube channel, you’ll catch Schiffelhuber talking about lanterns and rain gauges through her web series “Sharon’s Favorite Things.”

“Her fun, yet authoritative, demeanor makes her customers feel like they are listening to a trusted friend when she shares her favorite items,” her nominator shares.

In a former life, Schiffelhuber worked as a production assistant in New York City’s Garment District. It wasn’t the nicest industry. “In addition to working with the production team, I would also work with the salesmen — yes, the entire sales team were men — and buyers from top department stores across the U.S.,” she says. Though she does credit her manager, an “amazing” woman, for teaching her so much about the industry and business in general.

She didn’t realize it at the time, but Women’s Wear Daily would lead Schiffelhuber to her next opportunity. During one particular bus ride back to New Jersey, she noticed a postage-stamp-sized ad in the magazine. A small leather goods company in the city needed an administrative assistant. Schiffelhuber got the job and met the owner at a much smaller building than she anticipated.

As Schiffelhuber tells it, that small leather goods company was owned by a promotional products company (or “ad specialties” as people called it then) that had been a family-owned business since the early 1900s with factories in New York City and New Jersey.

“I had a good feeling,” she says.

Unfortunately, the leather goods weren’t taking off. The company president asked Schiffelhuber if she would consider crossing over to the ad specialties side of the business to work as his assistant. She would only have to travel 30 minutes from her home. She was excited, but admittedly still unclear about what advertising specialties were all about.

Fast forward to 1985. Schiffelhuber headed to Dallas to attend the PPAI show — her first, and certainly the largest. Her boss noticed how natural she was with distributors and moved her to a sales position at Ready Reference Publishers, a planner and diary printer. A flurry of mergers and acquisitions followed.

“[Ready Reference Publishers] was bought in 1988 by Keith Clark, then merged with Mead several years later then merged again and became MeadWestvaco,” Schiffelhuber explains. “I was with this company for 26 years until they sold off the Ready Reference brand to Beacon Promotions in 2008, and I joined Beacon as a regional sales [rep for the] East Coast. HPG bought Beacon in January 2018 and I continued as a regional sales rep until 2019 when I became the director of national accounts.”

Today, Schiffelhuber’s responsibilities include working with top national accounts, focusing on Beacon, Batch & Bodega, SugarSpot, Premium Brands, and Mixie. As a national lead, she works with a smaller group of national accounts on behalf of all HPG brands. Finally, she is the brand leader for Batch & Bodega/SugarSpot, which includes working with product development and marketing.

Her Proudest Career Achievement

I’m most proud of my work with The SAAGNY Foundation. I worked as co-chair for our summer events, but my favorite was Happiness is Camping, which is a camp for kids with cancer. I started as a volunteer and moved into the co-chair position. It was so fulfilling seeing the kids enjoying our day of fun and games. So simple to us but meant so much to them.”

How Failure Taught Her Resiliency

“Have I failed at anything? Yes. How often? Well too many to count over the years, but I don’t look at failure the same way others might. I set a high standard for myself, too high at times. I always meet what others expect of me, but in my eyes, I could have done more. Always striving to be the best.”

Her Most Significant Barrier as a Female Leader

“Even though the industry was male dominated when I started, I didn’t feel anything was holding me back. It took a little more work to get things done and to grow relationships, but I had some great people — both men and women — to guide me along the way.”

How She Thinks Companies Can Attract and Retain Female Talent

“I think our industry is moving in the right direction. We have more women holding top positions at suppliers both large and small more than ever before.”

Her Job Advice to Women

“Whether it is in our industry or not, always be yourself. At times being myself wasn’t easy, especially at the beginning, but I didn’t waver and that served me well in my career.”

Her Upcoming Goals

“Professionally, it would be trying out some new sales strategies. HPG welcomed Jenna Quaranta to our team as director of sales training + development, and I want to incorporate some of her field training ideas into my routine. In my personal life, that’s a tough one, but I think it always comes down to the same thing: spend more time with family and friends.”

From the article publishing April 1st, 2024, in Print & Promo Marketing, linked here