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Meet the 2021 Women in Wide Format Winners: Courtney Barvels

She has built a reputation on being a workflow wizard, and also leads a self-development club at her company.

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AP: You created a self-development club at Olympus Group focused on personal improvement. Topics focus on everything from morale to leadership to how to be a better public speaker. And you’re also part of Olympus’ Mentorship Program, helping support both new hires and interns. Why is personal improvement and mentorship important to you? How have these groups impacted you personally and professionally? How have they impacted your coworkers?

CB: I have grown up with the mentality that you always need to keep learning. My favorite way to keep learning is by bouncing ideas or thoughts back and forth. It’s probably why my parents always had to see “talks too much” on my report cards. I’ve been fortunate to have many people in my life to offer guidance or coach and mentor me on anything I was trying to learn or get better at. Having these people and the determination to keep growing has made me appreciative of mentorship and personal growth. I wanted to make sure I was giving to others also, which is why I started our personal development club. Books and articles can tell you a lot, but nothing helps solidify the learning better than a great back and forth with a coworker who has learned the hard way and is willing to save you the struggle.

Running the personal growth club and mentorship program has opened my eyes to such different perspectives. Learning from those around us is key to improving so you can gain perspective and see things from every angle. The club has helped improve our relationships, come up with better solutions, and allow people to grow.

Often, we focus so much on skill development and completing tasks that as leaders we miss the opportunity to focus on what really matters: people. Providing people the opportunity to develop is much more than learning a new software program or the latest leadership technique. It’s about helping them break out of their shells, learn from others on how to be better versions of themselves, and focus on the parts of their lives that might greatly impact their development but may not necessarily come out in a performance review.

AP: Your nomination form states, “She is a leader on Olympus’ executive team and oversees a team at four production facilities around the US. She pushes the envelope on systems and flow with an uncanny understanding of the entire print production process from quote to invoicing.” Why is understanding all facets of the business paramount to your career and Olympus Group’s success?

CB: Business cannot operate in a silo, and decisions we make impact everyone around us. Knowing how my decisions will impact others helps me continually focus on the bigger picture while being considerate of those around me. I try to make sure that I surround myself with people smarter and more informed than me. I never lose sight that my decisions will impact the whole, so I make sure to have great people close to me who will provide direct, honest, and informed feedback regarding each aspect of our business. Embracing the fact that I am not the smartest person in the room allows me to be open to feedback and receive input from the amazing people in each division to help make the best overall decision.

AP: What does it mean to be a woman in the wide-format digital printing industry?

CB: To be honest, it’s something I have never had to really give any thought to. I suppose that’s a great testament to the amazing culture Olympus has created, and I’m certainly proud to be a part in shaping that culture. From the time I started at Olympus, I never felt like a woman, an intern, a young-adult, or even a newbie. I was blessed to join an organization that saw me as a team member with limitless potential and one that gave me room and support to realize it. I believe that all individuals have the opportunity to do great things, in any industry, if they are willing to work to make their dreams come true. I am proud that we can see people for their accomplishments, efforts, and unique contributions to the whole. My career so far has taught me to believe in myself, make your path in life, and never let a label get in the way of moving mountains!

Courtney’s a rock-star. At 31 years old, she’s already had a huge impact on our team and the print industry. — Brian Adam, Olympus Group

PHOTO GALLERY (7 IMAGES)

Adrienne Palmer joined Big Picture magazine in 2012 after graduating from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism with a BA in magazine journalism. During her time with Big Picture, she has held the roles of assistant editor, associate editor, and managing editor, and is now serving as editor-in-chief. If she isn’t traveling, she’s planning her next trip.

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