Business Owner / Morgan Printing
Have you ever tried to imagine what the world would be like without printing? Think about it, magazines, signage, the tags on your clothing. promotional material, business cards… its safe to say that the industry is crucial, and here to stay.
The paper, printing, publishing and graphic communications industry is one of the largest manufacturing sectors in Australia. The industry employs over 110,000 people in some 5,800 businesses. Yes, it’s a big industry, fundamental to the success of many sub-industries and that is why I am so excited about this #careerstory.
Girls, please meet Holly Masters, the woman with a rockstar name, and a career that spans across many exciting pathways. From humble beginnings, in HR, to Director of Morgan Printing, Holly has always lived life on the wild side, and that’s why we love this brainchild. (On a personal level, I have always been totally obsessed with print. I distinctly remember the smell and texture of my first Dolly magazine, and to this day have a drawer in my desk at home that houses a collection of my favourite clothing tags, and stock from really cool invitations. Yes, I’m a paper nerd.)
Today’s #careerstory is a must read for many reasons. This girl is on fire.
It’s time to see another career that falls under the term ‘creative’.
Holly, I am so happy that you can join us today and share your wisdom with our #girlgang. Can you start by telling us where you grew up, and how your experience shaped the person you are and the career that you are in today?
I grew up in the Sutherland Shire (30kms south of Sydney). My childhood home is surrounded by untouched bushland which meant we got to spend a lot of time exploring and being free to just be kids – that old tale of having to be home when the street lights came on was very true of my childhood. My family was very involved in sports which really gave me a good understanding of discipline and commitment. My parents always reminded my sister and I that it was important to try our absolute best, give something your all. Those lessons really stuck and were the foundation for building my work ethic. My parents never gave me specific advice about what career path to take; instead, they focused on how you show up and give something your all once you have committed to it.
Love that great advice from your parents. Did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
I went to Heathcote High School. I wouldn’t say that I loved it, I did well and enjoyed it for the most part but my mind was always ten steps ahead. I wanted to grow up and start working and experience the world outside of the classroom. It would be fair to describe me as a rebellious spirited teenager, I never got in trouble but my desire to not conform lead me to feel a little suffocated by the strict and regimented days in High School.
We are sisters from another Mr, Holly, I personally felt the same. Couldn’t wait to get out into the real world and make a difference. Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
No I don’t think it did, I certainly did not leave school knowing what I wanted to do with my life.
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
I did, it was compulsory at my school and I absolutely loved the experience. I completed work experience in a popular nearby restaurant and it fueled my drive to grow up and experience life. At school I was always asking questions and challenging what was presented to me – I think it drove my teachers mad, yet at work experience, it, was encouraged. I found the people guiding me in the workplace got that I was eager to ‘join the dots’ and look at the big picture. It helped me understand the purpose of what tasks I was responsible for and how you could assist other people to meet a goal or get the job done.
Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
I studied Administration Management after school and then Business & Accounting as a mature aged student. The later study was done to complement my experience. Word to the wise – juggling study around full-time work is no joke!
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.
Whilst studying after school worked in Administration Roles; after a few years of that i moved over to Recruitment where I managed a team of support staff and supported one Manager. Recruitment is very fasted paced and tough (it is a sales environment) it taught me a lot, I had always been a very direct communicator and whilst working in Recruitment I realised what I thought was my weakness (communication style) was actually a strength I could harness to move my career forward. I decided to focus on Executive Support and applied for a role as a Executive Assistant to a Senior Director in the Health Industry. I thought I had very little chance of getting role but it was worth a shot. I was thrilled when I got the job and found myself working for an incredible female who mentored me and pushed me into project work to extend my experience. After many years in that role I worked in Staff Operations Management and then back in Executive Support as a Senior Executive Assistant to a CEO in the finance industry and stayed there for 8 years until my big move to becoming a business owner.
Executive support roles are so broad and varied, you get access to all the ‘behind the scene’ workings of a business, what it takes to be successful and what skills are imperative to function well in management roles. For such a long time there was a notion that EAs and PAs were people who ran errands and collected the dry cleaning of powerful business people – this could not be further from the truth. As in any career you need to start at the bottom and there will be plenty of tasks in those early years that aren’t the most riveting but to work in Senior EA roles you need to have a strong business acumen, know how to govern time like an air traffic controller and most important you have to master the skill of managing up.
In the back of my head I always knew I wanted to work for myself, I had a lot of autonomy in my career but I wanted to push myself and be solely responsible for what type of career and life I wanted to lead. My husband had worked in a boutique printing company for 25 years (he started his trade there and worked up to managing the company) I got to learn about the industry slowly watching him work from home, I really loved the idea of working in a creative industry and seeing how my skill set could transfer over. Nearly five years ago the opportunity arose to purchase Morgan Printing and both my husband I knew we had to do it. Our skills complement each other very well, and we were so excited to take this step. I continued to work part-time in my Senior EA role until the load was too big and I moved over to Morgan Printing full-time. I think the end of our first year of business was one of my clear career highlights, the business was successful and had been in operation for over 40 years but we had a huge feat in front of us. That first year both our income and profit margins increased as planned. It was such a rewarding feeling!
The business continues to grow as do I both professionally and personally.
What is the hardest part of your current job at Morgan Printing?
Balance – finding it, keeping it and knowing when it is off. I have a young family so I am often pulled in very different directions. Striking the perfect balance will be something I will always have to work on – I think most business owners would agree to that.
What does a day a typical business day look like for you at Morgan Printing?
At the moment I am running a business with a new baby in arms so it is less typical and more controlled madness.
My role is so varied – some days can be very focused on the numbers, monitoring income streams and P&Ls, then others it is all about clients, new business, client meetings and print direction projects. Managing social media and quoting is thrown in the mix also.
Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
I don’t believe I have ever had a hero or someone I have put up on a pedestal, I find myself more in admiration of everyday people sending good energy out into the world. As a global community, we need to see the beauty and simplicity in people who do good, who are kind and benevolent.
I always draw career and business inspiration from people that are strong and authentic leaders with great character. I have a lot of a lot of admiration for homegrown #girlbosses like Emma Isaacs of Business Chicks and Roxy Jacenko of Sweaty Betty PR – both purchased/founded companies at a young age and through hard work and commitment have huge success stories and they do all that while raising children.
What advice would you give girls who are interested in a career in the print industry?
Print Industry: Contact me! I would love to mentor any girls who are considering a career in print.
Owning your own business in any industry is a lot of hard work. You need bucket loads of dedication and the willingness to sacrifice other elements of your life that 9 to 5ers get to revel in. Know your strengths and play to them, be bold and courageous bust most of all believe in yourself.
List your most valuable resources that you turn to constantly for inspiration in your profession?
- Favourite Websites: Pinterest! Darling and Kinfolk -although I will always opt to have the mag in my hands over reading online.
- Name an Instagram Account that you can’t go a day without checking: The list is endless. At the moment I am really enjoying Architectural Digest.
- Favourite Podcast: Girlboss Radio. This American Life. Dumbo Feather. TEDTalks Society and Culture.
- Favourite Netflix Series: I really do not get much time for TV and when I do get the time I would much prefer to get stuck into the pile of books that have gone untouched since having bub number two.
- Favourite all-time book/s: Oh that is so hard… I have loved every book I have ever read (I put them down if they don’t grab me a few chapters in). To me reading is the ultimate form of relaxation, escapism and learning. The last two books that made me cry my eyes out were The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.
- People: My husband Tony and our two girls Hannah and Tessa, they are my everything.
- Others: Vegetarian Food.