Lori Bauer’s story plays out like a modern-day fairytale: She met her match while attending Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, married him, started a family and built a successful career at Clearwater, Florida-based supplier Norwood & BIC Graphic North America (UPIC: BIC).
“In a nutshell, I started entry level in sales and marketing,” Bauer says. “I’m the classic example of climbing your way up the ladder.”
Today, this 13-year industry veteran is vice president of field sales, managing the field sales force and distributor accounts in the U.S. and Canada. As part of the supplier’s senior leadership team, she’s responsible for maximizing revenue and profitability through her sales functions.
Bauer is also an active industry volunteer, serving several years on the board and as president of Promotional Products Association of Florida. She has served on PPAI committees and was a member of PPAI’s Women’s Leadership Conference advisory group. In 2010, Bauer was named a PPB Rising Star.
On the home front, she stays busy as mom to eight-year-old Brooke and four-year-old Ashley. They keep Bauer and her husband of 12 years, Kurt, on their toes, going from one activity to the next. Bauer wouldn’t have it any other way. “They’re priority No. 1,” she says.
How do you like to spend your leisure time?
We have two little girls—Brooke is eight and Ashley is four. I love living in Florida and try to make the most of our weekends, enjoying the outdoors and sunshine—biking, beaches and all the sites here. I have recently taken up yoga and golf. On golf, my short game needs some serious work, but I’m determined to get better. I’m also an avid concert-goer and music fanatic, from alternative to classic rock and everything in between.
What’s a little-known fact about you?
I went to school at Miami … the one in Ohio, not Florida. Go Red Hawks!
When did you know you wanted to work in this industry?
I somewhat fell into this industry. When I went to work for BIC 13 years ago, I knew BIC as the retail brand and was eager to start my job as an assistant product manager, developing new products and promotions, not fully understanding what ad specialties were all about. Working for BIC Graphic, the promotional products division of the company, I jumped right into the industry and have never looked back.
What promotional product do you wish you had invented and why?
The BIC Round Stic pen. Of all the new products launched year over year, it’s still my favorite. I write with one every day. And, we sell more than 100 million units of this pen a year.
What did you learn in your first job that stuck with you?
Keep it simple. This certainly translates to our industry. It’s all about making it easy to do business, and when you do that, the repeat business will follow.
If you had a motto, what would it be?
Attitude is everything, which goes hand-in-hand with: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. A positive attitude truly conquers all. If you start each day with a positive attitude, it makes the world of difference on your outcomes and rubs off on those around you. Dedication and hard work are also important for success. I guess those are my Midwest values shining through.
What’s your dream vacation destination and have you been there?
I have always wanted to go to Thailand. It’s rich in culture, history, adventure and, of course, beautiful, tropical beaches.
Where do you get creative inspiration?
I am creatively inspired by bits and pieces of everyone and everything, but I get the most from pushing myself out of my own bubble. We have a saying at our company that most are familiar with: Avoid the silo effect. Whether it is interactions internally with other departments or externally with clients, I am always inspired by having my eyes opened to a problem or issue and then figuring out the root cause and a solution.
What drives you?
I’m motivated by looking for the next mountain to climb or the next challenge. I am a perfectionist at heart. I try to never get too comfortable or think that something is good enough. Celebrate the victories, but continue to evolve and improve. There is a great quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “You must do the things you think you cannot do.” Push yourself. In my new role at Norwood & BIC Graphic, I have an exciting challenge in front of me, which is really energizing. My background in marketing and working closely with our distributors and sales force, as well as my experience as part of the North American senior leadership team for the company the past several years, are a great foundation in my role as VP of field sales. I am enjoying working in the field each week and hearing first-hand the successes and improvement opportunities.
If you had to choose a different career, what would it be?
That’s a tough one. This industry is in my blood, as well as sales and marketing. My only regret is that I always wanted to live and work in New York City. What an amazing place. The energy and adrenalin is infectious. Maybe I will have an apartment there someday. Who knows?
What actor would play you in a movie about the promotional products industry and why?
Gwyneth Paltrow. I admire her confidence and poise. She’s classy and calm under pressure. Plus, she’s versatile in her roles, from comedic and silly to serious and proper. She can adapt and wear many hats, and to that, I can definitely relate.
If your typical day was a song, what would it be?
Every Day Is A Winding Road by Sheryl Crow. You know the saying: Success (really life) is a journey, not a destination. That sums it all up.