Panel Discusses Challenges for Women in Publishing

Book Industry Guild of New YorkOn April 12, the Book Industry Guild of New York held a panel discussion with four women in book publishing to discuss their professional experiences and challenges faced within the industry.

The discussion, titled “Groundbreaking Women: The Second Wave,” was moderated by Karen Romano, Thomson-Shore’s director of business development, and featured Barbara Marcus, president and publisher of Random House Children’s Books, Janet McCarthy Grimm, vice president of Lindenmeyr Paper, and Linda Palladino, vice president and director of production at Random House Children’s Production.

According to a press release, “the panelists unanimously suggested that women new to the publishing or paper/printing industries find in-house mentors,” as “their experienced guidance is invaluable to grasping the essential knowledge of their business.”

Full press release below:

“Groundbreaking Women: The Second Wave” Panel Discussion
Offers Personal Insights Into Publishing Professionals’ Advances and Challenges

April 12, 2016

New York, NY – A panel of executives from the book publishing and paper manufacturing industries related their career experiences during tonight’s Book Industry Guild of New York’s (BIGNY) “Groundbreaking Women: The Second Wave” event. The panel discussed their professional experiences as they ascended into senior positions during a change in the business world that welcomed more women.

Thomson-Shore Director of Business Development Karen Romano moderated the discussion, held at Random House’s midtown New York office. The panel trio included Barbara Marcus, President and Publisher, Random House Children’s Books; Janet McCarthy Grimm, Vice President, Lindenmeyr Paper; and Linda Palladino, Vice President and Director of Production, Random House Children’s Production.

Each panelist took a unique path to achieve career success. Grimm’s initial years as a sales representative found her advancing into increasingly responsible positions despite being in a largely “old school” male industry. Marcus embraced a number of editorial challenges that demonstrated her high-level skills, business commitment, and strategic insight. Palladino shifted from law school to publishing and never looked back.

The panelists unanimously suggested that women new to the publishing or paper/printing industries find in-house mentors. Their experienced guidance is invaluable to grasping the essential knowledge of their business. It’s also extremely difficult to find equally rich sources of advice outside of their respective industries.. They also underlined the value of mentorship, and noted that those receiving it should “give back” to the “following wave” that will enter publishing, paper manufacturing, and printing.

The three executive women also strongly encouraged the “following wave” to take chances during their careers. Some of the panelists’ most exciting opportunities evolved from their conviction that risk-taking and self-belief were vital to their career advancement and job satisfaction. Barbara Marcus emphasized that point during a discussion of her reasoning for embracing her current role at Random House Children’s Books.

About Barbara Marcus
Barbara Marcus is President and Publisher of Random House Children’s Books, where she is responsible for overseeing all of its publishing and business activities. Random House Children’s Books publishes many of the world’s bestselling and most highly acclaimed authors and illustrators for young people today, including Dr. Seuss, Carl Hiaasen, Christopher Paolini, Sophie Kinsella, Philip Pullman, Leo Lionni, James Dashner, Brandon Sanderson, Louis Sachar, Richard Scarry, and Markus Zusak, and is home to many of the most recognizable series licenses and characters in the world, such as Barbie, the Berenstain Bears, Disney, Little Golden Books, Nickelodeon, Pat the Bunny, Junie B. Jones, and Magic Tree House.

Prior to joining Random House in 2012, Marcus was Advisor to Open Road Integrated Media in the area of children’s digital publishing and general strategy. She also served as Strategic Innovations Advisor to Penguin Books USA, focusing on new ventures and publishing opportunities.

Before that, Ms. Marcus served as President, Scholastic Children’s Book Publishing and Distribution, where she was responsible for all children’s consumer book publishing and distribution in the United States, through school-based book clubs, school-based and direct-to-home continuity programs, school-based book fairs and the retail channel for over 20 years. During her tenure, she led the expansion of the business from approximately 50 million dollars to over 1 billion dollars in annual revenue. After acquiring J. K. Rowling¹s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for publication in the United States in 1998, she also led the publishing effort for six of the seven Harry Potter titles.

About Janet McCarthy Grimm
Janet McCarthy Grimm, currently Vice President of Lindenmeyr Book Publishing Papers, began her career in the production department of Houghton Mifflin Publishing Company in Boston. She also worked at Courier Corporation in Lowell, Massachusetts as a buyer for the Directories and Forms Division. Janet joined Lindenmeyr in their New York office as a sales representative in 1984, became Marketing Manager in 1987 and was promoted to her current position as Vice President in 1989. Janet is a past president of the Bookbinders’ Guild of New York, and has served the graphic arts industry through the Book Manufacturers’ Institute, Women In Production and The Paper Club of New York. She now serves on the Boards of Directors for BIGNY, for Poets & Writers and for The Book Industry Study Group. She is also a member of the Book Industry Environmental Council and will talk about paper to anyone who will listen!

About Linda Palladino
Linda Palladino has spent her career working in production for the children’s books divisions of several New York publishers. She began at Scholastic Inc. where she was production manager for its five children’s magazines, book clubs and their then newly-formed trade book division. She went on to work at 2 start-ups, Warner Juvenile Books and North-South Books, where she developed the infrastructure and built full service production departments. During her tenure at William Morrow, she led the children’s Production Department, creating internal and external digital workflow systems to streamline all aspects of production, resulting in cost savings, greater quality control and more efficient delivery. Prior to joining Random House she was Director of Corporate Purchasing for Holtzbrinck Publisher, where she was responsible for corporate purchasing for five companies that now comprise Macmillan Publishing.

In 2003 she became director of Production for Random House Children’s Books, the world’s largest children’s trade publisher, and was promoted to V.P., Director of Production in 2008. Linda and her team are responsible for producing books for the division’s line of premier authors, illustrators, brands and licensed characters. She works closely with her department to position Random House Children’s Books as a company that sets the standard in innovative, environmental, and sound business practices.

Linda is past President of the Bookbinders’ Guild of New York. Linda has participated in and served on various industry educational seminars and committees including Women in Production, which awarded her the Luminaire Award. She currently serves on the Goddard Riverside NY Publishing Executive Committee.

About Karen Romano
Karen Romano began her career on the El-Hi side of the publishing business. She has since held various production and management positions at Praeger Publishers, McGraw-Hill, Macmillan, and finally Simon & Schuster, where she served as V.P. and Director of the Adult Trade Production & Manufacturing group for over 15 years.

Romano has since brought her skills to the other side of the desk, and is now Director of Business Development for Emerging Markets for Thomson-Shore, a company that she refers to as the perfect intersection of art and science. She has served on the AAP Commission for Textbook Specifications, the AAP Paper Issues Working Group, and has been a speaker and panel participant at the BMI, the Digital Print Conference, Pub Tech, the Unicorn Writer’s Conference and various BIGNY events. She has also served as a judge for Literary Marketplace and New York Book Shows. In 2009 Romano was voted one of the “Top 50 Women in Publishing” by Book Business Magazine.

About the Book Industry Guild of New York (BIGNY)
BIGNY is a New York-based organization that serves the publishing industry and community. Since its inception in 1926, the Guild has provided professional development opportunities by hosting social and educational events, seminars, industry trips, and more. The Guild produces the annual New York Book Show, which celebrates outstanding achievements in book design and manufacturing. BIGNY also proudly organizes charitable events to promote literacy in the New York City metropolitan area.


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One thought on “Panel Discusses Challenges for Women in Publishing

  1. Michael W. Perry

    Challenges for women? I can see why women might face challenges becoming tackles or guards in the National Football League. Lack of sheer size and muscle bulk would keep them back.

    I fail to see how the challenges women face in publishing are any different from those also faced by men. You see that repeatedly in the article. To get ahead, both men and women need helpful advice, mentors and the like. What makes women different? Little if anything.

    These panels and the like would be better advised to find common ground with men in similar circumstances rather than treating them as adversaries or competitors. Walling yourself off isn’t constructive or helpful. And if you find a particular publisher is a grumpy old-man’s club, find another company or start one of your own. Quite acting like circumstances control your lives.

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