Spotlight on Women: Carol Neyenesch Bentley
Neyenesch Printing Chief Executive Officer
Carol Neyenesch Bentley
What is the history of your company? The company was founded by my grandfather in 1899 and has been in the family ever since. I am the third-generation member of the family, and now both of my children are in the business, so we are fourth-generation family-owned. My son Mike has been in the business for more than 20 years. Our president is not a family member.
Have you always been involved in the business? I grew up in the business but became fully involved in the early ’80s at the time that older relatives were retiring. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. I became the CEO in 1998. In 1996 my cousin Cliff Neyenesch and his wife, Candy, and I bought relatives out because they were considering selling and we didn’t want to sell. Candy is chief financial officer. We all work together along with our 69 employees.
You are a Certified Women-Owned Business. What does that mean? The most essential requirement is majority control. That means women must own 51 percent of the business. There is more to it than that, though. Women must also hold the highest positions in the company and be active in daily management and the strategic direction of the company. With me as CEO and Candy as CFO, we are the active managers and the visionaries leading the company, including planning the present and the future.
What is the average length of employment at Neyenesch? The second-longest tenure is 36 years. We have people who have been here 30 years and more. Our turnover rate is extremely low. Our employees are part of the family, and they stay in their positions.
Are there women within the company? Several. We have five women account reps, plus several women in other positions.
How do you handle family commitments for employees? If an employee has a need with a member of his or her family, we work around those issues. We would never want a mother or father to miss an important event in a child’s life. At times we may have a child on the premises.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in the business? Gaining the respect from people in a man’s world.
Who are your customers? Jenny Craig is our largest client. We also have ResMed and Biocom. We deal with a lot of major corporations, but we are not limited to them. We have a very diverse customer base, which also includes nonprofits.
How do you give back to the community? We give first consideration to charities that our customers are involved with. Cystic fibrosis is one that we are very committed to because a family member lost someone to that disease. We also do a lot of in-kind work for organizations.
How have you survived with all of the changes in the industry? Two years ago was our best year ever; last year we showed slight gains, and we are on the way to another good year. We have a state-of-the-art digital press that is used for short-run color projects. I would say we have not been severely impacted by the economy or by changes in the industry.
How do you see the future? I am very confident. It’s a changing business, and we are keeping up with the changes. We are constantly looking at ways to improve our business for our existing clients and, of course, always looking to serve others who have needs. We have a management team that works well together. None of us could do it alone, and our employees are a major part of the team.