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Meet the 2021 WISP Award Winners: Michelle Leissner
Michelle Leissner
President, CEO | H&H Graphics
Vernon Hills, Illinois

“OVER THE PAST 12 years, as a thought leader in publishing and educational roles, she has continued to use her platform, experience, and research to build awareness of multisensory screen printing possibilities and ROI among other printers, branding agencies, and marketers around the world,” says David Rose, VP, Sakurai. “Her internal leadership has driven company growth of 56 percent and the tripling of her staff at H&H Graphics… Simply put, Leissner plays an industry leading role in keeping screen printing relevant and at the forefront of today’s printing solutions.”

Your nomination form states you had to rapidly immerse yourself in the technical side of the business. Why is understanding all facets of the business so important to you?

I have a background in finance, which has instilled in me the importance of understanding all the factors driving business success. R&D-driven innovation, especially in multisensory applications, has been key to the growth of this business. That puts the technical and production side at the heart of what we do. We’re not just marketing ourselves as a reliable provider of high-quality screen printing; we sell our clients on the fact that we can help them create packaging, products and promotions that are truly extraordinary and one-of-kind. I can’t market that without a deep understanding of the art and the science of what is possible – and what might be possible with a little innovation and imagination.

It also states: “Michelle has continuously expanded her platform to educate other printers, advertising and branding agencies, and marketers around the world about the unique capabilities of screen printing. She continues to create content and gather data that demonstrates her conviction that screen printing offers the best return on investment available for succeeding in a challenging marketplace. In the process, she has developed the H&H Graphics website (hhgrfx.com) as a widely-sought source of information regarding multisensory special effects screen printing. “Why is fighting for relevance in an era of increasing competition from evolving digital print technology important to you?

There are some deep pockets behind digital pouring big money into advertising and promoting digital print “embellishments” for print buyers.  We don’t have the luxury of that level of mass marketing. For all the hype around digital printing, it’s far more limited in what it can do, especially when it comes to using multisensory special effects to drive engagement. Screen printing is a much more versatile technology, the ROI is there, because we can engage consumers to reach the intended target more often with better results. A big part of my job is educating about the possibilities of screen printing, how it differs from any other technology and the resulting ROI.

What does being a woman in the screen printing industry mean to you?

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Women business owners face additional challenges across every industry. But I think there’s an advantage, too, in being forced to push back against entrenched stereotypes and operate on a playing field that is still not level. It makes you work harder. It can spur innovation and creativity. It fuels collaboration and a sense of responsibility to play a role in helping other women succeed. Those are powerful things.

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