Editor’s comment

OPI Editor Felicity Francis questions whether more women judges would result in different outcomes to OP awards.


A man’s world 

I recently attended the judging meeting for the North American Office Products Awards in Atlanta, Georgia, as a judge and scribe. The judges comprised experts and representatives from all over North America, and although this was my first time attending the meeting, I wasn’t surprised to be one of only two women on the 30-strong panel. It’s an occurrence that I have come to expect from the past 18 months as Editor of OPI.

As the meeting unravelled and products were discussed in depth with many different perspectives brought to the table, I couldn’t help but wonder if the discussion would take a different form if more women were present. While sales results and product quality speak for themselves, when it comes to the reason for purchasing a product – office or otherwise – men and women can have a very different rationale guiding them.

In this issue’s Final Word, TriMega’s Michael Morris approaches the subject of age. He discusses how the average age of a member of the office products industry is often above the average age of an average workforce in the US, and the effect this may be having on the industry’s development. Age and gender, it seems, are both defining the demographic we work within, although I am aware of industry areas and businesses where this is already changing. 

If this is something that needs to be addressed, however, what can we do to broaden the spectrum of executives that comprise OP? While I don’t have the answer, the diversity of our collective workforce has evidently become a topic for discussion over the years, and I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

Felicity Francis, Editor