Marla Kott

Marla Kott
CEO, Imprint Plus

Headquarters: Richmond, British Columbia
Primary Business: Office supplies manufacturing and development
Revenues: $10 million
Employees: 54

Diversity: The Microcosm of a Demographic

In the twelve years that I have been CEO of Imprint Plus, I have continued to discover the benefits derived from, and the responsibilities attached to, one’s diverse corporate identity.

In a world where “uniqueness” in business is highly valued, a diverse culture automatically adds an element of the uniqueness necessary to achieve success. Running a sound business is not just a matter of providing a product or a service that meets the needs of a demographic, rather it is adopting a perspective that represents that demographic from as many angles as possible, and then identifying with those needs as if they are your own. As a diversity company, we share attributes of our diverse customers. Resembling this customer demographic, we can be expected to more proactively serve, adapt, and innovate to this fast growing customer niche.

Comprised of a small, very tightly knit group of highly skilled, highly capable, and diverse individuals, the company has been steadily growing and evolving as a whole. More important than adapting to change, however, is making change. Moving forward is a matter of internal and external growth, and diversity fosters the positive transitions that develop our internal skills. Imprint Plus has several initiatives in place that cater to the continued growth of our employees; we focus on continuous learning that is supported by a combination of courses given at local colleges and universities, and in-house training by engineers and other highly skilled professionals. An internal goal of 50 percent of our employees being trained in lean manufacturing speaks to continuous improvement on internal processes.

In addition to staying current, efficient, and relevant, we also need to support other diverse organizations through vendor selection. Imprint Plus tracks diverse spending as do so many companies who are affiliated with WBENC and WeConnect International. We are always enthusiastic participators in diversity conferences; I personally am proud to be a spokesperson, sharing my own experience to assist others.

So how has being a diverse business shaped our company? We share the benefits of affiliations and relationships from the great organizations that support companies such as ours, and we recognize the responsibility to invest our profits in our employees, other diverse vendors, and the need to continuously amaze every unique customer.

Education: BS, Brandeis University; CA, McGill University
First Job: Shakey’s Pizza
What I’m Reading: Anything by Ayn Rand
My Philosophy: Aim higher.
Best Advice: Be risk-ready.
Interests: Mentoring other women in business