Lexmark's Carmel Mosser talks to ARN
What was your first job?
I worked as a proof machine operator for National Australia Bank. We took great delight in breaking the machines: you used to do the digitising on one side as you fed cheques through the other, and we'd go too fast for it.
How did you end up in IT?
I went to uni then worked in various companies, including an accountancy firm. I then took a receptionist job for a small, systems integration start-up. It was a subsidiary of Australian Consolidated Press. They were doing network computer systems specifically for the publishing industry. One day I started doing quotes; the next thing I knew I was selling, helping with software marketing, and it went from there.
How did you progress from there to Lexmark?
Because I was in publishing and in IT, I always found myself on the imaging side, so I ended up working for various print vendors. One day, I made a decision to not work for a print vendor anymore. At that time I was with Xerox. Then I got an offer from Lexmark to speak with senior management there and changed my mind. The company has a great vision; it is a very strong multinational and a market leader in Australia. I could also add value from a channel perspective because they were just starting to re-engage with a lot of partners. I've now been with Lexmark for just over three years.
What do you like about your current job?
The thing I like the most is managing the channel team with their unique issues and problems. One of the big fears I had when stepping up to the general manager role [last month] was what value I could add to the team. It appears that I am able to do that, which is nice. I'm also enjoying setting the strategy. It takes a certain amount of managerial courage, but it's exciting to have the ability to sit down and set the strategy for a large organization and business unit.
What's the biggest achievement of your career?
The greatest achievement now is becoming general manager. I expected to get here at some stage, but maybe not so soon, so it's a complement. From a sales perspective, I've sold some pretty big, innovative deals. There was one big deal for a large Melbourne publishing firm where they were going down an outsourcing path, and we managed to convert them. It was a $6.6m deal when it was all done and it was pretty cutting edge technology. It's a real buzz when you get the order. I just think sales is one of the best professions to be in.
What do you dislike most about the IT industry?
The biggest bugbear in this particular industry is channel conflict. Having to deal with conflicting partners going for the same deal and managing their expectations is hard and can be tedious.
What's the main focus for Lexmark this year?
The key objective is always to meet our revenue expectations and we're well on the way to doing that. Probably the bggest focus for me is to find new paths to market and look at incremental business for the channel. I'll also be looking at ew partners and working with them to show them how Lexmark can add value to their business.
Print is very important to businesses: it can bring a whole place to a standstill if it goes down. Partners can sell the sexy side of IT - the desktops, notebooks, servers - but what we're trying to get across to the channel is that they also need to ask about print. Look at what printing devices they are using. Chances are they're still using equipment bought during the Y2K panic. Printing technology has moved ahead quite a lot. So it's about getting that message across.
What's the next big thing in the industry?
Printing technology is getting faster and more productive. There's some good Australian inventions starting to come through. I think it'll start to erode this need for people to go out and offset print.
What is the main focus for your company this year?
We need to grow our market. And if you want to talk about the next big thing in print, it's colour. We've been evangelising about this for long time, but I think it's coming to the fore. I'm not saying monochrome will die out, but you don't find monochrome TVs anymore, right?
What do you do when you're not at work?
You know, my whole 'hobby' right now is Lexmark. But what I have started to do, which sounds really old-fashioned, is gardening. I find it very therapeutic. We've just bought a house with a gorgeous garden and there are a lot of plants that I'm concerned we might kill. So I'm going to try not to do that. I work in the garden with my children, and they enjoy it as well.
How do you find managing the workload and the kids?
I wouldn't recommend it to be honest. It's really hard work. I have a supportive husband, which is fundamental. And my kids are used to it. I asked my girl the other day if she minded me working, and she said 'no, I think it makes you smarter mum'.
Do you like gadgets?
I do, but I don't get much time to play with them. I've only just bought an iPod. I'm not yet addicted to the Blackberry.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I wanted to be a journalist. I actually did work experience for Modern Motor Magazine and worked at ACP for a while, then 2UE. I was fixated on it. But it never came to fruition and I went another way.
What is your biggest ambition?
I have an ambition to study anthropology and I'd like to work in that area during my retirement. I studied it at uni to start off with and found it fascinating. There's also a good angle for anthropology in IT. The anthropologist from Microsoft apparently sits on buses all day, watching the kids to find out what the next big thing is. And their product development is the result of that information. And I'd like to have a good work/life balance.
Professionally, I think the path I'm on now and being a general manager is great. I'd like to continue pursuing that and make this a success.