By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD

Please welcome Betsy to MEDiAHEAD!I have known Betsy since I started in business thirty years ago. She was always the one to go to when you had a hard time finding a particular promotional item. We are thrilled with her extensive experience and all the vendors that she has relationships with.

Betsy is a mom to a daughter and two dogs, one a very loud Husky, (and Miss Frankie Beans is looking forward to having another friend in the office.) Last year she welcomed her first grandbaby, a sixteen-month energetic boy, who keeps her in shape – her nickname for him is Godzilla.

Over the years Betsy has helped companies with their promotional product “footprint.” She is a logo nerd and enjoys being creative. She is often asked for advice on the best approach to add a logo to a particular product.

She can usually name a pen brand/manufacturer in two guesses and claims to be a cup/pen/bag snob. She loves finding closeouts for clients and hates paying retail. On the flip side, she will not sacrifice quality to save money and jeopardize a brand or logo.

Melissa is still here but will primarily be working on Terracon – they keep her super busy with all their trade shows.

Please reach out to Betsy if you want to customize an item that will make your company memorable.

p.s. on a more personal note – Betsy is the friend that went to all 26 cancer treatments I had in 2019. She’s a keeper.

Please welcome Betsy to MEDiAHEAD!

By Rob Garza, Digital Print Consultant at MEDiAHEAD

Rob GarzaI would’ve never thought that watching my dad draw cartoon characters out of the newspaper when I was 5 years old (thinking that was really cool) that I would be where I’m at today. Growing up, that’s all I did. Whenever I had a chance, I would be drawing something. Countless awards and going to college with a fine arts degree, still loving to draw.

How things have changed the past 50 years.

From computers, applications, printing, and social media. Trying to keep up is endless, but it’s what I love to do. I’ve worked for a small amount of companies spread out over the Midwest for the past 25 years. I settled down in Kansas City and left the corporate world in 2012 to start my own design business.

I had always wanted to start my own business.

I come from a family owned Mexican restaurant franchise in Omaha with four restaurants and a factory serving most of the Omaha and Lincoln Metro area. Yes, that includes the Nebraska Cornhuskers football stadium for many years. My uncle was the cornerstone of Make-It, Take-It pizza. Like any food restaurant you see, design businesses are similar. “What makes your business different than others” is the tough question. And you’ve got to get your company name out there. And “tasting” your product is not always an easy task.

Running a business is a whole new can of worms.

On top of designing, you have sales, marketing, social media, networking, accounting, registering your business, and the list goes on if you want to make it. Countless hours and  working the weekends never stops. Sales efforts never stop no matter where you’re going… with family, friends or a night out on the town. You’re constantly getting a feel for the water and prospecting in the back of your mind, even getting fresh ideas along the way.

Separating myself from other designers I had to be innovative, getting certified with City and State was a start. Meeting larger companies and corporations started consuming my daily routine. I was scheduling meetings and receiving contracts to teach clients how to use different applications. I’ve always enjoyed meeting new people. People tell me that I’m easy to talk to. I prefer to get to know clients as people first. The “business” can happen later.

Today’s designers, marketing agencies, and printers always have to be at the top of their game. To be competitive, we have to hire the best designers. We’ve got to bring fresh and innovative ideas. And we’ve got to invest in the latest equipment, up-to-date applications, faster services, faster printers, and everyone wants it right now! There’s no time to talk to another company or sales rep about new business opportunities. Even if that opportunity would help their business maintain a competitive advantage.


A few months ago, I met Kat at a city contract meeting we were both awarded. Kat’s an easy person to talk to about anything, and she knows a lot of people. We got along right off the bat.

A few months later, I had a company call me out of the blue wondering if I’d be interested in selling for them. This was a vendor of mine I’d used in the past. I had never really thought about going into sales, but I do like meeting new people. I was unsure where to start to see if that role would fit. I called Kat and met with her to get her thoughts over coffee. One week later, I started working for MEDiAHEAD. Interesting how things work out, right?

MEDiAHEAD’s office is up-to-date, clean, innovative, everyone is easy going, the equipment is state of the art, plus their vision is way ahead of other printers. And they’re a 100% minority owned business. Meetings were going to be once or twice a week to go over leads, new clients, and new ways for MEDiAHEAD to be seen. The decision was easy. We really do have a great team.

My first month was going well. Making calls, visiting clients and letting them know who I was. I started getting samples together and writing notes to leads in different cities and states. And I started getting on the road to visit potential clients. Some were expecting me, and some told me they were too busy to meet. I hear, “you drove all this way to see me?” It made an impression. Everyone wants to feel appreciated. I introduced myself, let them know a little about MEDiAHEAD and what we can do to help, gave them a gift, and always thanked them for their time. And two weeks later, COVID-19 hits us all.

Working from home

I’m currently working out of my house and have been for the past 3-4 weeks now. We still have weekly meetings. MEDiAHEAD is helping with donations of activity books we designed and printed for hospitals and anyone who was sick and just needed a little help. We’re also setting up to be a distributor of hand sanitizer to help larger companies and clients where they’re still mandated as a needed service. I’ve been contacting potential clients letting them know how we can help, letting them know about our custom portals and printing. Sometimes I’m just letting them know we’re here to help. Of course we hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.

Reading more

I’ve started reading more during this time from “Success through Positive Mental Attitude”, “Bear Grylls-SOUL FUEL” to “Worth every Penny” and “You are a Badass” which is one of my favorites.

Here’s a quote that really resonates with me during this crisis: “Your job isn’t to know the how, it’s to know the what and to be open to discovering, and receiving, the how. Keep your thoughts directed at your goal, do everything that you DO know how to do to make it happen, and be on the lookout for opportunities. AND love yourself. Because we’re all in this together.”

And that’s it! I hope you know more about me after reading this spotlight. I hope we get a chance to talk soon. If you or someone you know needs on-demand digital printing, I know just the company that can help.

By Izzy, the lovable mascot and driving force for success at MEDiAHEAD

Izzy head shotHey, it’s IZZY! Did you miss me? It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a blog. I’ve been so busy with work and all, I am so sorry!

I have to share an experience with you. Something happened recently that almost killed me. Well not really, but I was so incredibly sick. Self induced food poisoning. It was horrible.

Friday Lunch

Every Friday, the office orders lunch and eats together. I think this is just a wonderful thing. I usually participate by sitting on the floor and begging in my usual way, looking for scraps and such. No one was budging this day, because it was pizza (I guess) and they love pizza.

After everyone was done eating, they accidentally left the remaining pizza on the conference room table. Just for ME! So… I jumped up on the chair and got onto the table and helped myself to a pizza buffet! It was so delicious, I just had a wonderful time and no one was even looking. After eating as much as I possibly could, I jumped down and ran around the office to check on everyone’s productivity like I normally do.

Then it hit me… yikes, the pizza wasn’t settling well. Before you know it, the pizza… you know, well… I don’t want to go into the details. Apparently, pizza expands in your stomach. My humans should have told me that.

Izzy Eats Too Much Pizza

Take a look at the picture… I look like a bowling pin with legs and ears. I was not feeling well at all. I lost all my energy and I thought I was going to have to go to the doggy hospital; the rest of the afternoon wasn’t much fun.

Then I got busted.

Kat found my paw prints on the table in the conference room… and the jig was up! Everyone knew I had gotten into the pizza. Hey, they left it just for me, right!?!?! Now I understand that it really wasn’t left for me. What an insidious trap. Dogs should not eat PIZZA!

I feel much better now though. Well enough to tell you the story at least. Thank you for your condolences and well wishes.

Til next time!

– Iz

MEDiAHEAD: We've Hire a WARRIOR! LeRay Warrior

Have you watched The Spartans, 300, THOR, Gladiator? Well, we hired a Warrior. YES!

We are extremely excited to announce that LeRay WARRIOR has joined our team. He came to us from Capital One. He was formerly a Vice President of Commercial Cards.

Previous to Capital One, LeRay was a Paychex Human Capital Management representative where he was a top unit producer and earned Level Three Diamond Club status. He was a conference qualifier every year that he was eligible, and Zone Rookie of the Year when he wasn’t eligible. I hope this tells you how driven Mr. Warrior is!

LeRay will be working on business development, working to build current business relationships and acquiring new high level accounts.

LeRay grew up in Kansas City and lives with his wife, daughter, and dog. He was a part of the University Academy first graduating class. You will be able to learn more about his experiences at University Academy next month in a blog post he is writing!

We’re excited to have him with us! Please feel free to stop by, introduce yourself, send him an email or give him a call and say hello at (816) 931-7900.

You can check him out on our website at

Kat Gets to Ring the Survivor's Bell!We are so incredibly grateful that Kat will be having her last treatment on March 8th and she will get to ring the Survivor’s Bell at KU Medical center. We will all be right there with her as she rings that bell!  We’re so incredibly happy for her.

The tradition of ringing the bell after cancer treatment is such a significant moment – a point in time that signals the end of treatment and being cancer free. The bell is often referred to as a Chemo Bell or Survivor’s Bell.

The videos of children and adults ringing the bell on YouTube are heart-warming….

Grace Rings the Chemo Bell at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Kathryn McDanielBell Ringing for Cancer Survivors

Bell ringing is now widespread among cancer clinics around the United States. The honoree rings the bell and often reads a wall-mounted poem alongside the bell.  This event is intended to provide a sense of closure to a very, very difficult experience.

If you haven’t come by to see Kat recently, please stop by to say hello and congratulate her on her upcoming bell ringing! Through her treatment, she has kept that incredible smile each and every day, even through the toughest of times. I literally do not know how she does it, she just does.

We are so thrilled to be RINGING THE BELL WITH KAT!!!

Post Author: Carey Rich

The number of women-owned businesses in the US in 2017: 11.6 million, employing 9 million and generating 1.7 trillion in sales.

Women-owned firms account for 39% of all privately held firms and contribute 8% of employment and 4.2% of revenues.

The number of businesses owned by women in the US has more than doubled in 20 years and Kansas City is the 7th best US metro area for women to own a business.

Kat McDaniel, Chief Innovator at MEDiAHEAD, began her career in print sales in 1980. At the time, she was the only female within the large web-printing company she worked for.

Kat 600x450One of the reasons she was successful was because being a woman helped differentiate her at that time. When she worked with women buyers….they treated each other as equals.

Twenty-eight years ago Kat and her husband moved to Kansas City and bought a company called Fine Print, a printer that was closing because the owner was going to jail for counterfeiting.

Six years ago MEDiAHEAD split off from ColorMark as a separate company and she began to venture out into the world as MEDiAHEAD’s true decision maker.

There was always a struggle over the years getting vendors and other printers to acknowledge her because women in printing were rare.

When I asked Kat what her biggest obstacle has been with regard to being a woman-owned business, the first thing she mentioned was financing.

The second obstacle has been finding employees who respected her for being a woman leader in a traditionally male business.

The industry has changed considerably in the last 30 years – there are many female salespeople that work in the printing industry, but still very few owners.

To this day, Kat is a well-respected leader in the Kansas City community and attributes her success to tenacity. She considers her greatest success the employees who work with her and the clients who have developed into sincere and meaningful friendships.

Post Author: Carly Young, Senior Project Manager

I often refer to my project management career as my second career. When I first got out of high school, I worked as an aid for a hospital clinic, and eventually took a job in the labor and delivery unit as a scrub tech.

As a scrub tech, my main job was to prepare delivery rooms and assist the physicians and nurses in the delivery.

I anticipated their needs (such as handing them gloves, instruments, etc.) and potential problems. Most importantly, I made sure that the nurse or doctor had what they might need in case of an emergency.

As I prepared rooms, I would often feel the eyes of the patient and family fixed on me as I pulled out everything we needed for the delivery and set things up in the room.

Most of the time, those fixed stares were of first-time parents, wondering what they were in for. I would calm a lot of fears during this time, often explaining things and assuring them that everything was going to be just fine.

As I transitioned into my second career as a Senior Project Manager at MEDiAHEAD, I learned that preparing a delivery room was a lot like project management.

I’m routinely organizing projects and people. I anticipate problems and determine what we can do to make sure they don’t happen…or if they do, what we can do to fix them.

But mostly, I’m here to calm fears. I assure clients that their baby, the project they’ve worked on for months, will be produced not only on time, but also within budget.

And of course to assure them, like so many of the babies before them, that their project will be the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen!

Post Author: Michele Stillwell, Marketing Distribution Portal Enthusiast | Marketing Guru | Accounting Shark | Lover of All Animals | Bourbon Drinker

Perseverance is not giving up. It’s persistence and tenacity. It’s giving the maximum effort required to do something…and keep doing it…until the end, even if it’s hard.

The word “perseverance” originally comes from the Latin perseverantia and means to abide by something strictly. This makes a lot of sense when you think about it. If you’re doing something in spite of all the difficulties, you’re being strict on yourself.

No one knows PERSEVERANCE better than Kathryn McDaniel!

Kathryn McDanielIf you know her, you understand this. If you don’t, let me share a bit of her inspiring story and journey.

Kathryn began her career in print sales in 1980 at the age of 23, so to say she’s a seasoned veteran in the printing industry would be an understatement.

Over the years, she’s given back to the Kansas City community in countless ways…donating printing to various organizations, going out of her way to attend events, and on and on.

Kathryn is the busiest woman I know.

She is dedicated to her goal of maintaining a healthy environment by being a leader in the print industry, all while maintaining her status as being 100% woman-owned and operated, with all the certifications to back her up, nationally as well as in Kansas and Missouri.

MEDiAHEAD provides solutions to many of the well-known brands in Kansas City. Kathryn built these relationships over time and has kept them in large part due to her personal dedication to these accounts.

She has fostered numerous healthy partnerships as evidenced by the testimonials we get from each and every client.

Kathryn infuses our core values into each employee, encouraging them to seek opportunities that will provide cost savings for our partners, enable consistency in their brands, and reduce their cycle times.

Each and every employee understands this and we live by these values.

Kathryn is our rock! She’s been through some tough times both personally and with the business. Nothing keeps her down.

She comes in each and every day with a smile on her face and will always laugh at our stories about our weekend or vacation escapades. She, in turn, makes you laugh at each of her stories.

Kathryn is truly genuine and has a HUGE heart for each and every one of us.  You can enter her office at any time of the day and she’ll always turn around with a smile on her face and welcome you.

Each employee at MEDiAHEAD stays at MEDiAHEAD because Kathryn treats each employee as she would want to be treated. As a result, she has a team of dedicated employees who love their leader and want nothing more than to see the company succeed and continue to build her dream and success.

And this is why all of that love matters, now more than ever.

In December 2017 the entire team at MEDiAHEAD was crushed when Kathryn came into our annual Christmas party and told us she’d been diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer.  The good news is that she had surgery and they successfully removed all of the cancer. The unfortunate news is she is going through immunotherapy for a year and there is a 50/50 chance it could come back.

Let me tell you this. I’ve never seen a staff come together so closely, (we were close even before the news) but since, we’ve all pulled together and continue to get things done. We all are extremely passionate about our jobs, passionate about Kathryn, and we’ll do anything we can for her.

Kathryn takes PERSERVERANCE to the next level…and we’re honored to be a part of her journey.