“My gender was a hindrance.” That is a tough statement from a woman who has been fighting the good old boys’ network for more than three decades.
Maureen Sharkey, 55, owns and operates Pinellas Rubber Stamps in Largo. She took over the business from her father 35 years ago. It was in that reminiscing that she recalled her gender being a hindrance.
“I remember going to trade shows and trying to buy equipment and they always wanted to talk to my husband,” she said. “It was the old boys’ network. That was a bit of a challenge but I stuck with it, nothing is going to stop me.”
Sharkey’s dad was a rubber salesman for one of the big tire companies up north. When he moved to Florida he realized that he wanted to work in rubber again so he got a job with a rubber stamp company in St. Petersburg. Then he started his own business.
Since Sharkey took over the business the times have changed. She admits rubber stamps aren’t in the same demand they once were. Now her company makes name badges and name plates and more. She says her business had to expand in order to stay afloat.
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