2021 CSR All-Stars: Twila Milburn, CLS, Ward-Kraft Inc.
TWILA MILBURN, CLS
Ward-Kraft Inc., Fort Scott, Kansas
The beauty of print isn’t always in the design. What arguably makes this industry so special is its ability to combine old-world craftsmanship with modern technologies — something that Twila Milburn has seen firsthand.
Her print background begins in 1975. Milburn needed a job and got her break when the owner of Fort Scott Printing, a family-owned business, hired and mentored her. Despite not being related to any members of the team, Milburn said she was welcomed wholeheartedly and credits the group for fostering within her an appreciation for print.
“I used many of the skills they taught me in my future positions in printing, recruiting and customer service,” she shared. “I worked on [a] Kluge Press, printing envelopes, business cards and forms. We used an old Linotype system to set copy. I loved hearing the letters fall into place and watching how the copy was laid out for print. We did hand bindery, trimming, crimping and collating forms.”
Milburn later moved to Mid Western, handling customer service duties, followed by Fort Scott Community College, starting at the switchboard and then vocational training assistance and recruiting. She ultimately joined the Ward-Kraft team, where she has been for 24 years. She spends her days completing a variety of tasks — from follow ups and fielding requests to educating her “too-many-to-count” clients on growth opportunities.
Milburn’s mantra? “Listen, breathe and start it all over again,” she said.
Her Approach to Customer Service
I learned great customer service when I started serving customers at our local restaurant where I grew up. Give the customer what they ask for and advise options when you can’t, knowing you cannot always please everyone, but understanding what you are able to do. My role is to give guidance, information, share knowledge, ask questions, listen and, many times, to provide understanding when things are not just like you and your client might want it to be. My customers, many times, know exactly what they want and I am there to assist them. But, there are times the customer is not sure what they want or need, [and] my role is to advise and educate on possible options. I want my customers to be comfortable and assured [that] when they need help, they will come to me to provide a solution and work with them to make it happen.
How She Keeps Calm and Stays Inspired
I am not always calm, but I do try [to] maintain a positive attitude, allowing all of us to work together as a team with our clients and our co-workers in the office, the production plant and our shipping personnel. Knowing we are all responsible, providing our best service and a job well done, being honest and caring. [Lastly,] realizing we are there to provide a service that allows our clients to grow their business with us as their partner.
How the Pandemic Changed Her Job
We all have become extremely busy. There are no normal days. Every day has new challenges and opportunities to improve our services to our customers. We perform many different jobs throughout our day and with the contact we make with so many different types of business, we have allowed ourselves a new understanding of the importance of our business and how we affect our customers’ and their clients’ businesses throughout our country.
What She Learned About Herself in 2020-21
Only by helping others do you help yourself to be better at what you do.
Her Proudest Career Achievement
Working and getting to know my clients, not only as customers, but as friends. Knowing and understanding their needs and making it happen.
Her Best Advice
To do your best, to give of yourself as you strive to make your best, better.
What She Does for Fun
[I enjoy] spending time with my family, playing and working together. Indoors or outdoors, reading, watching a good movie, games, cheering on your team, riding horses, four wheelers, fishing, camping, listing to their stories – whatever comes our way.