Kathy Woodward RIP


Jo Francis mourns the passing of an exceptional woman and champion of print.

How galling it is when those who most deserve a long, happy and healthy retirement don’t get one.

I speak, of course, about Kathy Woodward, who died last week. The news left the PrintWeek office feeling genuinely bereft and overwhelmingly sad. She was a truly exceptional woman who graced our industry and never ceased championing print and print people. What a loss for us all.

After a successful career both within and outside of the industry she could have kicked back and retired to the country. Instead, she returned and started working for the BPIF just when the industry was in the thick of the financial crisis and attempting to come to terms with the impact of the new digital media landscape.

It’s hard to imagine many other people taking this task on and making such a success of it. Of the various BPIF CEOs I’ve encountered over many years from this side of the fence, she was also notable for being the only one not to be described to me in unfavourable terms by a fed member.

Always on hand with a positive message, just last month she spoke at the All Party Parliamentary Print Group reception with her typical passion for print and upbeat urgings. Passionate is a much over-used descriptor these days, but Kathy was one of the few people to whom the adjective genuinely applied.

Our interview with her from last summer is worth bookmarking. How typical that among so many achievements she should cite the BPIF’s graduate scheme as her proudest.

She was a talent-spotter (and nurturer) extraordinaire, and one of her biggest legacies will surely be around championing the positive effects of people power and involvement in this industry.

Next time any of us are pondering a problem, the answer should surely come easily by simply asking this: “what would Kathy do?”

That would seem a good way of ensuring a suitably Woodward-esque legacy of positivity lives on. 

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