Imagine being able to tell your grandkids that you worked on the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper” album, or on “Star Wars”—playing an important role in the creation of a cultural phenomenon that anyone would be proud to claim as the capstone of their career.
Francine Colaneri, the book industry’s 2008 Publishing Executive Hall of Fame inductee, is just that lucky. As vice president of manufacturing and supply chain at global children’s education and media company Scholastic Inc. (New York), she was instrumental in coordinating the manufacture and distribution of all seven books in the “Harry Potter” series published in the United States.
“We have rewritten publishing history with ‘Harry Potter,’” she says. “I make jokes at home—I always say to my children, you have to make sure my grandchildren know I was a part of this.”
Colaneri speaks with pride of Scholastic’s success in delivering so many books to so many people, stressing the “cohesiveness” of the various teams within the company and their vendor partners in meeting the unprecedented challenge of the “Potter” books—something her colleagues say can largely be ascribed to the team-building skills of Colaneri herself.
Respect of Her Peers
“Francine is an exceptional leader. She is open-minded, a good strategic thinker, and open to change and trying new things. She is well-loved by her staff and by everybody at the company,” says Beth Ford, who worked with Colaneri as Scholastic’s senior vice president of global operations and information technology, and recently left her position as COO at Hachette Filipacchi Media to re-enter the consumer packaged-goods industry. “She is held in a great deal of esteem and respect by everyone who interfaces with her, including her suppliers. She treats her vendor partners truly as partners.”
Janet McCarthy Grimm, vice president of Lindenmeyr Book Publishing Papers, which works with Scholastic, adds, “Regardless of how great the challenge, Francine presents business opportunities (and imperatives) clearly and concisely. She always believes that we should all strive for perfection, yet when the rare mishap occurs, Francine makes the solution her top priority. The suppliers who work with her steadily all know that if there is a problem, Scholastic will collaborate to find the best possible resolution from all angles. Francine has always expected 110 percent from the people she works with and that is because she generally is giving 120 percent of her own effort.”
Related story: The 2008 Publishing Executive Hall of Fame Inductees