She didn’t have a mentor in the business world, but it was her experience of 25 years as a teacher that helped Nancy Silberkleit, co-CEO of Archie Comics, deal with “difficult and unusual challenges”.
“As a teacher for 25 years, opportunities in the classroom gave me my personal MBA,” says Silberkleit, the co-CEO of Archie Comics since 2009, who is currently visiting Pune. She is in the city to attend a TEDxYouth event at the Oxford Golf Resort on Friday. Silberkleit says the many years she spent teaching taught her two crucial skill sets — patience and tolerance.
In an exclusive interview with The Indian Express, Silberkleit talks about how both teachers and CEOs have the same goal — growth and advancement. “My job as a teacher was to get information into young minds to understand their responsibility. A CEO has to connect the brand to the people,” she said.
Her years with Archie Comics have been dedicated to promoting comic books as academic resources to develop the aesthetic appeal of literary material. Silberkleit has also given talks and led discussions on the positive social role of comics at many places. “There are always curveballs thrown at you, but why give something more energy than it deserves? Once I walked through that classroom door, interacted with the children and connected with the families, it was only a matter of time before I learnt how to handle the issues. I had no mentor in the business world… but 25 years as a teacher gave me that foundation and prepared me for difficult and unusual challenges,” she said.
Silberkleit added, “Patience and tolerance are important for both teachers and business leaders so that when the unexpected happens, they can deal with any situation.”
She is also keen on instituting an award for women writers and artists who create inspirational and motivational stories in the comic book form. “At one point of time, I felt so isolated as I did not see any woman executive in the graphic literary platform. A part of me decided this was one way to encourage women writers and artists… I am presently in talks with a London-based organisation to create this award,” she said.
“We want to award women in the graphic literacy industry – especially women writers and artists whose stories in the comic book form have been inspirational and motivational,” said Silberkleit, who is the first woman co-CEO in the comic book industry.
On how Archie Comics has managed to entertain generations of youngsters, she said, “Archie Comics, a wholesome cornerstone of US culture, is really a magical world. As long as there are young people, there will always be Archie”.
India is very special to Archie Comics, said Silberkleit, adding that the country has played a significant part in spreading the love for the iconic American brand. “Archie’s story is an unusual fantasy and even if there is chaos in their world, it is these youngsters who learn how to resolve it on their own,” she said.
“Archie has grown in so many ways… today, it can be found not only in book stores but also digitally! I was just at a popular book store and they always have a huge display of our books,” she said.