Angela Swartz/Daily Journal
Cynthia L. Schreuder, president and CEO of CLS Printing, works in her office in San Mateo.
After 24 years, Cynthia L. Schreuder’s Peninsula printing business has kept its head above water despite changing times.
Schreuder, 59, created CLS Printing, which is now headquartered in San Mateo, in April 1990 after growing frustrated with being part of a male-dominated business. Her company provides specialized publishing and distribution of financial documentation such as bond offerings, annual reports for big time businesses like Cypress Semiconductor, official statements and prospectuses.
“I got out of school at 22 and thought everything would just be fantastic,” said Schreuder, who is president and CEO of CLS. “Nobody wanted to hire me; they all thought I would get married. … Eventually I ended up at a company, but they still didn’t take me seriously.”
Although she was one of the top salespeople of 100 employees at the financial printing company Sorg, she dealt with sexual harassment and discrimination.
“Glass ceiling doesn’t even begin to cover what was going on,” she said. “I talked to my clients and they said they would follow me if I left and they did. It was wonderful.”
CLS Printing, which comes from Schreuder’s namesake, was then born in South San Francisco. One of her clients told her to incorporate her name, her initials, into the company’s name since she already had a good reputation.
Despite the challenges starting out in the work world after graduating magna cum laude from Willamette University with a degree in economics and a master’s from American Graduate School of International Management in Phoenix, Arizona, Schreuder said the hurdles taught her a lot.
“Now when I look back, every challenge taught me so much,” she said. “It taught me how to survive and taught me what was important. … The greatest thing that ever happened to me was starting my own company. I had to be very careful around the old gentlemen who never took a female seriously before.”
The best revenge is living well, she said.
“Sorg is no longer around; they went bankrupt,” she said.
Since she first starting working in the financial printing industry things have changed a lot. Documents are now posted online and there’s a lot less actual printing of documents involved.
“When we started, it was all printing and film,” she said. “Now, it goes much faster and more advanced. Now you can work around the clock to get offerings out. Before, we would have to finish by midnight, now we’re on call all the time.”
Hard work has been a big part of Schreuder’s life. The San Mateo native, who has one sister, just got engaged and said for most of her life all she’s really done is work.
“I never dreamed I wouldn’t be married,” she said. “When you work so hard and have long hours, it’s very hard to develop a relationship.”
Schreuder, who lives in Menlo Park, is also a very interested in music. She minored in not only Russian language, but also classical piano and voice at Willamette. She is keeping busy as the co-chair of this year’s San Francisco Opera Ball which will be held Sept. 5 with the proceeds go toward funding music education programs. About 800 people are expected to attend that event.
“At this age, I can give back,” she said.
In terms of her other nonprofit work, she is president emeritus of the University Club in San Francisco and has served as president emeritus of the Bay Area Arthritis Auxiliary.
Aside from these hobbies, she also likes to do interior decorating, swim, walk and hike. She still plays classical piano and sings and performs at Black Cat Bar in San Francisco, along with at weddings and other local venues.
Over the years, she’s added commercial printing services for corporations and nonprofit clients like a nearby Buddhist temple. For these projects she helps with newsletters, printing, reading and editing content for grammar. Schreuder does everything but the printing itself.
For more on the company visit clsprinting.com.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105