Category: Career Resources

Mar

31

 

 

As an organization focused on our people, we recognize the importance of career development opportunities for the Premium family. In addition to hiring from within and continuously producing new training content within our current systems, we desired to formalize and strengthen our approach to employee development.

 

Introducing the University of Premium.

As Premium’s first-ever, company-wide career development program, the University of Premium is dedicated to enriching the talent of our existing employees. Whether a field or corporate team member, the University of Premium offers a wide range of accreditation and certification opportunities to further the careers of everyone at Premium. As Premium continues to grow, we want our employees to grow with us.

 

 

While the University of Premium is new and will continue to mature, we’re excited about our first few development pilots available including:

  • Zone Leader Accreditation: Provides an opportunity for Premium field representatives to be short-listed for Zone Leader positions when they open.
  • Field Manager Certification: Custom curriculum designed to prepare new Field Managers for their role, re-skill and certify existing Field Managers, and provide ongoing performance support throughout the year.
  • Elevate Leadership Program: Courses and development activities elevating the pre-existing skills and knowledge of Premium’s future leaders.

The main goals of the University of Premium are to exceed employee expectations for career and personal development and grow Premium’s learning culture.

In tandem with the opportunities presented by the University of Premium, we also recently released the first issue of our University of Premium e-magazine. The quarterly magazine features interviews with Premium leaders, information about new development paths and programs available to Premium employees, and aims to increase the visibility of a variety of development resources – both existing and new.

In the first issue, one of Premium’s presidents David Yenzer explains that “It’s part of a company’s responsibility to develop people. To make them better than they were when we found them.”

And that’s what the University of Premium is all about – our people.

Stay tuned for more about the University of Premium and future excerpts from our University of Premium e-magazine.

To join our team, we invite you to apply at wearepremium.com.

Mar

8

Original art by Premium Designer, Jenny Jones

 

On March 15, 2021, Rosalind Brewer became the only Black female to lead a Fortune 500 company when she assumed her new role as CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance. Women are also at the helm of Ulta Beauty (Mary Dillon since 2013), Best Buy (Corie Barry since 2019), Rite Aid (Heyward Donigan since 2019), and CVS Health (Karen Lynch since 2021).  

As we mark this year’s International Women’s Day, we’re inspired by these CEOs and the many talented women working across retail. At the same time, we reflect on the continued investment needed to accelerate female representation in management roles industry-wide.  Join us in celebrating the accomplishments of the women of Premium and meet a few of them below

Dolores Wilson, Field Director – Lenovo  

Gastonia, North Carolina 

Dolores has been at Premium for over a decade, joining the team in 2008. In her tenure, she has represented notable brands, including HP, Beats, Monster, Logitech, Olympus, JBL and OnStar. And since 2013, she has been working to develop, grow and maintain Premium’s highly successful Lenovo program. 

Says Jessi Curtis, VP – Strategic Accounts, “I admire Dolores for her tenaciousness and her ability to work through any challenge thrown her way. She is strong, dedicated, and super knowledgeable. Working with her for the past eight years has brought many amazing milestones and so much joy.” 

Dolores leads the team of 62 STARS (Sales, Training & Relationship Specialists) and 4 Assisted Sales Representatives with a strong focus on KPIs and kindness. Dolores sees the best in people and encourages the team with an outlook of “work hard, try your best and give thanks.” 

Her advice regarding career advancement is simple: work hard and don’t be complacent.

Mary Wolfe, Senior Director, Field Operations

Dayton, Ohio 

In 2009, Dolores Wilson (the Field Director from above) hired Mary for her first Premium role as an ad hoc sales rep  – a side gig in addition to her full-time job at the time. A few years later, Premium’s Senior Director of Field Operations Darla King asked Mary to interview for a full-time Regional Manager role on a pet care program, which she accepted. Next was the management of national retail execution for GoogleAs in-store displays became more technical, Mary worked to build a highly-skilled team of field technicians who troubleshoot and resolve problems on the spot.  

As Premium’s US Employee of the Year award winner in 2017, Mary has become a program development powerhouse helping to launch several new teams within Premium. Today, she oversees 500+ Premium employees, including our dedicated Pet team, Flex support team, Reset Team Leads, Zone Leaders, Google Field Technicians, and the Level 2 (L2) merchandising team providing technical work for many Premium partners. 

Kathy Risch, VP, Analytics & Insights who regularly partners with Mary says, “Mary is an effective and straightforward leader with a calmness that I admire.” 

Crediting her teams’ varying areas of expertise, Mary says she learns something new every day and finds herself surrounded by very smart people. She recommends, “Accept feedback and grow from it – it’s not personal. Be open to new opportunities and be confident! Don’t discount yourself by saying ‘I don’t know’ or ‘It’s just my opinion’ which tells the listener you’re not confident in what you’re communicating.” 

Monica McGlasson, Director, Operations Support Center

St. Louis, Missouri 

Premium’s Operations Support Center (OSC) provides a timely evaluation of field execution, identifying and flagging potential issues to improve compliance and minimize store revisits. Premium field teams rely on the OSC for dependable QTrax knowledge, multi-tiered troubleshooting, and a clear path for resolution or escalation.  

Before Premium, Monica had a diverse background in the fast food, hospital, university, and manufacturing industries. The common thread in all of her roles has been developing talent, growing new corporate functions, and managing cross-functional projects like new software implementation. 

Since 2015, Monica has led Premium’s in-house operations and call center, which she describes as “creative problem-solving with fun-loving people.” She is well-known for her can-do attitude, continually pushing for process consistency while promoting ideas to maximize efficiencies. Monica’s advice for tackling considerable challenges is, “What’s the mission? If you don’t know, find out. You’ve got to win buy-in from key stakeholders to see your project cross the finish line.” 

Says Kris Ventimiglia, VP, Enterprise Compliance, “Monica dives headfirst into any challenge with a genuinely positive outlook. There is no ‘can’t’ in her vocabulary.”  

 

Key highlights from Monica and the Operations Support Center team in 2020.

Lizz Sears, Director, Client Services – Drug 

Deerfield, Illinois 

Lizz started in CE retail as a Department Supervisor at Best Buy, before becoming a Samsung Experience Consultant. She joined Premium as a Client Account Coordinator in 2015, first supporting toy/specialty programs and partners. As Premium started building the Walgreens Partner for Retail Execution (WPRE) program in 2016, Lizz was promoted. She relocated to Deerfield, IL to work at Walgreens’ headquarters where her contributions were accelerated by her presence.  

Described by Senior Director Jim Malpeidi as “a true partner and driving force,” he says, “Lizz is proactive in finding solutions and improving practices for the greater good. Her intricate knowledge and process management within Premium’s proprietary systems coupled with her encouraging leadership style continue to drive results and motivate the team.” 

Lizz is proud of the trusting relationship the team has developed with Walgreens and enjoys the challenge of continually innovating the program while maintaining weekly service. She says, “Don’t wait for an opportunity. Take it.”

Jessica Miller, Director, Client Services – Google Merchandising 

Bentonville, Arkansas 

Jessica started at Premium in 2015, supporting Operations part-time. She piloted the first Field Coordinator position, which has become a vital component of the field operations structure within Premium. From there, she worked in recruiting and client services supporting two major consumer electronics brands. In her current role, Jessica is known for adding analytical prowess, strategic planning and process improvement to every initiative, ensuring we deliver beyond expectations. 

Because of her strong focus on building relationships with her clients and her team, Jessica makes leadership look easy. She says, “employees invest themselves most when they feel invested in which is what guides how I support our team. I believe every leader needs to be adaptable; don’t be afraid to do something that may feel uncomfortable at first.” 

Jessica says she joined Premium looking for a company to call home and to develop her career. She recommends that others thinking about their next career move not pass up the opportunity to grow in the retail space.  

Kim Gaddis, Director, Client Operations 

St. Louis, Missouri 

Premium’s VP of Enterprise Compliance Kris Ventimiglia describes Kim as “insightful and endlessly upbeat. She can quickly get to the heart of a challenge and suggest a thoughtful path to improvement.” Her positive attitude is a motivator to many of her Premium peers. 

Kim has been in retail for nearly 20 years, arriving at Premium in 2016 as an Account Coordinator. Since then, Kim has developed a team of account managers executing complex and high-visibility product launches, display installations, and store remodels. She has the unique ability to break projects down into actionable items, ensuring large initiatives maintain momentum. 

In her current role, she develops continuous improvement processes for client services, acts as a project management leader on new clients and product launches, guides Premium’s cross-functional “Get It Right” team, and is a University of Premium panel member helping to create a culture of continued learning. 

She has been instrumental in Premium’s client services trainee program through which she says, “I am able to help grow and influence what I believe will be the future leaders of Premium. I love contributing to the development of new talent and helping them succeed in their careers.”  

Sonya Verheyden, VP, Customer Success & Business Development  

Kitchener, Ontario – Canada

New to Premium in 2020, Sonya has built and led B2B and B2C retail programs across North America, Latin America, EMEA, and Asia. She has a rich background in mobile, having spent time with Motorola and Rogers Communications in Canada. In her 14 years with BlackBerry, Sonya had global accountability for field and channel marketing across all carrier and distribution partners. 

Premium Canada EVP Sandy Clarke says, “In her short time with Premium, Sonya has already been at the forefront of key customer initiatives and the acquisition of new partnerships. Her deep experience and long list of accomplishments are demonstrated in the collaborative and informed approach she displays in everything she does.”  

A true Renaissance woman, Sonya has a Master’s in French and has also started a Ph.D. in 17th-century classical French literature. 

Dawn Hopper, VP, Strategic Accounts 

Dallas, Texas  

Dawn recently joined Premium after nearly 20 years in leadership roles with Mosaic Sales Solutions. Her vast experience in consumer electronics includes Microsoft, HP, Google, Whirlpool, Brother, Epson, and TracFone, along with video game publishers and movie studios. She has also taken on critical roles in field management and operations, specializing in program design and best practices implementation 

She believes in everyday innovation, making incremental improvements to add tremendous value for clients and employees. Having developed and launched a mentorship program at Mosaic, she also recognizes the importance of team development and retention. Welcome to the family, Dawn!

While this is not nearly an exhaustive list of all the Premium women we’d like to shine a light on, we hope you’re inspired to grow your career in retail. Meet a few more female leaders here and follow our #PeopleofPremium series on social media.  

Aug

21

 

There’s a common perception that career paths move in straight, pre-planned lines; but that’s rarely true. Careers have twists and turns, new opportunities, and unexpected challenges that change our trajectory.

We sat down with a few #PeopleofPremium to hear how they’ve maneuvered the curves to grow their own careers at Premium.

 

 

What led you to your career at Premium?

 

Chris: My background is in consumer electronics. I worked in big box retail stores like Circuit City and Best Buy in the home theatre department. After that, I was a field market manager in Austin, TX for a major appliance company.

Sherry: I come from a totally different background. I spent 23 years in banking. I began working at the Federal Reserve Bank in the securities vault in Birmingham, AL; worked in many other roles and departments for 13 years then went to a commercial bank, working my way up to an AVP position in Correspondent Banking.  When I left banking, I started my own business advocating for people with disabilities for 7 years.

I got to a point where I needed a part-time job to stay home and help my grandfather. I talked to a friend who knew someone that was working as a Premium Zone Leader and through that connection, was lucky to start at Premium a week later. When I first walked into Walmart as a Merchandiser in 2012, I had no retail experience whatsoever.

 

What roles have you had in your time at Premium?

 

Cristina: I began my career with Premium in 2013 after completing grad school. I was a Retail Market Manager and worked on some international projects in Mexico and Canada. Now, I’m in a corporate training role.

Chris: I started at Premium in 2017 as an Associate Regional Manager on a dedicated team for a major technology brand. After a year, my program was reduced so I transitioned into Recruiting. A Program Manager position on the Operations team became available and was a perfect fit. I was able to help launch a group of field market leads and trainers and assist at a major national retail chain.

In 2019, I accepted a role as a Regional Manager on one of Premium’s newest dedicated teams. The Pet team has 100+ field reps representing Royal Canin and Eukanuba brands in PetSmart, Petco and other regional retailers. Since then, I have been promoted to Senior Regional Manager. It has been incredible getting to interact with cats and dogs while promoting a brand that really supports pet health and nutrition.

Sherry: I started in 2012 as a Retail Merchandiser in Birmingham and became a Zone Specialist. After a couple of years, I became a Zone Leader. Then in 2017, I accepted a position to be a Field Coordinator for Florida and Georgia. Three months later I took an interim position as a Retail Market Manager for the Atlanta market. At the end of 2017, Premium blessed me with the company’s first-ever Field Excellence Award.

In 2017, Premium was announced as one of Walmart’s 5 Preferred Service Providers and we began developing our Walmart-Dedicated PSP team.  I wanted to be a part of a brand-new program, something I’d never done before, so I interviewed for the Territory Manager job in Alabama. In May 2020, I moved up to the Regional Manager position for the Southeast and am still one of four Regional Managers on our recently merged the Walmart PSP team which is one of Premium’s largest programs.

 

 

What experiences at Premium have prepared you for where you are today? 

 

Chris: Launching an entire program from the ground up was a bit stressful and intimidating. I had seen others do it, but I had to rely on the guidance of those managing above me. There was pressure to make sure that the team I was leading offered the right support to the field. We came through it unscathed, and now I think about those challenges as a significant point in my career. Challenges help us improve – they aren’t something to shy away from.

Cristina: Once you’ve survived the launch of a new program at Premium, you can do anything in the world, right? There’s so much involved in order to bring it to life including working with various corporate teams at Premium – HR, Recruiting/Onboarding, Training, Field Management, Client Service, Operations Support Center. We work hard to make sure we have the right team in the field, and that they’re prepared to take on the project. It’s incredible what can be accomplished at every turn and is rewarding to know you helped create that growth.

 

 

What advice would you give to someone just getting started at Premium?

 

Sherry: Speak up and share your thoughts and ideas. If the instructions are wrong, let us know.  If something could be done differently to make a job easier, share your thoughts.  Reps help keep us headed in the right direction in the field of operations. One of the things I say to my team is “If you’re going to come to me with a problem, please come with possible solutions. Help the team by thinking outside the box.”

Cristina: Similarly, when there is an obstacle, don’t just complain about it. Instead, recommend a thought-out solution. Every idea won’t be gold. But you may point out a flaw that other people haven’t solved. Your idea may spark another, even more significant, idea.

 

 

Even on our Facebook groups, you’ll see reps sharing best practices while they’re at the store. They’re going above and beyond to help the team. Going that extra mile is crucial to success wherever you end up.

Chris: Make sure to prepare in advance. Always follow up with additional questions to ensure you can deliver what the client is trying to achieve. Learn from your mistakes and challenge yourself to be better.

Cristina: We’ve all had to learn lessons the hard way. No matter what, be sure to start building relationships with those around you right away.

 

What’s the best way to build relationships with stores?

 

Sherry: We have to build strong relationships to partner with our stores. Premium team members go into the store as a guest and as a partner. We have to balance our clients’ needs with what the store must accomplish. It’s okay to ask stores, “How can I help you?” or “What are you looking to accomplish?” Once you understand how you can help the store be successful and show the store you’re ready to work with them, it opens up the dialogue to accomplish goals for our clients and the store; making for a strong Premium presence in Walmart!

Chris: Adding on to that, once you’ve introduced yourself, make the dialogue a bit more personal. Many times, I’ve seen conversations start by showing off photos of kids and dogs. Eventually, stores won’t see you as a vendor coming in to perform a service, but as a partner and a resource.

 

What should an employee do if they’re ready to advance their career with Premium?

 

Chris: Listening plays a big part. Whether you’re a part of a team or leading a team, you need to listen and watch. You can learn from everybody, and that’s how I realized the difference between a manager and a leader. Field reps shouldn’t be afraid to ask their manager what they can improve on.

 

 

I would also encourage anybody to reach out to co-workers. Share what you know and invest in the people you work with. What would you like to see improve? What questions do you have? It’s never bad to hear too many ideas.

Sherry: We always need to be open to learning. You can see when someone is ready to move up. Every time they achieve a new goal, they’re ready to take on more. They show it in the way they carry themselves, the way they interact with others, and the solutions they bring to the table.

Cristina: Say something to your management and express it at any opportunity you get. Don’t be shy! Be open to constructive criticism to help you grow. Show off your skills that you feel would benefit the role you are interested in. That may include going above and beyond a job role, but it is worth it! Ask your manager about our management development opportunities as well. Premium has a lot of skills-based training to offer you may not know about.

 

Why do you like being a part of the Premium family?

 

Cristina: We aren’t just dedicated to the client. We’re dedicated to our teams and to helping each other. Our clients set a high bar, but we do a great job of balancing our resources to set realistic expectations, preparing the team to hit goals, and communicating through the process.

It’s easy to be dedicated to something that you love. I love the people that I work with. I love the support system that we have. Whatever it is you’re doing, I believe you should do it with passion and dedication. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at. When you love your job, you’re going to be really good at your job.

Chris: No other company has helped me grow so many different skills or has shown they actually care about your growth. I always try to build that same loyalty and exhibit that care with those that I manage. We know it can be stressful. But like everything else in life, getting past those things gives us the skills to keep improving.

Sherry: I do a lot of reflecting on how far I’ve come at Premium. Ron Travers (Premium’s founder) had a genuine desire to see people succeed and wanted them to have the opportunity to move up within the company. This man’s vision has really changed my life to have the opportunities I’ve had here. His spirit of leadership still lives on within us. The culture and everything he believed in is still here and the reason Premium is still successful today.

Thank you, Cristina, Chris and Sherry for sharing your Premium stories and bringing Premium’s culture to life!