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.
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
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 Google. As 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
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
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
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.