Category: People of Premium

Oct

1

Premium is thrilled to announce Sonya Verheyden as Vice President of Business Development and Customer Success for Premium Canada. In her role, Sonya will spearhead business development activities across Canada by building successful new client engagements and bridging best practices from all of Premium’s geographies and market segments.

With 20 years of experience in global marketing and sales channel leadership roles, Sonya has built and led B2B, B2C and retail programs across North America, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Latin America. Most recently, Sonya led go-to-market efforts for a consumer health tech start-up, driving customer segmentation, acquisition and digital strategy.

When asked, what attracted her to Premium, Sonya said,

“Premium brings experience to the table that other partners only talk about and never deliver. Using technology as a key lever with an in-house development team allows Premium to create custom solutions. When I discovered those key differences, I knew I had to be part of Premium.”

 

 

Sonya went on to explain, “One of Premium’s core beliefs is eclipsing expectations. Premium lives up to this belief every day and clients feel it with every execution. The proof is in the long-lasting relationships Premium has with clients who retain the partnership time and time again.”

Sonya brings to Premium her passion for the evolution of omnichannel retail. For years, brands have struggled with how much focus to put into online retail versus in-store. Propelled by the pandemic, the fight between online and retail has disappeared in terms of prioritization.

This omnichannel trend forces retail organizations to elevate their game. It drives a clear wedge between players that can keep up and those who cannot. In order to stay afloat, companies like Premium must drive seamless experiences through innovation and technology.

Brands have high expectations of agility in the field, transparency with analytics, and cutting-edge technology. The innovation that Premium drives in the US market will empower brands and retailers in Canada to do the same.

Sonya explains, “I get really excited when I see the opportunity to bring tangible, game-changing innovations that truly evolve how brands and retailers are served on the ground in retail.”

Sonya currently resides outside of Toronto with her partner Chris and three kids. Welcome to Premium, Sonya! #PeopleofPremium

Sep

16

 

Working parents, we’re with youThis year has been the most challenging year ever juggling home and work responsibilities – whether you’ve been supporting kids, nieces or nephews, grandkids or puppies! (No seriously.) 

For Kendra, a Merchandiser on Team Walmart, home life became even more challenging when her husband called to say she needed to hurry home because their dog’s water broke.

The struggle has been real, but we made it to September 16, National Working Parents Day! Congratulations to youAnd if you’re one of the friendsneighbors, aunts, uncles, or grandparents pitching in to help another family, thank you!   

Some households found success in keeping things as normal as possible, despite interruptions 24/7. Others decided to throw their old routine out the window and have created a new normal. Across the board, Premium parents made significant lifestyle changes to accommodate work during the pandemic, sometimes without access to childcare. 

Flexibility in our jobs and at home remains crucial. Field Rep Glennda stays home during the day now while her two girls are in school online. When her husband gets home, they swap, and he finishes homework while she goes to work. She says, “It has been an adventure, but we’ve been making it work!”  

Left: Kasey, a Premium field rep and student, has been completing virtual schooling alongside her kids. 
Middle: Leslie, IT Support Manager, created functional learning spaces for her kids that are, “mobile, encourage task-related focus, and let’s be real, limit siblings from bothering one another.”   
Right: Daughter of Jessi, VP of Strategic Accounts. 

 

Overall, we know the #PeopleofPremium to be very creative and resourceful bunch who don’t shy away from a challenge. Here are some of our favorite Premium #ParentHacks – all implemented during COVID-19.  

 

  • Cookies and juice for the little one and a $5 bill for the 15-year-old to babysit in the car while Mama finishes a service order in the store!Nicole, Retail Merchandiser
  • We change our Wi-Fi password weekly, and they cannot get the new password until chores, reading, etc. are done, so no Fortnite is available until then. I have never seen them spring into action on their to do lists!Jessi, VP – Strategic Accounts
  • “I’m teaching my daughter to crawl on the floor underneath the view of my laptop’s camera (when I forget to lock the door).”Chelsea, Recruiter
  • We built homemade weights out of concrete so we can go out in the yard for family workouts in the evening. It’s a great stress relieverand it burns out all of the kids energy. Hooray for early bedtimes!” – Rian, Client Account Coordinator
  • “Along with virtual schooling, we have added school bells with our Amazon Alexa. She also reminds us nightly to work on our memory verse for the week. My kids listen to her better than they listen to me!CarlaWalmart PSP
  • I use a whiteboard to outline set times including breakfast, showers, lunch, breaks outside in nature, and mom and son time when there is no technology around just us. He has the most amazing ideas and is one of the funniest people I know. I’m a single mom and his laughter is my medicine.Laura, Sales & Training Rep
  • I have my 8-year-old son carry pocket hand sanitizer, and on his watch, I have a reminder to sanitize his hands every 2 hours.Enam, District Manager
  • My oldest has been having a hard time going into middle school. We now take a walk every morning right after we drop his brother off and before I start work, and he has to start online classes. It’s helped him to get some energy out first thing in the morning.Vanessa, Recruiter
  • My garage has become a place of refugeI go out there, sit back in a lawn chair, and listen to music. I lock the door from inside the garage so NO ONE can come in and bother me!Wendy, Recruiter

 

Additional resources that #PremiumParents have found helpful include: 

Kathy Risch, VP of Insights & Analytics recommends reading Harvard Business Review’s reader suggestions from around the world and tips to help parents and kids handle stress  

Melissa from the Walmart PSP team lives and breathes by her Google Calendar. Everyone has access to it and can add and edit since we can’t always keep up with the constant changes. Need a ride to school on Wednesday? Is a friend coming over Fridayand you want pizza? Put. It. On. The. Calendar.  

Raquel, a Zone Leader, has become a fan of Walmart’s online grocery. “The app was really easy to use, very convenient, and fast. It allowed me to stick within my budget and do it from the comfort of my home. It minimizes the people in-store and allows for vendors and employees to get their work done. 

Kristin, Recruiter, loves Cosmic Kids Yoga and has found it to be a great way to relax with her familyAdditional favorites from across Premium include GoNoodle, VroomPBS KidsABC Mouse and Ducksters as well as programs like Reflex Learning and Lexia Learning. 

 

Recruiter Kristin enjoys some fresh air with her family.

 

We’re happy Premium continues to growoffering a home to new employees and expanding our work family. 

Christopher, a Client Account Coordinator who started at Premium in August said, “I hadn’t been working for about 4 months and was very concerned about finances. Premium has provided me the flexibility to take care of my family while supporting my daughter with school. My job is challenging and innovative to help satisfy my career aspirations, and I’m looking forward to a vibrant future with Premium. 

With Q4 around the corner, let’s all take a collective deep breath, and remember we’re #InThisTogether. You don’t have to face the challenges alone. Premium offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to all employees. WorkLifeMatters provides guidance for personal issues and information about other concerns that may affect your life.  

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!