We’re always thinking, sharing, and growing.

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 Best Buy (Corie Barry since 2019), Rite Aid (Heyward Donigan since 2019), and CVS Health (Karen Lynch since 2021).  

As we mark 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.  

Mar

2

 

We are thrilled to announce Premium has launched store operations in hundreds of additional Walmart Wireless locations. Premium will oversee Walmart locations in 14 states across the Mid and Southwest regions. With this latest program expansion of over 50%, Premium is expanding into seven new states.

Premium and Walmart have worked together on Walmart’s Wireless program since 2017 with a Wireless team led by Premium President Dick Doyle and Tom Maria, Vice President of Strategic Accounts. Before joining Premium, Tom served as Vice President of Store Operations for RadioShack. Chad Cooper, Senior Director of Operations, and Mark Hann, Senior Director of Client Service, joined Premium in 2018 after many successful years with Verizon and Samsung.

 

 

This leadership team works closely with Walmart to define and guide future strategies. Since Premium’s first Walmart Wireless stores launched in 2018, our program footprint has almost tripled in size.

Tom Maria says, “We are coming up on the third anniversary of our exciting and rewarding partnership with Walmart, helping customers fill their wireless needs and save money. Any credit for success goes to our talented team members, who show up every day and bring their best to our company and customers.”

Wireless Sales Pros are the go-to wireless expert within the Walmart store, helping to serve and advise customers with new phone sales, activations, upgrades, and accessory bundling. Nationally, Premium employs more than 2,300 high-performing sales team members comprised of both hourly and salaried professionals.

 

 

We place a strong focus on a high standard of customer service and performance results, utilizing field leaders to provide coaching and development where it matters most – in the stores working closely with their teams.

At Premium, we also emphasize a high rate of promotion from within. Many Wireless Sales Pros have advanced to Sales Managers and Sales Managers to District Managers. We are currently rolling out a leadership development training program to streamline career advancement opportunities for our Wireless team members.

Premium President Dick Doyle says, “We are incredibly proud of the sales and leadership accomplishments of this team. We’re excited to welcome the hundreds of new Wireless team members to the Premium family and look forward to what lies ahead.”

Jan

19

 

2020 was a record year for Premium, despite its significant challenges. We celebrated 35 years since our founding and six years since we expanded into Canada. As we reflect, we’re in awe of the continued accomplishments amongst incredible obstacles. 

 

COVID-19 Response 

The spotlight on the retail services Premium executes every day became more critical than ever after COVID-19 hit. As the pandemic spread in March and April, Premium answered retail’s changing demands. 

To ensure our Premium Heroes remained safe and healthy while working on the frontlines, we sourced and received protective supplies while implementing new health and safety protocols and training. In April, our National Logistics & Distribution Center (NLDC) safely deployed supply kits of face coverings and hand sanitizer to 4,300 field employees less than 24 hours after receiving the materials. 

 

Client Partnerships 

Premium became Rite Aid’s exclusive merchandising services provider in January 2020.  And, in a testament to our drug channel team, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS trusted us with additional projects and surge coverage as stores were hit harder than ever. 

We expanded grocery and mass coverage and product ordering for Lindt & Sprüngli, and added Foster Grant to our client roster. Expansive resets and revisions in retailers such as Ulta have enabled Premium to develop a specialized Transformation Team, increasing efficiency for clients. 

Additionally, Premium’s co-owners Brian and Kevin Travers announced a $1MM commitment to enriching teens’ lives in disinvested communities through technology in partnership with Best Buy. We will continue to work with Best Buy to open five additional Teen Tech Centers around the United States in 2021 and 2022.  

 

Digital Innovation 

With social distancing, stay-at-home orders and curbside pickup taking prominence, we accelerated the development of our digital brand advocacy solutions to assist our clients in adhering to the new world.  

In July, we introduced Premium On Demand, which facilitates video interactions between shoppers and product experts from their favorite brands. This fall, we supported Best Buy in developing the Health, Fitness & Wearables category via virtual consultations with shoppers and the rollout of an interactive game series to engage stores and train associates called BrandBuzz 

Premium On Demand

 

Retail Intelligence 

Government influence, consumer attitudes and behaviors, retailer protocols, and local COVID-19 case rates have greatly influenced the store environment this year. Our analytics team provided weekly updates and insights to our clients and leadership team, ensuring field actions and behaviors remained responsive, impactful and geographically appropriate.  

We developed nearly 100 new business intelligence dashboards and rolled out the Premium BI mobile app, enabling clients and field teams to interact with real-time KPI performance visualizations and delivering an in-depth view into new business opportunities.  

Smartcom, Premium’s predictive analytics engine built exclusively for Walmart suppliers, helped clients overcome out of stocks in a tumultuous year for product inventory. 

Our Operations Support Center (OSC) managed nearly 50,000 omnichannel interactions via phone, email, and text. Additionally, our specialists ensured quality by completing 6.6 million photo reviews. Greenlight, our real-time photo validation solution, prevented over 6,000 revisits by providing reps with near-instant corrective action or approval.

 

Employee Recognition & Development 

In our 2019 Town Hall, we asked our team what Premium could improve upon in 2020. Their answer was career development and performance incentives. 

We responded by launching Premium Proud, a new employee recognition program designed to recognize and reward top-performing field team members. In our continuing commitment to help our employees #GrowWithPremium, 18% of our field team members received promotions this year.  

Premium’s training team also developed the University of Premium (UP) this year for self-guided career and personal development. UP will contain several development paths ranging from Field to Executive-level leadership. All employees will be eligible to apply in 2021. 

Read More: 2020 Employee Awards  

We’re proud of the continued focus on culture and employee engagement at Premium. This year, we were certified as a Great Place to Work in Canada and awarded St. Louis’ Top Workplaces for the third year in a row. 

We’re thankful for our extended Premium family – team members, clients, and partners. As an organization, we deemed Q4 2020 as “Mission: Possible,” and your collaboration has undoubtedly contributed to the many missions completed in 2020. Here’s to a fantastic 2021!