Even though women comprise half the retail workforce, they are often underrepresented in management roles. We’d like to turn the spotlight on a handful of Premium women tackling key areas of the business to deliver innovation and results for our clients. Meet three Premium veterans, as well as two new additions, focused on innovation.
Melissa Raethka, EVP, Field Operations
Melissa started at Premium as a Regional Operations Director back in 2010. She took a temporary hiatus from the company for an overseas assignment in Italy due to her husband’s job in the United States Air Force.
However, shortly after her return to the States, Melissa relocated to Premium’s St. Louis headquarters for an expanded role as our Vice President of Operations. As an Air Force veteran herself, Melissa brings unparalleled focus and rigor to the task of ensuring our field team is set up for success. She’s been instrumental in formalizing processes and metrics-based scorecards designed to ensure capacity, proficiency and quality assurance for our clients. Melissa also advocated for Premium to collaborate with a geospatial expert to create efficiencies in routing our reps in relation to store locations.
In her current role as EVP, Field Operations, Melissa oversees about 4,500 personnel from field reps to managers and directors. She also manages Premium’s in-house Retail Contact Center, Retail Operations Center, as well as all of Recruiting. That’s nearly 1/3 of Premium’s total employees! Essentially anyone at Premium who finds, onboards and manages day-to-day operations of our field workforce is impacted by Melissa’s leadership.
Premium President David Yenzer says “Melissa’s deep thought to ensure we are setting up our clients for success has been absolutely instrumental to our growth.”
Melissa is a perfect example of how professional growth opportunities are attainable within the retail service industry. She started as a field rep and credits the many years she spent directly managing reps for the essential perspective she has as a leader today.
Melissa says “I firmly believe that success requires an equal mix of attitude and passion. It directs our thoughts, our energy, and most of all, the actions we take.”
Kris Ventimiglia, VP, Enterprise Compliance
Kris has worked in the retail industry for over 23 years. When she joined Premium 20 years ago as a Regional Manager, Premium was a much smaller company. Kris has climbed the ranks at Premium, moving into an Account Director role, then Team Director, and most recently, Senior Director of Strategic Accounts. This perfect mix of expertise in client service coupled with a background in field operations positions Kris well for her brand-new role. Universally regarded as one of Premium’s most knowledgeable resources, her recent promotion was well-deserved and celebrated by the team.
In her new role as VP, Enterprise Compliance, Kris ensures Premium’s standardized processes are followed as well as continuing to build out infrastructure for our continued growth. Kris personally reviews service requests for accuracy, a process that delivers quality assurance to all client MSAs and SOWs. She proactively identifies contract issues related to store visit length, project instructions or billing, and validates that issues have been corrected prior to execution of service. And no, she’s not Premium’s Chief of Police.
Kevin Travers, Premium’s Co-CEO, says, “Kris’s methodical approach to driving consistent business processes are a key part of the ROI we deliver to clients.”
Jessi Curtis, VP, Strategic Accounts
Prior to joining Premium as a National Training Manager in 2012, Jessi worked as a Field Sales Development Manager for Echostar Communications and spent seven years as Hewlett-Packard’s Training Manager. Today, she continues to lead our long-term and valued partnership with Lenovo operating under three core tenants – decisions based on data, passion for the brand and the product, and people as the #1 resource. After five years of excellence, results continue to get better and stronger with key selling seasons delivering 85x ROI.
Premium President Dick Doyle believes “Jessi’s can-do attitude and willingness to do whatever it takes for our clients’ success is at a bar that everyone should shoot for. I am always blown away by the high level of praise and partnership that she’s been able to achieve with her clients and her field teams. It’s a testament to her passion and commitment to the business and her team.”
“Jessi’s can-do attitude and willingness to do whatever it takes for our clients’ success is at a bar that everyone should shoot for.”
Jessi is known for visiting stores personally, training herself on every product, and reaching out to every single person on the program regularly. Her focus on respect and genuine care for one another, as well as fostering an environment for learning and growth, is noted by many on the team who describe their program as a family.
Kathy Risch, VP, Consumer Insights and Analytics
Kathy has over 20 years of experience at major CPG companies, holding Consumer Insights & Marketing leadership positions at P&G, Neutrogena, Taco Bell, Paramount Pictures, and Anheuser-Busch.
At Premium, Kathy’s focus is wide-ranging. In addition to leading a team of 20+ analysts, Kathy directs Premium’s best practices for consumer insights and analytics tools and methodologies. A day for her can consist of authoring and leading a shopper survey, conducting 1:1 qualitative interviews with field teams to add context to market data, and uncovering actionable insights from consumer path-to-purchase research. With our diverse toolbox, Premium is able to add layers of insights on top of retail sales data and Esri MPI (market potential index) data to optimize field coverage for the largest possible sales opportunity. She also regularly consults with clients to ensure Premium’s business intelligence dashboards are effective and actionable for the various needs of leadership and field teams down to the market, retailer, and store level.
Kathy’s broad marketing and consumer insights expertise, combined with her strategic thought leadership, have already contributed to the growth of several Premium clients. To hear more of her perspective on business intelligence, click here.
Emily Cacic, Director, Digital Strategy
Emily’s expertise in driving 1:1 engagement and customer loyalty in retail evolved over the course of a decade producing integrated marketing campaigns. With her brand and retailer clients, Emily led the deployment of innovative initiatives blending experiential and digital tactics.
After moving from a Minneapolis creative agency to the brand side, Emily managed consumer marketing strategy for internet security products. During this time, she crafted messaging and product training for a dedicated retail sales team and guided the brand’s retail packaging evolution.
With high levels of curiosity and creative energy, Emily is focused on developing omnichannel and shopper-focused strategies for Premium’s brand and retailer clients. To hear more of her perspective, click here.
It’s an exciting time in retail, and at Premium! Meet more Premium leaders here.