16 years ago I was working a retail job and taking college classes, at night, and had never heard of the Material Handling or Supply Chain Industries.
I was only a few semesters away from graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and decided I needed to find an office job to gain some professional experience, so that when I graduated I would be in a better position to find “real” job. I went to a Temp Agency to help me find a professional position that would enable me to gain some experience. They sent me to a Company called Associated to interview for an Office Assistant Position. During the interview the HR Manager, at the time, explained to me that Associated was a provider of Material Handling Equipment. I remember leaving the interview thinking, what is Material Handling and why would I want to work in it?
As it turns out, I was offered the job and began working for Associated in January 2001 as their Office Assistant. Little did I know at the time that this was the start of a long career in supply chain! In the beginning I enjoyed the office environment and learning new skills but I also never thought this is where I would build my career. This was mostly because I has always wanted to be in Marketing and really though that an Advertising Agency would be a more exciting career path for me. However, that all changed once Mike Romano, our new President, and inaugural recipient of MHI’s Mentor Award, came to Associated in 2005.
Even though I was enjoying my time at Associated I did not see a future for me there and as such I had been looking for a new job where I could apply the Marketing knowledge I gained in school. In fact, I had found a new job around the time that Mike started. However, I was so impressed by his passion for the industry and his belief that Marketing could be a strategic function within the organization that I decided to stay and see what we could accomplish.
Under his mentorship I started to understand what a substantial impact Associated and the Material Handling Industry, as a whole, had on Supply Chain. I could not believe how this industry that impacted our everyday lives was virtually unknown by the general population! It wasn’t until I understood the size, breath and impact of this industry that I truly became passionate about what we do and how we help to improve the quality of life of people all around the world! This realization made me more determined than ever to help draw more attention to the industry and the strategic value we provide.
This new found determination was reflected in my work as we developed and implemented initiatives that were unlike anything the industry has seen. It is because of these efforts and a very talented support team that I was soon promoted to Marketing Supervisor, then to Marketing Manager and most recently to Director of Marketing and Business Development in 2015. Over this time, we have developed one of the most respected full scope marketing function in the Raymond organization and arguably our industry. We have taken a Marketing function that 15 years ago was essentially responsible for providing sales collateral, to one that now manages our corporate initiatives related to CRM, Social Networking, Customer Satisfaction, Brand Development, Advertising and Lead Generation/Management.
Additionally, because of my passion for this industry and the effects it has on consumers as well as the global economy I have taken a leadership position in providing more visibility to the industry and the vast career paths it offers, though my work as the Marketing Chair for the CSCMP Chicago Board, MHEDA’s Sales and Marketing Networking Group and Loyola’s Supply and Value Chain Center. These organizations have allowed me to continue to learn about this rapidly changing industry as well as to meet people from all spectrums of the Supply Chain.
I had always know that I had a love of Marketing but if you told me 16 years ago that I would be able to make a career of it in this industry I would not have believed it. Today, my commitment to this industry and all the value it provides is stronger than ever! I have learned a lot along the way and still have a lot to learn but I wake up every day excited about the endless possibilities available within the Material Handling and Supply Chain Industries!