My first sales experiences Girl Scout Cookies, the Knights of Columbus Tootsie Roll Drive and selling J. R. Watkins Products with my father. In fact, a nod to my father, he’s the person who started my career. After my mother died when I was 8 years old, my father would take my sister and I with when he worked his Watkins business. I sold cookies to off set the cost of Girl Scout Camp and my father had a close relationship members of the local Knights of Columbus and volunteered often.
Junior Achievement was next with picking a product to produce, market and sell, and sold many other items while in school to earn rewards. After school, cocktail server and waitress were my first base plus commission sales positions. The better I was, the more tips I made.
I’ve worked in all aspects of food service operations. A local regional pizza and sandwich chain with cooking, bartending and server roles. Then I worked with a river excursion company on the 400 seat passenger boat, gave guided tram tours, marketing and groups sales and in the three story floating glass restaurant and banquet facility.
That introduced me to the world of independent contracting where I managed a marketing lead box route for lead generation for a travel and RV resort company. I became area manager and then festive and events manager for a four state area.
In need of a change, I went back into operations and went to work for a Personal Marketing Research company doing background checks on nuclear plant workers and other part time marketing jobs that opened up the food service doors to Thoms Proestler Company, TPC, an independent broad-line food service distribution company. I started taking sales and marketing classes at the local community college and completed a small business course.
At TPC I started in purchasing, then customer service and then over to their Cash and Carry Division as party planner, business account manager and equipment purchasing. Next was Institutional Sales Corporation, ISC, a food broker from a suburb of Chicago. I was a dedicated sales person for TPC for ISC where I worked with distributor employee’s and managing the business on behave of the manufacturers we represented. This eventually lead to working for Nestle FoodServices in Chicago as an operator business manager and beverage specialist.
A bizarre twist in my career was moving to Arizona selling residential siding and exterior home improvement products. We’ll call that sales school as sales training as that was the major focus of that position. I then went back to school for business and then to the food broker, Total Source where I focused on contact management and school food service sales, management and marketing.