People and culture are at the helm of what we do. Early in my career, I learned to always treat people with respect — no matter their job title — and the importance of building and maintaining positive relationships."
I often get asked how I got to be in my role today, and what career advice I have for others. I suppose it’s a question that comes with having spent nearly 30 years with the same organization. I’ll begin by telling you that when I think back on my career and its beginning, I immediately get a sense of gratitude as to how a guy like me from a small town in Alabama has gone on to have seen, lived and traveled so much of the world. Before I share more about my individual career path, I first want to stress the career opportunities that exist today within Advantage and its many agencies offer truly unparalleled variety and global opportunities to forge a personal path forward, as it best suits your passion and expertise.
I’m fortunate that upon graduating from Auburn University as a lukewarm Tigers fan and diehard Alabama fan (Roll Tide!), I landed a job that I not only enjoyed but happened to be good at. My career began by working through college for five years with PepsiCo, where I had the opportunity to run direct-store-delivery routes, and, as we used to say, “throw cases” into retail store coolers. I handled operational resets and learned firsthand about sales, the hard work that goes into retail and the operational execution requirements that must happen in the field for sales to grow and a brand to succeed. I also learned very early on how important and powerful strong relationship-building can be.
Even then, I knew I wanted a career in the consumer packaged goods and retail industry, and the next job I accepted was with Daymon, now an Advantage Solutions agency, where I’d stay for what’s quickly approaching 30 years. I first had a job title that you’re hard-pressed to find these days: “Retail Counselor.” Essentially, it was a role that called for executing day-to-day needs in retail stores, just as Advantage and our SAS Retail Services agency teams do today. I was responsible for selling in a variety of services, promotional displays and private brand programs at stores. My first big-break promotion came from a gentleman who was a particularly tough leader and liked to challenge people; fortunately, this gentleman favored the bold and he became a great mentor and a key relationship I maintained throughout my career. When I look back on my time working at Daymon, and as my roles have expanded and my career has grown, I can attribute my growth to my willingness to never be afraid to raise my hand and volunteer to take on new opportunities. It has always been my sincere desire to lead with a service mindset that has contributed to my career growth.
At my core, I’m a person who enjoys finding and creating win-win solutions for customers. My career path to president of Advantage’s Global Customer Solutions didn’t happen overnight or without hard work. In each new position, and across every new channel and customer, I focused on the challenge directly in front of me — learning and growing every step of the way. I moved around the country every two or three years to serve new and different customer accounts. My job was to come in, get the business directed onward and upward, and move on to a new retail customer. As I learned and my experience grew, the promotions came and I was fortunate to serve in many roles that our associates today also serve in, moving through the ranks until becoming president of Daymon and then into my expanded role today.
As president of Global Customer Solutions at Advantage, I now lead Daymon, SAS Retail Services, Promopoint, Data Council, workforce enablement and our experiential marketing teams. These organizations offer a total solution for retailers globally across just about every consumer touchpoint in retail, something unique that no other company offers. I enjoy this expanded role and believe my earnest desire to put the needs of both our customers and our team members before my own has remained invaluable throughout my career.
People and culture are at the helm of what we do. Early in my career, I learned to always treat people with respect — no matter their job title — and the importance of building and maintaining positive relationships. If I can offer some career advice, it would be to remain curious, always look at yourself as a student of the business and view challenges as opportunities. Keep learning, keep asking questions and speak up about your passions. Doing what’s right for the business you work for and for your customers should remain paramount and success will follow. Lastly, be sure to have some fun along the way.