I was really fortunate to start at the ground level, have the opportunity to move through several positions in operations and become one of the agency’s first program directors."
It’s rare these days for a person to spend an entire career growing with one company, but that’s exactly what I’ve done at SAS Retail Services, part of Advantage Solutions.
I began my career in the consumer goods and retail industry at SAS as a full-time merchandiser when I was 19. Since then, I’ve worked my way up to executive vice president, responsible for in-store merchandising, planogramming and space planning services, remodel services and more for a 2,100-store grocery chain in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
Back when I started, you could still find jobs in the newspaper. I’d been working in local grocery stores in the Los Angeles area after school and during summers since I was 16. These were smaller independent retailers who moved me around to various jobs in the store. One day I was going through the paper and saw a help-wanted ad for SAS Retail Services. The company was looking for a merchandiser with grocery experience. Which for me was, like, “Cool!”
I was a young dad and trying to better myself to provide a better future for my daughter. So, after high school, when it came to going to college or going to work, I’m sorry, but I had to go to work.
So I jumped into SAS. Quite literally. I saw the ad. I showed up. I was interviewed and hired on the spot.
Since that time, I’ve worked in almost every operations role in the organization. I was really fortunate to start at the ground level, have the opportunity to move through several positions in operations and become one of the agency’s first program directors.
Today, the most satisfying aspect of my role is helping SAS Retail Services grow, which translates into the growth of the people I work with. We have many stories like mine, of people starting in an entry-level role and growing their careers. I could rattle off 30 names of people who have had that opportunity.
I always tell newer associates, if you come in with the right mindset and you’re truly willing to work hard, we’re an organization that is very open to developing people and giving people the opportunity to grow.
I also tell them to share what they learn. That’s huge for me. My parents came here as immigrants and instilled in me that being grateful and paying it forward and giving back are very important. And that’s something I do every day.