2021 CSR All-Stars: Olivia Monroe, TAS, Barker Specialty
OLIVIA MONROE, TAS
Barker Specialty, Cheshire, Connecticut
The pandemic has tested even the most resilient of people. From a professional standpoint, employees have been tasked with navigating health and safety issues, supply chain disasters, raw material shortages and production delays. For Olivia Monroe, it taught her about her own character and the unexpected reward of discovering new strengths. When shutdown orders first went into effect last spring, Monroe jumped in to help with Barker Specialty’s marketing efforts, and created outreach documents to pinpoint clients’ rapidly evolving needs. She also recently earned her training advertising specialist (TAS) certificate through PPAI, the largest not-for-profit trade association serving the promotional product industry.
“Olivia is truly excellent at her job and, on top of that, does everything with a positive attitude,” her nominator said.
A human services major at Cazenovia College, Monroe took the opportunity to intern in various marketing and human resources roles. The first stop in her post-grad professional career was a human re-sources coordinator position at Macy’s Logistics. Like many before her, Monroe had never heard about the wonderful world of promotional products, but when a business connection introduced her to Barker Specialty, the industry pull was immediate.
Her typical day involves a lot of back-and-forth communication with vendors, sales staff and some-times clients when needed. Although her approach may be flexible, Monroe is not willing to compromise on accuracy and timeliness for her 280 assigned client accounts.
Her Approach to Customer Service
My approach to customer service is to always be flexible and have open ears, and by that, I mean to truly listen and understand the needs of your clients and vendors. The demands and situations can vary from order to order, so it is important to listen to what is being requested and know how to strategize and acclimate to ensure satisfaction.
How She Keeps Calm and Stays Inspired
When times are tense, I first take a deep breath, stand up to stretch and drink a big glass of water. Sometimes, stimulating more blood flow by moving around helps reset my mind to stay productive and positive. If I am feeling overwhelmed, I know I can always rely on my colleagues, who inspire me daily, for additional support. They are the best!
How the Pandemic Changed Her Job
Since COVID-19, my job has required additional attention to follow up with our vendors due to supply shortages of material around the world. We have noticed the material is not as easy to obtain due to a number of factors as a repercussion from COVID. I have also been given the opportunity to work from home, which has physically changed my work environment.
What She Learned About Herself in 2020-21
During 2020-21 I learned that I can adapt to change better than I originally thought (thanks to COVID)!
Her Proudest Career Achievement
I wouldn’t necessarily call this an achievement, but I am proud of the way I was able to adapt to “the new normal” in the business world during COVID-19. When the pandemic first broke out in the spring of 2020, I assisted my company with creating marketing ideas to promote our business and clients. Some examples were composing marketing flyers, constructing outreach documents for our sales staff and researching what the ‘new’ demands would be for our industry.
Her Best Advice
I would say to try and become efficient at multitasking and stay organized! But most importantly, always make time to do things that make you happy outside of work.
What She Does for Fun
For fun I enjoy spending time in the outdoors with my dog and refurnishing wood furniture pieces.