The Shelby Report and The Grocery Group together present this series, People to Watch, to focus on current and future leadership in the grocery industry. In this installment, The Grocery Group Founder and CEO Cindy Sorenson interviews Haley Samis, head of account management at Rosie.
Tell me a little bit about you, and what do you like to do with your time away from the office?
When I am not in the office or traveling across the country to visit our retailer partners, you can find me outside hiking a local trail (all seasons) or spending time with family or friends on Cayuga Lake. Rosie’s headquarters is located in upstate New York, in the Finger Lakes region, arguably the most beautiful place in New York state.
Please provide a brief description of Rosie.
Rosie is the leading e-commerce solution for local independent retailers, wholesalers and suppliers. We like to say, ‘We deliver delight’ for both our partners and their shoppers.
Through hundreds of strategic partnerships across the country, Rosie connects retailers with new customers via digital commerce. Since the company’s inception in 2013, Rosie stands by a mission of delivering smart, delightfully easy online groceries.
What is your role at Rosie? Responsibilities?
At Rosie, I lead the account management team.
Once a retailer launches their online program, my team shares e-commerce best practices, helps them grow and nourish their online business and organizes share groups to learn with and from their peers.
Personally, I oversee many of our longstanding partnerships with retailers we’ve seen grow their platform since day one. I make sure they have the tools they need to operate a successful online store.
What was your career path to this position?
I started at Rosie five years ago. June 1 was my work anniversary. I was the sixth full-time employee on the team, how things have changed. I started as a support agent, went on to lead our support team, transitioned into the account manager for our retailers and now lead account management for our hundreds of retailer partnerships.
Each role has been extremely insightful. I’ve been exposed to a full 360-view of what Rosie can do and how each of our dedicated teams makes Rosie a valuable partner.
What do you see as the greatest opportunities for workforce and leadership development within the grocery industry?
First off, I want to say the grocery industry does an amazing job investing, developing and providing career opportunities for individuals. I can’t tell you how many times I meet folks who have worked their way up from a bagger to directors and managers.
These people are loyal, understand the business as a whole and have unbelievable dedication to the customer experience and the local communities. It is inspiring to work alongside such a dedicated group of people.
I may be biased, but I believe there is a huge opportunity to invest in:
• One, the young, Millennial demographic. Customers are looking for digital, omni-channel experience that allows them to shop when they want and where they want with customizations and recommendations for their families. This generation eats, sleeps, breaths digital. Invest in folks to understand how to deliver this experience to your customers.
• And two, women. I have met many wonderful women leaders and women who are on track to be leaders in their organization. Historically, [it has been] a very male-dominated industry. I look forward to working alongside the innovative females that are continuing to make an impact.
In what ways does Rosie focus on developing future leadership? Tell me a little more about that.
Since day one, Rosie’s leadership has invested in its teams’ professional development. Our C-Suite – Nick Nickitas (CEO and co-founder), Michael Ryzewic (co-founder and CTO) and David Makar (chief customer officer) – are very hands-on when it comes to mentorship for all levels within the organization.
We are an employee-owned company, so investing in our people is the No. 1 priority. We want to build a team who can grow and flourish within the organization and be here for the next five, 10, 20 years to come.
Reflecting, my experience at Rosie is testament to the focus on development from our core team. I was encouraged to identify my passions and help bring Rosie and my career to the next level.
Do you personally play a role in helping to develop/coach/mentor future leadership in the industry…either internally or externally?
Internally, I currently oversee a team that ranges in experience–professionals with 10 plus years of experience, to interns who are dipping their toes into the industry for the first time. Although I mentor them on how to blossom in this industry, I like learning from them on how I can grow and become a better leader and colleague as well.
Did you utilize or participate in any mentoring/coaching experiences as you developed your career?
I am a member of WGA, Women’s Grocer Association, [and] Women in Business, all of which have been instrumental in connecting and learning from some of the greatest female minds in our industry.
What advice do you have for college students and young professionals looking at the grocery industry as one where they can build a career?
The grocery industry is truly a place where you can make your mark. Due to unforeseen circumstances, it is arguably one of the most interesting and evolving industries right now.
We’re seeing a shift where consumers are thinking differently about how they purchase food, how they prepare food, what is important to them overall, who they are shopping with, values, basic needs, etc.
What pieces of advice did you receive as you built your career to this point, which you found most helpful?
Say yes to every opportunity. You will never know what you find on the other side of the door. There have been times when it felt like an unrelated path or too much to take on, but saying yes motivates you to always be learning and growing as an individual.
Mentorship. Find a mentor–someone in your industry is ideal, but the most important is that they have your back and want to help you succeed. The mentors in my life have understood my goals and have provided a different lens of looking at challenges and how to translate them into success.
What else would you like the readers of The Shelby Report to know about you, your employer and/or other relevant industry information and insights?
The grocery industry is constantly adapting to customer needs. While my job is to oversee the relationships with our retailer partners, every day is a little bit different.
At Rosie, we’re in the business of helping independent retailers scale their business, growing alongside shopper behavior. Each week brings a new, exciting challenge that we’re ready to take on.
For June’s profile, click here.