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Name: Jessica Killan

Company: Loblaws

Position: retail specialist, DrugStore Beauty

Employed: since 2003

Where did you go to school? What program did you attend?
I graduated from the retail management program at Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree.

How did you find your current position?
I had a great experience through my summer internship at Loblaws and pursued a career with them through the job fair offered by the Ryerson Business School. My current position was posted within the company job postings. The human resource support in the stores keeps the employees up-to-date on opportunities within the company. My store manager at the time encouraged me to apply.

Tell us a bit about your responsibilities.
I supervise the Health and Beauty Care and Cosmetics departments in 20 stores across the Kitchener-Guelph region. I act as a link between the stores and the merchandising team at head office. I ensure the communication sent out by head office is executed by the stores. This includes end displays, aisle setups, special events, new item launches and correct pricing. I also am part of new store setups across all banners of Loblaw Companies Limited (Zehrs, Loblaws, No Frills, Fortinos, Your Independent Grocers, Real Canadian Superstores, Real Canadian Wholesale Clubs). I work with the department managers and give them all the tools necessary to perform at their best and to move up within the company. I also help with hiring new department managers.

What is the most challenging aspect of your position?
Remaining positive about the significant logistics issues in the company and motivating the staff to be optimistic about its improvements. It is difficult for the managers to schedule staff properly when they are not sure if or when they will receive their shipments. The managers are on the front line and they are the ones who have to explain to customers why they are out of stock of some items even when it is out of their control. Finding and retaining great people is also challenging.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Being able to open stores from the ground up and watching a department manager be successful in a position that I have trained and developed. Most people would think the coolest part of my job is my company car and flexible schedule. However, there are ten other specialists across Ontario. We have a great team. We have competitions with stores in other provinces for sales results and event execution. It makes the job motivating and exciting. Our last meeting was in Toronto. Hopefully the next one will be in Vancouver.

Is there one accomplishment you are particularly proud of?
Attaining my current position so quickly. The other Ontario specialists were store managers and assistant store managers before getting this position. jp
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