Today we’d like to introduce you to Kendra Williams.
Kendra, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My entire career has been spent with huge Global corporations in the consumer packaged goods industry (Spectrum Brands, Mars, Heinz). I held various roles in sales and marketing through the years, and I was able to work with some large retail customers including Amazon, Petsmart, Petco, Safeway, Whole Foods, Walmart.com, HomeDepot.
Personally, I grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona and spent most of my life there. I attended Arizona State University and received my MBA in International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management. I moved to Orange County, California when I worked for Heinz and moved to San Diego ten years ago during a job transfer. I moved to manage a sales team which called on Petco. Moving to San Diego was like coming home. I love San Diego so much, and my love of the town is not just for the gorgeous weather. People here are so welcoming and friendly, and I love that the community is truly a global community. I have friends from all over the world without ever leaving San Diego. The diversity of San Diego appeals to the global student in me and continues to expand my horizons.
I love to give back, and I am very involved with a local non-profit, Give Clean Water (givecleanwater.org). Every year I build a house in Mexico through another local non-profit, Amor Ministries (amor.org). This is something I have been doing since I was 18 years old, and I highly recommend it. I also go every year to Costa Rica to work in a Child Hope (childhopeonline.org) School in an underprivileged area of San Jose. For fun, I love to snow ski and enjoy spending time on the slopes in Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. I also enjoy time at the lake with my family.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There have been many challenges throughout my career. My mother is an immigrant from the Czech Republic, and my dad is an American. I am the oldest child in my family and the first to go to college. Everything I did was a series of trials and discoveries. During most of my career, especially as I was promoted, I was one of only a few women on the team. Thankfully, I was blessed to have some wonderful co-workers who supported me, but that was not always the case. Early in my career, I had a boss who was very verbally abusive yelling at me for using the wrong font on a proposal and yelling at me at baggage claim at the airport when I picked him and his family up in the wrong car. Those were great learning experiences that the world will not always provide what you need or desire. I needed to develop perseverance and find people who would support me through some of the tougher times. Some of my career I was underemployed, taking a position at a lower level than my qualifications just to have a position. Other times, I was blessed with jobs which were almost handed to me through relationships I built over the years and by the strength of my experience and reputation. I was also very blessed to have the opportunity to call on Amazon when they just started selling consumer packaged goods online in 2007. Prior to that, Amazon was mainly focused on books and electronics. They were a gamble many companies did not want to take. That opportunity is why I now have a business helping others sell their products online.
I always encourage women who are starting out to find people who they trust to give them honest feedback. Many times, we hear things and process things through our own filters which may not be the correct ones. By having people around us who can provide good advice and counsel, we are able to discuss issues and concerns without fear of reprisal or misunderstanding. I always encourage women to develop relationships all around them. No member of your team is more important or less important. The person in the warehouse who packs your orders or the accounting clerk who handles the payments are every bit as important as the brand manager or the operations manager. By developing real relationships with people who touch your business, you will understand the whole business and be able to make better decisions for the future.
Please tell us about Innovate Marketing.
Innovate Marketing is a Digital Marketing and eCommerce Consulting firm which focuses on equipping Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies to grow in the eCommerce space. Whether your target is selling on your own website or on retailer sites, Innovate Marketing provides a customized solution to your company’s unique needs. Innovate Marketing specializes in all internet retailers including Amazon.com, Walmart.
I bring a personal touch to all my clients, and I am able to see the entire picture of their business. I am able to bridge the gap between their brick and mortar sales and their eCommerce sales. Since I have worked for some of the largest consumer packaged goods companies, I bring that expertise to my clients as well.
What advice would you give to someone at the start of her career?
I would tell her to find a person or multiple people who can mentor her in her career. It is extremely helpful to have someone guide you in your career path and provide a sounding board for questions, concerns or ideas.
- Address: 4010 Sorrento Valley Blvd
San Diego, CA 92121
- Website: www.innovatemarketing.com
- Instagram: @kendra.williams.im
- Facebook: @innovatemktg or @kendrawilliamsim
- Other: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kendrakwilliams/
Black Moon Images: blackmoonimages.com, Kendra Williams