Summer arrives with the feeling of exciting new beginnings, and that’s certainly the case with our newest team member and brand manager, Samantha. We pick her brain about her career growth, successful leadership, and how being an Amazon Prime member didn’t exactly prepare her for all that she’d learn about Amazon at Quantum Networks.
Anna: Hi! Could you please introduce yourself?
Samantha: I’m Samantha Monzillo – I am going to be a brand manager here at Quantum Networks, and I’m excited to get started!
A: Awesome, welcome to our team! Could you tell me about your personal background, in terms of your brand management experience?
S: Sure; I was actually more vendor-facing in the past, not brand-facing, but I think that being in a position where I was the client was great experience in terms of understanding what client brands might need or want in the future, as well as being able to work with multiple people on different teams and bringing people together to meet a common goal. I worked for a recognition and incentives company as an e-commerce manager, where I was in charge of managing our international online catalogs’ stock and price, adding new items, editing copy, and doing the analysis necessary that comes with large changes made to the catalogs. I also handled daily vendor communication, obtaining information from them and handling any disputes that would arise. I was also an interdepartmental liaison between my department (global e-commerce) and developers, BAs and project managers.
A: That’s impressive – how did you get to that level of responsibility?
S: When I started my previous role, it was a lot of manual data entry and kind of tedious work that had to be done to maintain the catalogs. However, I worked hard to make sure every item under my supervision was of the utmost quality. As I did that, I took every opportunity to learn about the company and how we operate. By constantly increasing my knowledge and striving for excellence, I became a go-to person not only within my own department, but across other departments as well. This led to being put in charge of smaller departmental projects, which lead to larger projects and then on to company wide projects. I constantly welcomed more responsibility and I think that taking initiative is what really helped me succeed.
A: I see – what were some of the projects that you led to success?
S: Something I’m really proud of is having led Global Promotions, which we ran 3 times a year. I led my team in reaching out to our vendors, procuring products at promotional prices, and implementing these products into our catalogs across 71 countries. As each country has its own catalog with its own specific offering, you can imagine how difficult it is to organize something like this, especially with a time period of around 1 month to get it all done. It was a lot of late nights and hard work, but yielded great success.
I was also largely responsible for switching our company over to a new web platform. This included reviewing every detail of not only the new storefront to be shown, but also the new admin panel and ensuring that everything the developers and BAs were going to build was exactly what was needed. I’m extremely proud of this because something I did truly helped the company move forward toward improving not only their internal operations, but the experience for their users as well.
A: That’s awesome, it sounds like you made a huge impact there! Based on your experience, what would you say are some of the most challenging and fulfilling parts of management?
S: One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is motivating others to meet deadlines, and having them feel that something is as important to them as it is to you, as not everybody thinks the same way. It took some trial and error, but I came to realize that building good relationships with each person on your team, as well as anyone outside of that team that contributes to the success of a project, is absolutely crucial. Good relationships facilitate trust and confidence in your vision and really get everyone on the same page. Through my experience, I’ve become confident in my ability to accomplish just that and believe that one of the most fulfilling things is seeing everyone come together, create something amazing, and accomplish something great as a team.
A: We’re equally confident that you’ll be a rockstar manager here! How did you discover Quantum, or how did Quantum discover you?
S: I was looking for an e-commerce position on LinkedIn, and I came across Quantum. I read about the company and the way it described that you will “face amazing triumphs and devastating defeats,” and I was like, okay, well that sounds like it would be interesting on a day-to-day basis! The description of the company seemed very positive and exciting. It wasn’t just “here’s your role” and “this is what you’ll do.” It drew me in. So I applied, and Eytan reached out to me.
A: It is exciting here! We also genuinely like each other and go out together a lot. We’re excited for you to be joining us then. Do you have anything in particular that you’re excited about at Quantum, yet?
S: I’ve been excited about some of the ways in which we have been able to help brands in the past. One of the Quantum case studies I was introduced to was the work we’ve done with BOSS, and I think that how we’ve created more value for them with our Blucoil bundles and sell those exclusively is really cool. My one goal is to really understand exactly how everything works here and how we adapt our business to accommodate for different kinds of brands and different ways of entering the market.
A: There is quite a lot to absorb. Not only do we offer Amazon account management, but like you said, we also create bundle solutions by sourcing and developing our own Blucoil accessories. I hope you have a relatively easy time taking it all in!
S: I think I have about 20 pages of notes already, and I’ve only been here for a day. It’s a lot! But you know when you’re learning something and you already feel like you’re ready to nod off? I actually feel really intrigued now! I have a lot of questions and I’m really excited by what I’ve learned so far. There are so many things about Amazon that I didn’t know existed, it’s crazy!
A: Definitely! As an Amazon shopper myself, it was crazy to discover what it’s like behind the scenes. It made me realize how little about it I actually knew.
S: Yes, as an Amazon Prime member, I thought “I got this” at first, but then I discovered “buy box” and it was all downhill from there. But I’m learning a lot and that’s super exciting, especially because at my previous job, I stopped learning at some point. It already feels great to be at Quantum, and to be intellectually stimulated.Read More...