Centreviews is pleased to be able to provide this executive profile about Joyce Gromada, Director Sales Administration at Foley Family Wines. Joyce implemented the Centreviews Business Intelligence Suite at Foley Family Wines. Her military background and IT experience has provided her with the skill to adapt to new situations and how to leverage the use of technology to improve processes and has resulted in her success in her new field.
As Director Sales Administration for Foley Family Wines, Joyce Gromada has the opportunity to work while surrounded by the beautiful vineyards of California’s wine country. Prior to accepting the position with Foley Family Wines in 2011, Wine Country was the location of many vacations for Joyce.
A Move to Wine Country
During her 21 years in the Navy, Joyce worked in IT operations and logistics. But in her free time, she took classes on food and wine. When she retired from the military, Joyce knew it was time to live where she most enjoyed spending time. She moved to California, where Joyce accepted a position with Kendall Jackson in the IT department.
After three years in IT, Joyce accepted a position in one of Kendall Jackson’s distributorships, Regal Wine Company. Here she was able to work directly with wine, serving as operations manager as the distributorship experienced tremendous growth.
For a total of ten years, Joyce worked for Kendall Jackson but her work was still largely IT related. She longed to get into a position that would let her work on the supplier side.
Supplying Across the Nation
When the opportunity for Operations Manager arose at Regal Wine Company, Joyce was excited that she’d be able to work more directly with the process of making and selling wine. While she’d always loved her IT work, she felt that she’d spent plenty of time working with computers over the years. She wanted to learn more about wine. Despite being told she wasn’t qualified for the operations job she wanted, she applied anyway. The vice president learned of her application and requested her for an interview.
The interview was challenging. As Joyce recalls, she walked out of the interview certain she didn’t get the job, but the vice president had previous experience with military personnel and knew that even if a military worker didn’t know something, she somehow found the information she needed. After an intensive six-week training program, Joyce was able to learn the basics of how wine is displayed in stores and warehoused for distribution. From there she moved into her role at FFW as Director of Sales Administration.
At FFW, the sales team is responsible for initiating the issuance of all the credit memos, and her first initiative was making it easier for the team to finish all their credit memos so that they can focus on what they liked doing most and what is very important to FFW; making sales. With credit memos piling up, her team was having trouble getting everything done. She knew that it would help the sales team’ morale if she personally helped them with the credit memos. The Vice President of Operations, her manager, noticed the problem they were having with the credit memos and asked Joyce how they could solve this problem. With her IT background, Joyce knew that automation would be the best way to accomplish that. However even though Joyce knew that a transition to an automated process was for the better, she also knew that the staff would be reluctant to change the process. By working as a team, and showing that she wanted to make the sales’ staff jobs easier, and with her IT experience, she gained the trust and confidence of the sales team for implementing the accounts receivables solution by Centreviews.
Taking a Chance
Just the process of interviewing for a job was a huge transition for Joyce, since interviews aren’t required for job assignments in the military. During the interview, her interviewer was asking very detailed questions about the business—questions Joyce couldn’t answer. She found out later that he knew she wouldn’t know the answers but he wanted to see how she’d respond to the questions.
Today, the American job market is filled with soldiers who have recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. Many have extensive leadership experience despite not having worked in specific industries previously. Any time a veteran’s resume crosses her desk, Joyce gives them an interview regardless of whether they are qualified for the position or not.
Joyce is living proof that businesses should hire for skills and abilities rather than specific knowledge. Certain job responsibilities can easily be learned but a talent for leadership, dedication and a passion for an industry can go a long way toward making a phenomenal employee.