Tara Pekeles is in charge of managing key accounts and developing new business for Dubord & Rainville, a Quebec-based food distribution company specializing in providing a one stop shop in quality restaurant supplies for chain accounts. Find out her inspiration in today’s YPDaily…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I work in sales for my family business Dubord & Rainville, a Quebec based Food Distribution Company that specializes in providing a one stop shop for chain accounts across Quebec and Ontario.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
Growing up in my family business, I never even considered doing anything else with my life. I was able to learn from both my grandfather and father from a very young age, which helped me to develop a keen business sense as well as the certainty of knowing exactly what I wanted to do with my career. When most of my friends were figuring out which paths they wanted to embark on post undergrad, I immediately started working for Dubord. At the same time Dubord had just moved into a new facility and had increased its sales by over 40 per cent.
I have always wanted to be in business and more specifically in sales. I don’t see what I do as a job, but in essence it defines a big part of who I am. Driving to work every day and witnessing first-hand how far the company has come since the 1940s has greatly contributed to my passion for the company and for what I do.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
I started off as an order taker and had to learn the business from the bottom up. Now, after over nine years of working at Dubord, I am fully engaged in every aspect of the company. My job has a wide description and can entail anything from presenting a proposal to Subway Canada to bringing a case of fries to one of my customers – in heels. The best part of my job is that I have complete support in every decision I make from the staff and management team. This makes my job so much easier. The fact that my brother and I are working together towards a common goal and get to bounce ideas off each other daily is incredibly special to me.
The main evolution in my career at Dubord is that I am now involved in all major company decisions and am truly accountable for the company’s success. Although this can be challenging, at the same time it’s also my favourite part.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself as an influential and innovative businesswoman in the food service industry, and having a kid or two along the way. With every year that goes by, I gain greater confidence in my ability and my expectations of myself grow. I have always accused myself of being “power hungry,” and to me it means working hard to be the best possible version of myself.
What does success look like to you?
Success to me is having the opportunity to wake up every morning with the drive and passion to conquer the day. I want to always feel useful to those around me and to take on new challenges daily. I believe that this is what keeps us young. My grandfather was one of the smartest men I have ever had the privilege of knowing and came to work every day until the day he died.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
The food service industry is a slow moving market where it can take up to several years of meetings and research to close an account. Securing my first major account was an undeniable high that I will always remember. It was my first customer where I was totally responsible for every step, from approaching the customer to ensuring that the account was organized and ready to go. Knowing that I had a direct impact on the company’s growth really affected my attitude in and out of the office and helped reinforce why I do what I do.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
My VP Finance, who’s been with the company for over 20 years, has always taught me that if you know every detail about your business and what you do, you can always be honest with your customers and find smart solutions for every situation.
Throughout my nine years at Dubord, I also learned the importance of treating each person, whether it’s a customer, supplier or co-worker, with kindness and respect. It helps to shape your reputation in the industry and makes you an overall happier person. I can’t tell you how many times I get calls from customers I dealt with in the past who end up in high positions and remember the service I gave them. The relationships you build in your career with the people around you help to define your future success.
Lastly, follow up is KEY. I can’t begin to express the emphasis I put on being available to my customers at all times. I believe that it is what my customers appreciate most about the service I offer.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
In addition to contribution regularly to Federation CJA, every year at Christmas time, Dubord organizes the making and distribution of food baskets, to help low-income families throughout Quebec.
What to you is notable?
To me, someone who is honest and always keeps their word is notable. Despite all of the challenges involved in working for your family, the main reason why I chose Dubord is because my father, who’s also my boss, embodies this very characteristic.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
BlackBerry. I can’t seem to cut the umbilical cord even though it really is the worst phone on earth.