Callard is celebrating its 30th year in business, and this year we are also celebrating what makes employee Debbie Greco so special. Debbie was hired as Callard’s first employee back in 1987. Since then, she has dedicated more the two decades of her career to the company and has embraced all employees with a kind heart. Debbie is affectionately known as the “mother” of Callard. No doubt she is at the core of what makes Callard unique. She is the human resource lead and a customer service account manager. In these roles, she touches many aspects of the business which allows her the opportunity to share some industry insights as well as her passion for the company.
Tell us about your history of joining the Callard Company.
Kaye Callard, the company founder, recruited me when she started the business. I came on full-time to manage customer service and manage the books. I had loved working with her at another firm and knew this was a great opportunity to make a real impact by being able to utilize my industry experience.
What kind of changes, both good and bad, have you seen happen in the industry?
I think the biggest change has been the advancement of digital art. I remember in the early days having to send ad slicks in the mail which made the approval process so long. I even had to type all my orders on a typewriter using carbon paper so that I would have a copy of them.
Everything now is rush, rush, rush. Everyone is always in such a hurry. Although I like that the process is easier and faster today, I do think we are starting to lose the human touch with the advent of email. I think email is great, but I also think there’s just something about picking up the phone and connecting with someone. I’ve been in the industry so long that I don’t even have to tell them who is calling, because they know my voice. I think that human interaction is an important part of forming and keeping great relationships with vendors and clients.
What is the biggest change within the industry?
The biggest change I see in the industry is the growth of online stores. I see more and more clients wanting to set up online shops for their companies. It’s a great way for us to help our clients by making their purchasing easier.
Why do you think you are considered the “mother” of Callard?
I’ve been with the company a long time, and I enjoy helping new people who join. I like to take them under my wing. I am a big believer in helping people understand the business. The more knowledge I can share with them, the better they do at their jobs. I focus on building the company up, looking at the whole picture. People need to know why they are doing what they are doing in order to understand the whole picture. The more people know and understand what they are doing, the more the company will succeed.
You coordinate all of the internal Callard Committees in addition to doing your regular job. How did this evolve, and what inspires you to take this on?
Michelle, the owner, asked me to take on the role of coordinating various events like potlucks, team events, chair massages, etc. As the company grew, I needed more help, so this year Michelle encouraged me to form four committees. My role now is to delegate and assign responsibilities to the committee members. Our committees include potlucks, team events, wellness and giving back.
All of the events we participate in are very special, whether it’s giving back to veterans, donating clothing, attending potlucks, hosting roller skating parties for employees and their families and celebrating birthdays, the combination of all of this is what makes the Callard Company distinctive and unique.
This not only helps me, but also gives them ownership. I have become their biggest cheerleader, and I enjoy it more, because I love working with people.
What is the most rewarding part of your day?
I find that the end of the day is the best part. It’s when I know that I did my job to the best of my ability by making customers happy, resolving their problems and moving orders across my desk, then for me, all is right in the world. I am so grateful for another successful day.
If you had to start your career all over again, would you choose the same path?
Probably, because so many people have touched my life, and I’d like to think that I’ve touched their lives as well. I really enjoy my job and the people I work with. I like that people in this company are supportive. We help one another and respect each other. Life’s too short. You must love what you do.