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In 2019, PHCPPros launched the “Millennials On The Move” honorary listing in Plumbing Engineer, PHC News and The Wholesaler magazines. The listing was created to shed light on what is now the largest generation in the workforce, while also launching bigger conversations on topics such as industry recruiting, talent retention, leadership development and more. This year, we're expanding that conversation outside of the annual print listing with our monthly “Millennials On The Move” newsletter.
In our November spotlight, we provide an update on Jessica Schussler, who was featured in our 2019 annual print listing! Schussler is the showroom manager at The Kitchen + Bath Design Studio, a division of Lion Plumbing Supply Inc.
PHCPPros: How did you get into the PHCP industry?
I love when people ask me what I do and I tell them, "I sell luxury plumbing." They look bewildered at my excited smile and sparkle in my eyes. But for real, unless you're "in the biz" and you get it, there really isn't a whole lot that the average person thinks is glamorous about the PHCP industry. Usually people assume I'm related to the owner or in the family, but the truth is I just got incredibly lucky. One of my best friends got me an interview after finding out that Lion was looking for someone to help with answering phones and managing light clerical work. Within my first year of working for Lion, our Showroom Manager Loly Becerra — an industry icon, especially in Southern Florida — decided she wanted to retire. So, they asked if I wanted to give the showroom a try. I hadn't ever even been inside of our showroom and I was not a salesperson, but I was grateful to learn something new and have an opportunity to cultivate what has now, nine years later, become a career I don't ever see myself leaving.
PHCPPros: What have been some of your career highlights so far?
Last year's featured article on Millennials on the Move for PHCPPros is the biggest and by far the most humbling for me, as well as when I helped start the NextGen group within Luxury Products Group (LPG), which is probably thanks to my first article in The Wholesaler as part of the Generation: Next! feature back in the beginning of 2015.
PHCPPros: Are you affiliated with groups and organizations in the PHCP industry?
We are very proud to be a member of both LPG and the American Supply Association (ASA). I'm incredibly fortunate to be a part of ASA's Women In Industry program.
PHCPPros: Do you have any mentors in the PHCP industry or otherwise?
Oh, for sure! For helping me cultivate my passion for this industry and for my career, I have to thank our vice president at Lion Plumbing Supply, Sheri Newman. She's the epitome of a #BossBabe and #GOALS. She is so much more than a mentor, she's just a great human, friend, and boss, too!
For my love of all things showroom and #PrettyPlumbing, I have to thank my predecessor, Loly Becerra. She taught me almost everything I know about my actual job — from selling and managing the showroom to so many of the industry introductions she's made for me over the years. I'm forever grateful for her friendship and all of her help.
And finally, for opening my eyes to bigger horizons and exposing me to the decorative plumbing world beyond my showroom, Jeff MacDowell, the director of LPG. Jeff has been so helpful and motivating, as well as always warm and welcoming to me, from Day 1. His plate is so full and he is so busy, yet he always makes time for the biggest or smallest problem you have, and he will give you sarcasm or a joke and a smile to go with it. I think most of us in the buying group want to be Jeff when we grow up, so that's definitely a mentor, right?
PHCPPros: Do you consider yourself a mentor?
I never really thought about it, but I guess I am. I think with my help bringing the NextGen committee to LPG, I inadvertently became the name and the face that the others associated with it. I suppose I helped mentor some of the less experienced members.
Last spring, we were very fortunate to find Bernabeth Blanco (Berna) who has spent the last year becoming a plumbing rockstar, and by that I mean she can sell your shoes back to your feet to you as an accessory for your bathroom. I am not a sales-driven person, but I love what I do and where I do it. My passion for this industry and what we do has been contagious with Berna, and it's been fun and rewarding (both personally and professionally for our showroom) to watch it unfold — but I don't think it's something that can be taught. Once you see that spark in a "newbie," you're just as excited to help cultivate the perfect long-lasting flame!
PHCPPros: What does it mean for you to be featured as a PHCP Millennial On The Move?
Grateful. Honored. Humbled. This was the first accolade I was nominated and chosen for, and I couldn't have been featured with a better group of people. I am so fortunate to have the opportunities I've been given to network and become true friends with so many wonderful people who have helped me in my career and afforded me so many opportunities like the PHCP feature. I am so blessed!
Do you know someone you would like to nominate as a PHCP Millennial On The Move? Email PHCPPros Digital Media Specialist Nicole Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org!