GoTRG is made up of more than 2000 diverse teammates across the globe operating under one vision: to revolutionize returns. With experts in every field from software and engineering to ecommerce and supply chain, we want to highlight the skilled teammates who elevate this company’s mission every day. Each month we’ll hand over the metaphorical mic to a new goTRG teammate so you can better understand who we are and how we continually evolve as leaders in the industry.
Over to you Vanessa...
Most people look for jobs that directly align with their prior experience. However, my path to goTRG was not so straightforward. In fact, it was entirely atypical. Fortunately, it led me directly to where I belong.
I started out in the corporate retail industry. After interning for Perry Ellis International while attending college at Florida State University, the company offered me a job straight out of school. From an assistant, I grew to an associate, then a retail planner at Perry Ellis. Eventually, I shifted to Nike Swim and later the cruise-line industry as a category manager and retail buyer.
Then the pandemic hit.
I was fortunate to keep my job, but I transitioned to a remote scenario, like millions of people across the globe. After a while, the boredom of working from home started wearing on me. I missed my colleagues, and I missed client meetings. As my 30th birthday approached, I started reflecting on what I wanted for my future. I knew I needed to make a change; I just didn’t know what that would look like.
One day, a recruiter contacted me on behalf of goTRG. He thought my merchandising and retail planning experience was perfect for an accounting analysis role.
I decided to interview for the position and consider the role. However, after reflecting, I realized that a behind-the-scenes, numbers-focused career path was not my passion. I longed for something more dynamic and client-facing. I contacted the recruiter and did something no one does when they receive an offer at goTRG: I turned it down. At the same time, I told the recruiter I really enjoyed the interview process and thought goTRG was a fantastic organization.
To my surprise, a few days later, I received a call from goTRG’s COO Steve Rop saying: “We still think you’re a great fit. We want to find a place for you.”
After telling Steve more about my professional experience, he asked what I thought about a Vendor Relations Manager role. He had been looking for someone to fill the position and felt my retail buying and planning experience could be a significant advantage. The job didn’t have a formal description yet, but Steve worked with human resources to create one in just a few days. This swift and agile process intrigued me because I had only worked for enterprise companies with rigid structures that didn’t operate with such flexibility.
It was like no onboarding experience I’d ever had; it was personal, fun, and welcoming. Looking back, it was all a preview of how much I’d enjoy the tight-knit, on-the-fly experience at goTRG.
My resume up to that point consisted of big corporate names, where I was one amongst thousands of people. I never had direct access to executives, let alone the CEO. But goTRG immediately shattered my expectations of corporate hierarchies. Working at the company’s Miami headquarters, I had access to upper management, who took the time to listen and care about my opinions. By sharing my ideas, I saw the immediate impact I could make on my team and the organization. That prospect excited me most of all.
Flash forward to today, and I’m close to finishing my first year at goTRG. So far, the Vendor Relations Manager role has been everything I imagined and more. Client-focused tasks are my passion, and right now, my team supports one of goTRG’s largest home improvement retail clients. Together we help the client evaluate and manage returns with its 800-plus vendors.
Our team of seven provides transparency to the retailer’s return-to-vendor (RTV) process, so it understands which vendors are the most lucrative, easy-to-work-with, and compliant with contract terms. We also work diligently to solve the retailer’s vendor management challenges by using every resource goTRG provides and cross-collaborating with different departments.
To find innovative solutions, we work closely with goTRG’s product team to continuously optimize our returns management software to improve the client-vendor relationship. This task is where my streamlining abilities and buyer-side understanding of vendors really come into play. By focusing on optimization, our team found and closed a costly loophole, making a massive impacting their bottom line. Of course, the client was thrilled. As a result, it plans to further integrate with our reverse logistics systems by sharing direct data feeds, which helps us configure future software modules.
Making short- and long-term impact on our vendor relations is why I’m here. I love devising strategies to please our clients and managing a team of talented professionals to accomplish our goals.
When I first started at goTRG, everyone on the Vendors Relations team was doing the same job for different facilities. That didn’t seem like the best way to maximize their strengths or time. So, I spoke to everyone and asked about their skills, passions, and goals. Along the way, I got to know them personally and professionally and devised a plan to reorganize the team based on everyone’s unique strengths. I presented the idea to senior managers, and they supported the idea 100%.
In prior corporate roles, I could never make such a tangible impact in such a short time. There was so much red tape to cut through. That’s why it’s been so refreshing to work for a company with a small business mentality, where everyone has a voice and the ability to shape their role within the organization.
When I first started, no one told me what Vendor Relations had to be. Instead, they gave me the freedom to create a new team structure filled with people walking to the same beat. But, more importantly, they gave me the freedom to be unapologetically me, both in and out of the office.
A great example of that happened just a few months ago, during goTRG’s annual Wellness Challenge month. The corporate development team asked me to teach a yoga class for the entire organization. Over forty of our HQ teammates participated. It was inspiring to see everyone join together to try something new, and it was so successful that we are going to do it again in a few weeks! It reminded me, once again, that I can do anything I set my mind to at goTRG. I’ve accomplished so much in the past year, and it makes me so excited to imagine what the future will hold.