New for 2018, we are committed to putting a Spotlight on Success and sharing uplifting stories from our retailers!   We hear great success stories from the selling floor all the time.  But, every once in a while, what we do every day is validated in a big way by a Retail Manager or a Retail Sales Rep who we know has been touched and forever changed by the training we offer at Graff Retail.  This month’s Spotlight on Success comes from Maria Ricciardi, Store Manager at The Wine Shop’s North York and Pickering locations. 

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday selling season, Maria’s Sales Manager, Lina Kenney reached out and sent me a short but powerful testimony.  Lina had held a pre-Christmas prep meeting with all of her Store Managers and they were discussing how to utilize their Get Managing online manager training system during the busy season.  Stemming from this meeting of the minds came Maria’s moving testimony.  All she said was Get Managing has changed my lifestyle in my stores.”  This brief statement packs a huge punch in my opinion and I just had to dig a bit deeper to find out how Maria’s life had changed from the training.  Maria was able to carve out some time for a phone call with me and I had the pleasure of getting to hear her story first-hand. 

Maria started out with The Wine Shop on the sales floor In December 2010 when she simply needed a job to support her family after losing her husband.  Her own determination and drive was present even then in her sales role and she was savvy enough to see that there was opportunity to grow with The Wine Shop if she just proved herself.  She put in her time and got noticed for her performance and willingness.   Her promotion to Store Manager of not 1 but 2 locations did not come overnight, promoted in October 2015.  Now, in her leadership role, Maria told me just how much she appreciated how her employer has invested in her personal development with Get Managing to take her even further in her firmly rooted retail career.  Quoting Lina Kenney herself, I am inspired by our managers that are embracing this format of training.  Any time and investment we spend working on our OWN management skills is time WELL SPENT.  We are on this journey together.  This makes my heart soar!  When a retailer recognizes the need to invest in its people and in turn people are grateful and see the training offered as a personal gift to improve not only their day-to-day job function, but also their lives, I know I’m dealing with retail minds who just get it.’ 

When I asked Maria what she meant by saying her lifestyle was changed by the training, she went on to explain how she’s learned to lean on the e-learning system beyond just getting through the cycle of training directives.  For example, she refers back to the training videos before going into a coaching session with one of her staff members to make sure she has the right approach.  She goes back to re-watch videos if she notices herself getting complacent in any way.  Get Managing keeps her sharp and motivated and reminds her what she loves about what she does every day.  My take-away was that Maria is very smart and, just as important, has a great attitude.  She looks at her training as a tool and not a task.  She’s taken that tool and run with it.  She’s learned how to improve her performance and shift the way she approaches the business on a daily basis, freeing herself up to focus on the most important part of her role – her customers (both external and internal). 

I hung up the phone from my call with Maria with a true satisfaction in my heart.  I immediately emailed Lina to say:

“I just had my call with Maria.  She blew my mind!  I told her she could be the poster child for Get Managing!  LOL!  She’s using GM the way it was designed to be.  It’s a beautiful thing.”

The purpose behind our monthly Spotlight on Success is to inspire and motivate all our retailers to think beyond the tasks at store level and embrace every opportunity to grow.  Maria’s outlook is what separates her from the pack.  I hope sharing her story has been a good nudge for anyone who could use one! 

I’m looking for our February Spotlight on Success, so if you can help your fellow retailers out with an inspiring story of your own, please share at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Mary Gordon and Kim McCutcheon have been supporting retail front lines for as long as they can remember. A dynamic duo, Mary and Kim understand what it takes to make training work at store level and know how to inspire, coach and support retail teams in all of their training endeavours.

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