People

2018 30 Under 35 Profile: Brianna Addison

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Brianna Addison, 27Brianna Addison
27
Marketing Programs Manager; Capital Electric (A Sonepar Company)

 

Brianna Addison had just graduated from Virginia Tech in 2014 with a degree in economics when a relative working at CapitalTristate told her about an opening in the company’s marketing department. (The company is now Capital Electric Supply, a Sonepar company.)

“I was not specifically looking for a job in marketing and I was not familiar with the electrical distribution industry, but my aunt seemed to think I would be a really great fit for this department and the company,” Brianna explained. “I’ve loved it since I started, and it turned out to be a perfect fit.”

Brianna started directly in the marketing department as a marketing support specialist, working her way up to marketing specialist, and now, marketing programs manager.

“While I had little experience coming in, I learned a tremendous amount just from sitting in on as many meetings as I could, listening intently and asking lots of questions,” she said. “Since I work out of our company headquarters and central distribution center in Upper Marlboro, Md. (just outside of Washington, D.C.), I have a lot of exposure to all aspects of the company, including the warehouse, sales, purchasing, and operations, which has helped me better understand our business in its entirety.”

Many “30 Under 35” honorees who work in sales will discuss their customer base. Brianna has a customer base of sorts, albeit not in the usual sense of the phrase.

“In some ways, our customer base is everyone. In marketing, we cater not just to our customers, but also to our employees and our suppliers. We work with our salespeople to provide as much support as we can from a marketing perspective,” she explained. “We also collaborate with our manufacturers to make sure we are providing value as a distribution partner.”

Among Brianna’s duties in the marketing department is managing the customer education program.

“We offer continuing education courses, safety training, and lighting seminars to our customers so that they can stay on top of industry trends,” Brianna said. “We want our customers to see us as a partner and as a resource; our customer education program sets us apart in that regard.”

In the past, Brianna has been a guest speaker at the Women in Industry luncheon at the NAED Eastern Region Conference. She said she has gradually seen more women working in the overall electrical industry in recent years.

“I’ve only been in the industry for a few years, but in talking to other women who have been working in the electrical industry a lot longer, it’s amazing to see how much things have changed,” she said. “I hear their stories and their experiences coming up in this industry, and they often found that they were the only woman in the room at a meeting or event. And while I might sometimes face those experiences, I would not say that’s my everyday experience. But I think there’s still a long way to go.”

Brianna enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends. She is an avid fan of the Virginia Tech Hokies sports teams as well as the Washington Redskins.

 

Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?

A. I would tell other young professionals to always be inquisitive and curious, ask a lot of questions, and really embrace what people who came before you have to share in terms of their knowledge and experience.

Sometimes as younger professionals, we can have a tendency to dismiss the old ways of doing things. Even when looking for new, innovative ideas, it’s still important to understand the perspectives of other generations with more experience because there is so much we can learn from them. It can really shape our ideas and how we do things moving forward.

Also, don’t be afraid to share your opinion and to speak your ideas. I’ve been impressed with how receptive many leaders have been to the perspectives of younger generations. It’s so important that young professionals speak up and share when we have great ideas or a different way of looking at things.

Our thoughts, ideas, and viewpoints are valuable and essential to the future growth of our industry; young professionals should be confident in expressing them.

 

Q. How do you use social media in your work? Is there any particular subject that a company should never post about on social media? What advice do you have for companies engaging on social media?

A. Social media can be a fantastic tool for both professionals and companies to network and engage. While I use social media in both my personal and professional life, I also help manage the company’s social media strategy at Capital Electric.

Aside from using common sense, I can’t say there’s any one topic that a company should stay away from—it really varies based on the company and the industry.

The most important thing is to stay authentic to who you are as a company and as a brand. As long as you are upholding your company’s values, there is almost no topic that would be off limits as long as it’s handled the right way.

However, sometimes we get too skittish about posting certain things and so we take it in the opposite direction. Then, we might come across to customers as overly guarded, lackluster, and stiff instead of authentic, engaging, and approachable—the type of company that customers want to do business with.

Whether you’re marketing your company or yourself, it’s important to strike the right balance between open, sincere communication and maintaining a professional, respectable brand image.

 

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Joe Nowlan  is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at jcnowlan@msn.com.

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