Director of Pricing Strategy & Analytics; Hazmasters, a subsidiary of WESCO
Juliana Kostrinsky will tell you, “I’ve always done pricing and analytics.”
Her first such job was in a bank, she explained, followed by a position at Ackland’s Grainger.
From there she worked for a publishing company before hearing from a former Ackland’s Grainger colleague who had moved on to Hazmasters, a subsidiary of WESCO.
“He urged me to come on board here at Hazmasters primarily to look at pricing and the way that they could use analytics as a company,” Juliana explained.
Juliana started at Hazmasters in Ajax, Ontario, in June 2018.
Hazmasters—like many companies—is using data and analytics when it comes to their pricing. The company specializes in safety products and specialized training for safer work environments.
“Pricing has a large psychological component because you have to take into consideration that people react to different types of prices and the feelings that they get when they see a specific price,” Juliana explained. “And analytics plays a big, big part in that.”
It’s a lot more involved, for example, than simply putting an item on sale for a month at 15% off, she explained.
“The way that you optimize price and get it into the market is by doing a lot of different tests to establish what that correct price is,” she explained. “And when I say right price, I mean the right price at the right time for the right market.”
New approaches—technology-based or analytics—can sometimes be a more difficult sell to tenured employees. When introducing her approach to pricing analytics, Juliana did find some skepticism but not due to any generation gap.
“I wouldn’t really say it’s generational. It’s more based on people’s experience, what they’ve been exposed to in terms of analytics and data visualization,” Juliana explained. “Electrical industry analytics are still primarily in their reporting phase. When people are looking at all the statistics and all that they’re used to in this type of industry—they’ll basically ask for information. But they don’t really necessarily ask for a recommendation. What I’m pitching people is to understand that analytics should be directly linked to action.”
She stresses to Hazmasters salespeople that analytics are only numbers, only a tool, to help things along. They are not the end-all and be-all.
“Numbers will never show you everything you need to know. But they will inform the decision,” Juliana explained. “If you price your product and your services right, then you’ve mapped out the pathway to a dominant position.”
Just as Hazmasters salespeople have to stay on top of product innovations, Juliana also has to keep abreast of new analysis and statistics.
“I’m also the lean champion for Hazmasters. That is one of my favorite hats that I wear,” she said. “What I love most about lean is that it urges every employee in our organization to think about how we improve customer service and satisfaction to be a part of the movement to bring Hazmasters to the next level”.
In her free time, Juliana and her family enjoy the outdoors in Ontario and the general Toronto area.
Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A. If you’re a young professional or in your first job, I would say don’t be afraid of asking questions. Just be curious, ask as many questions as you can because everyone can teach you something. Another thing is don’t be afraid to share any “crazy” ideas that you have and explore those. Coming out of school, you will have insights that other people may not have heard of. And when you ask questions, you may learn how those ideas can potentially be applied and help shape the business.
And don’t forget your personal life. It is very important to take good care of yourself, your health and your family and friends. Work is important but if you want to be successful, you have to prioritize yourself.
Q. How do you see the industry attracting a more diverse workforce?
A. I think that in a lot of industries they always want someone with industry experience. And what I would question, and what I would want you to ask yourself when you’re hiring, is whether the necessary industry experience can be learned or not. Sometimes you might consider experience from other industries. Something that I believe in that has always shaped me is that I can do my job a lot better because I’ve experienced different industries, where they’re at and how they’ve performed in the past decade.
So as the electrical industry wants to attract more women, one of the things that would really help is to look at more and more diverse backgrounds. Just look at the diversity of applicants and their experiences outside of the industry. This can really bring in fresh perspective and elevate the industry as a whole.
Tagged with 2019 30 Under 35, 30 under 35