Monthly Archives: August 2013

True Life: The Interns!

You read our blog posts, contemplate our words, and wait anxiously for our next post, but do you have any idea who we are? Today we thought it would be a good idea to introduce the people behind the writing. So here are some fast and fun facts about the interns who have the honor of being Vanguardians for the summer.

Lindsey Clark is a rising junior at Denison University and is a double major in economics and English (creative writing).  She works for her school’s literary magazine and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity on the weekends. In the summer, she enjoys baking any kind of dessert (especially lemon bars) and surfing on Long Island. After graduation, Lindsey is interested in pursuing a career in journalism and is open to anything and everything related to writing.

As the production intern, Lindsey has been focused on understanding and helping with all steps of the production process, from starting with an idea to making it a reality. She has assisted on a range of internal projects that have made use of her organizational skills.

Liz Baron is a rising senior at Gettysburg College majoring in organizational management studies. On campus, she serves as a captain of Gettysburg’s field hockey team and is also a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority. Besides school, sports, and sorority life, Liz enjoys simply relaxing with friends and family and spending time outdoors. After graduating in May 2014, she hopes to pursue a career in marketing.

As the marketing intern, Liz has supported Vanguard Direct’s marketing programs, with an emphasis on its various social media channels. She has worked with the marketing coordinator and director to facilitate day-to-day and long-term projects. She has become familiar with SEO tagging, written multiple blog posts for Utterly Orange, and has learned a lot about current marketing practices.

MinJi Kim is a rising senior at Ole Miss (the University of Mississippi) majoring in general studies and minoring in business administration, international studies, and psychology. On campus, she is a member of the Golden Key Honor Society and volunteers for Global Ambassador After school and work, she enjoys working out and watching any kind of famous movie. After graduation, she is interested in pursuing a career in business administration.

As the digital intern, MinJi has been focused on digital trends through competitive analyses and has been involved in internal digital projects for Vanguard Direct. She has become familiar with apps’ and websites’ content, different platforms, and social media and has learned about various companies’ current digital practices.

We hope our posts will mean a little more now that you know a bit about us, the lovely ladies who have been sharing our Vanguard experience with you.

Author: Lindsey Clark, Liz Baron, and MinJi Kim

Advertisements

What Pinterests You?

VGD Pinterest Page

Since its launch in 2010, Pinterest has made big strides in the world of social media. According to digital analytics company comScore, Pinterest hit 11.7 million monthly U.S. visitors in January, making it the first stand-alone site to cross the ten million mark so quickly. There is still debate, however, as to how useful Pinterest is for businesses. Is it merely used to learn how to make teriyaki-glazed salmon with grilled sesame broccolini or how to spend the perfect afternoon in NYC? How can businesses benefit from Pinterest? What has made this channel of social media explode?

I never had an interest in Pinterest (see what I did there?) until quite recently. After creating an account and experimenting with the site, I now understand why people are raving about it. It’s simple—anyone can use Pinterest. Travelers can discover ideas for their next trip, party planners can explore themes for upcoming occasions, builders can find architectural inspiration … the uses appear endless. With the extensive array of “boards” (virtual bulletin boards), individuals can explore pretty much anything. But a lingering question remains: What does Pinterest have to offer businesses?

Pinterest has been described as a “light visual appetizer” for businesses. Consumers can get a little taste of what a company has to offer from its Pinterest page. If viewers want to know more, a link to that company’s official website is generally included on the page. Pinterest is attractive and easy to use, making it effective at displaying products, services, and details about the internal workings of a company.

Presently, Nordstrom is one of the most successful businesses using Pinterest. (Click here to view the most popular boards.) As a company primarily focused on fashion, it is advantageous for Nordstrom to use Pinterest as a means to promote styles, special offers, and services. For other businesses, Pinterest can be a way to share more about their workers using “employee boards.” These boards can allow employees to interact with the public in a non-business way. While it is essential for businesses to connect with consumers on a professional level, it is also interesting to learn about the employees “behind the scenes.” A Pinterest board is a great way for employees to pin things that may be related to work or simply things they want to share with potential clients and interested viewers. Pinterest is also a way for companies to get feedback from their supporters. When viewers “like” or “pin” something, it gives companies an idea of what the public wants and what’s popular.

Many businesses are now beginning to get started with Pinterest, as it is a rapidly growing channel of social media. Why? Because it’s a strategic move. Pinterest is yet another means of advertising that a company can take advantage of to promote itself. Unlike other social media channels—Twitter limits posts to 140 characters and Facebook drowns in text—Pinterest is focused on visual content. It’s been determined that 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual and that the brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Compared to text-based channels like LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, Pinterest has the advantage of being visual. It has a smart visual appeal with organized, basic, and categorized boards that make it easy for users to browse.

If you have yet to explore Pinterest, check it out. I can almost guarantee you’ll find something that Pinterests you. If you want a place to start, take a look at our newly launched Pinterest page!  (www.pinterest.com/vanguarddirect)

Author: Liz Baron

True Life: Sue Pabst

Sue Pabst, Senior Customer Service Representative

Inside the Office:

Sue is Vanguard Direct’s Senior Customer Service Representative, but she has many areas of expertise. Over thirty-three years at Vanguard Direct, she has worked in every department and therefore has an understanding of how every part of the company contributes to the whole. She has been involved with order entry, billing, data processing, customer service, and promotion. Currently, she creates promotional product solutions and acts as a liaison between vendors and Vanguard Direct.

Outside the Office:

Long Island, the summer escape for many New Yorkers, is Sue’s permanent home. When Vanguard Direct had a Long Island office, her commute was a mere five minutes, which is miniscule compared to the hour (-plus) trek to get to work now. In her free time, Sue enjoys traveling, going to Broadway shows, and quilting, and she has recently joined a book club. She is a regular at Fire Island and lives only three miles away from North Shore Beach. Growing up by the Atlantic has made Sue try most water sports and activities––she is a fan of kayaking but could do without snorkeling. So where does a woman who lives in most people’s ideal vacation spot go to relax?

Sue’s favorite retreat is Hawaii, where she has a timeshare with her sister, and she tries to go for a week or two every other year. A bonus perk of her Hawaiian vacation is seeing the multiple weddings that take place at night on the beach. (That sounds much more enjoyable than just people-watching on the slick summer streets of Manhattan!) Another fun part of being in Hawaii is attending local pig roasts, which serve as a way to celebrate a healthy life and good friends. One of the native staples to eat on the island is poi, a ground-up root that serves as a Hawaiian comfort food. But travelling twelve hours to Hawaii is not enough for this avid explorer. Sue has literally gone halfway around the world for new experiences. She has journeyed all the way to China and Tibet. Sue believes traveling broadens your horizons and that there is a monumental difference in learning about something and actually seeing and experiencing it.

Vanguard Direct Experience:

Sue began her career at Vanguard Direct when there were only four other employees, and out of the five she was the only one who was not a salesperson. It was a time before computers (BC, as Sue calls it), when she had to type up invoices on a typewriter and all five employees did the all the work for the company in one little room. In the beginning, she would have to call up vendors and suppliers, coordinate shipments, and do all of the “behind the scenes” work herself to get one job done. Even though there was a lot to do, Sue was happy to be working with good people. She started working with Jack O’Connell and now continues to work with his sons, Bob and Don. Throughout the years, she has done a little bit of everything and seen almost everything. Sue’s favorite part of the business is seeing ideas transform into reality––more important, she loves seeing the stamps “DELIVERED” and “PAID.” Both of them give her a sense of closure and accomplishment. It is an unparalleled experience to be able to watch a business grow from five people in a room to 157 employees in three branches. Senior Managers Bob and Don O’Connell like to joke that Sue knows more secrets about Vanguard than they do, but they both recognize that she has invaluable insight into the printing business. Although Sue admits that the prevalence of print is lessening, she maintains that there will always be those people who prefer paper to digital––print will never die.

Authors: Lindsey Clark, Liz Baron, MinJi Kim

True Life: Daniel Nehrbass

Inside the Office:

Daniel Nehrbass started working at Vanguard in a temporary position three years ago and was offered a full-time position. He works in the accounting department as a biller, handling all the invoices, statements, and bills. It’s one of the most important jobs in a company.

Outside the Office:

At his second job as a manager at the catering hall Cipriani, he commands a staff of 160–200 waiters and others. Daniel started working at Cipriani as a waiter during college. He liked working there because it was flexible, and over the years he kept getting promoted. Cipriani, which serves Italian food, holds weddings, bar mitzvahs, and other large functions. The biggest event he catered was 1,200-person dinner. Sometimes, Daniel goes home at 4 in the morning after working an event and reports to Vanguard a few hours later at 7:30 am. In addition to this, Daniel has owned a number of businesses and websites. He also sells waiter and doorman uniforms with one of his friends. He likes the financial benefits of a busy schedule.

Although Daniel didn’t want to live in New York City, he came here for school. He graduated from The College of Westchester with a degree in marketing/management, and then went back to school to get a BBA in Accountancy from Baruch. Since his life is centered on the city––his business is here, his business partners are here, and his home is in Brooklyn––he has made it his home.

Daniel’s sister has her own busy life as a manager in Philadelphia, and his brother works for an air-conditioning company. Reflecting on family life, Daniel said, “I found it strange that all of us are in management positions. I guess that’s how we were raised up.”

Vanguard Advice:

Daniel tries to stay busy. As an explanation for his fast-paced lifestyle, he told us “the world we are growing up in is not the world our parents were growing up in.” Daniel pointed out that today’s workers usually don’t get pensions, so we have to secure our own financial futures. He admitted that saving money for retirement is really hard but said it is necessary to think of the bigger picture. He told us to “set a future plan for yourself now.” When Daniel was in school his parents didn’t tell him this, although the current generation of college students hears this all the time.

Authors: MinJi Kim, Lindsey Clark, and Liz Baron

True Life: Peter McCann

Inside the Office:

Peter McCann began working at Vanguard Direct in 1992. As Senior Account Executive, he helps clients achieve their marketing and operational goals. He works hard on new business development and also is a very successful connector of clients and vendors. I have recently observed Peter exploring new technologies to reach customers. He maintains great relationships with clients, creating effective strategies to reduce costs and improve workflow.

Outside the Office:

Peter impressively balances family, friends, and fun. Family comes first, as his life is centered on his wife and kids. Peter has three daughters (17, 14, and 11). For the past eight years, he has coached his girls’ various soccer teams on weekends and cheered them on from the sidelines. (Believe me, having your dad as your coach is awesome. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I now look back and see how special and cool it was when my dad coached my soccer teams!) Peter’s wife is a great cook. He explained how she loves trying new recipes––he is understandably more than happy to be a taste tester.

When Peter is not on the field coaching, at home, or at work, he plays in an adult ice hockey league on Long Island. He has been skating since he could walk but just started playing hockey six years ago. There are about 1,200 men who play in the club. His team is called the Leaves (inspired by the Toronto Maple Leaves). Playing on this team, Peter has become good friends with some of the guys and truly appreciates the camaraderie of the squad and being able to get out on the ice for some fun. Not only is Peter an athlete, but he also plays the drums in his free time. Peter and some other musical Vanguardians are planning to meet, play, and see what they can come up with––at the moment, all we know is that it will be some sort of rock music (updates to come!). Who knows––maybe in a few months Vanguard Direct will host its first concert featuring these talented employees.

Vanguardian Advice:

As a kid, Peter grew up with a father involved in the magazine business. He learned a lot about the industry but soon realized it was not necessarily the direction he wanted to follow. Peter later worked in direct mail and was exposed to the printing business. It was here that he realized he might want to get involved in this industry, and many years later he continues to work at Vanguard Direct! In our chat, Peter stressed the importance of getting involved in work that you thoroughly enjoy. It’s not about the money or title––if you really value what you are doing and the people that surround you, it will be worth it.

Author: Liz Baron, Lindsey Clark, MinJi Kim