Here at National Pen on National Women’s Equality Day, we would like to celebrate 4 amazing Women who influence and grow our company in various positive ways. Each and every one has achieved some exciting accomplishments in their career and have been very gracious to share some insight on how their career has developed from the beginning and a piece of advice for the new generation of Women Leaders.
Melissa Naraval – V.P., Ecommerce
5.5 Years with National Pen
General Responsibilities: Manages National Pen’s Web Marketing Efforts
Is there a woman who influenced you throughout your life and career? My Mom! From a very young age I saw how hard she worked and it set a great example for me. It’s something I still hold onto today.
Your 1st 3 jobs ever? “I was a Hostess at a restaurant, then a Retail associate at Dress Barn and third was Office Intern at an Investment Firm.”
What is the most important lesson you learned from that time you still use today? “Definitely, interaction skills. Especially when I was a hostess, working with people in various departments and how to communicate with them is something I still utilize today.”
What’s a message you would say to young women starting out today? “I tell my daughter all the time, to work hard. The World today offers numerous opportunities and possibilities, SEIZE them!”
Sandy Costanzo – Director Human Resources
8 Years with National Pen
General Responsibilities: Oversee Human Resources support for North America.
Is there a woman who influenced you throughout your life and career? “I would say there were a few mentor(s) at the start of my current career. I was offered a great opportunity to start a new career in human resources and the women I worked with taught me so much about the profession I feel have instilled the foundation of what I am today.”
Your 1st 3 jobs ever? Specialized Toys Retail Sales, then Administrative Assistant and third, a Corporate Accountant.
What is the most important lesson you learned from that time you still use today? “Work hard and be a good listener!”
What’s a message you would say to young women starting out today? “Be the one to make a change, only you can make a difference.”
Kellie Jonas – Director of Customer Retention – North America
21 Years with National Pen
General Responsibilities: Growing National Pens customer base through direct mail and e-mail strategy
Is there a woman who influenced you throughout your life and career? “Amazingly enough, Bonnie Shimrat! When I walked through the doors here, I saw she was V.P. of Retail at the time. I knew then, there would be an opportunity for growth here so I tried to model myself after her based on her strong work ethic, positive energy, and daily professionalism.”
Your 1st 3 jobs ever? “I joke I’ve been doing direct mailing my whole career but yes, kind of. I delivered flyers for Sunny Crest Dairy in Orange County as a kid while on my roller skates. After that, I worked at a Fast Food restaurant called 3 brothers and third as a Gas Station attendant at Texico.”
Any lessons learned from that time you still use today? “Show up no matter what and integrity matters.”
What’s a message you would say to young women starting out today? “Don’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve.”
Bonnie Shimrat – Executive V.P. – Retail
35 Years with National Pen
General Responsibilities: Responsible for Retail Sales Growth and Development
Is there a woman who influenced you throughout your life and career? Actually, it was both my parents. My Mom was ‘one of a kind’ for her generation as she was a private pilot in the 60’s. She really showed me how to grab life by the horns every day. After she passed away, my Dad continued to encourage me that I could do anything. It gave me the ability to never see gender as an obstacle I couldn’t overcome.
Your 1st 3 jobs ever? I started early at the age of 13 when I became a waitress at a fish fry restaurant. I eventually moved on to waitress, and be a helping hand, at the Local Swim Club. After, I always loved to cheer and became a cheer instructor at the local YMCA helping the community’s youth.
Any lessons learned from that time you still use today? “When I became a cheer instructor, it was the first time I experienced an ‘Entrepreneurship lifestyle’. Getting people to sign up, encouraging retention and making it a positive experience for everyone, from the kid’s participating, to the YMCA that let me teach there. I definitely learned the basic fundamentals of Sales and cultivating relationships to create “win-win” opportunities for key stakeholders.”
What’s a message you would say to young women starting out today? “Get clarity of your goals so you can know what you want. After that, work hard towards your goals every day. And finally, understand that there will be times you will need help, so surround yourself with a strong team and know how to work with them in order for everyone to ‘Win with You.”
National Pen continues to celebrate the successes and hard work of all the women who continue to promote our core values, every day at every level in our company globally.