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From InTouch Magazine Winter 2018 Issue

SARAH MILLER

Sales and Marketing Manager, Vistar

BA in Marketing and Management
ELN Member, ELN Steering Committee Member


How did you begin your career?
I began my career in distribution for com data supply, after realizing I was not passionate about that industry I began looking for something new. Through different sales and project management roles I began working with a company and managing their micro kitchen. Soon after that I began my career with Vistar.

What are the skills you use most in your career?
Interpersonal skills have been critical. Being able to form relationships and communicate between several different groups of people has been necessary. I use several business analysis skills in my position, but having integrity and the ability to problem solve along with eagerness to learn, have elevated me to the next level.

How did you get into the convenience services industry?
With previous food industry experience, project management background and sales; I was asked to manage my company’s micro kitchen. I was brought on by Vistar specifically for our Good to Go Program in 2015.

Give us an overview of your role and key responsibilities.
I manage our ‘Better for You’ items across candy, snack and beverage. I work directly with suppliers, customers and internal employees to help them understand the overall category and our Vistar capabilities.

What does an average day for you involve?
My days vary, when I am not attending a tradeshow or visiting a customer I am working with a customer to help them put together a ‘Better for You’ set, working with a supplier to become Vistar-approved or working with our distribution centers to help promote these BFY items.

What do you believe are the biggest challenges you face in your business?
With more and more millennials joining the workforce, they are challenging the traditional landscape that generations before us are used to. This demand for change presents a lot of hurdles and roadblock to overcome, both on the selling side and the merchant side. Having to change and adjust to this new consumer has been the biggest challenge I have had to face within the overall business.

What are the greatest opportunities?
With the changes that millennials are bringing to this industry within technology and SKU assortment, it opens up so many opportunities for growth. We have already started to see the boom in e-commerce, which I believe will only continue to grow.

Moving forward, what are your personal/professional goals?
Personally, we are expanding our family; due early March 2018. I am excited for the new joys of motherhood. Professionally, I am looking forward to expanding my career into more segments of our business. I am excited to have opportunities to grow and expand my knowledge of the industry.

Tell us about the most memorable work experience you’ve had.
Being able to become an expert in the BFY category and present to my entire company must be one of the highlights of my career. I have enjoyed being able to lead us in this direction, a topic I am personally very passionate about.

What advice would you offer young people starting their careers in this industry?
This industry is constantly changing, especially now with the millennial and Gen Z coming into the workforce. Make sure you are understanding trends and what the data is showing.

As an ELN Steering Committee member, in your own words, what is the value of participating in group?
In my short time as an ELN Steering Committee member I have already learned so much and met so many new people within the industry. Forming these relationships has been the best part. I oversee Education and Research, working directly with NAMA on The NAMA Show and CTW to create educational seminars to help educate the industry on what changes we’re seeing. The experience has been invaluable.