A Chat With Sue Landay, President, Trainer’s Warehouse
CS: So your father is still involved in the business?
SL: Yes, very much so.
CS: When did you take over as president?
SL: That was 2002.
CS: What was your biggest challenge when you first came on board?
SL: There were a couple of challenges. We were doing duplicate entry for orders and names in our database. One of the challenges was trying to select a software program that would eliminate that duplicate entry process and enable us to collect data about customer purchasing habits. We had been using an accounting software that basically was just for accounting, but we had used it for order-taking. And there was a Q&A software that really was just for a names database. That was the first real challenge when I came in. We fairly quickly made that change, probably in 1998 or so. We moved to Mail Order Manager software, and it’s been something that allowed us to grow.
There were other innumerable challenges along the way. I was thinking about the change in my title, too, and what that meant. We’re not that big on titles here. When I became president, my dad became chairman of the board. While our roles did continue to evolve and to grow, but the way those roles grew was related to what other employees came on board and how we could use them. Early in the company’s history I might have been doing everything, such as square inch reports, writing copy, overseeing design, list rental, overseeing customer service staff and HR, financial analysis, the whole thing. But as I became president, I said that since we have more people here, I can start delegating these things. But the first question that came to mind after that was if I delegate everything, which probably is what I should do, then what do I do? That was an early challenge in taking over the helm. I quickly found that in delegating those responsibilities, I was able to take on an oversight and leadership role and make sure that things were moving forward. I was able to do more because I wasn’t bogged down by the day-to-day tasks. I didn’t have to do it myself anymore. I was able to guide growth and all of the activity.