A Chat With January’s Profile, Ann Killeen, General Manager of Montessori Services
CS: Have you had any mentors in the catalog industry?
AK: The first was Estelle DeMuesy from Storybook Heirlooms. Estelle really helped me to develop as a manager. She mentored me along as a manager, but she helped me see how I could develop people who worked for me. Really my role as a supervisor is to make the people who report to me successful. That’s how I can see myself as successful, if I can make them be successful. I really liked that lesson. Another person is Jerry Machado, who started Storybook Heirlooms. He really taught me to try to focus on the things that could make a difference. One of the things that he would say is, ‘OK is that interesting information or is that information that’s going to help us change the business? And if it’s only interesting, then you don’t really spend your time on it. But if it’s really something that can help you change the business, then you focus on it.’ He also taught me that sometimes you have to spend money to make money. Really to go through and look at whether you could cost-justify something. So sometimes even a small cost isn’t worth doing because it doesn’t pay off, or sometimes you could make a big expenditure because you could see that there would be a big benefit. The third person I wanted to mention is Mark Swedlund. Mark was my supervisor at Real Goods. He really gave me the opportunity, as did Estelle, to do new things and take on new opportunities. He supported me through that and sort of it made it seem like, ‘OK, you can do this. Just take the next stop, it’s not that different.’
CS: What are your hobbies?
AK: I like to spend time with my family, but I’ve also trained in martial arts for 30 years. I have three black belts and I still teach arnis, which is a kind of Filipino stick-fighting.