Erin Mercolino

This entry is part 36 of 69 in the series

Erin Mercolino, J. PolepErin Mercolino

J. Polep Distribution Services
Director of Specialty Foods Division

Years with company:  5.5 Years


Education degrees and professional/volunteer organizations:

  • Antioch University/Santa Barbara, CA
  • Santa Barbara City College/Communication
  • Volunteer/Taste of the Town, Santa Barbara, CA (1998-2002)
  • Volunteer/Hyannis Chamber of Commerce 2004-2006
  • Volunteer/Main Street Business Improvement Team (Hyannis, MA) 2004-2006
  • Volunteer/Hyannis Christmas Stroll (2005-2006)

Mentors and how have they assisted you in your career:
Undoubtedly my first mentors were my mother and father.  A strong work ethic, high moral values and taking pride in my work were focuses throughout my childhood and young adult life.  My most prominent professional mentor is Kenny Morse, executive VP at J. Polep.  Kenny has a zest for creativity and thinking outside of the box.  He is a very non-traditional leader with traditional values.  I have been able to learn so many valuable lessons from Kenny not only about my career and professional growth but about life and the need to never stop challenging yourself.

What are you most proud of in your career achievements? Do you have a defining moment of your career to date?
I am most proud of the relationships that I have built throughout the past 5.5 years in this industry.  I feel that these relationships have assisted in my growth and have allowed me to thrive and evolve professionally throughout all aspects of the C-Store distribution channel.  I have developed valuable friendships with my customer base, my vendors, J. Polep team members and even our competition.  I feel that each one of these relationships has further enhanced my success.  In developing a strong team of Retail and Food Service Specialists, we have been able to propel these divisions into the fastest growing channel at J. Polep.   We as a company have broken barriers and have become a hybrid distributor in our industry.  I am extremely proud to be an integral part of this growth.

Most challenging part of your job:
Being in a sales position is a 24-hour/7-day-a-week position.  I find it challenging to know when to “turn it off.”  It can be particularly challenging to make sure that I am taking the time for myself and replenishing my resources.

Advice for upcoming younger executives:
Network, network, network!  I have learned to never underestimate anyone in business, today’s dishwasher is tomorrow’s buyer.  In any aspect of business, building strong relationships is a must.  Be true to your clients, your company and yourself and you will build lasting business relationships.  Always, if you have the option, go the extra mile, it will pay off.

Cooking, hiking, arts and crafts, yoga.