We’re thankful that so many customers use commonsku as the platform to power their business and many of you have asked about our team so, we thought we would share more about the people behind the platform!Sam Kates is a sales powerhouse with energy and enthusiasm that few can match! As resilient in life as she is in sales, Sam has quickly led commonsku into record sales growth and has a knack for pushing (and pulling!) people around her to achieve greatness. Read her story below and you'll discover what makes this dynamo tick!
How did your childhood home help shape your worldview?I lost my dad at five and was essentially orphaned by the time I was fifteen. I lived with friends and their families for several years until I went to college. Having had a lot of loss and hardship at a young age, I can handle more stress than most and can put bad days in perspective. I was lucky to be taken in by some great people and exposed to different family units which gave me a blueprint for the kind of businesswoman and parent I wanted to be. Exposure to hardship (hopefully not too extreme) can be beneficial; it allows you to reach deeper inside yourself for strength, you can go through tough times more easily and rebound.
Where have you traveled? What was your favorite trip?Traveling is how I would spend all my free time if I could. My favorite places in the US are California and the Oregon coast. Domestically, I have been just about everywhere. Except for Canada, Israel, and the Caribbean, I never traveled too far until last year, when I decided that for my 40th, I would go to Paris. I originally planned to go alone, but four days before my departure, my best friend called and asked if she could join, it was one of the best weeks of my life! Best friends since we were five, we traveled well together (doesn't hurt that she speaks French!), everything was easy and wonderful. We walked over 10 miles each day without much of an agenda. We kept it low-key, avoided the big tourist attractions, and immersed ourselves in French culture. A week of amazing food, art, and walking was a dream vacation. Our mission was to find the best croissant in the city … We succeeded many times over.
What is your role at commonsku?VP of Sales. I love working with an aggressive, entrepreneurial company who is not afraid to try new things. Everyone is invested in success and they work hard, they are there for you when things don’t go right, too!
What project are you most proud of that you have worked on for commonsku?Marketing and enhancing our supplier products. Having been on the supplier side, I know first hand how hard it is to ferret out real opportunities and maximize the reps’ time to the fullest. There are a lot of demands on our supplier friends, only commonsku provides a transparent and authentic way to connect distributors to suppliers, where and when it matters most.
What do you enjoy doing when not at work?My kids would say my hobby is work! (You know you love what you do when you spend your free time doing it). Aside from work, I love to cook and bake. I find it relaxing. I test recipes and make huge messes in the kitchen (I was never good at the cleaning-while-you-go thing!) I love spin classes, listening to podcasts, hanging out with my kids, and am only slightly obsessed with my 80lb Goldendoodle, Emmett.
Why do you love to cook?My mom was not very domestic. She owned several businesses and was rarely home when I was younger. However, our family put a lot of care, time, and emphasis on food. My favorite memories are the meals and recipes my grandmother would make and the feeling of family around them. Since I was an only child and home alone a lot, I taught myself how to cook at a very young age. (A great hobby when you have a bit of ADD - it can keep you occupied for hours!) I later owned a business in the food industry and found that preparing and feeding others was one of the most gratifying experiences for me. We eat as a family every night, always have, this was not something I had growing up. Having a good meal with everyone around the table is important to me. Plus, I learned, as a parent, you get the real inside scoop from your kids around the dinner table.
Do you have a favorite meal?I have eaten in some of the best restaurants in the US. Four waiters, thirteen courses (looking at you, French Laundry). But I would trade all that for simple meals:
- a sandwich from Paseo in Seattle (about the shackiest place you can imagine)
- a 2-Euro Burre Sucre crepe on the Champs Elysees
- my grandmother's Chicken Fricassee (standing over her stove with Challah in hand)
- Dim Sum at 11:30 at night with my kids after a Broadway show in NYC
- Hattie B’s Hot Chicken in Nashville
- or my absolute fave, Hummus from Dizengoff (Go - trust me!)