Growth: Katie’s Story

Sales is tough, and quite frankly – not everyone is able to set aside the rejection and find success. Here at Bridge, we know that sales is a marathon (not a sprint), which is why we have a 15-month development program for our new sales hires. Our process involves operations training, sales training, being placed on our development team, participating in weekly checkpoints, and then graduating to our mid-level sales team. At the mid-level team, you’ll be placed on straight commission, and you’ll get a full-time operations assistant to help you manage your customer base. It’s a hard path to get there though. Our development process, while clearly laid out, is not easy.

 

 

That’s why when we do have someone that graduates the program and comes out on top, we celebrate. And we celebrate big.

Meet Katie Kaczmarek: our latest team member to complete our development program. Katie started with us in January 2018 after years working in the retail industry. She was looking for a change and a place where she could have a more regular schedule, and thankfully, our president happened to be one of her retail customers who suggested she come interview with us.

And as they say, the rest is history.

It hasn’t been an easy road over these last 15 months, but Katie has fought hard to build her own client base and establish herself as a freight broker. Now she’s on our mid-level sales team where she’s on straight commission and has additional operations support to help her manage her customers.

We threw Katie a party at the end of April to celebrate. Watch this video to hear more about Katie’s journey!

When we were deciding what we should do for Katie’s party, we wanted to make it extra special and personalized to her. Katie loves Paris, so we threw a Paris-themed party, complete with a champagne toast, macarons, and charcuterie boards! Everyone on our team wrote Katie a handwritten congratulatory note as well that we presented to her.

We’re so proud of Katie and the example she’s setting for the new hires following in her footsteps!


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Development

Being Authentically YOU at Work

There’s a quote by Simon Sinek that says “If you’re different at work than you are at home, in one of those two places you’re lying.” And we couldn’t agree more!

It’s so important to work in a place that allows you to completely be yourself at work. It takes a lot of energy to be someone different, and while this might be okay in the short-term, it’s definitely not going to be sustainable in the long-term. You’re going to get worn down eventually and start looking for a different role.

Now, of course every single position is going to require stepping out of your comfort zone from time-to-time. That’s how we grow. We’re not talking about making yourself uncomfortable in order to be better. We’re talking about if you change your personality while you’re at work. You should never have to change who you are, especially when you spend so much of your time at work.

First off, how do you go about making sure when you’re searching for a new job that the environment is going to allow you to be yourself and thrive?

You have to really pay attention during the interview process, while also taking a deep dive into yourself. If you’re an extrovert who gets energy by being around people, maybe you shouldn’t work in a place that has high cubicle walls and doesn’t promote collaboration. If you’re a person that does your best work in an uninterrupted routine, don’t take a job that involves a lot of varied schedules and last-minute changes in plan.

You’re able to truly be yourself when you’re in an environment that aligns with your natural tendencies. So first, you have to determine what environment you thrive in, and then search for that fit in the interview process. Ask questions of the interviewer(s) that will help you qualify the opportunity to see if it aligns.

So then, what do you do if you’re currently in a role where you don’t feel comfortable being yourself?

You need to start by determining if the problem is internal or external. Are you concerned that your coworkers will think you’re weird? Are you worried that asking for some schedule flexibility in order to take your kids to school will make you appear not fully invested in your job? Are you stressed that being direct with a coworker will cause them to gossip about you at the water cooler? All of these scenarios are centered on being concerned about how SOMEONE ELSE perceives you. If you’re afraid to be yourself because of how someone else is going to judge you, there’s not a problem with the job or environment – you need to take a deep look inside yourself because you’re letting other people’s possible opinions of you affect how you live your life.

But maybe you can’t be yourself at work, not because of your own lack of confidence, but because of the inherent environment. If the role or company culture simply doesn’t allow you to do your best work, then there’s a problem with the job itself and it might be time to look for a new opportunity.

At the end of the day, we’re able to be authentically ourselves no matter where we are when we’re in an environment that supports our natural personality and when we stop caring about other people’s opinions and perceptions. If you’re able to find the self-confidence to be who you are meant to be, while also being in a work environment that enhances that, you’ll never have a problem with showing up as anyone less than yourself.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

Meet Stan: Most Supportive Team Member

We’re launching a new monthly spotlight here at Bridge aimed at recognizing our team members, and we’re so excited about it!

For this first feature, we asked our team to nominate who they felt best represented most supportive team member. We asked them to think about who has gone above and beyond to help out, has been flexible when needed, and has remained positive when things haven’t been going right.

While we have a lot of supportive team members, Stan Kasmer won for most supportive! Stan works in our House Team, which is the initial landing spot for new hires to learn the business. He joined us in March 2018 from the retail industry. He lends support in our operations and compliance departments, while also helping new hires get acclimated to Bridge. We’re so thankful to have Stan on our team!

We asked Stan some questions to get to know him better – read on to learn more about Stan!

Q: How has Bridge helped you in your career development?

A: Bridge has given me a completely different field from what I was accustomed to, helping me to enhance my teamwork, communications, and multitasking skills.

Q: Tell us about your role at Bridge.

A: My role is operations support and compliance. My day consists of handling my team’s shipments by booking carriers and following up with them through delivery, while also setting pick-up and delivery appointments. I help review and set up new carriers as well.

Q: What do you find is the most challenging part of your role?

A: The most challenging part of my role would be multitasking. You have to be able to do multiple things at once – from sending emails, to updating carriers, to answering the phone – all at the same time.

 

Q: What’s something you love to do outside of work?

A: One of my favorite things to do outside of work is working on my house and in my yard.

Q: What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

A: I enjoy most aspects of my job, especially when we exceed our goals of moving freight.

Q: Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?

A: The best place I’ve gone is Jamaica – mostly because it was my first trip with just friends!

Q: What piece of advice would you give to someone starting in this industry?

A: Make sure that you are ready to learn and that you’re a team player.

Q: What are you currently watching on Netflix?

A: I have a bad habit of watching multiple series at the same time, so I’m currently in the middle of 4 shows!

Q: What’s something that most people don’t know about you?

A: I am a big history guy and love to watch, read, and see anything that pertains to ancient history.

Q: What is your favorite Bridge memory?

A: The most recent would be the chili cookoff and winning the cornbread competition.

Our team members are what sets us apart from other companies, and we’re lucky to have such supportive people like Stan working with us!


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

3 Ways to Master Sales

Sales is a tough position to be in. Quite frankly, it’s a profession that isn’t for everyone. It can often involve a fair amount of interactions with rude people, and it comes with a lot of rejection. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in – sales is hard across the board. With the hard work comes the opportunity to build a successful career and earn a sizable income though. Commission is scary for some people, but for those who are passionate about sales, it’s the biggest motivator because you’re able to give yourself a raise at any time.

How can you better yourself as a sales representative? While some of these might be easier said than done, if you can master each of these, you’re well on your way to being more effective in sales.

1. Be Resilient

Resiliency is defined as the ability “to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” You have to be able to bounce back quickly in sales. If every hang up, door slam, or “no” affects you personally, you’re never going to be successful in sales. You have to plow through the rejection, and too often, people think they’ll be able to easily do this when in reality – it’s not always that simple. You have to give yourself permission to not care about what other people think of you.

2. Don’t let Fear Run Your Life

A big part of sales involves taking risks and not letting fear step in and control your actions. You’re never going to be fearless all the time (no one is!), but you can’t let that stop you. If you take a risk in an attempt to land a new client, sure – it might not pay off, and you might lose that opportunity. But are you in any worse of a position if that happens than you currently are? Absolutely not. Now you know that client is a dead-end, and you can focus your attention on something that might actually pan out. If you live in fear, nothing is ever going to change, and you’re probably not going to get any new clients. Sometimes you have to risk a lot for the potential of a high reward.

3. Go for It – Ask for What You Want

Imagine this scenario: you find a great prospect, reach out to them, and start having a great conversation. You find out that they are having problems with their current vendor that you might be able to help them with. Things are going well, but they aren’t initiating the conversations, and you’re afraid to rock the boat by asking about next steps. So you just kind of remain in limbo with them, and you don’t end up moving forward.

This is honestly a pretty common scenario within the sales cycle. Sales representatives get through to the end of the sale but then don’t want to screw up all the work they’ve put in, so they don’t close the sale by asking for it. The irony of this situation is that by being afraid of messing up in the last step (and therefore not doing anything), they are sealing their fate that they aren’t going to make the sale.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

The #1 Job Search Tip

Looking for a new job is insanely stressful. Where do you look? How do you find that right next opportunity? If you’re looking for a new job, there is one thing that you should absolutely do, and it takes only a few minutes.

You need to mark yourself as “Open to Opportunities” on LinkedIn if you are looking for a new job.

First off, how do you make this change on your profile? You’ll want to go to your Account Settings & Privacy.

Next, you’ll go to Job seeking preferences and switch on the “Let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities.”

From here, there’s some additional information you can enter for recruiters to see. This will give them a better idea of what you’re looking for. To do this, go to the Jobs tab and select Career interests.

This opens up a page of information for you to fill out. You don’t have to fill out everything, but anything you add will be seen by recruiters looking at your profile. You can add a personalized note, status of your job search, job titles, locations, types of roles, industries, and company sizes that you prefer. If you’re not looking for something specific in one of those categories, leave it blank. But if you know you’re only open to full-time sales roles in Cincinnati with small companies, then put those filters in place.

So now that you’ve posted you’re “Open to Opportunities”, what do recruiters see?

Marking yourself as open remains confidential to everyone (including anyone at your current company). The only people who will be able to see any of the information you filled out are recruiters who have partnered with LinkedIn. Companies have the option to join a recruiting partnership with LinkedIn, and when they do so, the recruiters on their teams get access to a whole separate platform in LinkedIn. They view profiles through LinkedIn Recruiter where they can see that you’re open to talking with them.

When recruiters are searching for individuals that might be a good fit for one of their roles, they are going to look first at those who are open to new opportunities. It’s going to be more likely for them to recruit someone who is already looking for a new job than someone who is completely happy in their current role. This is why it’s so important to mark yourself as open! Sure, you might get some InMails for jobs that you aren’t remotely interested in, but you just might get one that does align with what you’re looking for.

If you’re in the job market, it doesn’t hurt to open yourself to every option, and marking yourself “Open to Opportunities” on LinkedIn is one of the easiest ways to do this.

So if you’re looking for a new job right now, make sure you open yourself up on LinkedIn!


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

4 Simple Ways to Improve Your Work Day

According to Business Insider, the average American adult will spend 90,000 hours of their lifetime at work. How can you make the most of all that time in the office? Here’s 4 super simple ways to improve your work day.

1. Set a Plan First Thing

When you get into work, the best way to start your day is by setting a game plan. What do you need to accomplish today? What would you like to accomplish today? If you just blindly go through your day without a plan, odds are inefficiencies are going to creep in. You’re going to end up not finishing everything you wanted to. Having a plan will keep you on task throughout the day as well. When you finish one task, you already know what you need to get started on next, rather than being tempted to waste time because you don’t have your next priority figured out.

2. Go Old Fashioned (Pen & Paper for the Win!)

Not only should you organize your day, but you should do it with old fashioned pen and paper. According to The Startup, “physically written lists take the tasks into the real world making it no longer a task to rely on your memory and allow you to actually work on accomplishing the items on the list.” Having the written list in front of you at all times will help you stay on task and prioritize what needs to be done next. Plus it feel really good to physically cross off an item after you complete it.

3. Have an Inspirational Work Desk

You’re spending a lot of time at work, and most likely – a majority of those hours are spent at your desk staring at a computer screen. You should do your best to surround yourself in an inspiring environment! Put up pictures of friends and family that inspire you. Are you working towards a goal? Put a picture representing that goal up at your desk so you are reminded of it every day. Post up motivational quotes. You should be happy when you sit down at your desk – after all, you’re spending a lot of time sitting there. You might as well enjoy it.

4. Leave Your Desk Clean at the End of the Day

You know how you’ve heard all the benefits of making your bed each morning? Well, leaving a clean desk at the end of the day is the same idea. When you leave your desk organized and tidy before you leave the office, you come in the next morning to an uncluttered desk. You can begin the day with a fresh start.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

So What’s the Deal with Cover Letters?

A cover letter serves as an addition to your resume to help explain why you feel like you would be a great candidate for the role. But what should it include? Is it necessary at all times? Are recruiters even going to read it?

Here’s our fool-proof guide to cover letters….

Cover letters are not necessary in every situation.

Your resume is going to explain what you’ve done and the accomplishments you’ve achieved. A cover letter should not reiterate what’s on your resume. It can be a great tool in certain instances though.

If you are applying for a role in a city other than the one you currently live in, attach a cover letter to your resume and explain that you understand you’re living elsewhere but that you’re really interested in relocating. Oftentimes, if you are living in a different city, a recruiter is going to be skeptical about whether it will end up working out. If you explain your intention to relocate, you’ll increase your chances of getting a follow-up interview.

If you are applying for a role that you aren’t completely qualified for, attach a cover letter to your resume and explain what you can bring to a role and how you feel like you could learn the other areas that you may not have experience in. You may increase your chances of hearing back.

If you have gaps in your resume, attach a cover letter to your resume and explain the reasons behind them. Large gaps can be a red flag to an employer that you aren’t a serious candidate. However, if you can explain that the gap was due to raising kids, taking care of a family issue, etc. it will help the recruiter better understand your situation.

Cover letters should be personalized to the specific position you’re applying for. Recruiters are going to look at them, but they’ll probably stop reading if they realize it’s a canned letter.

A generic letter saying you’re going to work hard and are excited for any new opportunities is quite frankly a waste of time. Anyone can type this up in a letter, and a recruiter isn’t going to end up spending the time reading it. Either make it count by having a letter that is very specific to that particular role – or just skip it in general.

The absolute worst thing you can do is apply with a cover letter catered to a completely different role and company.

Always double check when you’re applying for a position that if you’ve written a custom cover letter, you’re submitting the correct one! Nothing will get you thrown into the no pile faster than having an attached cover letter to the entirely wrong company. This is a red flag that you’re not detail oriented.

So at the end of the day, a cover letter can be a great addition to further explain something on your resume that a recruiter may pass over you for, but if you don’t have something specific to explain, just skip it entirely. Most applications come without a cover letter, so it’s definitely not necessary in every situation.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

Growth 2018

 

As 2018 comes to a close, we take a look back at this past year. We’ve had highs and lows. We’ve seen people come and go this year. But we’ve grown.

And we could look at how we’ve grown in terms of revenue, profits, or employment numbers. But is growth always measurable? This quote we saw the other day really sums up 2018 in a much better way…

“Sometimes growth isn’t measured in numbers, figures, and metrics. Sometimes it’s measured in things like: confidence, identity, relationships, purpose, quality time, passion, resiliency. When you look at where you’ve gone this year, don’t just look at numbers, look at how you FEEL, how you LIVED, how you SURVIVED and OVERCAME.”

To prove this point, we turned to some of our team members and asked them the question, “If you had to describe how you’ve grown this year, what would you say?”

Here’s just a few of the responses…..

Not a single one of the responses had to do with increasing numbers or metrics – proving that growth isn’t always quantifiable. Growth in terms of learning, building confidence, and developing relationships is what you remember at the end of the year – not whether you hit that margin goal back in January.

We’ll continue to focus on personal growth above numerical growth in 2019. How have you grown this year?


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

Giving Back

A lot of people talk about how culture is built with coworkers over happy hours and ping pong tournaments, but that really isn’t true. Culture is built in the everyday – when coworkers support each other, and also when they give back together.

Our team had the opportunity to volunteer with the Ronald McDonald House here in Cincinnati last week, preparing a meal for the families staying at the house.

The Ronald McDonald House gives families with children attending Cincinnati Children’s Hospital a place to stay – free of charge. No family is ever turned away because they can’t afford to stay. It really gives these families an incredible peace of mind because they don’t have to worry about finding somewhere to stay or knowing where their next meal is coming from.

Our team got a tour of the house and then got to work preparing dinner.

The menu is planned out ahead of time, and a sous chef helps you through the process of pulling everything together. We were shown how to prepare different foods that we may not have cooked or cut ourselves before. We then served the families, enjoyed the food ourselves, and cleaned up the kitchen afterwards.

 

It was such a great experience to interact with the families and see the direct impact that you were able to have. Being able to prepare the meal alongside your work team while getting to know them on a deeper level just added to the experience.

What are you doing this holiday season to give back?


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

6 Things We’re Thankful For

As we enter the holiday season, we’re reminded to take a pause and think about the things we’re thankful for and the things that truly matter. This year, we have many things to be grateful for – as we’ve continued our trend of another record year. We’re ending 2018 with our highest year of revenue and the most full-time employees on our team that we’ve ever had.

We’re especially thankful for….

1. Our Team

Any organization is really only as strong as the people that make up the team. We work every day to make sure we’re inviting the right people to join our team and take us to the next level. Two of our Elite Logistics Advisors made company history by reaching 6-figure margin months this year. They didn’t do it alone though – they had operational support from their direct team (which grew this year due to their success), encouragement from the rest of the Bridge family, and assistance invoicing those shipments from our billing department. You can’t succeed here alone – it takes a tribe. Thankfully, our team members are always willing to help and support each other during both the wins and the losses.

2. Our Customers

Building relationships is at the forefront of everything we do – but that doesn’t just end with our team. We pride ourselves on building relationships with our customers as well – relationships built on a mutual level of respect. We communicate with our customers not just when things are going good. Anyone can do this job when things are going well, but how we handle the difficult situations is really what sets us apart.

3. Carriers & Drivers

Being a broker, we couldn’t do what we do without the carriers and drivers who physically haul our customers’ freight. We put guidelines in place to make sure we’re loading high quality carriers, and our relationship with them is just as important as the relationship we have with our customers. We have carriers that we’ve worked with for years who are familiar with our business and love to haul our loads because they know we are also going to treat them with respect and communicate with them even when something is going wrong.

4. Cincinnati, OH

We’re also thankful for the city that our headquarters – and most of our team – call home! Cincinnati is #2 on Smart Asset’s Top Cities for College Grads, #10 on Livability’s Best Affordable Places to Live, and #9 on Forbes’s Best Cities for Raising a Family. We’re thankful for everything the city has to offer while still being an affordable place to live.

5. Mansfield, OH

In addition to Cincinnati, we’re also thankful for the city of Mansfield, OH – which is home to our second location. Mansfield really embodies a small, Midwestern town. The downtown streets are paved with brick, the bartender at the local brewery is going to get to know you on a first name basis, and it’s an extremely affordable city not far from both Columbus and Cleveland.

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6. Growth

We are always focused on growth. And while financial growth is clearly important, it’s not the only thing we focus on. We want our team members to grow – both professionally and personally. We do this by learning about the personal goals our team members have, and then aligning them with their work goals so they’re able to achieve everything they want. We also want our team to grow and expand by inviting additional top talent to join us. We find that when we focus on building up our team, financial growth naturally follows.

We’re looking forward to an exciting end to 2018 that will continue to focus on the things we’re thankful for. What are you most grateful for this holiday season?


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Development