Meet Brian: Teammate with the Most Hustle

It’s our third monthly spotlight, and we love how we’ve been able to recognize different team members so far! In April, we recognized Stan Kasmer as our Most Supportive Team Member. In May, we recognized Kenya Tabler as our Rookie MVP.

This month we chose our theme to be MOST HUSTLE. We asked our team to think about who works hard every day, never stops striving to be better, and has a relentless pursuit to win. We were blown away by all the positive things written about various members of our team, but one individual stood out among the rest.

These are just a few of the responses we received about our winner: “He is the golden standard for success at Bridge”, “Brian’s hustle is an example for all new aspiring team members to both admire and follow”, and “His sense of urgency is unprecedented”.

So while our team is made up of hard work and hustle, no one displays this more than Brian Soloria! Brian has been with us for 12 years, working his way from operations support to our top sales representative. Brian now oversees a team of three that helps him manage his business.

We asked Brian a few questions to get to know him better. Keep reading to learn more about our teammate with the most hustle!

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

A: Support from my coworkers. This is a high pressure and extremely stressful job, and the guys who are on my team are a great support system.

Q: Tell us about your role at Bridge.

A: Logistics sales coordinator. We build genuine relationships with customers and carriers to find the most cost effective transportation solutions.

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

A: Dealing with work/life balance. The job is extremely stressful and demanding, so finding that time to disconnect from work.

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

A: Spend time with my wife and 4 kids.

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

A: My relationships with my coworkers during the grind.

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

A: Punta Cana – it was amazing to get away for a week and spend some quality time with just my wife.

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

A: Be prepared to deal with things that are out of your control. Trucks are going to breakdown and loads are going to pick up and deliver late. You are going to be dealing with issues that you will have to explain and come up with the best solutions for your customers.

Q: What are you currently watching on Netflix?

A: Black Summer

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

A: I enjoy Jiu-Jitsu during my free time.

Q: What is your favorite Bridge memory?

A: Bridge took the entire company to the Kenny Chesney concert. I am not a big country fan, but it was great to spend time with everyone from work outside of the office.

We’re so thankful for all the hard work Brian has put in these last 12 years (he currently holds the record for the highest sales revenue month!), and we can’t wait to see what else he’s able to accomplish here!


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

The Power of Internships

When I was in college, I had no idea what I wanted to after graduation. I changed my major a year in, and even then, was still not really sure what I was going to do with an Operations Management degree.

One thing I did know for sure was that I was going to do several co-ops to test out different roles and work environments. I figured if there was a way to determine what I wanted to do, testing out some options was going to be the best route. My dad still works for the company he co-oped with in college, so I assumed that internships would do nothing but help me.

I think I was unprepared though for just how great of an experience my co-op rotations would be. I was lucky enough to find Bridge Logistics on my first rotation, and even though I had thought I’d work at several companies, I’m still here over four years later.

I started with Bridge as an operations co-op. I worked with several of our sales reps helping to find carriers to move our customers’ shipments. I gained a lot of extremely valuable experience – learning how to interact with customers, remain professional at all times (even in a sometimes unprofessional industry), and build relationships in business. It was a great experience, but it also showed me that I didn’t see a long-term fit for me in that role or within sales.

Even though I didn’t want to stay within the department that I co-oped in, that position helped me get my next role. I was given the opportunity to develop our operational onboarding program because of the work I had done in my initial co-op rotations. Then, I was able to transition into my current role of recruiting and hiring because of the experience I had training. But it all came back to the initial work I had put in while interning.

I can confidently say that I am where I am now because of my internship experience. It helped me determine a path that I don’t think I would have been able to find just in the classroom. It’s hard to really know if you’re going to like something until you do it day in and day out. That’s why internships are such a great thing!

Even if you absolutely hate your internship, it’s only for a few months and then you never have to go back if you don’t want to. You’ll then have an idea of what you don’t like so you can avoid those elements in your next role.

Work hard even if you realize the role won’t be a long-term fit for you.

Any internship can give you a better perspective on the work environment that you like best. Do you prefer an open office layout or high cube walls with more privacy? Do you like working for a small company where you know everyone or do you prefer a large corporation with brand recognition? Are you okay with a job that doesn’t have remote capabilities or do you need more flexibility? These are all valuable things you can determine regardless of your job title.

Start building a list of what you like and don’t like about your internship roles, so you can have a better sense of direction for your next position.

Find an internship that you think will give you real-world experience (not just running around getting coffee for people), and then work extremely hard while you’re there. Even if you don’t see a long-term fit in that role or company, you never know who might be able to make connections for you in the future. One of your coworkers could end up at a different company down the line and recommend you for an open position. In an internship, you should make every effort to build relationships across the company.

Make relationships outside of your immediate department to set yourself both apart and up for future success.

From my own personal experience, I know finding a job after graduation would have been much harder without my internships. I can’t talk enough about how valuable they are. Worst case scenario, you find out what you don’t like in a role. Best case scenario, you find the company where you want to start your career like I did.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

*Interested in applying for one of our internship roles? Submit an application here!*

Meet Kenya: Rookie MVP

We’re loving our new monthly spotlight feature that allows us to recognize the amazing people we have on our team! Last month, Stan was chosen as our Most Supportive Team Member (read more here!), and this month’s theme was Rookie MVP.

We asked our team to think about those individuals who have joined our team so far in 2019, and submit nominations for who they felt has taken to this business quickly, has been very willing to learn, and has supported their team from Day 1. While we’ve had some great new hires join us this year, Kenya Tabler was selected as our Rookie MVP! Here’s just a few of the things our team had to say about Kenya: “an asset from day one,” “always a team player,” “persistent dedication to improving,” and “fits in really well with our Bridge family.”

Kenya started with us in February, and she works on one of our top producing sales teams in our operations department. We’re so thankful that she’s a part of our family, and we can’t wait to see the impact Kenya will continue to have at Bridge Logistics!

We caught up with Kenya – keep reading to learn more about our Rookie MVP!

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

A: Being a part of the Bridge team has helped me increase my performance metrics, as well as my communication skills.

Q: Tell us about your role at Bridge.

A: As part of the operations team here at Bridge, some of my responsibilities include check calling carriers and negotiating rates with carriers in order to move freight.

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

A: Making sure carriers are where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be there.

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

A: Spend a day at the park with my family!

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

A: The people!

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

A: Florida because of the weather and beaches.

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

A: Come in with an open mind and be ready to learn.

Q: What are you currently watching on Netflix?

A: Homecoming – A film by Beyonce

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

A: I LOVE to dance, and I used to play the drums.

Q: What is your favorite Bridge memory?

A: Being a judge for the chili cook-off was not only delicious, but it was so much fun as well.

We can’t wait to see what Kenya is able to accomplish in the future here at Bridge!


By: Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

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