Hi there, I'm Jill Stirnkorb, VP Sales-South Region, for Koozie Group. This year marks my 31st year with Koozie Group, formerly BIC Graphic. And here we are in this very “virtual everything” world. Well that is not the way my career started. I can remember the day I opened the Sunday edition Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper and searched for the “Classified Ads”. My eyes quickly went to a logo that I recognized, the BIC® logo. And the local sales position sounded like something I wanted to know more about. So I put some nice linen paper in my Smith Corona typewriter and typed up a cover letter to mail with my resume. And into the mailbox it went.
Next on the list was a trip to the library to do some research on BIC® so that I could be prepared for an interview, should they call me. At the library I searched on microfiche to locate any information about BIC® that I could find. Microfiche, for those of you who don’t know, is a sheet of photographic film that stores small images of documents to save space. Then I made my way to the microfiche reading room and I scrolled and read and only found a couple of articles about BIC®. One was in regards to BIC® lighters and the other was about shavers. But really nothing about the pens that the job posting was eluding to.
A few days later I received a phone call that I was selected for an interview. I got out my padfolio, a fresh copy of my resume and a BIC® pen. Then put on a two-piece suit and off I went. The interview was at one of the airport hotels. When I got there, I was instructed to wait in the lobby until someone came to get me. A woman approached me and asked if I was Jill, and off we went. When we got to the hotel room there was a bit of commotion going on. But whatever, we started the interview. During the entire time, hotel staff was at the door, the room phone was ringing and the gentleman who was also part of the interview was up and down. I had no idea if they heard anything that I said or how it went overall. I left the interview scratching my head as it was such an odd experience. Several days later I got a phone call for a second interview. Upon arriving, I explained that I was so glad to get another opportunity since the last time was so unknown. They quickly apologized and explained that gentleman had sat down in a chair for the interview prior to mine, and the wooden arms had just been polished with dark brown furniture polish, and yes, it was all over his brand new khaki color Italian suit.
The second interview went great and two weeks later I received a phone call with the job offer as Assistant Account Manager. My new boss told me that I was the only candidate that had done any prior research about BIC. And amidst all of the distractions I had kept my composure and carried on with the interview as if nothing was happening around me.
Roll forward twenty years later and I receive a phone call to fly down to BIC Graphic Corporate Headquarters. Anxious and excited at the same time, I pack my overnight bag. I was told to come dressed in professional attire, bring something for dinner and one-night stay. I was only going to be there for just shy of 24 hours. I left for the airport in a two-piece pant suit. Upon landing, I was instructed to get a cab and make my way to the hotel by the office, get checked in and wait for a call. The cab pulled up to the hotel, I paid and got out. But something just didn’t feel right. I suddenly realized there was a good size tear in the back of my pants from something sharp on the cab seat. Yep, and I didn’t have a backup outfit. I called my husband in a panic and he quickly said “Well every hotel has a good maintenance man who will have some duct tape”. Sure enough he had some black electrical tape and I turned the pants inside out and taped the hole closed.
As I walked into the boardroom to meet with our new CEO, I said “I have a crazy travel story” and told him what had happened. He was so kind and slid his car keys quickly across the table and said “Do you need to go shopping”. I said “No I fixed the tear with electrical tape, but in case it looks odd, you know why”. I later accepted a Director position and relocated to Florida.
The moral of my story is you should always be prepared for whatever comes your way and roll with the punches. Life is not perfect, so keep your cool.