Finance & Accounting
Sara Beth Finance Manager III
- When did you join Hallmark? I interned the summer of 1999 and started full time January 2001.
- What's your educational background? Bachelor's degree in Accounting & Actuarial Science; Master's in Accounting—both from Drake University
- Why did you decide to work here? I wanted to do accounting or finance in the private sector. I knew public accounting wasn't the life I wanted long-term, so I applied at several major corporations in the Midwest. I mailed my resume and cover letter to Hallmark, and one Friday afternoon I got a call at the sorority house for a phone interview. I got a summer internship and loved it. The people were smart and genuine, the product was something I could believe in and I loved the idea of working at a company big enough that I could move around and experience very different jobs under the same roof.
- What do you do at Hallmark? I'm the finance manager for Mass Merchandising and for the Creative Division. Those two areas have 1,200 employees and about $175 million in annual expense. I work with my three analysts to plan, forecast and manage the budgets for Mass Merchandising, which includes all fixtures and signing for our products in Mass channel accounts (like WalMart, Walgreens, etc.); and for Creative, which is primarily payroll for the 1,000 Creative employees we have on staff.
- If you were a shoe, what would you be? Anything that doesn't imply I'm an accountant. And probably with a heel, since most of my pants are too long for flats and I can't sew a hem.
- What inspires you? Great managers. I've had several managers in my 8 years at Hallmark that have really inspired me to keep challenging myself and to believe in my talents. It's encouraging to feel like people are investing in me, both on a personal and professional level. It's also affirming to see those managers who are both intelligent and whom I respect on a personal level continue to excel at Hallmark. It gives me hope for my own career path.
- What three words best sum up your experience? Challenging, affirming, fulfilling.
- Whom/what are your influences? I want to embody the kind of integrity, compassion and humility that points to something greater than myself—in and outside of work.
- What's the best part about working at Hallmark? I think it has to be getting to take on many different roles within Finance, all at the same company. I've had 5 roles in my 8 years here, and each one has been truly unique. I've managed cash, worked with our benefit plans, written retailer contracts and forecasted revenue for new card lines—all while keeping the same (fabulous) benefits. I never thought I could stay at the same company for this long and still be challenged and energized to come into work.
- What's your favorite time of the work day? I like coming in a little early, while it's quiet, and having time to clear out my e-mail before the day's chaos sets in.
- Favorite Crown Room (cafeteria) delicacy? Not sure if this counts, but I love bulk candy in the cafe. I could subsist on cinnamon gummy bears.
Nick Associate Product Manager—Gift Presentation
- When did you join Hallmark? December 2007
- What's your educational background? B.A. in Business Administration from William Jewell College; M.B.A. with emphasis in Marketing from Vanderbilt University
- Why did you decide to work here? Hallmark products have been a part of my life ever since I was born. From birthday cards to Keepsake Ornaments, I don't think there is one family celebration that didn't have Hallmark in it. Every time those Hallmark products enriched the celebration. For example, during the holidays, when I hang the Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments on my tree, I am reminded of what or who that ornament represents. Sometimes they bring a smile and sometimes a tear, but they always spark an emotion. When I knew the Consumer Product Goods industry was where I wanted to work, I knew that I wanted to work for a company that didn't just churn out products day after day. I wanted to work for a company where the product was secondary and the primary "thing" that they were providing was emotional connection. That is what Hallmark does; we provide products that enrich people's lives.
- What do you do at Hallmark? My primary responsibility is two-fold. First, I am responsible for the development of relevant consumer gift presentation products with a focus on licensed properties. I determine what type of product consumers want (bags, roll wrap, bows, etc.) as well as the appropriate licensed property that they desire. I then work with our fantastic creative department to design those products. Secondly, I collaborate with our retail partners to determine what products best meet the needs of their customers. Then I work with our internal customer development teams to suggest which products that we have developed will help our retailers meet those needs. Hallmark has an outstanding breadth of licensed properties that allow us to offer the best products in the industry to both our retailers and their customers.
- If you were a shoe, what would you be? Sandals. They represent the epitome of a carefree lifestyle, one that doesn't take life too seriously.
- What inspires you? Providing relevant products for consumers. There is nothing better than watching a consumer shopping for product, and, among the hundreds of choices, they select something that you helped to bring to life. That is the vote of confidence that you are doing your work right, and it is a great feeling.
- What three words best sum up your experience? Relationships, change and cartoons
- Whom/what are your influences? My father is my number one influence who, as an entrepreneur, impressed on me at an early age the importance of hard work, finishing what you start and always doing the best you can. My other influences are Jimmy Buffett, who constantly reminds me to balance life and work—preferably on a beach; Chef Emeril Lagasse, who imparts the need to have fun with whatever job I am doing (chopping onions or determining bag colors); and Dr. Seuss, who proves that a little escapism now and then is good for the soul.
- What's the best part about working at Hallmark? The people. Hallmark is unique in that we are a very complex, matrixed organization, unlike what you will see with any other company. This can be a benefit at times and challenge at others, but the people are always there to help. They are always there to support you in any initiative you wish to pursue. I love coming to work each day because I know that it will be a positive experience due to the people I will get to encounter.
- What's your favorite time of the work day? The creative development of product. I get the privilege of working with the creative teams and saying "I need a large bag with 'X' licensed property for 'X' consumer target at 'X' retailer." Then the design team gets to work and develops amazing products that absolutely WOW our retailers and consumers. This is when the product vision becomes a reality, and we get to make a powerful impact in consumers' lives.
- Favorite Crown Room (cafeteria) delicacy? I am a sucker for good sandwiches, and the Tarragon Chicken Salad is one of the best!
Kirk Retail Planning, Allocation and Operations Manager
- When did you join Hallmark? July 1996
- What's your educational background? Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science—both from Washburn University in Topeka
- Why did you decide to work here? Appreciated the brand, the company's mission of enriching lives, the culture and the work/life balance that Hallmark offers. Also appreciated that the company is privately owned by a family that very much values its employees and is involved in giving back to the community. Lastly, during the recruiting process, met very friendly, bright and committed people—people I would enjoy working with each day.
- What do you do at Hallmark? Manage a team of 24 people who are responsible for inventory management in our 440 company-owned Gold Crown stores. This involves planning the inventory these stores need, allocating the inventory and replenishing the inventory as consumers visit our stores and purchase product.
- If you were a shoe, what would you be? Men's Oxford—Casual, flexible, reserved yet wanting to make an impression!
- What inspires you? My team is comprised of many talented individuals. I enjoy coming to work and spending the day with them on our mission of enriching lives and helping people connect. We do this by ensuring stores have the product consumers are looking for. So the people I work with and the mission of the company inspire me. In addition, I feel very fortunate to work at Hallmark. So inspiration also comes from a duty to the Hall family for providing me with a great job that benefits both me and my family.
- What three words best sum up your experience? Fulfilling, interesting, fun.
- Whom/what are your influences? My father was a small business owner, and I worked side-by-side with him from a very early age. That experience taught me the value of hard work and the key to success in business is being the best at meeting a consumer need—both product and service. It also reinforced that success comes from working with talented people who are passionate about their jobs—and keeping these people in the organization is an everyday top priority. Lastly, this small business ownership experience gives me much respect, admiration and empathy for our independent Gold Crown store owners and energizes me to work hard each day to do everything I can to contribute to their success and longevity.
- What's the best part about working at Hallmark? Working every day with people who are passionate about our company and mission.
- What's your favorite time of the work day? No particular time of the day. Because of the nature of retail, my tasks can vary so much from day to day and even hour to hour! But my favorite time of the work year is during our busy peak seasonal sales periods where consumers are rushing to our stores to purchase our products. It is gratifying to know we are meeting so many of their needs. And this is particularly the time of year when my team gets nearly instant feedback on how well we are doing our jobs at having product available in stores to meet those needs.
- Favorite Crown Room (cafeteria) delicacy? The cookies. The Crown Room folks make awesome cookies! Give my best to the Cookie Chef.
Melanie Business Process Lead—Demand Planning
- When did you join Hallmark? 1996
- What's your educational background? B.S. (University of Missouri), M.B.A. (University of North Carolina)
- Why did you decide to work here? Great product—very different from life insurance (my previous employer).
- What do you do at Hallmark? Project Manager for our SAP-ERP initiative
- If you were a shoe, what would you be? Strappy high-heeled sandals.
- What inspires you? Smart, positive, motivated people who give their best every day and act with integrity.
- What three words best sum up your experience? Always something new!
- Whom/what are your influences? My family: my kids, my parents, my sister
- What's the best part about working at Hallmark? I love the strong presence that Hallmark has in the Kansas City area, and I'm proud of the contributions it has made in our community. There are very few (if any) major community initiatives that Hallmark hasn't supported in some way. In addition, Hallmark walks the talk, encouraging employees to give back to the community through various corporate initiatives and volunteer programs.
- What's your favorite time of the work day? 10:00—I've had my coffee, checked my e-mail and start to hit my stride!
- Favorite Crown Room (cafeteria) delicacy? I love the edamame on the salad bar!
Bonnie Global Procurement Manager
- When did you join Hallmark? September 2005
- Hometown? Yonkers, NY
- What's your educational background? B.S.B.A., M.B.A., J.D.
- Why did you decide to work here? Hallmark is synonymous with caring for people, their employees and the community.
- What do you do at Hallmark? Lead procurement professionals to manage the acquisition of marketing services and merchandising, drive continuous improvement and value employees.
- If you were a shoe, what would you be? A running shoe.
- What inspires you? The tremendous knowledge, significant experience, creative talent and long-term commitment of Hallmark employees.
- What three words best sum up your experience? Committed, exciting and progressive.
- Whom/what are your influences? My family, life's lessons and people that I respect and/or admire.
- What's the best part about working at Hallmark? I'm learning every day.
- Favorite Crown Room (cafeteria) delicacy? Portabella mushroom and tomato basil soup :-)
Tina Everyday Card Category Leader, Walmart
- When did you join Hallmark? 1994
- What's your educational background? B.S. in Communications Management; M.A. in Marketing
- Why did you decide to work here? I interned at Hallmark during college and liked what the company and products stand for. The people were also a plus—so welcoming, like an extended family.
- What do you do at Hallmark? Category-manage everyday cards in Walmart
- If you were a shoe, what would you be? A Mary Jane
- What inspires you? My children
- What three words best sum up your experience? Evolution, fulfillment, growth
- Whom/what are your influences? Personal: family & faith. Professional: peers
- What's the best part about working at Hallmark? We are a brand that is invited into people's homes and hearts to celebrate both moments and milestones.
- What's your favorite time of the work day? Morning
- Favorite Crown Room (cafeteria) delicacy? Pumpkin bread
Nicole Manager, Tooling & Engineering
- When did you join Hallmark? 1998
- What's your educational background? Chemical Engineer from North Carolina A&T State University
- Why did you decide to work here? I grew up in Kansas City and have fond memories of the Hallmark brand.
- What do you do at Hallmark? I help to remove wasteful activities from manufacturing processes in order to reduce cost, improve quality and provide excellent service. On a daily basis, I am finding problems and helping to solve them.
- If you were a shoe, what would you be? A very comfortable Ferragamo.
- What do you love most about your job? Every problem solved is another one invented! Not everyone is built to continually seek out problems with the sole purpose of finding solutions, because it is a never-ending process. At the end of each day I feel energized by the new challenges that have been overcome. And it doesn't hurt that I get to do this in an environment surrounded by some of the best artists in the world. Figuring out how to manufacture and distribute the amazing things they invent is thought-provoking work and I love it.
- What inspires you? Mountains—they seem so vast and limitless. Being better than I was yesterday. Dreaming "big."
- What three words best sum up your experience? Surprising, promising, challenging.
- Whom/what are your influences? I don't think I've met a person who hasn't influenced me. Everyone teaches me how to be or how not to be.
- What's the best part about working at Hallmark? Walking the halls and seeing the best artwork the world has to offer every day.
- What's your favorite time of the work day? Gemba (go and see) time with the staff. I like show-casing improvements from previous times together and finding new areas to improve.
- Favorite Crown Room (cafeteria) delicacy? Do I have to pick one? If so, mustard-glazed salmon. If not, peanut butter/bacon/apple panini, blackberry cobbler, bleu cheese on the salad bar, lemon bars, sweet tea, mushroom bisque...
Orville HR Manager—Logistics Solutions
- When did you join Hallmark? January 6, 1986
- Hometown? St. Andrews, Jamaica
- What's your educational background? Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Central Connecticut State University
- Why did you decide to work here? The culture. From the first day of my interview, I felt welcomed in this company.
- What do you do at Hallmark? I provide HR support to distribution, Global Transportation, Order Management and the Fixture organization (includes Metamora and Center).
- If you were a shoe, what would you be? A soccer shoe; this is my favorite sport.
- What inspires you? I am inspired by challenging work. I like to work on things that allow me to grow and stretch my capabilities.
- What three words best sum up your experience? Fulfilling, challenging and rewarding.
- Whom/what are your influences? My influences come from the work ethic that I inherited from my mother and aunt.
- What's the best part about working at Hallmark? The best part is being in an organization that values my input and where I can contribute to driving business results.
- Favorite Crown Room (cafeteria) delicacy? Turkey white bean chili