We would like to thank Catherine Thoele for her years at MacPherson’s as a Sr. Key Account Manager! She joined MacPherson’s in 2000 and officially retired on April 30th, 2021. Our team conducted an interview with Catherine to reflect on some moments from her career. Here is the audio version of the interview along with some written highlights. You can also learn more about Catherine’s time at MacPherson’s in this Art Dog interview from 2019.
“I had a good career, I had a good ride. It’s been a fun and fabulous journey, and a long one. Looking back, when I was a kid, I loved drawing, coloring, and Venus colored pencils. I remember buying my first brush with my allowance and spending $2 on a brush, and I thought, Oh my gosh, this is so expensive. But then it became my safe place and my creative place.
I was also a super introvert then and I had to learn to be more extroverted. If I told somebody in high school that I was going to be in sales, they would have said, ‘Yeah, that sounds really successful for a personality like yours.’ So I had to learn to be more of an extrovert.”
Words of Wisdom
Do you have any words of wisdom for the readers of Art Dog, fellow industry colleagues, or folks who are early on in their careers?
“Be really curious. Be a curious, inquisitive person. Find out all you can about a process or a product and absorb like a sponge. If you don’t have a curious personality, you’re not proactive. If you wait for something to come to you. You’re going to be waiting a long time. Just be super proactive and curious. People love to talk, so be a really good listener. If you ask, who, what, where, when, and how questions, people talk for hours. They tell so much more than a yes or no question. It’s unraveling, and you hear these fabulous stories and they reveal ways that you can consult and help them in their business.
I think that’s a big part of sales, being a big listener. I think people make the mistake of talking too much, and not listening. We all have experienced that. Ultimately, I’m a solution person. I bring you a solution for whatever your need is by listening to you. That could be a product, process, or it could be another person who can help.”
Is there anything else you would like to share?
“I can’t say enough for all the people in my life who have mentored me, and who have been role models. I think finding how you can mentor someone is super important. Because we pass on and that’s our legacy. I had such great mentors bring me up into the art industry, they were role models to me. And that’s what kept me in love with the industry and passionate about my job. That’s a huge piece for me.
My customers have also become friends and family. They all say if you come through my town, and you don’t stop and say hi, I will miss you. So that’s how you know you’ve worked your way into somebody’s heart, when they say they’re really going to miss you.”
Just that human connection over time is invaluable, right?
“Yeah, that’s what makes up the industry. It’s really about relationships. You can go out there with the lowest price, but that’s not going to bring you a great relationship. So I think MacPherson’s has done that really well. And, if you look at the salesforce, we have some of the longest-term people in the industry. They’re customer-facing people. We’ve got great, in-person, people.”
It was amazing chatting with Catherine about her career journey. We appreciate all she has done for MacPherson’s and wish her the best in retirement!
Who’s Who celebrates members of our industry community who are doing an incredible job. If you would like to nominate someone for a Who’s Who feature, please email us at artdogblog (@) macphersonart.com with their name, position, company and a short description of why you would like to nominate them.