The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2014

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july 2014  /  the tasting panel  /  1 1 1 HOT SHOT E ach month we team up with the beverage industry recruiting and staffing experts at BevForce and chat with one of their Movers & Shakers to get a behind-the-scenes insight on the job search process, the beverage industry's most innovative companies and the executives who drive them. This month, we chatted with Joanna Marie Peña, who was recently named South Florida State Manager at Serrallés USA. She had been Portfolio Key Account Manager On-Premise with Rémy Cointreau. How would you define Serrallés's culture and what attracted you to it? Serrallés's culture is based on family tradition. From day one, I have felt very welcomed and appreciated. It's like going to work with your extended family every day. You never feel like you are talking with a "boss"; you are talking to family and friends and it's very natural. Now in their sixth generation of being a family business (getting ready to celebrate 150 years soon), I see a bright future here for me. Also, I'm half Puerto Rican and have known the brand since childhood. The Serrallés family has made the business of distilling rum a "green business." They are pioneers in making rum environmentally sound, thus helping to protect the world we live in. They have also increased sales of rum exponentially, which translates into jobs and tax revenue that have helped the people and the economy of the island in times of financial distress. It certainly is a very progres- sive company and I was really attracted to that. What are your plans to further develop the business over the next year? I have been involved in the beverage industry for ten years and have worked in many facets of the business. My plans are to take from this experi- ence and make the best of it. I truly believe that I can give my best to make Serrallés get closer to achieving their goals worldwide. What was the best career advice you've ever been given and who gave it to you? The best career advice came from my family in the form of a life lesson learned over many years. They have always given me relentless encourage- ment to succeed in anything I do by making sure I never give up on a goal, no matter the difficulty of the situation. They taught me to use that same approach in my work. What advice would you give to jobseekers looking for their next role? Seek and choose the company, brand and posi- tion that you feel most passionate and excited about. Love what you do everyday no matter what the salary—that is the most important thing to make you feel like you never work a day in your life. What are some of the most valuable les- sons you have learned from mentors in the industry? Your reputation is everything. This business is all about who you know and how they feel about the work you do. Build yourself like a brand—sell and market yourself, and you will always have an array of opportunities and offers at your hands. People will look to work with you because they know and trust you. Sometimes it's not about the brand you work for, as clients will work with you because you are the brand they trust. If you didn't work in the beverage industry, what would you be doing? I would be a running a not-for-profit animal rescue organization. I've always had a calling to help animals in need. Stay tuned, as I do plan to live this dream out one day! If you weren't drinking Serrallés, you would be drinking a… Passion fruit juice with rum. It's my favorite. But if I was drinking Serrallés, I would be having a Don Q and passion fruit juice or a Don Q Gold Piña Colada. I recently learned it was created in Puerto Rico and it's even the official drink! Joanna Marie Peña SOUTH FLORIDA STATE MANAGER, SERRALLÉS USA PHOTO: VANESSA ROGERS Joanna Marie Peña.

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