The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2014

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46  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2014 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 Joseph Shyka, who was recently named VP Off-Premise National Accounts at Imperial Brands. He had been State Director of Wine with Glazer's Distributors. How would you define Imperial Brands culture and what attracted you to it? The culture at Imperial Brands is very similar to a successful football franchise that started out with a great vision and plan, but lacked resources and great players. Brad [Coughlin, VP, Sales Director] has built an exception- ally strong sales and marketing team that just about anyone would be honored to work with. For them to take a brand that had zero sales seven years ago to a one million case brand [Sobieski was the fastest new-to-market vodka to hit one million cases in four years in the U.S.] is nothing short of amazing! The people at Imperial have built an exceedingly strong founda- tion with our distributor partners, customers and consumers and have positioned Imperial Brands to have an extremely bright future. What are your plans to further develop the business over the next year? I have developed a three-platform strategy that I call my "National Account Vision": • Drive brand performance: expand distribution, manage pricing and increase programming. • Customer relationship: penetrate cus- tomer key decision makers and joint call engagement with the national accounts teams of our distributor. • Brand relevance: trial and awareness, impact at the point of purchase, repeat purchase and build loyalty to sustain and grow distribution. What was the best career advice you've ever been given, and who gave it to you? When I started in this industry back in 1998, the manager that interviewed me said that if I could make it past the first couple of years in this industry (meaning: learning to deal with work- ing with alcohol, work/life balance, responsible consumption, stress of sales, etc.) that I would never leave it because of the people that I would be working with, the unbelievable experi- ences and the great industry culture. What advice would you give to jobseekers looking for their next role? Always remember that you are also interviewing them. So many times I have seen people go to interviews trying to make themselves someone they are not—just to get the job. Be yourself. We all have strengths that companies are looking for, and when you do find the right job/company, you will shine and move up much faster in your career. If you are interview- ing for a position and it doesn't fit your strengths or fill a gap in your experience, don't take the job—even if the money is good or you are out of work. There will always be another opportunity right around the corner waiting and looking for you! What are some of the most valuable lessons you have learned from mentors in the industry? Honesty, work hard, have fun and don't burn any bridges. You never know who may be your future partner or your next VP. If you didn't work in the bever- age industry, what would you be doing? Playing professional golf, of course! If you weren't drinking vodka tonic, you would be drinking a . . . Sammy's Beach Bar Rum on the rocks! Joseph Shyka VP OFF-PREMISE NATIONAL ACCOUNTS, IMPERIAL BRANDS PHOTO: JASON KINDIG Joseph Shyka, VP Off-Premise National Accounts at Imperial Brands, at Dee Lincoln Steak & Burger Bar in Dallas, TX.

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