Specialty members, new markets driving Sexton expansion
The Covid-19 pandemic altered day-to-day work for most people, but for Sexton’s Suzanne Walsh it made the best part of her job impossible. A four-and-a-half-year veteran of the group, the London, Ontario-based Business Development Manager for Eastern Canada was forced to work with existing members and recruit new ones exclusively online. “It was challenging — there were lots of emails, phone calls, Zoom meetings, Teams meetings; not ideal certainly,” she recalls. “Not being able to meet with members face-to-face was especially challenging for me because I’m a people person, but hopefully that’s behind us now. But honestly, we haven’t missed a beat; we were able to serve our existing members and even added new ones through the pandemic.” Walsh comes by her people skills honestly, having honed them over years working in the industry.
Prior to joining Sexton, she worked as an account executive for a national stain and coatings manufacturer, then as a branch manager for a major siding manufacturer. She now brings that vendor experience to bear when addressing various issues for Sexton members. “A big part of my role is to advocate for the members with the vendors, so it helps that I have been on the other side of that conversation,” Walsh explains. “That can mean solving supply chain issues or simply building relationships with the vendor reps, anything that adds value.” New member recruitment is also high on Walsh’s list of priorities. And although Sexton’s core membership has traditionally been made up mostly of lumber and building materials dealers and gypsum suppliers, the group has been steadily extending its reach into a number of specialty segments. “We have been gaining lots of traction with specialty dealers of all kinds,” Walsh says.
Suzanne says matching the right members with the right vendors and programs to help grow the business is what drives her.