Wendy started her college studies majoring in physical therapy before changing to exercise science. She was into wellness & fitness but knew that she didn’t want to pursue something that required a doctorate. Her minor was in Spanish Language which she was already advanced in having taken college courses during high school. She worked at a prominent health club near the school and admits that she dedicated most of her waking hours to working instead of studying. Eventually her guidance counselor suggested that she make Spanish her major since that is where she was excelling and she says honestly, she was ready to be done with school.
After college she took a sales job offer at a high-end health club chain in Chicago while trying to figure out what she wanted to do long term. One day a woman from a local oil distributor came in to buy a health club membership and offered her a marketing job at her company. Wendy says that although she had zero marketing experience, she decided to see what it was all about and went for the interview. She says that she enjoyed the industry but admits that she was terrible at the position and was let go soon after. She asked a sales rep at the distributor if she could shadow them, and she fell in love with that side of the business. They not only allowed her to shadow them, but they also helped coach her and gain the confidence to apply for an open sales position at a competing distributor. She was offered the job and the rest is HERstory! She says that she worked her tail off to learn everything she could, joined every industry association she could, took advantage of every training available, and started marketing herself on social media. Ten years later … she has no regrets and says that she knows she is exactly where she was always meant to be!
When asked if she has ever felt out of place in the workforce because she is a woman, Wendy says that there have been a lot of times she felt an overarching sense of having to prove herself more than her male counterparts when calling on customers. They never had a young lady oil expert walk in and speak to them about their fleet needs, and she says she can empathize with them being hesitant to take her seriously. Now that she has carved a path, she expects them to be much more receptive the next time a lady oil expert walks in their shop. She still finds herself to be the only woman in the room for most meetings and events but says that it no longer intimidates her like it used to because she has developed a high level of confidence in her expertise, and she lets her reputation speak for itself!
Wendy says that if she could go back and give her 18-year-old self some advice, it would be to try everything! Explore every passion you have and take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Go for every job interview you are offered (you don’t have to accept them). She would also tell her not to worry about having it all figured out right away. Once you find something that you love, immerse yourself in it completely. Your life path won’t be linear … it’ll have twists, turns, setbacks and big wins, and that’s what will make it beautiful. Don’t be afraid of failure because with dedication and passion, it will all work out in the end!