BABE #266: LIZ RUEFLY - Regional Marketing Specialist, Lucky’s Market
Liz is the Regional Marketing Specialist for Lucky’s Market’s North Florida Region, currently managing five stores with two more underway. From each store’s social media platforms and community impact programs to marketing campaigns and events, she’s in charge of upholding the Lucky’s brand across all communication channels. Liz’s role requires a considerable amount of travel and a whole lot of relationship-building, both of which she tackles with organization, patience, empathy and the desire to provide exceptional service for the clients and communities she serves.
Hometown: Waldorf, Maryland
Current city: Neptune Beach, Florida
Alma mater: University of North Florida
Degree: B.S., Business management
Very first job: Lifeguard
Hustle: Regional Marketing Specialist, Lucky’s Market
Babe you admire and why?
With so many great women throughout history (and to this day) doing amazing things, I can’t pick just one. I’d say I look up to a collection of special babes. Each has their own set of amazing qualities and accomplishments. They’re caring, smart, hard-working and have helped to make the world a better place.
How do you spend your free time?
Weekends are mostly spent with friends. We love to cook and grill out, hang at the beach, have game nights and so on. I also like staying active and doing yoga, gardening, traveling whenever possible and going to concerts. Generally being outside and on (or by) the water makes me happy.
Go-to coffee order and/or adult beverage?
Coffee: Americano. Adult bev: old fashioned.
What would you eat for your very last meal?
I have a special connection with pizza. Pizza doesn’t judge. Pizza understands.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
I would love to have coffee with my grandparents. My mother was the baby of four kids, so by the time she had kids, her parents were much older and they passed away before I got to spend a lot of time with them. The same goes for my father’s parents. I’d love to sit and talk with them all now as an adult.
Tell us about your hustle.
I cover the North Florida region [for Lucky’s Market], which includes five stores. Come May, I will have seven locations stretching out to Panama City, down to Gainesville and up to Savannah, Ga. I manage these stores’ social media, community impact programs and provide store support with marketing campaigns and events. My main goal is to protect and uphold the Lucky’s Market brand in all aspects of my job duties and interactions. I travel about 20 to 25 percent [of the time], and anyone who travels with their job knows that sometimes it can be challenging trying to juggle the day-to-day while on the road. I try to make sure I eat really healthy, drink a lot of water and get good rest—that’s typical of my life anyway, but even more when I’m traveling. I carry my water bottle with me everywhere. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve lost it somewhere around a store during a visit. I’m pretty good at packing, at this point. I have a toiletry bag that stays packed with all of the essentials, so I’m comfy. I also pack snacks. I get hungry often and sometimes I need a little something to tide me over in the car or while running around a store.
What does your typical workday look like?
My days can be a little unpredictable, which keeps things interesting. When I’m not traveling, I mostly work from home or at the Neptune Beach store. My morning usually starts with a workout, NPR, breakfast and coffee. I’ll check in on emails and my stores’ Facebook pages, then maybe I’ll have a meeting with the store team about events, or a meeting with a community partner, or I’ll help bag groceries if the registers get really busy. I get to work face-to-face with customers, team members and community partners. Sometimes my days go in many directions, depending on the needs and requests from my stores. I’ve always liked staying busy, so days where I’m doing a bunch of different things is fun for me.
What makes Lucky’s stand out among other grocers?
We’re a hard-working, talented group who likes to have fun, eat delicious food and occasionally kick back with some happy hour together. Lucky’s is owned by Bo and Trish Sharon, and they kind of feel like “mom and dad.” Being lead by such a sweet duo is awesome. They take the time to engage and have face-to-face conversations with team members. They try to make it to almost every new store opening! Something else we do different: Instead of a ribbon cutting, we cut a slab of our smoked-in-house bacon to open a store. We definitely aren’t your typical grocery store—and we like it like that.
What’s your process for staying organized and ensuring each region has the necessary tools for success?
I make a lot of notes and set a lot of reminders. I make lists, set calendar reminders and I still keep an old-school large paper calendar because I’m a visual person. With so many things going on, doing all of that helps me make sure things are covered. I also follow up a ton with my teams on certain things. It can feel like overkill sometimes, but I’d rather over-communicate than have something missed. Communication methods are pretty casual at Lucky’s, and often times we’ll get things done via text message, which is pretty handy.
What’s been your biggest career milestone?
After I made it to an account manager, I felt like I needed to make a big change and go do something different. It’s the free spirit in me. I resigned and went to work on a farm in Maui. I helped run the store we had on the famous Road to Hana for four months. Many people said I was making a mistake in my career. When I came back to Florida, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do until I saw that Lucky’s Market was coming to my neighborhood. I found the regional marketing specialist job listed and told myself, This is my job. And then I made it happen. To be completely honest, up until Lucky’s, I hadn’t had a formal interview or project given to me to prove my skills. It was challenging and I was incredibly nervous, but I kept telling myself, This is my job. I feel very proud of the accomplishment.
How has being a woman affected your professional experience?
I’ve been in situations where my opinion felt like it didn’t matter and I was talked over. With time, advice and more life and work experience, I’ve learned how to better navigate those situations, stand up for myself and not feel so intimidated. No matter what, your ideas matter. Speak up.
What’s the gender ratio like in your industry? Do you see it evolving?
In the grocery industry, it’s mostly men; however, we have a lot of women at Lucky’s. We have many women in VP roles in our company. We’ve also been hiring more women as store directors and as managers of departments where it would be seen as a stereotypical man’s role. I’m proud to see more women in leadership roles at Lucky’s Market.
What’s your biggest strength in your role? What’s the skill you most need to improve?
With strong relationships being very important in my job, it goes without saying that being personable and working well with people are strong qualities I have. I like to have fun and support an environment with open communication so we can express ideas and concerns freely. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and lose sight of the other important projects on the to-do list. Setting aside time to give attention to those other things is something I’ve been working on.
Who are some women in your field you look to for inspiration?
Lucky’s has hired more and more women in leadership roles. Many of them I get to work with very closely and we have a lot of fun together. I’ve always felt a special connection to my first boss at Lucky’s. She’s the one who hired me, and though she has moved into a different role at the company, we keep in touch about life and our careers. I also find a lot of inspiration from my direct team, which happens to be all-female. We’re a very hard-working bunch and are constantly sharing ideas, wins and challenges to help each other be better at what we do.
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
Trust your gut. Set goals, even if you don’t accomplish all of them. Don’t be too hard on yourself; try to re-work it. We put a lot of time and energy into our careers, but remember to also put time and energy into yourself and your loved ones. Be kind.
In partnership with:
Lucky's Market is an organic-focused grocery store chain that began in Boulder, Colorado in 2003 and has 39+ locations today. Lucky's Market believes good food shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be a right. We’re excited to be partnering up with Lucky’s for this week’s featured interviews as well as our sold out event: A Grocery Guide with Babes Who Hustle.