October Alumni Career Profile
Name: Deb Beresford
Class Year: 1972
Major: Elementary Education
Bernie & Phyl's Furniture
Describe your career path since graduation.
I worked at New England Telephone until I started a family. I then taught in the Brockton Public School system. Twenty years ago, when my children entered school, I joined the furniture industry and have not looked back.
What is your current position and how long have you been with your employer?
I have been with Bernie & Phyl's for over 7 years now and am currently store manager for the Braintree store. Previously, I opened their Raynham store and was store manager there until the Braintree store opened. I also head up major company projects including creating the company website, making us the first regional furniture retailer to have an online store.
Describe the main responsibilities of your position.
Currently I am responsible for overseeing every detail of the store's operations; recruitment, training and reviewing of all employees; handling customer service issues; and P&L responsibilities for the store. Basically I need to be savvy in sales management, operations management, customer service management, and training management, as well as human resources management.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Every single day is different: different problems, different challenges, different ideas, and different people.
What do you find most challenging about your job?
I find keeping our employees motivated to do their best most challenging, as well as really wanting to treat our customers well, leaving them with the best experience that they could possibly have. It is a challenge that you can see won each hour of every day.
Describe your typical work week. (How many hours you work, your work environment, etc.)
I work Saturday through Wednesday, about 48-50 hours per week. Once a month I get the weekend off with my Thursday and Friday, giving me a long, restful weekend to enjoy my family. Although retail hours require you to work some days when most of your friends are off - think nights, weekends and holidays, because that's when we're the busiest - they also offer you the ability to shop when most others aren't, take advantage of flying somewhere on cheaper-rate days, care for your children in the daytime while your husband cares for them at night while you work, etc.
What job search methods did you use to obtain your current position?
I applied for a part-time job with Jordan's back in 1987 when they had just opened. Since then I have worked my way up to my current position and have had the opportunity to work for three of the top furniture retailers in our general area. Listings are always found on monster.com and craigslist.org.
What advice could you give to students interested in your field?
Be open to taking a part-time or entry level position to get yourself in the door. Take the time to learn all aspects of the company's operations; that is what will make you stand out from the rest. When you understand the business from all perspectives, you can offer ideas and suggestions for your company with a perspective that few people have.
Last Modified: September 28, 2007