By: Jordann Smith-Kingston, GWWIB Ambassador
Ashley Zimmerman lives in York, Pennsylvania and works at Perform Group LLC, a national costume company located there. She graduated from York College of Pennsylvania where she received her B.S. in Marketing. She taught dance and interned for Perform Group at the time. In the future, she hopes to pursue a Master’s Degree in Marketing or Management. The previous position she held with the company include Intern, Program Coordinator, Sales Rep, District Sales Manager, and finally, her current position as National Sales Manager.
What is Perform Group, LLC and could you describe your position with the company?
Perform Group LLC is the parent company of Curtain Call Costumes and Alpha Factor. We manufacturer and sell B2B dance and gymnastics apparel. We are a leader in the both markets and have manufactured apparel for places from the studio or gym down the street to the Rockettes and Olympic teams.
My position at the company is the National Dance Sales Manager. I manage our outside sales team of 9 that are located around the United States from LA to Boston. Everyone on our team is a former dancer with business degrees. I give direction on sales goals and how to reach them and also travel with the team for one on one coaching and support for trade shows.
How did you first become involved with the company?
I just started my 8th year with the company. I started as an intern!
What would you say is the most important thing to remember in regard to networking to find a career?
Always sell yourself, yet complete the team you work with. Once you land a position, remember you are always interviewing for your next position. Always go the extra mile! Put the hours in at the early stage of your career.
Have you encountered any difficulties being a woman in business and how do you work to overcome these?
My industry is 90% women so I’ve never been discriminated for being a female, however, I have encountered age discrimination. As a young professional you always have to be proving yourself. It’s important that you may not have years of experience under your belt, but you do have relatable experiences or new ideas to bring to the table. Always support your input with data so it’s shown as factual and not emotional. It will build your credibility in time.
What is one of the most important things, in your opinion, for transitioning from student to professional?
Start off as a professional. Early on in my career I had a manager take me under her wing – which was great! We got along great and she became a friend. Little did I know it was actually hurting me professionally because she kept me under her wing and being seen as an intern.