Black History Month Employee Spotlight: Kim J

Copper and Brass Sales is celebrating Black History Month, in part, by spotlighting members of our staff whose exemplary work and inspiring stories further our mission and values. Stay tuned as we spotlight inspiring employees of Copper and Brass Sales throughout the month.

Today, I would like to spotlight our Inside Sales Manager, Kim J. Kim has been with Copper and Brass Sales for just over eight years, first joining us as an Inside Sales Representative, and then within her first year, she was offered the management role.

Kim has an interesting story that led her to Copper and Brass Sales. She was first introduced to the metal industry as a teenager when her mother was able to get her a summer job digitizing paperwork in the microfiche room at another metal supplier. After two summers of this experience, she spent her time at college studying business administration with an interest in marketing. As Kim told me, “life happened” in her senior year and she began a journey focusing on her new role as mother. College was tabled and in order to provide for her family, she returned to work for that same supplier she worked summers for in her teens.

Kim’s work history highlights someone who has advanced through different aspects of the business having spent time in the shipping department, moving up into another position similar to that of a branch coordinator which ended up catapulting her into inside sales. After staying with this supplier for more than ten years and a transfer to Dallas, she found her career was growing stagnant. Kim was being passed over for positions that she was qualified for and would be a natural progression in her career, including a desired outside sales representative position.

Sometimes it’s easy to tell the root cause of obstacles we encounter, and other times, it can be a bit more challenging to determine what the true issue is.  Kim has at times struggled being a woman of color in the metals industry which has traditionally been a white male-dominated industry. Kim experienced situations where her opinions were at times dismissed, overlooked, or outright ignored. She felt like she wasn’t taken seriously at her previous employers. When she was passed over for the outside sales position, she was then asked to train the person who was awarded the position – a man who was not nearly as qualified for the role as she was.

Eventually Kim left that supplier and landed with Copper and Brass Sales as an Inside Sales Representative. Funny story though, as that almost didn’t happen due to a snafu by the company who conducted the pre-employment background check. They accidentally pulled the background for the wrong person (same name and birthday) and applied it to Kim’s profile with the business. That issue took about a month to resolve before she was able to officially join the team. Just seven months later Kim was promoted to the position of Inside Sales Manager.

While Kim wasn’t able to complete her degree earlier in her career, she returned to college in recent years by utilizing the Copper and Brass Sales Tuition Reimbursement program. In 2018 Kim completed her degree, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Grand Canyon University. Graduating with a hard sought 3.98 GPA, she laughs now at how dismayed she was that she didn’t get to the 4.0.

I’ve had numerous interactions with Kim now through my time at Copper and Brass Sales, and I always find myself smiling due to her vibrant personality. She has an abundance of energy, is lighthearted and full of compassion. When she tells me about her direct reports, it is like she is telling me about her friends, not her employees. She knows she doesn’t have all the answers, but they collaborate together and Kim says she learns a lot from and with them. I could hear the smile in her voice as she told me how they’ve laughed, cried, and even prayed together. It sounds like there is a strong mutual respect within their group – likely a result of Kim running her office with an open-door policy and a hands-on approach.

I asked Kim how she came to have such a joyous personality. She said that each morning she wakes up and makes the choice of either being happy or being mad. She asked me, “where would we be as a world if everyone had that same outlook?” I think there would be less war, more smiles, and more happiness.

Copper and Brass Sales is grateful that Kim found her way to us and that we’ve had the opportunity to share her inspiring story with you through our celebration of Black History Month.

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