Director of Sales and Marketing
Starlite Sign, LP
Denton, TX, USA
Field: Marketing and Sales Management
After realizing that working as a receptionist would not suffice to raise her five children, Debra Stellar set a goal to become involved in sales by the time she turned 30. Beating her own deadline, she was selling lumber by the age of 28, a position she held for 10 years. She later moved to Texas and began working in the sign industry, which led her to the position of director of sales and marketing for Starlite Sign, LP, a sign manufacturing company that provides the design and installation of interior and exterior electrical signs.
Holding 25 years of experience in sales management, Ms. Stellar spends her time carrying out many tasks, including working with high-profile companies, looking for new business prospects, coordinating with municipalities, negotiating, managing projects, and writing proposals. She is also charged with overseeing sales and partakes in obtaining large signage for the best price and value available. She takes time to develop and maintain client relationships, which ultimately results in returning customers. “I have good rapport [with my clients] and [strong] customer service skills,” she says. Her main motivation stems from seeing a customer satisfied.
Ms. Stellar has completed college coursework in business, accounting and psychology. In recognition of her exceptional skills in sales, she was named Vendor Sales Representative of the Year by Hastings Entertainment in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008. She also supports Susan G. Komen for the Cure. When she is able to find a moment away from work, she enjoys watching football and basketball, and spending time with her seven grandchildren. Though she intends to retire at the age of 70, Ms. Stellar plans to continue working as a consultant. She also plans to write a book, something she has always wanted to do. Continue reading
President, Chief Executive Officer
Bruce Mines, Canada
Field: Hospitality Services
When Maria J.R. Struik met her husband, John, he was the area franchisee for Dixie Lee Food Systems. They were very successful and opened many outlets throughout Northern Ontario. In January 2006, corporate ownership changed, and in June 2006, she and John became entangled in a legal battle with the new corporate owner. In May 2008, John became suddenly ill and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer; he passed in June 2008. Mrs. Struik had always been involved in the business, but more in a supporting role. After John’s sudden death, she honored his previous agreement with Dixie Lee and finished the legal battle in September 2011. She then started her own business in the hospitality industry, building it based upon the principles in which she and her late husband believed so strongly.
“Love what you do so you don’t work a day in your life,” says Mrs. Struik. She now serves as the president and chief executive officer of Roosters Diner, a restaurant that is known for its simple, good food, and great hospitality. She enjoys helping people reach their greatest potential and seeing them succeed. She loves her job and aims to attract people with the same business philosophy. Mrs. Struik has been a three-time finalist for North American Marketing’s Marketer of the Year award, and she received the Celebrity Press Editor’s Choice Award in 2012. She has four bestseller slots on Amazon.com for the book that she contributed to, titled “Women Who Mean Business.”
Mrs. Struik is an honorary member of America’s Premier Expert and holds a bachelor’s degree equivalent in business, which she earned in the Netherlands. She attributes her success to her faith and hard work, and looking ahead, she hopes to have the company built up to many more units, and wants to have a restaurant in Bruce Mines, Canada. Continue reading