This week we sadly bid farewell to our regional sales superstar, Jean Brockman. Beginning her career with World Web Technologies Inc. (WWT) in 1995, Jean is one of our company’s earliest partners. Now, after 22 great years with us, she is embarking on her well-deserved retirement.
It’s hard to say goodbye to someone who has played such a significant role in building our company from the ground up. A colleague to admire and a friend to us all, Jean’s unfailing dedication and drive, her knack for getting things done her own way, her commitment to her customers, and her sassy sense of humour will be deeply missed.
In typical Jean style, she wanted to mark her retirement in her own words. So, without further ado, here is Jean’s WWT story…
Prior to joining World Web Technologies in 1995, I was selling various telecom products and services for a government-owned phone company. This sales job and work environment was not a good fit for me. On all levels.
One of the technical staff members at the phone company recognized my restlessness and took me aside to show me this relatively new service called “The World Wide Web.” I remember looking at the demo in awe and thinking: “This is going to really be something.”
Later on that same week, I was thumbing through a recently published business magazine while waiting for a dental appointment. I started reading an article about two local engineers who were starting an Internet company. Serendipitous and opportune.
I immediately called Vertex Communications (World Web Technologies’ original parent company) and asked for an interview. I was hired shortly afterwards for a sales position. I was beyond excited.
My first day was spent with the President of the company and our Technical Support person, in an office the size of a walk-in closet. A world of strange terminology, an incomprehensible internal filing system and empty cardboard boxes stashed in every nook and cranny awaited me. And the duct tape… used for every repair job, no matter what the broken object’s form or purpose was. Seeing a power cord stretched across the length of the office and duct taped to the floor made me roll my eyes and shake my head in despair.
Jean poses for the WWT company profile photoshoot way back in 1996 ;-P
I remember going on my first sales call with the President, Frank Verhagen. He took the lead on the call. The purpose of this call was to be a training session for me. My emotion, after that first sales call, was full-on panic. I thought to myself, “I don’t have any understanding of this technology, the product, or how to sell it.”
I felt I had bitten off way more than I could chew. I would be road kill on the Information Highway.
That was 22 years ago.
Fortunately, in the intervening years, I was able to stand on the shoulders of the bright sparks that are my business partners. I owe an incalculable debt of gratitude to them for their patience and support.
Soon… we moved to better digs. Sadly, the cardboard boxes and duct tape always moved with us.
As with all start-up companies, the first years were a time of unlimited needs and limited resources. Our President, Frank, steered the company through some very treacherous waters during this precarious time.
He is a gender blind, logical, pragmatic problem solver with a work ethic that is second to none. He has been my harshest critic and my strongest supporter. I could not ask for more. His generosity of spirit, wicked sense of humor and sense of fairness to all, helped to keep the company on an even keel.
But… he did make me laugh for the entire day, when he showed up at work one time wearing two entirely different shoes.
Slowly, we started to get our heads above water and started to swim. At that point, we were able to hire some truly remarkable, fiercely loyal, energetic, quirky, talented people. Many of whom are still with us today. They are the life blood of this company and have my respect and admiration.
I need to single out our Director of IT, Kim Lerner, for some richly deserved recognition. This long-serving, multi-talented individual has a seemingly infinite supply of patience, unwavering commitment to his responsibilities, a quick mind and an ability to manage a staggering work load without complaint or fanfare. The company would not be where it is now without him. He is the only person that I won’t sass.
As I look back, my favorite memories always involved the feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment when a particular obstacle was overcome or a milestone was reached. Having the opportunity to have a front row seat and witness the growth and evolution of the company over the years has been a gift.
Laughter and a sense of camaraderie flows easily among our team members. This is nurtured and promoted and made showing up, even on a bad day, a whole lot easier.
Jean with some of her wonderful colleagues at a recent WWT Christmas party (2015). From left: Mike Treloar, Crystal Rasmussen, Janie Agar, Jennifer Lawrence, Jean Brockman, Carrie Goode.
Being part of a company that never got complacent kept me motivated and challenged. Our customers kept me grounded and inspired.
This company has good bones and a rock solid foundation. My clients are being transitioned to experienced and conscientious account managers. I have unshakable confidence in their abilities to continue to grow our customer base and meet our customers’ needs.
So, what’s next for me? Drinking drinks with little umbrellas in them at a swim up bar on a tropical island is top priority on my immediate retirement “bucket” list.
After that… I may start a revolution in Bora Bora.
I will miss World Web Technologies and all that it encompasses. I have been blessed to be part of an amazing and continuing journey.
It is all of us here at WWT that have been blessed to work with you, Jean! All the best for your new adventures.