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Women to Watch - Alexis Koscielny posted by: Dana Helms

Alexis Koscielny is an independent sales rep in Western Canada representing Uttermost and Brentwood Classics. She has also worked as the Bedding Category Manager for The Dufresne Group and in business development for Palliser. Alexis has co-chaired the WithIt Professional Conference for the last 2 years.

(DD) Hello Alexis, I really appreciate you agreeing to be a guest on the blog. WithIt is honored to have you join us. Let’s start with a few icebreakers to get the conversation flowing. 

How did you start out in the home furnishings industry?

(AK) I was fresh out of university, with a degree in business and Palliser had an opening on Kijiji for a Project Manager. I knew a little bit about the company, from my brother in law who worked in the plant, but other than that, I had no idea what an incredibly fantastic industry it was! I spent the first two years in the furniture industry, organizing and setting up the Palliser showrooms. The woman who hired me, is now a great friend of mine.

(DD) People have different reasons to get motivated. What motivates you to work hard?

(AK) Working hard comes naturally for me. I am distinctively independent, strong minded and determined. I have always had a competitive drive and have been overly ambitious. There really is not one thing that motivates me to be this way, it’s just natural for me!

(DD) What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?

(AK) An ideal weekend would consist of taking my dog for a long walk along the river, getting groceries, and making a fancy dinner. Of course, enjoying it with a nice glass (or two) of Pinot Noir.

(DD) How does that impact the coming week?

(AK) It helps me stay grounded during the week. It allows my mind to stay focused and precise during the intense moments in my role.

(DD) What is the overall work culture like at Dufresne Group?

(AK) Working at the Dufresne Group is fast-paced, and hardworking, but all within a supportive family environment.

(DD) Before we get into some of the specific activities you’ve created at Dufresne Group, walk us through the structure you’ve built for your team in terms of personal development goals. 

(AK) I like to “gently” push people beyond their limits, while supporting them as they take on new challenges. As they succeed through these challenges, their confidence grows and it shows throughout their roles, and as a result, the organization.

(DD) How have you seen the team grow and develop because of all this?

(AK) It’s been a pleasure watching our category management assistant grow. In result of her confidence increase, she takes on new tasks with eagerness and excitement. What has impressed me the most is her ability to take on new problems without my guidance. It has freed up a lot of time and has made her a crucial asset to the organization.

 (DD) There is a lot of talk with women in business because we are, or perceived to be, multitasker - work life balance.

How do you balance work with your everyday life?

(AK) Work life balance is difficult. Being in retail has exposed me to a whole new world of challenges, after all, stores are always open. I make a point in the evenings and weekends to free myself of work. This means I take a break from looking at e-mails, but more importantly, I take a break from thinking about work. As little as one hour a day, helps me get caught up with life, and leaves me refreshed to get back to it!

(DD) What are your goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

(AK) In 5 years, I want to be an executive in the furniture industry. I also want to be a mom!


(DD) What are examples of how you personally apply your Thinking Talents throughout your day to increase your effectiveness?

(AK) I have a natural aptitude to spot trends in data, this skill has allowed to me quickly and effectively review results and make changes to product offerings, promotions, or prices, to change results.

(DD) What do you believe is the most important thing for millennial women entering the workforce today to know about collaborating with others?

(AK) Grow your network and nurture your relationships. An increasingly number of women are entering the workforce today, there are opportunities everywhere. The relationships I have built in my career, have truly led me to where I am today, and where I continue to go.

(DD) From your experience, do individual women know the value they specifically bring?

(AK) This question comes up often with women who are in business, and as much as I would like to say yes, I don’t believe we’re there yet. Confidence is key in this world, and the women who truly believe in themselves, they will know what value they bring.

(DD) Before we wrap up our interview, what is one last take away that you would like to share with another WithIt woman or young professional looking at the home furnishings industry as a career?

(AK) Join us! Women provide an extraordinary amount of value to businesses.

Thank you Alexis!
Dana Helms

Dana Helms is Director of Sales and Business Development for Myriad Software. She has been a WithIt member since 2008.



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