Jill DeFranco

Jill DeFrancoYour passion belongs here

Jill DeFranco had no idea her first career step would be taken in a student meeting room at East Carolina University (ECU).

DeFranco was undecided in her major at the time, attending an informational session on flourishing industries that are oftentimes overlooked. Fresh out of her hometown of Chagrin Falls, OH, she was also hoping to meet a few friends.

DeFranco quickly discovered she liked the idea of hands-on learning and small class sizes, so her gaze shifted to a degree in industrial distribution and logistics. It was a program that was made up almost entirely of male students, who she says later became like brothers.

“The warehouse simulation labs were much better than sitting in a classroom, and the industry was just really interesting to me,” she says.

Industrial distribution was a good fit – one that eventually led to an amazing job opportunity at Border States’ branches in Charleston, SC, and Ladson, SC. It’s been two months since DeFranco started as a Trainee in our unique two-year Distribution Leadership Program, which prepares employee-owners for future leadership opportunities within the company.

Check out this ECU blog post to hear more from DeFranco on her experience in studying industrial distribution and logistics.

Jill DeFrancoWe care that you grow

DeFranco first heard about Border States’ Distribution Leadership Program at a career fair in October, where she met with a couple of employee-owners who immediately made her feel like she was part of their team.

“I thought the Border States culture seemed very appealing,” she says. “People in this company and industry care about you.”

A little more than a month after joining Border States, DeFranco was sent to San Diego to take part in the annual Women in Industry Forum, which is organized by the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED). She had attended the event once before when a professor referred her. Check out this invitation video for the 2018 event:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkUjSf7NaoM&w=400&h=225]

NAED is just one of many continued education and networking opportunities DeFranco values as part of the Distribution Leadership Program. She especially appreciates that her mentors encourage her to pursue specific interests.

“I like the idea that I didn’t just graduate from college and stop learning. I love that I’m continuing to learn and grow at Border States,” says DeFranco, adding she’s especially interested in learning more about the ways Border States specializes in clean energy technology.

CLEAN ENERGY: Large South Carolina solar farm achieved with Border States services

Commitment to community, family

DeFranco likes that Border States supports employee-owners who want to give back to the communities in which they live and work. The company oftentimes lets people volunteer while on the clock.

Looking forward, DeFranco is particularly excited about getting involved with programs that help people with special needs. (This blog post briefly mentions her history of helping individuals with Down syndrome.)

Ultimately, DeFranco’s favorite part of the job is the people. They have a way of making her feel at home.

“This company has a family feel,” she says. “The people are a big part of what makes Border States a great place to work.”

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