Tell us a little bit about what you do (Business, career, etc.) How did you get started?
I assist people in finding the best marketing and promotional tools for their business. This could be a multicolor bag to give to people at events that showcase the beautiful colors in a logo, a classic pen that people will think of your company every time they use it or even a laser engraved Yeti Tumbler that shows your employees how important they are to you on Employee Appreciation Day. Unique Impressions has access to more than a million items to choose from to personalize for you! In our location, we also produce Embroidery, Screen Print, Sublimation, Twill and Vinyl projects. I joined the business four years ago after a less than orthodox business path. I have worked for MBNA in Human Resources; Kahunaville as a Corporate Recruiter and Educational Trainer; Red Lion Christian Academy as the Director of Admissions and Volleyball Coach and then came to work for my long time friend, Donna O’Dell Hoke at Unique Impressions. I must admit, with each of my past positions, I learned a very valuable skill in which I am able to put into practice daily with my current position. In addition, I have been an Independent Contractor for Stampin’ Up! for 21 years. I teach people how to make cards, scrapbooks and gifts in my home studio and online.
What is the most rewarding thing about what you do?
The look on a client’s face when their project vision comes to fruition is amazing. I would compare it to a child opening their number one Christmas present. To see the client’s eyes light up and to hear how thrilled they are with the outcome, only then do I feel like I have done my job. My ultimate goal every day is to ensure every client is not just satisfied but that I have completely surpassed their expectations.
If you could go back and share some wisdom or guidance to your younger self, what would that be?
I have a few favorite quotes that come to mind. For instance. “Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.” Eleanor Roosevelt And another is, “When you’re 20, you care what everyone thinks, when you’re 40, you stop caring what everyone thinks, when you’re 60, you realize no one was ever thinking about you in the first place.” Unknown I find in the world we live in today, too many people are trying to “keep up with the Joneses” especially with the pressure of social media. When you stop worrying about what everyone thinks, you find great freedom to discover who you really are and what makes you happy.
We know that your event “Death by Chocolate” is always the talk of the town come January. Can you tell us a little bit about this event and how it came to be?
WOW! This event has a life of it’s own at this point. When I started at Unique Impressions, I essentially inherited this event. It was started by Brooke Miles of Delaware ShoutOut when she worked for our team and continued by Robin McCormick. I picked up the ball and ran with it when I arrived knowing I wanted to grow it to where it is today. The event itself is a chance for us to do a client thank you event for their ordering in the past year. Death by Chocolate has morphed into showcasing specialty foods, a large free networking event and a chance to receive our Swag Bag full of goodies, promotional products, including free gifts and services. For example, this year (as in a few in the past) we showcased Desserts by Dana as our main chocolate display. Drip Cafe’ offered their yummy chocolate items and UDairy provided three new cheese selections for sampling plus our very special Chocolate Fountain was flowing with fruit donated by Costco and all the fun things to dip in the fountain. This year was extra special as my friend David Raymond of Power of Fun attended and gave a short motivational speech to us all. For those who may not recall David, he was the original Phillie Phanatic and is an exceptional motivational speaker. We were lucky to have him join us. It take the whole team to make this event possible and I am thankful to the many talented people who make this event exceptional.
What is the most important business or personal discovery you’ve made? How did it affect where you are today?
People. Over the course of my positions I have found that people are the heartbeat of everything. People were the commodity I was seeking when I was hiring the proper people for the IT department in MBNA prior to Y2K to ensure the bank was ready for anything, hiring the right people to run restaurants in the many locations of Kahunaville or training the entire group of seasonal cast members for the deck, admitting the right students to a school to ensure they would be successful in their educational endeavors, and now…talking people through their vision, needs, wants and budgets to exceed expectations. It all comes down to people. Treat everyone as if they are the most important person in the room – because they are. It doesn’t matter if they ever come to you for a project – people remember how you make them feel. I assure you, I want everyone to feel my warmth and sincerity in every interaction. That quality will take you further than you ever expect to achieve.
When you’re not working, what can you be found doing?
I am a die hard Philadelphia Phillies fan – from the first game I attended as a kid when Greg Luzinski hit a home run. We watch as many games as possible and root for them in good years and rebuilding years. My husband, John and I also attend Blue Rocks and University of Delaware baseball games. In the fall, we can also be found with our daughter and good friends tailgating at UD Football games. I also love to read, tend to my deck garden and walk our sweet rescue dog.
Give a shout out to the woman or women who inspire you the most.
My mom, Pat Kerrigan. When I was young, she wanted to be a part of the Philadelphia Mummers in a String Band, but at that time, they only accepted men. She sent a letter to the 16 association bands signed, Pat Kerrigan. Many of the bands responded in kind until they realized “Pat” was short for Patricia and not Patrick. Only one band would allow her to take the music test to be considered for membership to the band. She was successfully added and became one of two women to march on Broad Street that year. Then, a few years later, I became the first teenage girl to march on Broad Street. My mom went on to be the first woman Musical Director in the String Bands. She showed me in those efforts that ANYTHING is possible with perseverance.
Why Barbara Day is On this List
“When Barbara was nominated, I wasn’t surprised. She’s a ray of light and is always looking out for you. On several occasions, she has pointed me in the right direction, even if it wasn’t hers. What I love most about her is her collaborative spirit. She involves the local small business community in all her events, which continues to make her and Unique Impressions so warm and approachable. Everything she does is done with 100% enthusiasm and pride. Well deserved, Barabara.”
More 2020 Most Inspiring Women
Dr. Teri Quinn Gray is the Technology Operations & Portfolio Manager with DuPont Transportation and Industrial (T&I) business. She is an inspiration to women who want to work in the STEM field.
Rebecca Simeone Lennon created the Graphic Design & Color Print Department at DLS Discovery Creative. Whether it’s photography or designs, she puts her heart and soul into everything she works on.
Jennifer Vitak is an Insurance Agent at Liberty Mutual Insurance and the organizer for Women United. She’s a networking expert and brings a ray of sunshine to every event she’s attending.
Linda Arrey is the President/CEO of Women in Leadership Development and Empowerment Inc (WILDE.) She is also an Active Duty Captain in the United States Air Force Medical Service Corps.
Janet Killian is the Owner/Founder of Gemini Janitorial Services & a Children’s author! Janet is a fantastic leader and extremely humble. It’s no surprise that everyone who meets her loves her.
Chrysa Cohen is the owner of Continental Jewelers, a family-owned jewelry store that opened in 1955. She takes pride in knowing that the store is on top of every phase in the jewelry industry.
Dr. Eunice Gwanmesia is an educator, author, consultant, speaker, coach, philanthropist, and mentor. Her story as an immigrant is inspiring and we are honored that she shared it with us.
Nicolle Surratte is Chief Inspiration Officer at NspireD, LLC where she advocates health & wellness as a lifestyle. As a breast cancer survivor, she discusses breast cancer awareness & education.
Gigi Gaul is an administrative assistant for the College of Arts and Sciences at Wilmington University. Gigi loves giving her time to several DE nonprofits.