President and chief operating officer, SeaSucker
Genevieve Casagrande started at SeaSucker in January 2018 as operations director. In January of this year, she took over as president.
“The way I work, I get my hands dirty,” Casagrande says. “I’m the first person in and last person out. In the span of a year, I got a really good sense of the company.”
Casagrande’s father, Chuck Casagrande, is the founder and CEO of SeaSucker, a Bradenton-based manufacturer of bike racks and marine accessories with 32 employees and $4.10 million in revenue in 2018. “It’s a blessing for my dad to be able to focus on the things he really likes doing,” such as new product development, Genevieve Casagrande says.
Prior to SeaSucker, Casagrande worked as an intelligence analyst in Washington, D.C., specializing in Russia’s involvement in the Middle East. When she started at SeaSucker, she says she read all of the go-to business books. A common thread in what she read? The importance of being comfortable with letting people go if they aren’t working well for the company. “When you have someone who isn’t the right fit, it slows down the whole organization,” she says. “Alleviating some of that really helped us grow in particular this year.”
Every morning when she gets to work, Casagrande checks in with supervisors in the warehouse and employees in the front office. Then midway through the workday, she does another round through the warehouse to make sure everything is on track. “Investing that 30 minutes every day in checking in face to face is really useful for making sure everyone understands the organization’s priorities rather than just their department’s,” she says.
Casagrande also dedicates time to the company’s direct-to-consumer efforts, from its website to global expansion. She works on intellectual property matters, contracts and marketing emails as well. “One of the things I love about my position at SeaSucker is I get to work in every different lane in every different department,” she says. “I orient myself toward the company’s priorities. I go where I feel the company needs me.”
Because SeaSucker is both a retailer and a manufacturer, Casagrande is getting an interesting look at multiple aspects of the business world. “American manufacturing is in the news more and more,” she says. “Being able to do that here in Florida, to create jobs, create a sustainable model for how to bring manufacturing from overseas to the U.S. — that’s something I’m really proud of SeaSucker for doing. It keeps me feeling fulfilled on a daily basis.”
ON THE RECORD: Genevieve Casagrande
City of residence: Sarasota
Employer: SeaSucker LLC
Title: President and chief operating officer
Birthplace: Downers Grove, Illinois
Years on the Gulf Coast: 15+
Marital status/children: Single
Alma mater/degree: University of Florida: Bachelor of Arts in linguistics
Where is the best place to network? Nearest brewery during a trade show
What's the best business lesson you've ever learned? The toughest component to building a successful business is to assemble the best possible team around you. Get the people who are not the right fit out of the company — no matter how difficult or controversial that decision might be in the moment. Then do everything you can to hire and retain the best talent. With the right team, everything else should begin to fall into place.
What's your top tip for being productive? Create a morning routine, and stick to it. Start your day early, work out before business hours, and come into the office ready to take on the day.
What's the weirdest job you've ever had? Russia in the Middle East Intelligence Analyst
What community group or organization are you most involved with? Captains for Clean Water
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? Professional whiteboard coach. My dry erase skills are top notch.
What's your favorite off-hours activity? Running outdoors
What's your favorite board game or video game? Battleship
What's the top item on your bucket list? Cage-diving with sharks
Where is your happy place? In the water! At the beach, on the boat and everything in between.
What's your favorite podcast? "My Favorite Murder"
Who/what is your favorite musical artist/band? Leon Bridges
Who would play you in a movie about your life? Jessica Biel (who is apparently my twin, according to some guy I sat next to on an airplane last week)
What was your first album/tape cassette/CD? "Spiceworld" — Spice Girls
What was your first concert? Dixie Chicks (Marilyn Manson was sold out)
What's one song that will get you out on the dance floor? Any early 2000s top-40 throwback
What's your favorite karaoke song? "The Star-Spangled Banner" (especially when I'm singing it with 10,000 of my closest friends before a game)
What instrument/role would you play in a band? Stage manager
Please describe yourself in three words. Intense, disciplined and caring