Naomi Barbeau says she enjoys negotiating car prices in her free time, even if she’s not buying a car.
“You’re a strong negotiator when you not scared of hearing ‘no’,” she says.
It’s the same attitude that she used going in to her interview with Digital Media Solutions a year ago. “It was probably the cockiest interview they’ve ever had because I wasn’t looking to leave my job,” she admits.
But Barbeau’s 16 years of experience can also speak for itself. She started her career with One Simple Loan, as an assistant to the general manager. She was with the company as it grew from 17 employees to 200, before it was acquired by Zeta Interactive. With the growth of the company, Barbeau moved up the ranks, acting as chief operating officer, to running finance, to human resources. When she left, she was vice president and general manager.
Perhaps most impressive is the impression she leaves with her employees.
Her nomination form says Barbeau “has the intangible quality in her leadership style where her team truly believes in her vision because she is fair, accountable, respectful, and truly cares about the each person’s professional development.” In fact, when she left Zeta, a number of her employees followed her despite a difference in pay structure.
At Digital Media Solutions, Barbeau has restructured operations of the call center and developed a sophisticated compliance and quality system.
Barbeau says referrals have led to every job she has ever had. “In almost every instance of my professional career I have been referred to a CEO or executive for a position based on someone else’s unsolicited feedback about me,” she says. “What is particularly ‘cool’ about this is the constant reinforcement of the value of every interaction that we have with another person.”
— Traci McMillan Beach
Name: Naomi Barbeau
City of residence: Largo
Employer: Digital Media Solutions
Title: Executive Vice President, Call Center
Birthplace: Haverhill, MA
Years on the Gulf Coast: 19
Marital status/children: Not directly but I made the decision to assist in raising a child 17 years ago, so I often reference “my kid.”
Alma mater: St. Petersburg College
Best place to network: I find networking opportunities everywhere.
Coolest business experience: My coolest experiences in business has been how referrals have played such an impact in the trajectory of my career. In almost every instance of my professional career, I have been referred to a CEO or executive for a position based on someone else’s unsolicited feedback about me. What is particularly “cool” about this is the constant reinforcement of the value of every interaction that we have with another person.
Messy desk or clean workspace: I wouldn’t go so far as to say clean workspace; but not always messy necessarily.
Best business lesson ever learned: I read a book in my mid 20s that said that women tend to ask permission before making decisions. I immediately started taking control of my decisions, and it paid dividends over my career.
A website that makes your job easier: GOOGLE
Community group you’re most involved with: Guardian ad Litem
Favorite off-hours activity: Negotiating cars and not purchasing them.
Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: My grandfather and my brother would be the perfect dinner dates together; finished with a scotch and cigars.
What you would be doing if you could pick another career: Executive Chef
Top item on your bucket list: Travel through Europe
Skill you’d like to learn: Play the Piano
Who would play you in a movie about your life: I would have to leave this to the casting director.
If I had a magic wand I’d: I’m not sure how I feel about having this type of power, but I would try to be responsible with it. My passion, with my wand, would be helping at risk teens to be able to see life clearly. Kids that don’t have strong family support, have gone through struggles in their family life often times have a difficult time seeing past the drama and problems that they have been forced to face. The result is often times insecurities, a distorted view of normality, and a long list of examples of poor life choices. With my wand I would walk around and bop them on the head to help them see themselves, their worth, capabilities and their life path clearer so they could take appropriate control of their decision making.