Continuing with our series, Pete’s Paleo – Changing Lives, I met up (over Skype) with 26 year old Samara who has become an integral part on the Pete’s Paleo time in the short 14 months she has been with the company. We chatted about life, goals, hobbies, food and how her life has changed and evolved in ways beyond her imagination.
Michal Ofer: Hi Samara, so great to meet you and thank you for taking the time to chat with me today
Samara Bolden: I am so excited to be here and to talk to you.
MO: What is your job at Pete’s?
SB: I am the Customer Service Director and I also run the back end which is the shipping, receiving and logistics part of the company as well.
MO: Wow, that a whole lot of work
SB: (smiling) It keeps me busy, but I like that
MO: And what does you customer service position entail?
SB: People can call me to place orders, or they can do it themselves through our online store. I deal with customer complaints, fulfillment issues, if the orders are incorrect or something has gone wrong. I’m here to answer to their needs and keep them happy because that’s our main focus, to keep the customers happy
MO: What brought you to the company? How did you hear about/get your job?
SB:One of my best friends worked here, and then another of my other friends worked here and he was actually the director of operations. He knew like at my old job I wasn’t happy and I wasn't able to save money and it was just, it wasn't really good place for me to be at. One day I was talking about my eyebrows and needing to get my eyebrows done and he was telling me I have really good attention to detail and if I wanted to come and work here. He told me - ‘You have to really pay attention to what you're doing with ordering goods and labeling boxes and making sure people get the right meals that they ordered’. I interviewed, got the job, I came here and I've been really loving it
MO: What were you doing before?
SB: I was working at a restaurant doing cashier stuff and I was actually training to become shift lead there. I just realized this is the better opportunity for me. It was a hard situation - I thought I wanted to have the shift lead on my resume experience and I didn't think the wages would’ve been good. Then when I started here they're offering me about the same pay and I knew I can only grow from here and I had really good support here so I was just really excited to be here you know…
MO: What makes your job at Pete’s Paleo different from other jobs
SB: Pete and Sarah are amazing, just personable people you know what I'm saying… They are always around and always loving and caring and now and I just I really honestly cannot ask for better employers.
They really take their time to teach you and make you the best you can be - they're very open and just want you to learn and grow: Like this one day, Pete came in and started giving me this whole run down on special diets and keto and AIP and such. Now I can answer customer questions better and they have their arms open enough to where I feel comfortable when I don't know something all I have to do is ask.
MO: So you feel supported, they have your back?
I haven't had this kind of a job before. It makes you want to grow and you're inspired to develop and I feel like being here, I want to be here and being able to communicate that to is really cool. They’re just very generous people in like because it's like crazy how different my wages are from working in the restaurant, talking very little money working there to talking like good enough money here to where I can have savings and stuff that I'm able to move – this job has made a lot of things happen outside of the work-life
MO: How have you grown or changed in this job?
SB: At first, I was doing shipping and receiving I learned it and I was doing really good at it. The customer service job came up and they offered me the job. I've never done customer service before as far as answering phone calls and dealing with customers that way. Sarah was amazing, she just really, really took her time to walk me through a lot of things I really appreciate that because I didn't have any experience going into it and don't even to this day. Sometimes I don't know and she is always there to help me 24/7, 7 days a week if I need help answering an email or dealing with any customers or something or if I don't know how to do something. She genuinely walks me through situations and stuff like that so that's cool and I'm able to learn and get more experience. Both of them are hands-on and they're here all the time I get to get to really actually learn and grasp things like working with a spreadsheet so that I can take down and track anything like from fulfillment to FedEx failing to deliver and stuff.
MO: How do you see your responsibilities growing next?
SB: I feel like I've had so much growth since I've been here and started with just shipping and receiving and then the customer service director - that's growth within. Not very long ago I was somebody who wasn't able to keep a job and stuff like that I never really take anything seriously. This place changed that and made me really broaden my horizon. It's really a blessing to be here. I'm kind of like a human who always wants what’s next but I'm really comfortable with where I'm at. I never expected this, I didn't know what I was getting myself into but I’m glad I did and want to learn more.
MO: What has been your biggest challenge?
SB: Becoming the customer service lead having no idea what I was doing - I didn't even know how to answer emails. The only thing that I ever have to do with the computer is either Facebook or YouTube. So learning the whole position… switching over and being able to manage both positions. I'm the only one who does customer service and then shipping and receiving with an extra person. In the past they had hired people just to do customer service but honestly it's not it's really a full-time job - emails come throughout the day but it's something that you can be able to manage while keeping yourself busy because I could not sit in front of a computer all day for 8 hours. I like doing what I do but I also like to be busy and active and that moving around and doing things in the shipping and receiving area as well that's pretty cool so when you when you talk so now I can try.
MO: You do this for both locations:
SB: Yes, customer service for both
MO: Has being around Paleo philosophies impacted your eating choices outside of work?
SB: Okay so the food is amazing. I love the food. I'll take food home at the end of the week there is some left over. I love tasting it and stuff like that but I'm not the healthiest. I'm doing things like being consistently active and I know it is very important to change your diet. Although I should eat healthy all the time right I just feel as if I'm not working towards a goal like getting super fit. I just don't eat healthy unless I'm trying to drop weight or something but at the same time I’m learning, I’m learning. I don't really watch what I eat but when I do have the chance to eat the food here I definitely am.
MO: How is being part of the Pete’s Paleo team changing your life?
SB: It’s teaching me about communication and relationships and how everyone here is like one big family. We all support each other and if we need help no one is really afraid to ask because they know that they'll get that from another co-worker that has a free time to be able to do so and it’s pretty cool.
It’s a really big family and I'm just super super lucky - coming from where I came from because I'm in recovery and having Pete and Sarah and everyone here, it’s a support system. They’re so understanding and that’s important in recovery because not very long ago at all I had no hope I didn't know what I wanted to do and had no idea and like I came here and I feel like this is something that I'm really going to stick with it because I enjoy doing what I do. I just feel being a part of something really helps stick with recovery which is not easy.
MO: How long have you been in recovery?
SB: 3 years in March
MO: Congratulations, that’s fantastic. What would you want people to know about you, and about Pete’s Paleo?
SB: I think it's important to say if somebody just happens to be going through the same thing as me that there is hope and you can you can definitely make it, conquer and achieve whatever it is that you really want to go for. And I couldn’t have learned so much, and become a Director – I’m a director!!!! – without all the love and support from Pete and Sarah. Such a blessing to be part of this, to be here… I have a future now, I have savings and ideas and time to enjoy my life. Just a blessing…
MO: Samara, thank you so much for chatting with me a bit today. Is there anything else you’d like to share or you think folks should know that we haven’t really covered?
SB: (smiling) I think we’re good, thank you and Pete and Sarah for all this.