In honor of Women’s History month, please join us for a Q&A with Nicole DiCunzolo, Senior Account Representative at Power-Flo Technologies.
Hi Nicole! Will you please introduce yourself, and let us know a little bit about you?
My name is Nicole DiCunzolo and I’ve been in the industry for 16 years. I studied Accounting in college and shifted gears into the electrical industry. I started at the counter, migrated into inside sales, and now I’m a Senior Account Manager. I currently live in Brooklyn and enjoy anything active. Love to travel, hike, cook, enjoy a good book, explore, and spend quality time with friends and family. I have been to twenty countries so far and am always open to trying something new. Most recently, roller skating!
Men typically lead our industry. Can you speak a bit on your challenges as a woman in a male driven industry?
Breaking into a male dominated industry has impacted me greatly. Twofold, being a woman and the “daughter of the owner.” I was met with resistance and sometimes discounted by gender expectations. Initially, I had no electrical experience as I studied Accounting in College. Over summers I worked within different departments, so I was lucky to have had some exposure prior to starting, but SALES was completely new to me. I started at the counter. It was extremely intimidating, as contractors are on a tight timetable and want to get in and out. With a lack of product knowledge, I knew I had to dive deep, get acquainted with the products and start training. Thankfully, I have an amazing mentor, Kathy Kramer. She has been and continues to be instrumental in my career. She was seasoned and I was in awe of her knowledge, adaptability, work ethic, and relationships she built with longstanding clients. She patiently helped me with part numbers, trade language, follow-up, sources, etc. She helped me navigate an incredibly stressful environment. I had clients willing to give me a try and others that didn’t want to deal with a woman. I knew I had to work very hard to develop my product knowledge, skillset, temperament, and problem-solving skills. I’m very lucky that my dad along with other supportive team members pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and advance my career. I was nervous to dabble in Outside Sales, but with guidance jumped in. Grateful for that move and continued progression. The two most important things were to provide a high level of service and to continue to learn/push the envelope.
How have these challenges helped you build a path towards success?
Over the years, through hard work, dedication, and support from PFT team members, my career has evolved tremendously. I continue to grow sales, provoke change, and have increased involvement with day-to-day operations. Barriers will always be there, and as women we will continually have to filter through society’s gender norms and disparaging commentary. In turn, we must invest in ourselves, not limit our potential, set boundaries, and align ourselves with people that inspire us and offer support. As a woman, I feel our competitive edge is our attention to detail and willingness to communicate. This, coupled with the amazing support and PFT team, I’m grateful to be able to help influence and drive change. We have so many talented women on our team that continue to grow sales, impact positive change, work hard, and truly make a difference within our organization. Also, pleased to say, we have several women in lead roles, from Branch managers, department heads, Director of Human Resources, and Marketing Director. Woman-to-woman support is critical. Most recently had the opportunity to mentor a female team member that started in purchasing and transitioned to Outside Sales. I’m extremely proud of how she’s navigated her career, continues to grow sales, and forge relationships with vendors and clients. By working together, fostering growth, and setting goals we can change the conversation and break away from outdated industry trends.
What is your favorite part of the job?
Having an impact on our community. Our products and services keep hospitals running, improve efficiencies in existing spaces, and transform the look and feel of our environment. I enjoy working in the field and understanding our clients’ needs. It’s exciting to work internally with our team to provide engineered solutions. I’m grateful for my mentor and enjoy developing talent within our organization as well. I truly learn something new every day. Our diversified services and products allow us to partner with lead manufacturers and in turn we are exposed to the latest technologies in every industry vertical.
Can you tell us about a favorite project you worked on and why?
When our talented team repurposed an existing Hospital transfer switch. The redesign allowed for the switch to be portable. The transfer switch was refurbished, tested, and set on casters for ease of mobility. The Hospital was able to utilize the switch safely and conveniently throughout their campus. I really enjoy any project where we provide custom engineered solutions. It’s exciting to watch our team think outside the box and help clients with challenging applications.
Can you tell us about a woman who has inspired you and why?
Rupi Kaur. She is a poet, artist, and performer. Her work touches on femininity, trauma, loss, healing, love, and migration. She was met with resistance when she wanted to publish her work. Despite pushback, she edited, designed, and self-published her first book. She went on to publish and perform other works. Her collections have been translated into 43 languages and she’s sold over 11 million copies. I am inspired by her thought-provoking work, as many topics make some uncomfortable. She continues to help so many, world-wide, through her words. By bringing awareness and providing a platform for those tough conversations.
With your busy schedule, what do you do to take care of yourself and find balance?
Balance and down time are crucial to my success. Selling in a connected world is quite demanding. Real-time responses provoke a need to constantly be available. This can be exhausting. I find peace in working out, meditation, breathwork, sensory deprivation, and journaling. And although it’s challenging, I try to carve out times throughout the week that I’m off my device. Lastly, a change of scenery is always good for the soul.
What advice would you give to women entering this industry?
Do not take everything personally. Breathe. Step back. Invest in yourself. Find an area that ignites the fire within. Learn. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Ask questions. Be true to yourself. Check out Women in Industry resources. Talk with and support team members. Do the work. Be the change. Shine BRIGHT!