"There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul." - Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Nestled on a quiet street in a quaint cottage-style 1940's home in the town of Port Royal, just a stone's throw away from Parris Island, resides the energetic, go-getter Amanda Sutcliffe. She returned to her local roots last February, taking on the position as Marketing Manager for Atlantic Marine Corps Communities LLC. She and her staff have over 1,700 rental properties to market in SC, NY and MA to military families, retirees, and spouses of deceased personnel.
Amanda's parents instilled in her a dedication to hard work, perseverance, and determination with a healthy helping of kindness and respect. As owners of two successful businesses in Beaufort-Sutcliffe Pools and Yamaha of Beaufort-her parents passed on valuable skills and business savvy that helped to fuel Amanda's own successes in the business world. "At about age ten my mom had me go with her to work after school, and I was like 'really? I have to do this?' But now, in retrospect, I absolutely appreciate what my family did because it was something you couldn't learn in school. Even if I had taken a million business classes I would have never learned what I learned. I swept the floors, washed the motorcycles, and cleaned the chrome-the worst job. I didn't really think doing this was helpful to me, but it was."
When Amanda was a senior in high school she moved over to the pool business where she learned customer service and sales skill. "This is where I learned how to have a conversation with the customer. I was also known as the 'pool lady', which I didn't like very much, but I could talk my head off about pools." While she was working full-time for the pool business, she also went to school full-time at USC Beaufort. In two-and-a-half years she earned her degree in Business Management but didn't feel she was finished with her education, so she left for USC in Columbia to complete another degree, this time in marketing with a minor in retail entrepreneurship. While undergoing this rigorous program she also worked in property management, where she gained an appreciation for this field.
But all of her success in business comes back around to the values and skills her parents infused in her. "They taught me that if you treat a customer as a friend, with kindness and concern, they'll come back, but if you treat a customer as just a customer they'll go somewhere else next time." This was an invaluable lesson that she used as a large-loss casualty adjuster for Nationwide Insurance just after college. At the very young age of 22 she had established a client base, and her bosses wanted to know how her numbers and scores were so good. "I put myself in the other person's shoes and treated them accordingly," Amanda explained. Subsequently she was asked to train the other veteran adjusters in customer service.
Her new job harnesses this accomplished businesswoman's accumulated skills. Not only does she direct the marketing efforts of her office, she also has ancillary duties attached to her job title. Amanda is on the Military Affairs Committee through the local chamber of commerce. She is the youngest and only female, as most of the committee members are retired generals. "Just being part of this is a unique opportunity. It's very rewarding to be around people that have served this country. We are really indebted to these people." Amanda also feels the importance of community involvement so she's pleased to be responsible for the weekly and monthly community events in her military communities. She loves her job.
It's difficult to convey all of Amanda's qualities because she has experienced and succeeded in so many things. By the way, did I mention she will be 25 this month? To leave out some of her accomplishments seems to rob her of her well-polished luster. But take away from this story the importance of teaching your children good values and encouraging focus and determination. And sprinkle on in large quantities kindness and humanity, and you will surely produce a determined soul.
Best spontaneous decision: "To come back home. I get to be with family, and isn't that what it's all about?"
Books, or ... : Because of her energy she has a hard time slowing down enough to get into a book, but she gets equal pleasure out of going to thrift stores. She can spend hours digging around finding amazing bargains.
Greatest indulgence: "More expensive thrift store stuff," she said seriously, followed by a big, hardy laugh!
People of influence: Mom is the encourager, the talker. Dad is the doer. Grandmother was inspirational.
On her iPod: Tom Petty, Bob Seger, and the oldies. "Music I can cut a rug on."