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Welcome to our Teddy Talk

Teddy Pekalski, Vice President of Juniper Sales, that is.

We weren’t surprised when Teddy told us he did his best thinking during his morning workouts. He’s a man OF motion and IN motion, and his team is, indeed, a reflection of its captain. Grabbing that early morning “brainspace,” as Teddy calls it, powers his daily efforts to guide and grow both his Juniper sales team and the industry he’s become devoted to. 

Now Juniper’s Vice President of Sales, Teddy started in the home, gift and lifestyle industry six years ago, working both sides of the fence in marketing as well as sales. Having been a young entrepreneur himself – making a run at a start-up right out of college – he found himself resonating and empathizing with the businesses in our industry.  

“Our start-up, SoundSense, was a great learning experience. Because of that entrepreneurial mindset, I’ve always enjoyed helping others bring their dreams to fruition through our technology. Helping them is so rewarding.” 

Also rewarding is binding together a sales team that has suffered essentially no attrition since the acquisition of the two companies that formed a foundation for Juniper. It makes sense. Like any good coach (you name it, he’s coached it: lacrosse, youth sports, sales...), Teddy is melding the players on his “expansion team” in the very manner of the company and products they represent. 

“We’re tying together the IMC vision. Juniper is the digital format of connecting buyers and sellers. We’re helping the retailers do business – improving their business through our technology.” 

That IMC, customer-centric culture is what brought Teddy to Juniper, and it’s the prevailing “there is always a better way” attitude that drives him forward. Rather than daunted, Teddy is excited by the challenge of something new every day. And, while it may appear lighthearted, he builds both fellowship and fervor in his sales team in a similar way. In spite of – or perhaps because of – their remote work set-up, they have regularly scheduled team events that include the pursuit of fun along with skills. Teddy assigns a mentor to each new team member for a relationship intended to build both knowledge and “water cooler camaraderie.”

teddy-juniper-sales-team“I’m a servant of my team. My success as a leader is measured by the success of my team, both from a personal development and professional development standpoint. We set team goals, so everybody feels like they have a part in the work of Juniper.”  

 

Always Challenged, Always Hungry 

There were early glimpses into Teddy’s uncanny ability to be both welcoming and welcome, whether with colleagues or customers. Growing up as one of the only non-Italian families in a Rhode Island neighborhood renowned for its Italian heritage, Teddy used his affable nature to befriend the Italian Mommas and Nonnas of his companions, winning him regular (and often multiple) invitations to Sunday dinners. Young, growing lacrosse players are always hungry! 

To this day, he knows all the best Italian restaurants in his travel circuit. And who knows? If Teddy knows your birthday, there just might be some surprise cassata cake or cannoli – alongside all his Juniper insight – coming your way! 

There is no surprise that Teddy likes to learn from the best himself. He finds the study of other leaders fascinating, whether it’s historical leaders, sports coaches, or business professionals. Of special interest are those who have a completely different background than what they then apply to their day-to-day environment. Seeing how these leaders approach problem-solving is much like Teddy’s favorite aspect of Juniper:

“It’s the people, it’s the energy. The excitement and passion of the team is contagious. Seeing others attack challenges with creative solutions is inspiring and keeps me excited to come to work every day." 

Which in turn makes him the impassioned teacher and leader he is – not just at Juniper, but in a life balanced by coaching youth sports, volunteering with GHTA, and moderating the pace of his morning walk to include his beloved canine companion. 

teddy-family-dogGetting ready for one of those trademark morning walks.

And now that you’ve had the chance to meet Teddy virtually, we KNOW you’ll want to meet him in person. Maybe over Italian food. Or on the golf course. Or just to say “Hi” to someone whose most important daily to-dos, both personal and Juniper, are to help others, inspire somebody, and have fun.