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Andrea Mace, brand development director, Premium Waters Inc.

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Andrea Mace, brand development director, Premium Waters Inc.

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What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

The most rewarding times are ones that aren’t expected. At Water Joe — a caffeinated, calorie free, and sugar free alternative to soft drinks — we didn’t anticipate the influx of unsolicited testimonials that have been received. I have had many, many people reach out to tell me about their weight loss simply due to eliminating calories from soft drinks. Or others will state that caffeine helps with a medical condition. They are all very appreciative of a calorie-free option. I love reading every single message and reply to each and every one. It warms my heart that something so simple could be so great for someone that they would take time out of their day to reach out and say thank you.

Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

Kara Goldin, founder of Hint beverages. Kara is someone who has walked my path. She created a brand from scratch and managed to expose it to the masses. That’s really hard to do. I relate to her in that we experienced similar hardships, challenges, and hurdles.

Kara was ahead of the trends when she created Hint. At the time of conception, a decade or so ago, soft drinks were still the beverage of choice. Buyers were still hesitant. Not until last year did bottled water take over as the most consumed beverage. Ten years later it’s easier for me, yet I still try to emulate her perseverance and tenacity. Albeit a competitor of sorts, I admire what she has created and hope to do the same.

What has been the high point of your career so far?

This was a very simple but pivotal point in my career. My job is to make Water Joe a recognizable brand. On the road one day I stopped in a convenience store and I was, of course, wearing Water Joe apparel. The shirt I had on was a business-appropriate piece with subtle marketing, just the droplet in “Joe” — our Nike swoosh, if you will. There was a girl who stopped me and said, “Do you work for Water Joe? I love that stuff!” I was so excited that not only had someone recognized Water Joe but it was only the droplet. My goal of creating a recognizable swoosh, or Target symbol, was working. That girl didn’t know it but she made my day, my week, and more!

Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Learn from “no.” Everyone will hear “no” in his or her career at some point. The younger me would have taken this personally and immediately moved away from the rejection. Now, “no” is simply an opportunity to learn. What could I have done differently? Did I effectively ask questions to understand the needs of my counterpart? What could I have done better to create a win-win situation? Understanding that “no” may really just mean “not now” can allow someone to learn how to be better.

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