WIA Profile: Cheri Poe

Women In Adult / Ariana Rodriguez

Each month, industry news media organization XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of the industry's most influential female executives.

Cheri Poe joined Sportsheets about a year ago at the recommendation of her husband, and she has since settled into a new industry which she says has welcomed her warmly and with enthusiasm. While staying on top of communication with Sportsheets’ international clientele, Poe says she also focuses on instilling motivation and fortifying creative ideas among her sales team. In this month’s WIA Woman of the Month spotlight, Poe sits down with XBIZ to talk about her experience as part of the Sportsheets team.

It is incredibly rewarding to help a customer achieve their goals with our products and see their businesses grow, too.

What is your role and responsibility at Sportsheets?

I’m the sales manager for Sportsheets. My responsibilities include working closely with the sales staff targeting specific markets, potential customers and helping current accounts grow. Additionally, I’m here to be both a sounding board for ideas (the sales staff is quite creative and innovative) and a coach to encourage each team member to keep our customer approach fresh, authentic and innovative. Every day brings its own challenges and wins and I look forward to each day.

What is a typical day at the office like for you?

After getting a large cup of hot tea, I settle into making my European and East Coast check-in calls, once completed, layout my day, balancing between meetings and calling more customers. My main focus is to work the phone; respond to any orders or special requests then move onto working with the team on any areas in need of encouragement, strategic planning and hearing about “wins.” We are big on acknowledging individual and team goals when achieved.

How did you get into the adult novelty business?

I started in the adult novelty business a little over a year ago. It’s actually an awesome story. My husband heard about an opening at Sportsheets, and unknown to me, submitted my resume. He knew I was looking for a change – I didn’t know at the time how big of a change! This job continues to be the best job I’ve ever held.

What challenges have you confronted in your career and how have you overcome them?

The biggest challenges have come from outside of our industry, specifically with the general population’s perception of who we are and what we actually do. I’ve been completely confident, positive and open with friends, family and acquaintances in sharing about our business. The one thing they all find surprising is how many businesses are family-owned and operated.

Many say it seems that the adult industry is “final frontier of entrepreneurs.” I really like that perspective. I share how it’s a very tender thing to be involved in peoples’ intimate lives. It’s really interesting to see people’s attitudes shift from “oh you work in that industry” to “wow, that’s awesome and … uhm, do you have any samples?” With just the right balance of humor, honesty and joy, just about anyone will come around to see the benefit to society we offer as an industry.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The people. Whether it’s a customer, a coworker or a counterpart in the industry, I have met by far more authentic, kind, business savvy, enthusiastic people in this industry than I have in 25 years of working in sales and marketing in other industries. It is incredibly rewarding to help a customer achieve their goals with our products and see their businesses grow, too. The best thing is to be able to walk through a show, feel a sense of camaraderie and warm welcome from our customers.

What is your personal motto or mantra that you live by?

“Be yourself everybody else is taken.” (Oscar Wilde) “Change your attitude to gratitude.”

What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

The cohesiveness and positive persistence of the sales team. We work as a strong, vital group. This helps not just each individual sales rep achieve personal goals but keeps us all moving in a focused, clearly defined direction of sustainable growth for the company. To have this occur is an awesome accomplishment.

What are your professional goals for 2013?

To assist our customers to continue to grow and thrive with our brands and to extend Sportsheets’ reach internationally with sustainable growth in the marketplace.