Location: Buffalo Grove, IL
Number of years in current position: 16
Number of years involved with indirect sales: 25
Has a female boss (or is top executive at company)
Has an advanced degree (a degree higher than a bachelor's degree)
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Has climbed a mountain
Can ride a horse
Has always wanted to be a teacher
Biography and Background:
Before Susan Kozak founded MNJ Technologies Direct, Inc. with her husband, Paul Kozak, in January 2002, she graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in Education and continued on to earn her Master's Degree in Educational Administration from Roosevelt University. Susan was a Kindergarten teacher from June 1986 to August 1988. Susan then continued on her career with AB Distributing from 1988-1997 with her last position being Director of Operations. Susan has 3 sons, Max, Nick and Jake creating the name MNJ from each one of their initials.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
By creating a family owned business 16 years ago, I have been able to create and maintain a culture centered on family. I am able to have a close working relationship with all of my employees and show how I truly care for their well-being and success. Being a part of the MNJ family doesn't stop at our doors, we continue to show that feeling to our clients as well. No matter how big MNJ grows, my focus is to maintain the family culture and to ensure that our employees and clients feel the difference and uniqueness that is MNJ.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
The goal I've developed for the next year is to Be the Difference. We, as a company, have an initiative to show how MNJ stands out amongst our competitors. Every single person working at MNJ Technologies has an impact on one another and the customer's journey. We want to give the best impression of ourselves by being the best we can be. Our main focus areas are being nimble, experts at what we each do, and genuine with our actions. My goal is to work on this every day and to be a positive example to all of our employees.
What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
MNJ has won four CRN awards over the last year. They are CRN'S 2017 Managed Service Provider Elite 150, CRN's 2017 Tech Elite 250, 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500 and CRN's 2018 Managed Service Provider Elite 150 List. We were selected for these exclusive awards due to our experienced services team that enables our clients to achieve their business and technology goals. MNJ is constantly expanding and evolving our managed service offerings to have the opportunity to prove to our clients we are their trusted advisor.
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Kristy Malatia, MNJ's Director of HR, is one of the many women I admire in my life. I've known Kristy since she was a young teen and it's been an honor to watch her grow up. Kristy is the essence of loyalty and honesty. Her job is incredibly tough but she weathers every storm steady and solid. She's an amazing teacher and her sense of duty is beyond expectations. Kristy is the type of person people can trust and look up to be the example. She's the mother of three small children and always finds the perfect work/ life balance.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
First, I would tell myself to make sure and buy the stocks of Apple, Microsoft and Facebook early on. Second, I would tell myself to stay focused and believe in yourself and to be prepared to fall down because it will happen many times. All you need to do is brush yourself off and pick yourself back up. You are stronger than you'll know and will always survive.
If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
I would love to me more proficient in Excel. There are so many uses for Excel that it would help me to be more organized than I already am. I would also be able to better analyze MNJ information and data.
What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
The Rooster Bar by John Grisham is my favorite book I've read in this past year. I love all of John Grisham's books because he weaves the process of Law into real world thrillers. In this story, three law students find themselves heavily in debt and find a loop hole in the school system that put them there. They end up fighting a big corporation that is scamming them and others and come out of debt and with much more. It is always a feel good story about the underdog.
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