Distributor Woman of Distinction: Heather Sanderson

Meet Overture Premiums & Promotions' Heather Sanderson

Heather SandersonCount Heather Sanderson among the few executives who are thrilled to be in the office every day.

"I'm always excited to be here," says Sanderson, about distributor firm Overture Premiums & Promotions (asi/288473), which she co-founded in 2001. "We hire fun, like-minded people, and we all have a good time. I think the office should be a place where you want to spend time, not where you have to spend time."

For Sanderson and Overture, that kind of office environment has translated into big growth and quick success. The company, which began simply with Sanderson and co-founder Joe Hazan as a two-person team 11 years ago, now has 55 employees and $19 million in revenues in 2011 – 30% growth over the previous year.

"We set out to have a boutique-style distributorship that works with certain clients, but not all customers," says Sanderson, who had been overseeing the financials and accounting for a small distributor firm on the West Coast prior to starting Overture. "We won't do the commodity sale. We only work with customers that fit our model and need our expertise and level of service."

To that end, Sanderson says Overture's status as an official Woman-Owned Business gives it an edge over other competitors. "It separates us, and gives us an opportunity to meet with other executives that we may not otherwise be able to see," she says.

But, what Overture really tries to prove to its clients is its creativity. "We have a creative atmosphere," Sanderson says, "and we want to show that to our clients by the programs we can do for them."

That creativity and the inspiration for Overture's success come from the fast-growing ranks of the company's employees. Sanderson has hired from inside and outside of the industry. She's identified people through many avenues. But she always looks for one trait: competitiveness. "I look for a competitive edge in all of our employees," she says. "Through sports or some hobby, I want to see that they want to compete. I want to hire people like myself. We're fun and we can laugh and have a good time, but we're also very competitive. That's the environment I want."