On the Job with Katrina Baranko

Photo by Joe Bellacomo

Photo by Joe Bellacomo

Q. What was your first job?

A. I was a lifeguard at the American Legion Pool in Camilla. It was a great job. Everyone hung out at the pool, so I was able to be with my friends all summer and make money.

Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first ever paycheck?

A. Makeup, I am sure. I would buy Seventeen Magazine and try every makeup technique in the issue.

Q. What's the single most effective technique you found over the past two years for keeping employees motivated?

A. Keeping my employees informed about new products and allowing them the opportunity to use the information to develop their own makeup techniques.

Q. What led you to your current position? Why did you want to operate your own business?

A. I have always loved makeup. I also enjoy helping people feel better about themselves. This business allows me to do both. I was a business education high school teacher for 13 years. I grew up in a family that owned businesses, so I guess it is in my blood.

Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?

A. My Mom and Dad are my role models and mentors. I grew up watching them run successful businesses. I learned from them. In order to have a good business, you must be fair, work hard and give the best customer service possible. When I decided to open my first business, The Class Room ladies apparel, they were there to support and guide me.

Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?

A. I learned that I had to tighten inventory, listen to my customers needs and give them the best possible product for their money.

Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology -- examples email, automated phone systems, cell phones, PDAs, etc. -- what would you most like to see go away?

A. Automated phone systems. When you need help, you do not have all day to go through the menu. It is very annoying and time consuming.

Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?

A. My computer. We keep our customers products on file, so they do not have to remember what shade foundation, lip color etc, that they wear.

Q. What is your favorite tradition?

A. Christmas Eve with my family. I grew up with family in retail, so most of the time they had worked hard all day Christmas Eve. When I was young, it would be the longest day waiting for everyone to get home so that we could open presents and celebrate the season. I still look forward to finishing the day and spending time with family after a busy Christmas Eve at work.

Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?

A. I read trade magazines, newspapers and motivational articles. I also love to read cookbooks, which is odd for those who know me, because I do not cook.

Q. I'm up and going by? And what is your morning routine?

A. I usually get up to have coffee, check my emails, Facebook, watch the Today Show and get to work around 9:30.

Q. What famous person would you like to meet, and Why?

A. I would like to meet Donald Trump. His ability to always land on his feet intrigues me. I would love to have a conversation with him about all of his many business ventures.

Q. Favorite hobbies or activity outside work?

A. I am very active in the Albany Kiwanis Club and the Georgia District of Kiwanis. I will be running for the position of Secretary-Treasurer of the Georgia District in August during the annual District Convention. Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.

Q. If you could take back one business decision you made in your career, what would it be?

A. I am sure that there are some decisions that were not my best, but each decision -- good or bad -- is how we learn to better manage our business.

Q. Best thing about your job?

A. Every day is different. Never a dull moment in retail.

Q. Worst thing about your job?

A. Long hours and making sure I have adequate staff.

Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?

A. Marketing.

Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?

A. A judge on "So You Think You Can Dance."

Q. Finish this thought; "On the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself ...

A. At the beach.

Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?

A. Integrity.

Q. Crystal ball time: What's your call on when the economic recovery for our area will be in full swing?

A. Unfortunately, not for some time.

Q. What kind of music might I find on your iPod's most-played list?

A. Bon Jovi; Black Eyed Peas; and Lady Antebellum.

Q. What do you think is the biggest change Albany will see in the next 10 years?

A. I hope we will see a community work together to become a strong commercial and educational city that will attract new jobs and families.

Q. What was the best vacation you've ever taken?

A. My brother, his wife, my husband and I went with my Mom and Dad to Chesapeake Bay to celebrate their 50th anniversary. We went deep sea fishing, ate wonderful lobster, enjoyed great scenery and family time.