Director, Valuations, Gordon Brothers
40 Under 40 Category: Liquidation/Appraisal/Auctioneer
As director, valuations at Gordon Brothers, Sam Schackman is responsible for managing the appraisal process for retail and e-commerce companies for financial decision-making. She oversees a team of analysts who assess the net orderly liquidation value of retail inventory and consider key metrics, including sales capacity, expense structure, discount and markdown strategies and inventory mix, to derive net value.
Before assuming the role of director, Sam held the positions of project analyst, project manager and senior manager at Gordon Brothers. In these roles she provided advisory support, and reviewed and completed hundreds of complex inventory valuations across a range of sectors.
Prior to joining Gordon Brothers in 2006, Sam worked as a business analyst at The Chalfin Group. In this role, Sam was responsible for conducting in-depth financial analysis, due diligence, drafting of memoranda and other valuation processes for the sale of closely held businesses. Sam holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics and business from Lafayette College and is certified by the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice
Did you change the way you approach work while working remotely during the pandemic? Have these habits stayed with you as we emerge from the crisis?
Gordon Brothers reacted quickly and supported its employees during the pandemic. There was always an emphasis on employee well-being due to COVID-19 but also mental well-being during the pandemic that helped me stay motivated and engaged while working remotely during such a trying year.
Fortunately, I was able to work remotely a few days a week prior to the pandemic, so I already had a great home office setup and a routine for working from home. However, one of the biggest differences working remotely during the pandemic was that everyone else was also working remotely! This meant all the time I spent helping the analysts on our team, or in office meetings to review valuations, had to be conducted via Zoom and screen-share.
While I know everyone has Zoom fatigue now, I found Zoom to be a successful tool at least equal to, if not better than, working in person. The screen-share function is more efficient than standing over someone’s shoulder in his or her office when trying to help an analyst on our team. It was so effective that for the first time our team hired a new employee out of state who will be a permanent remote employee. I’ve been training her remotely for the last several months and, while it’s a little strange that I’ve never met her in person, I still feel like I’ve gotten to know her and train her effectively using Zoom.
While there are many benefits to working remotely, it’s easy to blur the lines of work and home life. For the second half of 2020, our team was extremely busy, and I felt like I was working around the clock and had gotten out of the routine I typically set for myself when I’m working from home. I think it’s important to set boundaries so you can be an efficient employee and a good partner at home. I now try hard to maintain some sense of the routine I had prior to the pandemic, in that my mornings were my time to exercise, get outside or tackle any home issues. I try not to check my email until it’s time for the workday to start, and I try to keep work contained to when I’m sitting at my desk. That small amount of “me” time in the morning helps me stay balanced and focused.
When interviewing newcomers to the industry, what do you say to pique their interest on why they should accept a position in this industry?
I feel very lucky that I love my job! I have been working in Valuations for Gordon Brothers for over 15 years and, while my job function is the same, every day is different. The diversity of companies I get to work with is so interesting and the changing liquidation landscape is a constant challenge that we are always analyzing. The pandemic was no exception. We had to instantly adapt to changing consumer needs, buying habits, income levels and liquidation channels. When I am interviewing newcomers, I always say working in this industry is like doing a puzzle; if you enjoy the constant challenge of trying to solve a problem where every piece is different, then you’ll enjoy working in this industry.
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