Close Up: Leanne Finney
Runner. Mother. Marketeer.
It’s all in a day’s work for PCNA’s Leanne Finney.
While growing up in Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania, Leanne Finney dreamed of someday working in graphic design—or forensic pathology. Now, as vice president of marketing at supplier Polyconcept North America, she realizes how much her diverse interests actually complement each other. “I get to be creative, and solve puzzles and problems every day,” she says.
Finney’s journey to find her career home at one of the industry’s largest suppliers, whose headquarters is only eight miles from her hometown, followed a circuitous route. After finishing her last three years of high school in Singapore (where her father’s job moved the family temporarily), and earning a bachelor of science degree in marketing from Penn State University, Finney took a job with another company but disliked the long commute.
“A marketing position came up at Leed’s, which was near my hometown and involved all of the things that I enjoyed doing, so I applied,” she says. “What struck me from the very beginning was the high energy that was evident throughout the company. This was clearly a place that was growing and pushing the envelope and I was excited to be a part of the team.”
About 10 years ago, she returned to Penn State to earn her MBA. The additional knowledge opened more doors for her at the New Kensington, Pennsylvania-based supplier, parent of Leed’s, Bullet Line, JournalBooks, Trimark Sportswear Group and Trimark Powered by Leed’s. This year she celebrated her 16th anniversary.
What are your overall responsibilities, and what do you do day-to-day as vice president of marketing?
I’m essentially responsible for all of the marketing activities for PCNA in both the U.S. and Canada, for the Leed’s, Bullet Trimark and PCNA brands. Everything from our website, catalogs and emails to social media, trade shows, and research falls within my team.
In addition, I am spearheading a cross-functional initiative to enhance the overall PCNA customer experience. No two days are the same in my world, which is just fine. I do still like to be involved in the creative process of our day-to-day projects, but I have such a talented team that I trust them to run with their work.
I spend my time reviewing designs, evaluating new projects, discussing the direction of our website, removing obstacles for my team, improving processes and, most importantly, planning how marketing will play a key role in driving PCNA’s continued success.
What are some of the skills you have learned in working for one of the industry’s largest suppliers?
Flexibility and resiliency are two key skills that I’ve been honing in my tenure at PCNA. When you work for a fast-moving growth company like ours, things are always changing and we are consistently challenging ourselves to push forward. There is a never a dull moment.
You are a member of the Industry Branding Initiative Council, and the group was recognized as the July PPB Volunteers of the Month. What was the group’s role in the PPAI Get In Touch! campaign?
PPAI hired an advertising and branding firm to do the heavy lifting in this project, so it was the advisory group’s role to provide input and expertise. We spent a good amount of time reviewing industry research, determining success metrics for the initiative and reviewing the recommendations and creative from the agency. I’m really excited to see the entire project come to life and be so well received by the industry. I’m looking forward to seeing the impact it will have on driving growth for our industry as a whole.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
My favorite thing to do with my free time is to spend it with my husband and two daughters—we enjoy playing games, hiking, roasting marshmallows in the backyard and watching movies. I also absolutely love to travel—likely a result of my time spent overseas at a young age. I’ve recently taken up running, which I make time to do in the wee hours of the morning before work and on the weekends. I’ve now done four marathons with a fifth on the calendar in January.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
This is a toss-up between two. I am a big Disney fan, as is my family, and we have been going to Disney World about every other year. My other favorite is to visit the Outer Banks in North Carolina—this is my chance to unplug (almost) and just relax for an entire week with little responsibility. We have been doing this as an extended family for about 13 years and it never gets old. My upcoming marathon in January will be the greatest mashup of my favorites—traveling to Disney with my family to run a marathon. Can’t get much better than that!