Jessica Johnson, national accounts coordinator at ThompsonGas
At ThompsonGas, I wear many hats. As the national accounts coordinator, I support our robust account management team as well as work closely with our marketing and customer insights department. My background is in autogas, so I am involved with some of our Thompson AutoGas initiatives as well. Additionally, you can always find me working on a special project or two!
What was your first job?
My first job was in high school at an Abercrombie & Fitch clothing store. I am pretty sure I spent more money buying clothes than I brought home in paychecks. However, to this day, I am an excellent T-shirt folder, and I have a great respect for anyone who works in the retail space.
What are the three biggest strengths of ThompsonGas?
ThompsonGas is all about growth, whether it is expanding our footprint and making a difference in our customer’s lives or making an investment in our employee’s talent and abilities.
If I had to name only three strengths, they would be: our growth mindset, our philosophy on employee empowerment and our unwavering dedication to exemplary customer service.
Is there a skill that you think everyone in your role should learn?
Two skills that I find myself using repeatedly are clear communication and compassion. I think too many people in today’s business arena forget the value of simply being a nice person. There is also something incredibly valuable about sitting back and listening. I have learned so much simply by listening rather than waiting for a turn to speak.
What is the most important lesson you have learned from a mentor or manager?
There is a critical difference between ‘managing’ and ‘leading.’ A true leader encourages their team to grow both personally and professionally. A leader shows trust and encourages their team to explore and execute their own ideas rather than being in constant control. Sincere support from leadership is one of the most valuable assets a company can have.
What’s the best advice you can give to someone who has just started their career?
I wish someone had told me, ‘Don’t let yourself be intimidated if you are coming from outside the industry.’ Some of the most brilliant peers I work with were not born into propane, but rather, they chose it. There is a lot to learn in the world of propane, but the beauty is that our industry is ever-changing, so we are all responsible for learning new things. An expert today could be a novice tomorrow!
Who have been the strongest influences in your career to date?
Representation matters, and seeing women in true leadership roles throughout this industry is only going to inspire more women to lead and grow successful businesses.
I am so inspired by the women who lead in this industry! My mentor, Julie Johnson; our Women in Propane pioneer, Nancy Coop; and ThompsonGas leaders Jennifer Jarboe and Kimmie Guthrie have been influential in my career journey.
What are you currently reading?
Right now I’m reading two great books: ‘Level Up,’ by Alyson Van Hoozer, who was one of our speakers at the 10th anniversary Women in Propane Celebration Summit; and I’m re-reading ‘Dare to Lead,’ by Brené Brown. Both authors share insights on leadership by taking personal responsibility for their growth and having the courage to grow and develop others.
What do you like to do on a day off?
I live in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, so on a day off you can find me outdoors, enjoying music or collecting pottery! I am also a singer, so I will never turn down an invitation to do karaoke.