By Malcolm Mayhew
When Mary Jo McNeily took her first sales job, it very well could have been her last sales job.
“I started my career in sales, in human pharmaceuticals,” she says. “I was so excited. I had come out of college and got this great job with a company car…..and I was terrible at it.”
A friend pointed her in a different direction: animal pharmaceuticals. It was still a sales job, but she’d get to work with veterinarians. An animal lover, Mary Jo was so intrigued by this line of work, she applied for a sales position at a little-known animal dermatology company.
“I went to the interview and as soon as I met the people there - and this is no joke - I said, 'This is for me,’” says Mary Jo, a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. “I was like, ‘Fingers crossed, please let me get this sales job,’ and I did.”
Thus started Mary Jo McNeily’s 25-year career here at Virbac. At that point in time, Virbac was known as Allerderm. Over the course of the next two decades, Virbac and Mary Jo seemingly grew together. As Virbac expanded its footprint in the U.S., Mary Jo perfected her skills as a salesperson then as manager. Today, she’s Director of Sales, U.S.
To say she started out small, though, would be hilariously inaccurate. “When I first started here, I lived in Chicago and I had a huge sales territory,” she says. “I had the state of Illinois, a third of Indiana, half of Iowa and half of Wisconsin. I was on the road a lot.”
After a decade as a sales representative, now referred to as Territory Sales Manager (TSM), Mary Jo was promoted to Regional Sales Manager (RSM) for the southeast U.S. She moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, to manage territories that included Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and Tennessee.
Through more company acquisitions and realignments, her career continued to blossom. Her next role was Area Director, a position that found her managing half of Virbac’s sales reps, followed by Director of Sales, U.S., a position she’s held now for the past six years.
As the Director of Sales, U.S., Mary Jo manages 11 Regional Sales Managers across the country, who, in turn, have several sales reps reporting to them. She says she oversees the sales department from both “an analytical point of view and from an execution point of view.”
“We’re THE customer-facing team,” she says. “My job is to do the analysis to make sure we’re on track with our objectives, to get out in the field and meet the customers and be with some of the reps, and to help my managers give direction to their teams so everyone can hit their goals.”
Her loyalty to Virbac, she says, can be attributed to us, the people around her, the people with whom she works on a daily basis, and our leadership team.
“It’s really the people and the culture,” she says. “Which is not to say that everything is always perfect and that we never struggle, because that’s not true. But we pull through it together. I’ve always had faith in our leadership, both here in the U.S. and globally - that vision of wanting to support the practicing veterinarian in the work they do by bringing great products at reasonable prices that help them in their daily jobs.”
We should all be proud of the work we’ve done at Virbac, she says, noting it takes team efforts to move companies forward.
“Virbac is beginning to take its rightful place in the U.S. market as a major company, a trusted resource for veterinarians, and I want to see that through,” she says. “That’s my objective for Virbac and we do more and more to get there every day.”