Standout rep took the scenic route

March 1, 2000

Pharmaceutical Representative

Christine Garabedian knew, for more than two years, what she wanted to do. She described her experience in physicians' offices: "I'd see the reps talking to doctors and I thought, 'That's what I want to do - how come no one lets me do this?' I knew I'd be good at it."

Christine Garabedian knew, for more than two years, what she wanted to do. She described her experience in physicians' offices: "I'd see the reps talking to doctors and I thought, 'That's what I want to do - how come no one lets me do this?' I knew I'd be good at it."

She was right. Now a highly successful representative, Garabedian is celebrating her seven-year anniversary with Knoll this month - and she looks back on her winding road to pharmaceuticals sales wistfully. She studied classical piano, accounting and finally finance in college. With a plan to see the world, she worked as an aide on Capitol Hill, then moved to Tokyo to teach English. When she returned to the States, she knew she wanted to be "out and about," not tied to a desk, and she began to interview with pharmaceutical companies. But with 1991's tight market, Garabedian was passed over for one frustrating reason: "I had no sales experience," she said. Out of the blue, a past contact called about an open position, remembering Garabedian's enthusiasm from a ride-along. "I didn't seek Knoll," Garabedian explained, "I got lucky."

Her "ability to talk to anybody - at all levels," has been one of Garabedian's strengths in the field. She's also developed creative trademarks that range from speaking Japanese in her Japanese-American physician offices to decking herself out in leopard-print accessories (matching the sales aids of one of her products) to handing out California raisins (her father is a raisin producer). Garabedian admitted: "I've got a few different things that make me stand out from other reps."

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