Of Coca-Cola Enterprises’ 200 sales territories in the Midwest, three are managed by women. Melanie Jones is one of those managers.
Responsible for a territory based in Anderson, Jones is responsible for seven counties between Exit 10 on Interstate 69 and Fort Wayne. That territory sells 2.3 million cases of product annually, which translates into $22 million in annual sales for Atlanta-based Coca-Cola.
“We work really hard to get everybody to understand that we’re in an extremely competitive business,” she said. “We’re in a state where Pepsi is a very aggressive competitor. You’re either going to buy Coke or Pepsi, right?”
She and her two district sales managers work together to create a culture of achievement for their 75 employees, she said.
“We’ve had a really profitable, very good year,” she said, noting Anderson is one of a few facilities in the state exceeding its volume goals.
An Indianapolis native, she went to Indianapolis Public Schools elementary schools and Cathedral High School. She has a bachelor’s degree from Ball State University and an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University.
Before joining Coca-Cola three years ago, she worked for McLane Distribution in New Jersey and Kroger Corp. in central Indiana. “I’ve always enjoyed the business of business. I enjoy the fact that I’m running a business,” she said. “It’s like being an entrepreneur for the No. 1 most-recognized international brand, Coca-Cola.”
She and her husband, Trent, have three children, ages 8, 5 and 3.
Because her work is demanding and her family is young, her community-service activities tend to have a connection to work.
Her company does a number of activities focused on recycling, she said.
She also challenged her employees to collect pennies to support Anderson schools, and they gathered more than 26,000 pennies.
She also established a relationship with 100 Black Men of Indianapolis and Flanner House, creating a networking event with decision makers from Coca-Cola.
“I enjoy that I work for a great brand, and that I work with people who are passionate about maintaining our position in the market.”•