Honesty is Priority
Collier’s Reserve Country Club past president Judith Stant learned early to not fear failure.
During her career, she embraced opportunities to be a trailblazer, whether in her first post-college job, or as the first female sales representative for a pharmaceutical company in the 1970s, or as an executive for medical device startups in the 2000s. And in retirement, she recently earned global recognition as the only woman on a list of outstanding private club presidents. (She’s the recent president of Collier’s Reserve Country Club.)
Stant studied foreign languages in college, but she took a sales job after graduation at a boutique in Washington, D.C. Stant quickly was thrown into a situation that tested her ability to thrive through both success and failure. The boutique owner managed a second location in New York City and needed a manager for the Washington shop. She chose Stant.
“I was still young, but she had a lot of confidence in me,” Stant says. Stant learned to manage the boutique, checking in weekly with the owner, Maggie Kelly, to discuss Stant’s successes and failures. Stant learned not to fear failure, which laid the foundation for her success in sales and later her rise through management and executive positions of medical instrument sales companies. Stant says Kelly was an inspiration and role model.
“Something about her manner and her level of organization—she was very honest—something about that stuck with me,” Stant says. Stant says she also sought to be honest with her clients and adopted her motto to treat clients, co-workers and employees the same way she would want them to treat her. She maintains that direct and clear communication with employees about their performance is necessary. “People want to know where they stand. They need to have feedback,” she says.
When she was hired by then-Marion Laboratories in 1971, she became the Kansas City, Missouri-based pharmaceutical company’s first female sales representative. She was determined to show executives that a woman could perform in sales just as well as a man could.
“I focused on doing my very best in the job,” she says. “In my mind, it didn’t matter whether you were a male or female. You were evaluated based on the job you did.”
She says she became a top performer at Marion before moving on to United States Surgical Corp., where she earned a 100 percent commission. There, her talent was recognized, and she was rewarded with management positions in the global medical device company.
As she moved up, she hoped to be a role model to women joining the sales team. She says she also mentored male hiring managers, teach- ing them to look past gender and to hire and manage with respect for the individual based on his or her performance.
“The managers needed to understand and recognize that they had hired—whether it was a man or a woman—a person, and that person deserved and required their respect,” Stant says.
After United States Surgical Corp. was acquired by Tyco in 1998, Stant served as CEO for medical device start-up companies that were sold to corporations. She retired in 2009.
She continues to operate under her mottos of treating people how she would want to be treated and communicating clearly in her leadership role at Collier’s Reserve Country Club in Naples, which she and her
husband joined in 2013. Stant recently served two years as president and three years as a voting member of the club’s board. She was named one of BoardRoom magazine’s 20 most outstanding private club presidents for 2017, join- ing others from New Zealand and South Africa.
As president, she spearheaded several initiatives to connect with club members, including a personal letter, additional open board meetings and a luncheon designed to give club members more face time with board members to ask questions.
“Communication is very critical in our club business,” Stant says. “When members feel informed and know what’s going on, then they feel satisfied.”