Employee Spotlight Blog: Uschi Samaritano
Uschi Samaritano is a Clarke Showroom Consultant in our South Norwalk location. Uschi’s journey to Clarke is a long one as she traveled to the U.S. from Belgium in 1994. Uschi has a bachelor’s degree in Special Needs Education from a university in her home-town of Antwerp. Her native language being Flemish, Uschi had the challenge of learning new languages when she came to the U.S. Now, she is fluent in Flemish, German, English and Spanish! Before she came to Clarke, Uschi worked at Chiquita Brands in the Operations department, where her job included, “assigning volume for transport of bananas on their fleet, coordinating the loading and unloading of South American and European ports”. In order to converse with the local port facilities, Uschi was required to know Spanish, which is how she came about her fourth language. Uschi also worked as an assistant manager at William Sonoma where she “worked on and off while living in Chicago and here in Connecticut”. This was perfect for Uschi at the time because it, “gave me the opportunity to raise my three wonderful children; Thomas (25), Caitlin (23) and Grace (21)”.
While William Sonoma was once a great fit and provided her with excellent customer service experience, Uschi was ready for a change. Uschi joined the Clarke family in 2015 and describes her position as a “blessing” after coming from the “full blown retail” scene. Uschi explains, “I keep telling my friends that my position doesn’t really exist! I am surrounded by the most beautiful kitchens and more so, amazing appliances with which I can work with all day long”. As Uschi explains, being able to simply represent a brand that one is passionate about is such a luxury compared to making the “hard sell” that most retailers require. Uschi’s favorite part about her role here at Clarke is the environment. She describes her relationship with fellow South Norwalk co-workers as a “close-knit group” and explains that, “working for a family owned business who puts their employees first is a welcomed retreat” from her days of big-time retailers. Uschi is especially fond of the ability to cook on the job as well, “I am allowed to work with our chefs, creating and testing recipes and, this is the down side of the job, eat it as well (gained 10 pounds so far, ugh…)!” Finally, Uschi enjoys, “working with our clients and experiencing their excitement in their kitchen project development…I am often becoming very close to them, they trust my opinion on which appliances would be most fitting to their lifestyle”.
When Uschi is not cooking with our chefs at Clarke or helping clients, she is home at her little farm in Redding Connecticut, a small town which she describes as having, “undoubtedly has more trees than people in it”. Her house, “sits on an old apple orchard” which allows Uschi to go apple picking in her own backyard every Fall. On her farm, Uschi has her “four girls named Helen, who dutifully produce one egg each day”, five beehives where she gets fresh honey to bring to her co-workers, and a vegetable and herb garden. Along with tending to her farm which Uschi describes as, “very therapeutic”, she also, “loves to cook”. She has even started making her own sausage!
Favorite quote: “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow” -Hellen Keller.
Well Uschi, you radiate sunshine everywhere you go, which is why everyone here at Clarke as well as our clients appreciates you. Thank you for everything you do here at Clarke, we are lucky to have you!