Employee Spotlight – Debbie Rittenberg

Debbie-Rittenberg

Debbie Rittenberg – Senior Sales Manager, Beverage Group

Her jobs have included organizing an invitation-only luxury trade show in Geneva, Switzerland, trying on and testing diamond jewelry, and selling Lenox china and crystal. Now she often samples alcohol in the middle of the day.

Debbie Rittenberg has worked in a variety of luxury industries on both the sales and publishing sides, including jewelry, crystal and china, and now beverage alcohol. She’s worked at our company for the past 10 years, starting out as associate publisher of Jewelry Quarterly, a trade magazine for the high-end jewelry industry.

“During the seven years I was involved with JQ we transformed the publication by bringing in new business from international designers and forming partnerships with trade shows,” she says. “My favorite thing about working on JQ was the opportunity to take a product to new levels and see it become the number-one magazine in the industry.”

Following the recession in 2008, which hit high-end goods especially hard, JQ ceased publishing and Debbie moved into the beverage group as a sales manager full-time. Fortunately, she began selling advertising for the beverage magazines almost a year prior to the closure, which helped ease the transition into a new industry.

Moving from Jewelry to Beverage

“That was quite a transition!” she says. “Being in the luxury industry, jewelry was a natural fit – because what woman doesn’t love jewelry! The transition from publisher to sales manager was a bit smoother because I gradually moved into the new role – the biggest difference was letting go of the decision-making authority I had as a publisher, but since I’d been involved in sales for much of my career it wasn’t difficult.”

Once she learned the layers of the beverage industry (which includes suppliers, distributors, and retailers just to name a few) and developed relationships with the industry veterans, things began to click.

“So many of the people working in the beverage industry have been around for many, many years and have all worked together at some point in their careers,” she says.

Her favorite part of working in the beverage group is the sense of camaraderie among the team.

“Everyone is so supportive of each other, open to ideas and genuinely caring about one another,” she says. “I enjoy a ‘sharing of the minds’ and have learned a great deal from our seasoned sales team (which includes Mark Marcon, Bruce Kostic, and recently-retired Tony Bongiovanni). Spending time together is always fun because everyone has a wonderful sense of humor!”

Now that she’s a part of the industry, she’s enjoying the rewards those of us who work with beverage alcohol enjoy. Her drinks of choice? Depends on which client asks, but they include pinot grigio, margaritas made with Patron Silver, mojitos made with Don Q Cristal and Zonin prosecco.

Personal Life

Outside of work, Debbie lives with her 22-year-old daughter Alexa, who is going to school to become a radiologist, and spends time with her two cats, Jay Jay and Lacie. She spends a lot of time decorating, gardening and visiting her mother in Connecticut.

She’s also an avid concertgoer, with a goal of attending as many concerts as she can over the past two years. Recently she also planned her high school reunion, which gave her an opportunity to reconnect with old friends.

And if she didn’t have to work, how would her life be different? “I could say I’d be on a beach and go to the gym every day,” she says, “but I would probably want to work even if I didn’t have to.”

Tune in next issue when we turn the spotlight on another EPG/SIM star!