CEStv Presents: Women in the Industry — CES Branch Manager LaDonna Abbacchi

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To celebrate women in the electrical industry, City Electric Supply (CES) asked women in the field to share their journeys and give advice to anyone interested in pursuing a career in the same vein. In this special segment of CEStv, CEStv Presents: Women in the Industry, City Electric Supply sheds light on their stories of growth, empowerment, and achievement.

In 1992, City Electric Supply (CES) Knightdale Branch Manager LaDonna Abbacchi was determined to complete high school early and begin the next chapter of her life. Working at a local electrical supplier, she had no idea how far this opportunity could take her.

“I worked part-time until I graduated early in ‘94,” said Abbacchi. “Then I worked full time for that supplier until around ‘98. But to be honest, I didn’t see it as a career until I came to CES.

Achieving the Dream, One Day at a Time

Abbacchi worked part-time for a rep who sold material to the CES Raleigh branch. When the branch manager met her, he recognized that she had the knowledge and the right attitude for his team. He offered her the outside sales position, which she accepted. Not long after, she moved up to the operations manager position.

“At the time, I felt like I probably wouldn’t have had the chance to be branch manager. But, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that, though you have to work hard to be in this industry, the harder you work, the more successful you’ll be. That is very satisfying at the end of the day.”

And just a few years later, she received an offer to become branch manager of CES Knightdale in North Carolina.

“My fondest memory at CES was the day I got promoted to branch manager. What makes CES a wonderful company is that, if you put your heart into it, it pays off.”

Finding the Strength Within

“That promotion shaped me into who I am today. I felt like it was either sink or swim, even though I knew that my district manager would be there for me no matter what. I wanted to become this superpowered woman who didn’t have to lean on anybody else, and I did.”

Abbacchi started with two team members and spent countless hours, sometimes staying until midnight, reworking the inventory to meet her local customers’ needs. Finally, the branch reflected her vision. Together, she and her team transformed CES Knightdale into one of the top-performing locations in the district today.

“I was the first woman branch manager in my area, and I wanted to shine. After eight or nine months, we turned the branch around,” she said. “Now we’re one of the bigger stores in our area, and it is very rewarding.”

And Abbacchi says it wouldn’t have been possible without her mother’s inspiration and encouragement.

“My mother had a huge impact on where I am now. When I had challenges at work, we always had great conversations that helped push me through. She taught me that no matter what you do, have a positive attitude.”

What She Loves About the Electrical Industry

Abbacchi appreciates the depth of what she has learned throughout her time in the industry, especially in her position leading CES Knightdale.

“It’s not just providing electrical supplies; there’s a lot more involved,” she said. “There’s understanding the inner workings of why we need electricity, where we use it, and the gear needed.”

“My favorite thing about being in the electrical industry is meeting new people every day, who all have different personalities. It’s also fun having associates that you can become friends with outside of work,” Abbacchi said.

Advice to the Next Generation of Women

“Don’t be scared to take a chance. If you see an opportunity, take it, and work hard. It will pay off,” said Abbacchi.

She also spoke on how education provides better opportunities.

“My advice to any younger person coming into the industry is that school should be first. The more educated you are when coming into this industry, the more successful you’ll be. So, focus and work hard in school, then let the rest fall in place.”

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