bethkBeth Knipstein is a retailer’s dream come true. She’s a woman who loves to work hard, she has a passion for organizing everything under the sun, and she’s an absolute stickler for being on time.

“Beth’s work gives us a distinct advantage,” says Karyn Marcinkevich, store manager at Marshalls in Somerville, Massachusetts. “She cleans and organizes the toy and accessories departments, two areas of the store that can be a little crazy. Beth has a knack for creating order out of the chaos, so her contributions make people want to shop; customers can actually see what we’re offering.”

Beth’s rise to success in the workplace was a process, one that required a lot of persistence and creative thinking. “When I first met Beth she was pretty shy and non-communicative,” says Marisa Henderson, a Career Resource Specialist at Work Opportunities Unlimited. “It was a challenge to figure out what her interests were, but our team rolled up their sleeves and got to work looking for job leads. We considered a number of options, but they weren’t a good fit for Beth.”

It was a seasonal opportunity to assemble holiday baskets for Knoll Showroom that shifted the tide. “When I saw her at Knoll, she was a completely different person,” says Henderson. “She was organizing baskets, working shoulder to shoulder with her co-workers; she was interacting, she was communicative and best of all, she was having fun.”

“The job at Knoll provided us with important information,” explains Henderson. “We learned that Beth likes to be autonomous on the job and that she likes order, particularly when her work results in an end product; she loves to look at her accomplishments.

With this new information in hand, Henderson worked to carve out a position for Beth at Marshalls in Somerville. “I presented Karyn with ideas for the ways in which Beth could help and affect the bottom line. I explained what she could do—that she could clean and organize those areas of the store where people rummage—so we set up a work assessment; it was an opportunity for Beth to demonstrate her abilities.”

About half way into Beth’s work assessment, a meeting was held. “I was really impressed with Beth’s attention to the detail,” says Marcinkevich. “And the feedback that I received from her coworkers about her organization skills, not to mention the cleanliness of the store, was enough for me; I opted to hire Beth on the spot. Her work here is important to me, to her coworkers and ultimately, our customers. We consider her our secret weapon. She’s an important part of our team.”