March is Women’s History Month, a time to honor the accomplishments of women throughout history and recognize their contributions to society, including in fields that have traditionally been male-dominated. XL North is proud to join in the celebration by shining a spotlight on the achievements of women in flooring. From installers to designers to executives, women have made significant contributions to this industry, and XL North is committed to supporting and promoting their success.
In this interview, Catherine Franzella of Sun Interiors, shares the history of her father who founded the business over four decades ago based on integrity and building relationships with customers. She talks about her journey of learning the ins and outs of the commercial flooring industry and being bold in pursuing opportunities. Through her work and dedication, Catherine is continuing to carry forward the legacy of her father and the business by cultivating enduring connections and striving for excellence in the field.
The theme for this year’s Women’s History Month is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories”. What story are you telling with your work in the commercial flooring industry?
My heart is to spread the story that my dad started in 1976. He’s built a business founded on integrity & growing relationships with our customers, that transcend past just a business connection. Down in New Orleans, it’s all about the people, and that’s how we work here at Sun. I try each day to build on his experience and wisdom, but bring my own flair to it. Being a young woman in the construction industry presents itself with unique challenges, but I also feel like it gives me an edge to see things from a different perspective & maximize our strengths as women.
Tell us about yourself. Where are you located? What’s your educational background? What do you do for fun/relaxation?
I am located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and studied Kinesiology – Exercise Physiology & Dance at Louisiana State University and Cal State Los Angeles. For 4 years I’ve been teaching fitness classes in the morning before work, and I absolutely love it. Fitness is a huge passion of mine, but you can also catch me cooking, reading, or learning to play bass.
Describe your career. Where are you employed? What’s your role? What journey did you take professionally to get to where you are today?
I’ve been working at Sun Interiors for 7 years. My title is business development, but being a small family-owned business, my responsibilities extend much further than what my business card says. Any given day, I could range from working with end users on product specification, floorcare sales, administration, project management, marketing, and so on. I try my best to be a resource to every other position in my company. It’s all hands on deck here, and I believe learning aspects about every role within the company has given me a well-rounded education and understanding of our business as a whole.
What would you say is your greatest professional achievement?
I wouldn’t say there is one specific instance, but when I reflect back on how far I’ve come, after entering an industry I knew absolutely nothing about, I feel proud of myself. I’ve built my own long-term relationships and have worked hard at developing a “brand” for myself.
What is one thing that you have learned professionally that’s served you well in your career?
To be bold. We are all just out here doing our best, while we sometimes have no clue what’s going on, haha … and that’s ok. I’ve been astonished by the opportunities that have come from me just putting a smile on my face and going after it. Ask for the business. Introduce yourself to a stranger in a business organization. Ask for help. But also, be empowered by your natural talents and let those guide you while the day-to-day teaches you the rest.
ABOUT SUN INTERIORS
Sun Interiors Ltd. is a commercial flooring contractor who has been serving the New Orleans metropolitan area for the past 40+ years by supplying high quality carpet installation and maintenance to Corporations, Educational Facilities, Healthcare Facilities, Industrial Facilities, Public Facilities, Retail Locations, Hotel and Recreation Facilities as well as the Entertainment Industry all over the Gulf South since 1976.