Debbie Gordon foundedSnappy Auctions with a simple idea: Selling people’s stuff for them on eBay. Within three years of starting it, “bootstrapping the whole thing,” she had grown the venture into an $18 million business with retail stores across the country and in Japan. She has since spun off a second company, S3 Surplus Management, selling surplus equipment and technology for hospitals and universities.
What has been the single biggest career motivator for you? Primarily seeing if I can do something that no one has done before and not ever being afraid to try. In addition, the result of creating jobs and helping businesses be more profitable is a result that keeps me even more motivated.
What would you tell other younger business leaders to do to find success? Listen to your gut, and do the right thing. You will never regret either, no matter what the outcome is.
What is the biggest challenge you are currently facing? Our sales force at S3 is marketing a unique service to hospitals and universities that helps the institutions realize additional revenue and minimize the environmental impact from retired assets. Not only do we have to get to the right people, but we have created a unique concept, so it takes a lot of educating. It is a slow process, but I’m OK with it since it is working, and our clients are in better financial shape.
Have you ever had an experience that changed your life? I have them every day, all day.
What personal accomplishment are you most proud of? Running marathons is the biggest accomplishment. On the first one, it wasn’t the actual day of the marathon that I felt was an accomplishment, but it was the weekly accomplishments of getting to the next level of training where I felt the biggest gratification. The actual race was just the finale. I tend to be very disciplined professionally, but personally I am not, so doing the marathon was something that gave me personal discipline that I needed.
What activity gives you the most satisfaction when you’re not working? Spending time with my niece and nephew. They are so funny, and I love seeing the ways they process and interpret things.
In three words or less, how would others describe you? Motivated, level-headed, witty.
What’s the riskiest thing you’ve ever done in your life? Starting a business with no business plan — actually no plan for that matter, just a gut feeling and a vision. I was also sitting on an amazing job offer at the time but knew what I needed to do.
Complete this sentence with something from your own life.
“You’re not going to believe this, but … I wish I were younger so I could try out for American Idol.”
Name something specific you’d like to accomplish before you retire. Retire?
Address: 2014 Glen Echo Road,
Phone: (615) 400-3175
E-mail: [email protected]
Web: s3sales.com; snappyauctions.com
Education: Vanderbilt University
Read more: Forty under 40: Debbie Gordon - Nashville Business Journal