Sunday afternoon. The table was set for anywhere from five to twenty five people. The air was buzzing with chatter and the aroma of mom’s pot roast. Children ran underfoot, stopping briefly to check on dinner time only to run off again, giggling. For Erin Burke, Sunday dinners weren’t just tradition: they were a community gathering.
The youngest of five, Erin grew up in a bustling Irish Catholic neighborhood in Woburn. Settled in 1620, it is about 20 minutes outside of Boston. Erin’s community served as host to a number of large families. Everyone knew each other. “Neighbors popped in just for a spot of tea,” she says with a smile. She recalls stopping at the O’Neill’s for a quick bite and some neighborhood gossip, or heading to the Sullivan’s to use their pool. “We took care of each other.”
In high school, Erin bonded with a group who became lifelong friends. They created their own annual Christmas dinner tradition. Erin pursued career opportunities early. “I always worked in retail,” she notes. “I knew I wanted to be a buyer.” Erin chose to pursue a degree in Clothing Textiles and Merchandising from Framingham State University. After a few playful eye rolls from her family for being the first to attend college, Erin received a burgeoning level of support.
After college, Erin secured a position in purchasing with Staples. Recognized for her analytical skills, she quickly rose through the ranks, first as inventory analyst and then a merchandise planner. In 2010, Erin took a position as Inventory Manager with Dover Saddlery. Founded in 1975, by two members of the US Equestrian Team, Dover provided her with a tight-knit community bound by their love for the product and people. The position allowed Erin to travel internationally and build new purchasing muscle, while igniting a passion for horses, something she shares with her daughters today.
How was Erin enticed to join the Laddawn team? “I read the description for the position and found myself saying repeatedly, ‘That’s me,’” Erin laughs. A visit to Laddawn’s Devens headquarters sealed the deal. “This is the kind of environment that is successful,” she states. Today, Erin leads Laddawn’s strategic sourcing team.
Oversized Sunday dinners have waned, but this year marks Erin’s 33rd annual Christmas dinner with her friends. “The memories are invaluable,” she says, “I’m grateful for them.” Happy New Year, Erin. Here’s to new traditions and much success at Laddawn.