SCIENCE DESIGN POTENTIAL SUIT INFRASTRUCTURE TECHNOLOGY EXPERIENCE MUSIC APP PRODUCT USER INVENTION PERFORMANCE SAFE STRATEGY SNEAKER DATA SHAKER COLLECTIVE Think Outside the
EXPECTED FOUNDATION ENTERPRISE OPPORTUNITY DRILL ALGORITHM INTERFACE LOBBY INDUSTRY CONSUMER ACCOUNT SAFETY APPLICATION APPROACH BROADCAST CUSTOMIZATION PLAYLIST HOTEL ROOM ROUTINE
Seven executives show us that innovation awaits within every (seemingly ordinary) thing P52
TRANSFORMATION CHALLENGE PLAN OPERATION
The energy industry faces challenges as it evolves with our changing world. Learn from seven executives embracing change to plan for a better future.
E N E RGY R E N EWAL
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Leadership Starts in the Kitchen Camille Penniman, like all corporate leaders at Raising Cane’s, has spent time in the restaurant to understand the needs of customers firsthand
A Spirit of Learning for HR
Edward Kayton and his team enable educational opportunities for Spirit Airlines employees
Crafting a Culture for All At BIC Graphic, Barbie Winterbottom engages all employees to create processes that work for them
The Art of the Law Sandra Hall Mulrain has perfected the concept of “artful lawyering” in her time as VP and associate GC at Southwire
Photo: Chris Hedlund (Kayton), Jamie Griffin (Penniman), Courtesy of Southwire (Mulrain) Illustration: Iurii Kiliian/Shutterstock.com (BIC Graphic)
C O M PA N Y
C U LT U R E
I M PA C T
Why D&I Enables Innovation Diana Geseking helps lead a diverse legal team at Dyson
Finding the “Why” Deanna Siegel Senior shares how WW contributes to global wellness
A Mission to Keep People Safe How MSA Safety’s new CEO Vish Vartanian honors the company’s legacy while planning for the future
How to Make Quality Cool
Photo: Gillian Fry (Vartanian), Peter Garritano (Siegel), Jane Kratochvil (O’Reilly) Illustration: GarryKillian/Shutterstock.com (Burrow Global)
At Burrow Global, CFO Mark Vise translates numbers into memorable initiatives
The Tech Behind the Champions Brian Shield enables the World Champion Boston Red Sox to connect with fans
Protecting Mixed Reality
Building for Community
At Magic Leap, Ana Lang ensures that creativity and curiosity are infused into the legal department
David O’Reilly guides The Howard Hughes Corporation in planning and funding new developments around the country
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When I was discussing the innovation section with guest editor Todd Unger, I suggested a headline: “Move fast, don’t break anything.” A clever reimaginging of Facebook’s infamous former motto for its development team, I thought! But Todd corrected me. “The point is not ‘don’t break anything,’” he explained. “If anything, it’s teaching people how to break things faster and shed old ways of doing things. That’s the bread and butter of transformation.” As the chief experience officer and SVP of physician engagement for the American Medical Association, it’s part of Todd’s job to encourage fearless innovation and what he calls “productive disruption.” Often such mandates feel like they’re only for the chosen few—the tech geniuses, the scrappy start-up founders, and the creatively trained. But our innovation section highlights executives who have embraced innovation in all kinds of ways that often get overlooked. At Pandora Media, Karen Walker applies the same kind of automation technology the streaming service uses for music to its accounting department (p.90). At Hilton Worldwide, Fred Schacknies uses the treasury function to contribute to his company’s goal of being the most innovative hotel brand (p.77). At Morton Salt, Beata Kashani embraced the legacy company’s rebranding spirit to revolutionize its employee experience (p.58). These are all innovations that could easily go unsung, but in Profile, we celebrate them. We also put a spotlight on the energy industry, which has faced its share of challenges in recent years, from plummeting prices to recruiting roadblocks. The executives featured in this section (p.186) open up about how they’re tackling these challenges and positioning their industry for a stronger future. It takes guts not only to meet such obstacles head-on but to share the stories behind them so that others can learn from them. That’s why we publish Profile—so that you, the reader, can learn from the human stories behind the business. I hope in this issue you’ll find some inspiration (and motivation to break things) of your own. All the best,
Megan Bungeroth Editor-in-Chief
Don’t Not Break Things
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The HR Engager 8
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Dave Wagnerâ€™s HR team is finding the right people to power II-VIâ€™s rapid expansion in diverse markets Words by R U S S G A G E R
Photos by G I L L I A N F R Y
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Dave Wagner developed his interest in human resources while still in college. Rather than concentrate on accounting, marketing, or operations, he studied human resources management. “I tended to be more interested in how people impacted the business,” he says. Wagner is now vice president, human resources at II-VI, Incorporated, a public company with more than $1 billion in revenue. Wagner is a member of the company’s executive team. “I really don’t come at it as, ‘I’m the HR guy participating in business,’” he insists. “I’m a business guy who has a unique responsibility to develop people strategies and plans that deal with the people implications of our global business strategy.” Wagner has worked in human resources his entire career. Even when he attended Juniata College, Wagner’s work on the faculty evaluation committee applied his burgeoning HR knowledge to a real-world situation. Then an internship at Owens Corning sparked his passion for human resources and evolved into a twenty-three year career at the global building materials company. “The passion came when I figured out that a big part of what HR really does is help organizations identify performance gaps and be more efficient and productive,” Wagner says. “That’s when we get as close as we can to our ‘A’ game.” Today at II-VI, Wagner oversees a diverse HR team with facilities in fourteen countries and fifty-two locations in the United States, Europe, and
Asia, with significant operations in the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, and the Philippines. Based just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, II-VI is a vertically integrated technology materials manufacturer of photonic and electronic materials and components used in industrial, fiber optics communication, networks, military, life sciences, semiconductor equipment, automotive, and consumer electronics products. II-VI has more than 2,200 employees in the United States, 600 employees in Europe, and 8,700 employees in Asia, with the bulk of that staff in China. Wagner emphasizes that handling II-VI’s meteoric sales growth is part of his daily responsibility. Since 2008, when Wagner joined the company, II-VI has grown from just more than $300 million in sales and 2,000 employees to now more than 11,000 employees and sales greater than $1 billion. Even with all this growth, Wagner thinks that II-VI is just getting started. “We’ve got aspirations to grow significantly beyond that,” he says. To aid that growth, Wagner is part of the mergers and acquisitions team, and considers the integration challenges of a possible acquisition. II-VI has averaged about one acquisition per year. “We’re in a constant state of integration and change,” Wagner says. “However, before we get into integration, the HR team assesses the HR
“The passion came when I figured out that a big part of what HR really does is help organizations identify performance gaps and be more efficient and productive.” DAV E WAG N E R
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Dave Wagner VP, Human Resources II-VI Incorporated
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risks in the deal and makes sure there are no hidden costs or issues that will surprise us, later on.” Cultural diversity keeps Wagner and his team working hard to engage employees. “Growth is a big part of our culture,” Wagner says. The company has a set of worldwide values that its managers periodically evaluate and constantly hold employees accountable to. Additionally, it has an open-door policy that includes town hall meetings with employees every ninety to 180 days. To handle succession planning across such a diversity of employees and positions, II-VI has recently hired a director, succession planning, leadership development and employee engagement, and is rolling out a global succession planning process that will drive leadership development efforts. It will identify key succession candidates and oversee their grooming for promotion from within. “It’s absolutely critical and one of our top five priorities,” Wagner says. In fact, Wagner’s position itself is the subject of succession planning, as he prepares to retire later in 2019.
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“I’ve tried to add velocity and not be an obstacle or choke point in what the HR team is doing.” DAV E WAG N E R
Leadership development is a large part of the company’s succession process—and the whole company must step up its leadership development efforts to keep pace with the company’s rapid growth. As part of Wagner’s leadership style, he and his team set ambitious goals that will offer the maximum value for II-VI. “We have a very capable HR team. We get ourselves clear on our goals, time line, and what resources we need,” Wagner says. “I check in to make sure they have the support they need and then get out of their way.” One rule he practices daily is reviewing all emails from the executive and human resources team before the end of the day. “I may not be able to respond to everything, but if it is urgent or they have a need, I want to respond before I go home, even though it may extend my day,” Wagner insists. “I do what I can to keep them moving along. I’ve tried to add velocity and not be an obstacle or choke point in what they’re doing.” This same dedication extends into Wagner’s private life, where he has been a long-time volunteer for Mercersburg Academy
in south central Pennsylvania. He is a graduate and currently serves on the private school’s executive committee and is the chair of the building and grounds committee. Additionally, during retirement he plans to work more for Habitat for Humanity, for which he has volunteered in the past and built homes in Skopje, Macedonia, and Toledo, Ohio. Wagner has been fortunate to have many mentors, organizations, and experiences that have helped drive his success. Among them are the Boy Scouts, Mercersburg Academy, a college professor, his three mentors at Owens Corning, and the four years he spent with the company in Belgium, leading human resources in Europe, Africa, South America, and Asia. “Those four or five things really provided and created all kinds of opportunity and learning for me that really helped me get to where I am today,” he says. The global human resources leader has cultivated his expertise through the decades to advance II-VI. Looking ahead, the impact of Wagner’s people-first legacy ensures that II-VI will be more prepared than ever for its bright future.
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Eric Hutcherson and his team at the NBA have implemented initiatives to make it a first-class organization not only in the sports world, but in the business industry at large By D A N N Y C I A M P R O N E
My Life Graphic/Shutterstock.com
The Xâ€™s and Oâ€™s
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of an HR Strategy profilemagazine.com
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Eric Hutcherson EVP, CHRO NBA
One of the most iconic plays in basketball is what’s known as the four corners offense. Formulated in the 1950s and made popular by former basketball coach Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina, the play is typically drawn up before halftime or the end of the game to maintain a lead. As a former collegiate basketball player, it’s undoubtedly a play that Eric Hutcherson knows quite well. In fact, the four corners mentality of maintaining success and ensuring a win is seen reflected in the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) own culture, which is applied to each of the four leagues that make up the organization: NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, and the NBA 2K League. The NBA’s four values—integrity, teamwork, respect, and innovation —can be summarized in the organization’s mission statement, which employees also say is their calling: compete with intensity, lead with integrity, and inspire play. “If you think about those words, we have a collection of people in our organization—just like we have a collection of players across all of our leagues—that are constantly trying to improve and to be the best at what they do. And no matter how good or bad the day before was, their primary goal is to make the next day better,” Hutcherson says. But just like on the road to winning a championship, words don’t equate to wins. It takes practice, determination, and strategic coaching to inspire success. That’s where Hutcherson comes in. As executive vice president and CHRO, the HR strategies that Hutcherson and his team are incorporating are inspiring a workforce and bettering the NBA. These aren’t unique to the sports industry. Rather, they can be applied to any organization to create an empowered workforce and organization. “We want to create a culture where people are joyful to come to work at the NBA,” Hutcherson says. “We want them to approach challenges in our organization with an excitement and a vigor that says, ‘I can’t wait for the next challenge to come because I’m excited to not only overcome it, but to then be ready for the next one.’” Growing up with a passion for the game and playing basketball throughout his life, Hutcherson first experienced working with the NBA through a role in public and community relations for the Boston Celtics. Eventually moving into HR, Hutcherson further developed his expertise in leadership roles at various organizations before returning to the NBA five years ago. Hutcherson had always seen the NBA as innovative, forward-thinking, and on the leading edge when it comes to providing resources for players, employees, and the communities it serves. When he joined the league, though, Hutcherson says the staff was surprisingly small, considering all they did. “It was amazing in that you had a dedicated, hard-working, and collaborative staff, but it was a relatively smaller organization than you would think given the size and prominence of the brand,” Hutcherson says. After meeting with Commissioner Adam Silver, Hutcherson and his team took on the challenge of transforming the NBA culture to exemplify its persona to fans. “We are really looking to make
James & Co., a Woman Owned Business, is a premier Human Capital Consulting firm with verticals that include: Executive Search, Organizational Design & Effectiveness, Transactional Assistance and Performance Management. We are proud to congratulate Eric Hutcherson for his leadership, innovative and transformational insights in Human Capital. We value our partnership with the NBA, with Eric and his highly capable team as well as the trust he has placed with our Firm.
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this place even more engaging, even more exciting, and even more collaborative,” he says. “While it’s a very prestigious organization, we're always on a quest to be better than we currently are.” Hutcherson began to focus his efforts through the lens of the employee experience. He instituted the Great Place to Work Survey to gather analytics around employee engagement and satisfaction, and has worked with his team to develop action plans to translate those insights into direct, positive impact on the organization. One of the outcomes was the introduction of an internal innovation platform for employees to share ideas and collaborate to address business and workplace challenges. A big part of the cultural transformation has involved empowering the NBA’s workforce to contribute at all levels. And last year, the NBA promoted Amy Brooks to be its first-ever chief innovation officer, which will accelerate those efforts. Hutcherson also turned his attention to all of the NBA’s policies, programs, and procedures, asking what it would take to further improve and become a world-class organization. One of the first changes was making vacation policies more competitive. The NBA calendar season is quite demanding: four leagues, eighty-two games—not counting the playoffs, plus All-Star games, summer leagues, drafts, Global Games, Jr. NBA events, and the organization’s work in the community. So, Hutcherson and the NBA’s leadership introduced sabbaticals. On top of employees’ allotted vacation time, those who have worked at the league for ten years get an additional four weeks off, fully paid. At twenty years, it’s eight weeks off. In the past three years, more than one hundred employees at the league have taken a sabbatical. Additionally, the NBA increased parenting leave and introduced caregiving leave, which allows employees to get paid time off to care for family members in need.
MOTIVATION AND SUPPORT OUTSIDE OF THE NBA When Eric Hutcherson first joined the Boston Celtics in 1991, he participated in the NBA’s stay-in-school program. It was his first opportunity to speak with young people about the importance of education and investing in one’s future. Eventually, these speaking engagements evolved into Hutcherson’s Say Yes to Success motivational program. The program focuses on personal branding and how to go about developing oneself to achieve personal goals. “The consistency of my career journey is that with every role that I’ve played, part of it has been about investing in the future of others and helping others to be successful,” says Hutcherson, who routinely presents Say Yes to Success to students, as well as at conferences and special events. “It’s exciting for me because it’s a chance to give back, to provide some of the advice and counsel that I was given as I was coming through my career.” Part of Hutcherson’s presentation also speaks to the PRIDE formula: positive mental attitude, respect, intelligent choices, dreams and goals, and execution. He also discusses what he refers to as the rule of thirty, where he believes that people assess you from three distinct points: thirty feet away, thirty inches away, and the first thirty words you say. “Those concepts try to inspire people to understand that I am a company,” he says. “It’s the essence of You, Inc. You are your own company, and how you choose to market and brand your company is really the first step in realizing many of your own personal goals.”
“We are really looking to make this place even more engaging, even more exciting, and even more collaborative. While it’s a very prestigious organization, we’re always on a quest to be better than we currently are.” E R I C H U TC H E R S O N
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The NBA assist program was also initiated, which allows employees to have more flexibility with work arrangements depending on circumstances. That allows employees the autonomy to get their work done and support the organization, but also to do so at home if needed. “When you join the NBA, your work and your family become intertwined,” Hutcherson says. “People come to appreciate that we operate, to some degree, as a family. And I think that’s always been the culture of the league, but we are now more focused on work-life integration. When you join the NBA family, many of our benefits are in support of the full family, not just the employee.” The NBA Career Plan, which helps employees outline clear career paths at the organization, was also the result of Hutcherson’s focus on the employee experience. With straightforward rating systems and consistent pay practices, this framework offers clear definitions of what good performance looks like to provide employees with better insights on how to grow their career. The NBA has also been at the forefront of diversity and inclusion efforts. Hutcherson explains that there are a number of employee resource teams, including a young professionals and a women’s network, focused on engaging and integrating many of the league’s constituents across the organization. NBA Pride aims to bring together LGBTQ employees and allies; Dream in Color celebrates and supports the NBA’s black employees; Conexión éne-bé-a celebrates Hispanic/Latino cultures; and APEX celebrates Asian cultures within the NBA. Part of the NBA’s success with diversity and inclusion efforts is due to its chief diversity officer, Oris Stuart, as well as the Global Inclusion Council and senior leadership taking an active role in the league’s D&I programs. Those efforts are recognized by the NBA’s outside partners as well. Michele James and Roysi Erbes of James & Co., an
executive search firm, partner with the league and work closely with Hutcherson on talent acquisition. Both say that Hutcherson is a progressive HR leader, always thinking ahead about just-in-time recruiting across different families of jobs, and they commend him for investing in talent mapping projects to meet a diverse talent pipeline before the need even arises. Hutcherson views all the efforts to make the NBA a diverse workplace as integral to the organization’s success. “It’s not just a diversity program. It’s not a feelgood mission. It’s truly incorporated into our business, and we have a cross section of senior leaders from the league office, our teams, and all of our leagues who are actively involved in driving both representation, inclusion, differentiated development, and supplier diversity to the degree that the NBA is a leader in diversity and inclusion,” Hutcherson says. “That is one of the things I’m most proud of, that we as an organization have not only invested in having the right representation, but also that we’re evolving and having our culture be what we call everyday inclusion.” Hutcherson will be the first to say that the work isn’t over. On the contrary, these initiatives need to keep evolving and employees need to keep bringing their best selves to work. “It is similar to the way our players approach the game,” he says. “Every day that they step on the floor, they’re working to be at their best. But they know that the next night they have to come and do it all over again. What happens between the close of one night and the start of the next is that work to make today better than yesterday. And I think our employees do the same. “We all have greatness inside us,” Hutcherson says. “Our players, our leaders and our employees. My goal is to assist in helping unleash that collective greatness to make the NBA be that great place to work.”
Mercer is honored to partner with Eric Hutcherson and the NBA.
We congratulate Eric on being an inspiring CHRO and influential executive leader. We wish Eric and the NBA continued success.
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Unifying Through Growth
How Amee Desjourdy built the HR department at Global Partners LP, helping the company achieve its “one global” mission By D A N N Y C I A M P R O N E
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Amee Desjourdy CHRO Frank Monkiewicz
Global Partners LP
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Over four years ago, Amee Desjourdy walked through the doors of Global Partners LP for the first time, excited to build out a strategic HR function for the tenured oil and gas company. Global is a midstream logistics and marketing company, known as one of the largest distributors of gasoline, distillates, residual oil, and renewable fuels in New England and New York. With a history that dates back more than seventy-five years, the company now operates under several brands and has become one of the largest owners, suppliers, and operators of gasoline stations and convenience stores in the Northeast. Prior to Desjourdy’s arrival, HR was largely administrative, with a focus on processing payroll and benefits. As Desjourdy explains, there had never been a CHRO in place before her arrival. There was no real focus on the more strategic aspects of HR, and there was no team in place to manage talent acquisition, performance, learning, or talent development. The organization operated generally as two distinct businesses, specifically a wholesale and commercial business, and the retail portion of the business, composed of gasoline distribution and station operations. “I looked around and said, ‘There are effectively two separate companies here. There are two separate HR departments, two separate finance departments, two separate IT functions,’” Desjourdy recalls. Bringing these two HR teams together under one umbrella was a paramount priority for Desjourdy, and the right first step in her strategic approach. Coupled with the complexity of stitching together two HR teams, Global Partners LP announced a major acquisition two weeks before Desjourdy joined the company. This acquisition effectively doubled the size of the organization by adding an additional 1,500 employees and 150 company-operated stores to the portfolio. Now, Desjourdy shares with Profile the blueprint for how she created an effective HR strategy that contributed to unifying the company, and what the impact is today as the strategy continues to evolve.
“We are a relatively flat organization in spite of our size, and we need to create ways to grow talent, keep our people engaged, and allow them to see the career path that exists for them. ” A M E E D E S J O U R DY
You came to Global Partners LP during a time of immense growth, including right before a major acquisition closed. What steps did you take to execute your HR strategy in the midst of all that change? I often compare building an HR function to building a house. You have to lay down the foundation first before you can build any other part of the structure. If the foundation isn’t solid, nothing else that goes up after that will be either. So the first order of business was getting the basics in place. For our HR road map, the basics included first and foremost how we acquired talent. We needed to implement some consistent HR practices and protocols, and to begin executing effectively on the day-to-day. I evaluated our ability to access data related to our workforce. We also had to ensure that our managers had the support and resources to be effective in managing their day-to-day business, and could develop and grow as leaders. Over the first year or so, I focused a lot on unifying the existing organizations. Due to the fact that we were acquiring another company, we were essentially integrating three businesses into one larger entity. In my experience, the best way to do that is to first start using common language across all three businesses, and to lead the way by modeling that behavior. Quickly, I established some ground
rules within the existing HR team around the notion that we needed to function as one HR organization. This meant abandoning an “us vs. them” mentality and socializing the idea of “one HR” with the business. In addition to the integration needed within HR, we also needed to partner with the business to integrate the existing corporate functions into centralized departments. One of the most important elements of this integration was quite simple. We issued new, standardized business cards and email addresses to ensure that all employees felt and put forward a consistent identity of the company they worked for. A basic shift like this was really important. Having a common identity can make a big impact on how people start to work together and connect around a single mission. How did you prioritize building out the functions within HR? The first order of business was getting the people and processes in place to be compliant with regulatory requirements and obligations. I quickly hired talent that understood how to manage our benefits and compensation programs. I began focusing on how we bring talent into the organization, and hired a person to start building out a talent acquisition team. I then hired an HR operations
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professional to come in and start assessing our HRIS platform and existing tools and resources so we could make an informed decision on next steps. We decided early on that we needed to implement a new, scalable HR and payroll platform, and ultimately selected Workday. Our initial objective was limited in scope— namely, we just needed to get our hands on the data and understand the workforce. Over the last several years, we have added to the core HCM and payroll platforms and now utilize Workday for recruiting, performance management, and learning. Now that we have the data, I am seeing a shift in how the HR team and business would like to use it. It is becoming more about workforce planning, strategically and more efficiently operating the business, and assessing outcomes using metrics as opposed to just record keeping. Once I was confident that we had an effective hiring process, we were able to turn our attention to how we were managing the talent once they were here. Global has thousands of employees in the field and in our retail locations. That dynamic creates complexity, and putting HR talent in the field, alongside, and within the business has been key. I looked at the retail business and decided we needed to create a team of HR business partners that aligned with the regional retail team structure. That way, they could start engaging with managers and staff across all levels of management and within our stores to make sure our practices were solid, that we were educating people on how to manage their teams day-to-day, and to make sure we were getting the best out of our staff once they were on board. Now we align this way across all aspects of our business. How has your focus changed over the last four years and how were you able to evolve the HR strategy so dramatically? When I arrived, the emphasis in the HR department was primarily on processing paper, completing tasks. Early on, I took the time to meet with as many people as possible. As I started to get a better understanding of the business and the challenges people faced,
I was able to quickly see what HR could do to enable our employees and managers to be more effective. Early on the success was in the little things. As we were able to add value, the conversations started to change. Managers would start to speak with us about a wider range of challenges and more and more opportunities would arise to become not just an administrative support person, but a real strategic partner. Just as we are evolving from an HR perspective, our business has been evolving. We have seen an increased focus on our retail business. The retail business is about people— our employees and our customers. This has created a tremendous opportunity for the HR team. Our leaders understand that how we hire, who we hire, how we train, and how we engage our staff will have a direct effect on customer experience. That’s allowed me to continue to build on what I’ve been doing because the business has committed the support needed to continue to develop our talent management practices. The first two years of my tenure were all about building the foundation. With that in place, we have been able to shift focus to organizational culture. Do our employees understand what success looks like at Global? Do we give them the right tools and resources to perform their work? Do they feel a connection to Global and the role they each play in contributing to our success? Talent development has become central over the last year in support of this work. We now have a head of talent development, and we are ready to talk about continuing to evolve the performance review process, revamp how our employees are onboarded, and how we continue to connect and unify our diverse employee population around a single business strategy and mission. We are a relatively flat organization in spite of our size, and we need to create ways to grow talent, keep our people engaged, and allow them to see the career path that exists for them. One of our key areas of focus over 2019 will be developing our leaders and managers, as they are the linchpin to creating even more of this connection between our teams.
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The Blueprint for Employee and Patient Care How UW Medicine’s Nicki McCraw uses a series of premier initiatives in the healthcare industry to improve patient satisfaction, elevate employee engagement, and promote diversity and inclusion By C L I N T W O R T H I N G T O N
Nicki McCraw never wants employees to develop “survey fatigue.” In her eleven-plus years at the University of Washington Medicine (UW Medicine), McCraw has worked tirelessly to improve inclusion, retention, employee engagement, and patient satisfaction. And while that involves listening to staff members above all else, she makes it a point to never have a check-the-box approach to HR. “We’re not doing these initiatives to check things off lists,” explains the assistant vice president of human resources. “We value feedback and want to make sure our work is the best it can be.” Now, McCraw and her team work diligently to improve the performance of staff members and the organization as a whole, which delivers the best quality of care to patients.
DESIGNING A PREMIER DESTINATION Part of what separates UW Medicine in the healthcare industry is its culture, which stresses that Patients Are First and hones in on what patients would consider excellent service: respectful, compassionate, timely, recognizing and welcoming, personalized, inclusive of families, efficient, coordinated, informative, and innovative in support of their care. A major aspect of maintaining that success of the Patients Are First initiative is the Employer of Choice project. The project began nine years ago at UW Medicine to encourage high-quality care and fiscal responsibility, among other values. As a champion for the Employer of Choice pillar, McCraw is responsible for setting system-wide goals throughout UW Medicine’s hospital and testing to see whether hospital staff and educators are meeting those goals.
The goals for determining Employer of Choice are flexible and dependent on the most prevalent issues the organization faces at that time. Currently, one of the most important metrics at UW Medicine is retention. Because Seattle has become a hotbed of the pharmaceutical industry, competition for talent is at an all-time high. To that end, determining the Employer of Choice strategy presently involves the use of thirty, sixty, and ninety-day stay reviews with staff to see how they could help retain employees and administrators. Those reviews, in conjunction with peer interviews, have allowed UW Medicine to maintain steady retention rates despite the high demand in Seattle’s market. “People do better if they have people on the team they can go to as part of these peer interviews,” McCraw says.
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“We’re not doing these initiatives to check things off lists. We value feedback and want to make sure our work is the best it can be.”
N I C K I M C C R AW
Nicki McCraw Assistant VP of HR University of Washington Medicine
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THE IMPORTANCE OF PATIENT SATISFACTION One of the most important metrics for bettering the organization is patient satisfaction. In fact, McCraw sees that focus as “the ultimate benchmark” for her work at UW Medicine. “The patients are your customers, and we have to determine not only if they will they come back the next time they need care, but also if they will recommend you to others,” she says. McCraw says that the department uses patient satisfaction to tie every employee to the overarching purpose of their work, and she believes every employee should know how their job impacts patient care. “We tell that story to them over and over again,” McCraw says. To maintain accountability and employee motivation, UW Medicine hospitals also post their patient satisfaction score everywhere for public view. “Nobody wants to see red scores,” says McCraw, adding that leads to productive talks with employees about how they can personally impact patient satisfaction. No employee, she says, is exempt from the process, and even environmental service workers who are tasked with cleaning the hallways must find ways to accomplish that with limited patient disruption. STAY ENGAGED Another major focus for McCraw’s HR department is employee engagement, which is determined with an annual survey that grades each employee’s engagement level on a scale from one to five. Based on the findings, HR creates a toolbox for leaders to help improve upon the results of those surveys, including a training toolkit that teaches leaders how to understand their data and make changes in staff policy and performance if needed. Outside firms are even starting to take notice of McCraw’s initiatives. “Nicki is an innovator in recognizing, building, and driving initiatives that address and fuel the
hunger for cultural competence in human resources,” says Lauren Parris Watts, partner at Helsell Fetterman. “It is both the right thing to do and a very effective legal strategy.” The results speak for themselves. McCraw says that during her tenure she has observed top of the mark engagement scores with many leaders close to perfect fives. Those scores are especially impressive considering the recent tough economic times that had a major impact not only on the healthcare industry, but also every organization in every industry across the nation. “There were a few years during the recession where we didn’t give raises,” McCraw says, but adds that the engagement scores continued to climb and that those metrics, along with patient satisfaction, are crucial to learning the best means of improving the staff’s importance. “It’s a lot of work, but we believe it’s critically important to value the information from that survey and use it to make things better,” she continues. A major aspect of employee engagement is also empowering diversity and inclusion initiatives, which are core values for UW Medicine and are significant metrics for success in McCraw’s management of UW Medicine’s staff. “Data showed that our staff wanted more diversity and inclusion training to better serve their clients,” she says. To address that concern, McCraw created a cultural competence task force to help create opportunities to talk about topics related to diversity and inclusion. The HR department regularly invites speakers to talk to staff about implicit bias in the workplace, and McCraw says that UW Medicine integrates diversity, inclusion, and cultural humility competencies into all of the organization’s performance expectations. In fact, in one instance, McCraw took her seventy-person team to see the film Hidden Figures, followed by a group discussion. “People are very engaged by these initiatives,” says McCraw, adding that she has seen tremendous improvement in cultural
competency and inclusiveness in hiring as a result. While these initiatives have varied when it comes to how they influence UW Medicine, the constant thread has been the tireless work ethic of McCraw and her team. In today’s competitive landscape for talent in the healthcare industry—particularly in Seattle—it’s been the strength of UW Medicine’s culture and initiatives that have placed it at the forefront of not only being a premier destination for top talent, but also for patient care and satisfaction.
OFF THE CLOCK WITH NICKI MCCRAW When Nicki McCraw isn’t helping to spearhead the latest HR initiatives at UW Medicine, she enjoys giving back as an ambassador for UW’s Whole U program. Whole U hosts programs, events, and resources for the University of Washington and UW Medicine faculty, staff, and students on the Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma campuses. These programs are designed to increase holistic wellness, grow community connections, and inspire UW to meet their goals for a healthy, balanced lifestyle. While most campuses focus on fitness, McCraw says that Whole U makes use of every resource on these campuses. UW’s medical department also brings in physicians and dietitians to host seminars, where they talk about food allergies and proper diet, for instance. “We get a lot of comments about how it is a great program that makes people feel more connected to the workplace,” McCraw says.
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Put Your Own Mask on First
Edward Kayton Senior Director of HR/ Talent Development Spirit Airlines
By K E L L I L A W R E N C E
Edward Kayton brings a flock of HR initiatives to Spirit Airlines, focused on helping individuals be their best selves so they can, in turn, help the organization
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“Technology has become paramount to a lot of things,” says Spirit Airlines’ Edward Kayton. “When you think of things like automation and predictive analytics—focusing people on less administrative tasks and more thinking tasks—you get a better use of human intellect, enhanced by technology.” As senior director of HR and talent development since August 2015, Kayton makes no bones about the importance of understanding what drives engagement, and how technology enhances it. With HR leadership experience from recognizable names such as FAO Schwartz and Ann Taylor, he is perpetually intrigued by the evolution of emotional and psychological connections one makes to one’s workforce. At Spirit, he implemented the use of both iCIMS (tracking software) and SparkHire (video interviewing software) as part of an effort to improve talent acquisition. “Technology with automation, analytics, and predictive analytics takes away some of the administrative burden,” Kayton says, “But it also engages individuals differently, which is why the focus is on engagement as well.” At Spirit Airlines, which has steadily expanded service since 2014 and now flies to nearly seventy destinations across the United States, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, Kayton has a team of six direct reports. One of those positions is an engagement driver; another focuses on learning and development, and with good reason: it’s a part of Spirit’s culture, strong enough to warrant Kayton’s creation of a “LearnAtarium” as an e-learning option for employees. To date, over four thousand Spirit employees have taken advantage of the opportunity. “You learn in different ways as an adult,” Kayton says. “You learn side by side, you learn through mentorship, through experience. But you need to hone and refine the skill sets, so there’s still a formal education/ continuing education concept.”
Continuing education is part of Kayton’s overall HR philosophy, which he likens to the directions given when oxygen masks are used in an airplane emergency. Just as passengers are supposed to get their own masks on first before helping others, he feels it’s crucial to focus on the needs of the individual first, then their department, and then the larger organization. “We ask, ‘What’s important to you? What interests you? What engages you? What creates value for you? Do you know what you stand for, and who you are as an individual?,” he says. “Then we couple it with an adult learning model where education, experience, and exposure become obvious drivers of growth.” Sometimes the opportunities for employee growth are unplanned—such as when Hurricane Irma blew through southern Florida (where Spirit is headquartered) and Puerto Rico in 2017, damaging two general managers’ homes, among countless others. Habitat for Humanity, an international nonprofit Spirit has partnered with for years, suddenly became a new kind of resource. “Our efforts are about giving back in a time of need, and relying on your own resources, and contributing to the community, but really focusing on our people first,” Kayton explains. “If we have that kind of citizenship outwardly, shouldn’t we have that citizenship inwardly?” During holiday season 2017, twenty Spirit employees flew to Puerto Rico to help repair damaged homes of other team members. Despite the hot and humid conditions of the location—to which power had still not been restored at the time—the reports Kayton received were overwhelmingly positive. “I had people telling me it was the most important thing they’d done all year; that they really felt like they gave something back,” he says. “That is engagement. I can’t educate employees for that. I can’t hire for that. It comes organically.” Meanwhile, Kayton’s efforts with military veterans are becoming a regular part of above-and-beyond treatment. Most noteworthy is Spirit’s Honor Flight Initiatives, which
“Technology with automation, analytics, and predictive analytics takes away some of the administrative burden. But it also engages individuals differently, which is why the focus is on engagement as well.” E D WA R D K AY TO N
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flies veterans to Washington, DC to visit the monuments of their choice. In fact, Spirit has been named the official airline for the South Florida Honor Flight Organization starting in 2019. “We employ a number of veterans, as our recruiting organization is focused on bringing vets back to the regular civilian workforce,” Kayton notes. “These honor flights are really a tribute to this segment of the population.” Yet another recently established initiative with Kayton’s imprint is the Spirit Airlines Charitable Foundation. In its first year of existence, over $360,000 has been raised and then donated—both in funds and in flights— to a number of worthy charities, including
The Matthew Shepard Foundation. Spirit’s support of the Foundation, which focuses on LGBT education and tolerance, also serves as a nod to the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Kayton, who sees diversity as something that transcends the traditional concepts of gender, race, and sexual identity, was nonetheless careful to “do research from a lot of different perspectives” in an effort to find out the ramifications of something such as celebrating LGBT pride. That’s when he and his team made the discovery that Disney—one of the most progressive companies in the world—was a prominent supporter of the LGBT community and had been for many years. “So
the concept of a family unit looking different, and the fact that an organization like Disney—which is all about children and families—embraces it, was really helpful,” he says. As crucial as technology is to talent development, Kayton sees the emerging diversity campaign at Spirit as a quintessential engagement driver, with his “oxygen-mask” theory of self care on full display. “The campaign is I am me, and I am Spirit, once again driving the point home that whoever you are, whatever your choices/preferences/DNA, it is celebrated and welcomed,” he says. “That is diversification, and that is the spirit of the organization.”
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Venturing Outside the Comfort Zone How an unexpected career opportunity led Jonathon Schwebach to success at Renewable Energy Group By J E F F S I LV E R
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Jonathon Schwebach Jessie Borkowski
Executive Director, Global Tax Renewable Energy Group, Inc.
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After nearly two years with Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REG)—a leading provider of clean, lower carbon intensity products and services—Jonathon Schwebach unexpectedly found himself with a major decision to make: accept a promotion to become the company’s treasurer, or continue on the more familiar path as head of the tax department. Because he was building out the tax team and involved in other projects at the time that he found to be particularly interesting as senior tax manager, Schwebach respectfully declined the promotion. Just a few hours later, however, Daniel Oh, who was the CEO at the time, invited him out for ice cream to discuss his decision. That turned into a two-hour conversation about Schwebach’s career path and goals. Oh asked if Schwebach’s parents had ever made him do anything he feared. They had, in fact, persuaded him to pitch in Little League baseball. Years later, he went on to pitch for his college team. Using that experience as leverage, Oh finally convinced Schwebach that he could accomplish great things if someone had faith in his abilities, provided him with the right tools, and if he had the desire to succeed. “Accepting the treasurer position was one of the best career decisions I ever made,” Schwebach recalls. “It was an unexpected shift and unknown territory at the time, but it set the stage for me to learn much more about the business and industry, which has made me a better advisor and business decision-maker, as well as a more well-rounded tax professional.” One particular opportunity—overseeing the multifunctional initiative to sell all biodiesel blended gallons at the end of the year to claim mixture tax credits— changed how Schwebach was perceived in his new role as treasurer. The credits are part of what is known as the “extenders package” that is typically renewed every few years by Congress.
“To ensure we qualify for the credit, we have to meet the tax definition for a sale,” Schwebach explains. “I had to lead the company-wide effort within my first six months as treasurer, which resulted in the successful sale and acceleration of the claim for up to $30 million in tax credits. That was a turning point in proving myself as an effective partner with the rest of the business.” Schwebach’s tenure as treasurer added to his prior experience in public accounting and working with REG as an outside advisor. While still treasurer, the company acquired a German company and established an office in Amsterdam. These transactions exposed Schwebach to details of how REG generates profits worldwide and to other critical nontax issues that he faced while leading a cross-functional team responsible for designing the company’s European legal structure. In his current position as executive director, global tax, Schwebach continues to be actively involved in REG’s M&A strategy. As part of the M&A team, he steps in early to manage due diligence related to acquisition structures and tax considerations, which provides him with opportunities to apply his insights and expertise. He advises the deal team about tax risk mitigation, how the target company fits within the organization from an asset placement standpoint, and how the financing structure is likely to influence cash flow. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Schwebach’s role is the variety, he says. On any given day, Schwebach may be focused on tax accounting issues, then transition to lead a project around global trade or transfer pricing. He may also handle issues related to derivatives that the company purchases to manage risk around commodity price fluctuations or help advocate with legislators for expanding biofuel incentive programs and the use of biofuels. Other times, he focuses on setting goals and long-term objectives, departmental strategy and policies,
Kelly S Mathews LLC (KSMLLC) provides oil and gas industry clients with highly specialized services in motor fuels tax. For over 15 years, weâ€™ve been committed to serving clients in the refining and marketing industry, including refiners, traders, and terminal/pipeline operators, and clients in the natural gas industry who operate fractionation plants. Our exclusive focus in this specialty area has created a depth of knowledge that enables our team to provide thorough, understandable answers to client questions and needs.
Kelly S Mathews LLC offers three service offerings: Motor Fuels Tax Compliance Services Motor Fuels Tax Consulting Services Motor Fuels Tax Software Implementation Services
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“There are many opportunities and challenges that are unique to our industry that involve a wide variety of tax and nontax topics. I really enjoy the challenge and the complexity.”
360˚ thinking Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax, and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands. Our people work across more than 20 industry sectors with one purpose: to deliver measurable, lasting results. www.deloitte.com
performance indicators, and presentations for his executive team or board of directors. “I’ve been with the company for almost seven years and never had the same day twice,” Schwebach says. “There are many opportunities and challenges that are unique to our industry that involve a wide variety of tax and nontax topics. I really enjoy the challenge and the complexity.” One of the areas where he feels particularly proud of is helping build the company’s global tax department. When he arrived, the team consisted of just three people but has since grown to thirteen,
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including two members based in Amsterdam. While much of that growth has been aligned with the company’s own expansion through organic investment and M&A, it is also associated with Schwebach’s approach to talent management. He genuinely cares about his employees, coaches them to help them reach their full potential, and encourages them to pursue what makes them happy. That style enables team members to advance within the department and has created a culture of camaraderie and trust. It has also resulted in global tax department alumni being sprinkled throughout the organization as they have sought other positions that fit their visions of their own career paths. Schwebach’s leadership style is rooted in relationships he has made with mentors throughout his career. He feels quite fortunate to have had their encouragement to pursue his own ambitions—even if he didn’t fully realize what they were at the time. “If Dan Oh hadn’t challenged me declining the promotion to treasurer, then I would not be as effective in my role today supporting my team or serving the company,” he says. “I’m truly grateful that Dan pushed me out of my comfort zone.”
Deloitte is proud to recognize the accomplishments of Jonathon Schwebach and Renewable Energy Group and their collective contributions to the advanced biofuels industry.
Kelly S Mathews LLC has the privilege of working with great clients. Throughout our relationship with Jonathon Schwebach, we have been inspired by his dedication to his team, enviable integrity, and commitment to excellence in all aspects—especially new endeavors. We look forward to realizing our shared vision for growth for both our companies, and are honored to work together.
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Transforming through Employee Experience
John Wiley & Sonsâ€™ Archana Singh uses consumer technology to build a more engaging employee experience within the 210-year-old company By C L I N T W O R T H I N G T O N
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Archana Singh CHRO John Wiley & Sons
For over 200 years, John Wiley & Sons has published books, journals and encyclopedias that have been an integral part of advancing research and education around the world. Over that same period, technological innovation has transformed the world. To remain a leader, Wiley has adapted and innovated with products that serve digital-first customers and internal processes that serve digitally native employees. The latter are chief human resources officer Archana Singh’s primary focus. Singh places employee experience front and center, leveraging consumer technology to build a more engaged and efficient HR team–with HR being the catalyst for continued transformation across the company. According to Singh, HR at Wiley has three broad areas of impact. First, her team strives to cultivate the “evolving mind-set” the company needs to be successful in the future, whether in product development, account management, or technology–she calls this the “right side–hard skills and capabilities,” to enable change. In parallel, her team facilitates raising team and culture. That is what she calls the “left side–soft skills and interpersonal connectedness,” that connects employees to the company, and the company to its employees, enabling employees to see their role in the purpose and strategy journey. “We are building a relationship with our employees from the moment they connect with the company through a recruiter, through their personal and career development journeys, to the moment they become a part of our alumni network. They are doing the work to realize Wiley’s strategy and define our future,” says Singh. Thirdly, the team is continuously working to improve
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the day-to-day employee experience, which sometimes means identifying and undoing old policies and practices to reenvision what will advance the company’s mission. Much of Singh’s recent work has involved implementing pragmatic HR programs to activate the organization and create a broader sense of connection and teamwork. One initiative she is particularly proud of is the revamping of the company’s intranet infrastructure into a “collaboration engine” built around Office 365. Using the Office 365 social networking plug-in Yammer, Singh’s team has created a platform for discussing issues that are top of mind for the organization. “We’re very proud of how we’re using the intranet to extend culture and create collaborative teams,” Singh says. “My leader for this advancement, Ron Perazza, calls it a stealth tool that has emerged to become part of who we are and how we engage and interact at Wiley.” Singh’s team uses Swoop analytics to identify clusters of the organization’s energy on the platform. “You can see 3,000 people are engaging in one particular area in an insightful way, and others may have just a sporadic 300 people,” Singh notes. “Our goal is to target that energy and amplify it. We can grow the organization by leveraging that engagement into other areas that need it.” Singh’s mission extends far beyond improving the company intranet, however; her team has been using technology to help improve communication and workflow company-wide. “We’re bringing consumer tools common in our personal lives into the organization to improve engagement,” Singh says. “Collaboration tools like Skype and Teams keep global teams connected and working together in real time. Polling, tagging, and commenting functions create
a feedback loop that enables continual iteration and improvement.” Her work also involves educating business leaders on how to use these platforms to build more personal connections and enhance the employee experience. Last year, she engaged over eighty of Wiley’s global leaders in a remote seminar on performance and compensation. Over three online workshops, she worked with them to help shape the future efforts in key people programs, and the reception was heartwarming. “Although we were all in different locations, people came in and were concentrating quite actively,” she says proudly, “with 100 percent attentiveness. These platforms allow us to dive deep in a way that wouldn’t be possible through traditional media. Our leadership takes learnings from these experiences back to their teams to build better engagement and efficiency, while owning and shaping it. “The world is changing at a rapid pace, and we’re using these tools to build a culture of agility that welcomes change so we can do things for the better across the organization,” Singh says. “Wiley’s impact has always been about spreading knowledge and helping people to succeed. It has endured as a trusted partner as we navigate the changing needs of our customers and employees.” Singh understands that embracing new technology will first benefit employees, but will ultimately impact end users as well. “We are future-proofing by thinking about what we will be doing the day after tomorrow,” she says. “We may not always know what that looks like, but we are equipped with the mind-set and capabilities to tackle it head on. This is what makes a company like Wiley unparalleled: a rich heritage combined with scale, quality, and trusting relationships with our partners.”
“We’re bringing consumer tools common in our personal lives into the organization to improve engagement.” ARCHANA SINGH
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The Culture Reinventor How Barbie Winterbottom leverages her extensive HR experience and forward-thinking talent strategies to champion the BIC Graphic legacy By J E N N Y D R A P E R
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Barbie Winterbottom Chief People Officer, CHRO BIC Graphic
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BIC Graphic, formerly a division of BIC Corporation, is a leading North America-based promotional products supplier. In July of 2017, BIC Graphic was acquired by HIG Capital, a global private equity and alternative assets investment firm with $28 billion of equity capital under management. Now that it’s a stand-alone company, Barbie Winterbottom, chief people officer and CHRO, is spearheading the organizational transformation to ensure the iconic manufacturer of promotional products thrives for generations to come. “Everyone loves swag, and as one of the largest suppliers of swag in the industry, we offer over 3,500 items, and even have a custom sourcing division that can create anything a client wants to promote their brand,” Winterbottom says. “For example, one of our distributors had a tire manufacturer who wanted a backpack in the shape of a tire, so we designed and created one. Our products and our ability to imprint them with any logo, phrase, and color combination has a huge impact on our customer brands. I love going to an event and seeing our products in use. Our purpose is to help build brands for our customers, and it’s really fun to see our products out there in our communities and across North America”. Knowing the future of business and growth heavily relies on the technologies leveraged, Winterbottom spoke to Profile about her approach to utilizing technology in the HR space at BIC Graphic. “Technologies are slick and necessary, but I want to reverse engineer it and start with our talent first,” she says. “All too often I have seen great sales people convince an organization to invest in XYZ technology that will transform their organization and culture, only to then realize it truly doesn’t meet the needs of that organization. We’re finding out what our people really want and need from us as a leadership team and as an employer first, and then finding and implementing technologies to help support those deliverables, but not overshadow them. Technology should enhance your people experience, not define it.” Winterbottom has spent more than two decades in the world of human resources at industry giants—including Capital One, the Home Shopping Network, Amazon, and
Sykes Enterprises. She also earned her master’s degree in HR management and services last year before arriving at BIC Graphic in January 2018. Here, Winterbottom discusses how she’s driving higher engagement and cross-functionality to rebuild the culture. Which significant experiences in your background prepared you for role as CHRO? When I look back on my career, I have been very fortunate to work with some amazing people and fantastic organizations. While I have many experiences from which to draw, I believe one of the keys to getting me to my current role is remembering how I felt in my different roles. One can look back at experiences and initiatives and want to replicate or implement them over and over, but that doesn’t always work. Each situation and each company is unique and what works in one may not work in another, but we can implement new programs and create new experiences that drive the same or similar feelings, and ultimately, that’s our goal. To create feelings of belonging, of pride and ownership, feelings of excitement and success. When we can accomplish this, we are ultimately influencing every aspect of the business. One key tenet I live by and was reinforced during my time at Amazon is: start with the customer and work backwards. Within the “People” space, starting with what we can do to help their work lives be more fulfilling, their jobs be as efficient and effective as possible, while creating meaningful connections with others is how we look at everything we do. Looking at our employees as people first and resources second, enables us to look at them holistically and understand everything we do is a touch point and an opportunity to make a positive impact. When you walked into this new culture at BIC last January, did you have any initial goals? My first goal was to spend time getting to know employees and leaders in order to understand their experiences. Over the past year and half leading up to and going through the transition of leaving the former parent company, BIC to a newly formed stand-along organization under the
ownership of HIG Capital, our people have been through a lot of change. We have a very tenured population, many of our people have been here for well over twenty-five years and this organization is like a member of their family. We are a culture in transition. My team and I are working to ensure we honor our history while we build the foundation for our future and while that sounds like a great sound bite it is an extremely complex and challenging process. As we know, people don’t all move at the same pace, so striking a balance of forward progression while ensuring we don’t leave anyone behind is a conversation and focus we have daily.
INNOVATIVE HR STRATEGIES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
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Barbie Winterbottom talks to employees across the company to ensure HR works for them.
So what role does technology play in the new BIC culture now? The volume of technology now integrated into the world of human resources and people management is significant. You name it, there are at least five technology solutions for it, which is fantastic and often necessary, especially when looking at multi-site, global organizations. However, the dark side of technology is that we can lose our one-on-one human interaction, so for me, the sweet spot for technology is when we can find the right balance and harmonies between the technology at the right time for the right purpose to enhance our people experience and interactions but not replace them.
And the organization in the past has been very siloed. Now weâ€™re really looking at every possible way we can communicate and interact with people to bring everyone together. One common struggle we share with many other organizations in the manufacturing space is that not all employees have a computer at their workstation, which inhibits their ability to receive communication real time, which can lead to frustrations and gaps in understanding. We have looked for some quick wins to help us in this particular area and have landed on implementing Workplace by Facebook as a fun, robust and real-time way to communicate with our people. As itâ€™s built on
HR Contempo is proud to partner with Barbie Winterbottom to deliver innovative technology solutions. Learn more about how we can help you achieve your human capital strategy goals at www.hrcontempo.com
INNOVATIVE HR SOLUTIONS profilemagazine.com
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the same platform as the public facing Facebook, adoption is swift and users fully integrate and master the tool quickly. We are building this framework to allow us to have informal connections and messages bi-directionally with our people, so it’s not just pushing out information, it’s also a means of gathering information in the moment. As Workplace is completely mobile intuitive, our people can access from their smartphones, tablets or computers, and we are also providing tablets and computer stations in our break areas providing tools for those who may not have a smartphone. Now, almost a year into your tenure as CHRO, how would characterize where BIC is now in its cultural journey? We’re in phase one of reinventing, redefining, and emerging as a new organization and culture. I believe culture is the result of every interaction—every communication, leadership development session, and coaching conversation. So the culture exists; it isn't something we implement. Our job is to define the culture we want and influence behaviors to drive to that goal. Our people have told us they want a work environment that exudes fun, growth and development, transparency, robust communication and a laser focus on the customer. The great part about this is that as a leadership team, we couldn’t have defined culture goals any better. In regards to talent management initiatives then, are there any special considerations being inside the manufacturing industry? Our average tenure is thirteen years, which is really high in today's world, and the tribal knowledge and historical experiences these people have are significant and it’s important they feel a part of the change and not left behind. Part of my job is change management; introducing new concepts and ideas, but also creating programs and initiatives that serve all of our population. A phrase we use a lot here is “Honor our history, invent our future,” so everyone feels like they’re part of the initiative. How we make this happen is part of the challenge. As mentioned before, not all employees in a manufacturing environment have access to a desktop, as it’s not
“We’re finding out what our people really want and need from us as a leadership team and as an employer first, and then finding and implementing technologies to help support those deliverables, but not overshadow them. Technology should enhance your people experience, not define it.” B A R B I E W I N T E R B OT TO M
part of their daily job. So finding and creating pathways for ongoing, real-time communication is the biggest challenge we face. In addition to Workplace, we are also placing communication monitors throughout the organization to ensure visibility to important information. We are using Zoom to push out information to each of the boards. By rolling out this process and serving up the information they seek in real-time, in an easy to find, easy to identify (using more graphics and less text) and integrated way, the information is consumed and digested and looking at the boards becomes part of their everyday habits. Some boards are dedicated to certain topics, like Total Rewards, daily metrics, open jobs, new product launches and policy updates, while others may scroll varying information like welcoming new hires, or in the moment production updates. We have the ability and flexibility to customize what we send, where we send it, how we send it and when. Are there any other initiatives that you’re particularly proud of so far at BIC? We established a cross-functional team we call the “Culture Club,” which helped define core competencies and leadership behaviors, which are the foundation from which we build everything to do with the employee
life cycle and experience—from attraction and selection to leadership development and performance management. This group has become an integral team of individuals who are champions for progress and the programs and initiatives to help drive us there. So far the results are very positive and I love seeing the ideas and passion these people have for our culture, the company and each other. There is a lot of tactical “HR” work my teams have accomplished to build the foundation needed to advance the organization as well. The work that isn’t necessarily fun or sexy, but is needed and critical to ensuring the go-forward plans are possible. I am so incredibly proud of the work they do every day and their dedication to making it happen. How must HR leaders today evolve to keep their organization competitive? Looking at all the tools, systems, and opportunities out there is absolutely necessary, but doing it without holding your people close can be dangerous. I would define success as great business results and great people results—in essence, the energy within the organization. The way we make people feel at work is the most important thing we do every single day.
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The customer is always rightâ€” but employees have good ideas too
As vice president of people for California Pizza Kitchen, Shannon Kirk is leading a team that works seven days a week to engage its employees, foster tighter bonds in the organization, and define the companyâ€™s future By PA U L S N Y D E R
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Shannon Kirk VP, People California Pizza Kitchen
eleven thousand hourly employees—three quarters of our company—which is pretty huge,” Kirk says. The system not only provides hourly employees a platform to get in touch, but as with the creation of People Services, a new tool for better understanding at the upper levels of CPK. “It allowed us to focus on a lot of employee touch points—what you can expect on your first day of work, onboarding, enrolling in benefits, having life-changing events like having a baby, and so on,” Kirk says. “It puts us in their seat to help us understand how they feel and what do we need to do to make it a better experience for our employees.” Although the three-part system has paid dividends to the company already in terms of engagement (Kirk
Karen Vaisman Photography
In the restaurant world, the whole experience caters to the customer. Although that’s true at California Pizza Kitchen, Shannon Kirk sees no reason why the consumer experience shouldn’t also be afforded to the company’s employees. “We wanted to make ourselves more approachable and change the face of HR and how HR is perceived,” says Kirk, who is vice president of people for the Playa Vista, California-based pizza chain. “Whether you’re at a restaurant or corporate office, it’s very much a family feel at CPK.” With a thirty-three-year history, the chain counts more than two hundred locations across thirty-two states and thirteen different countries. It also has franchise concepts designed for airports, universities, and stadiums. Whether you’re an employee working fulltime at headquarters or weekend shifts at a restaurant to earn extra money, Kirk says the goal is to give everyone the same conveniences. Over the past decade, the company has rolled out a three-part system to make this concept a reality. First, Kirk says, the company created “People Services,” a concierge service for employees that is operational and accessible seven days a week, with English- and Spanish-speaking HR generalists who are there to answer everything from onboarding queries to employee management issues. More than just giving its employees a system to get in touch, however, Kirk says it also gave the company’s leadership a listening platform to understand employees’ concerns and experiences. The second part of strengthening the connection across the company was to change the corporate tone and make understanding employee benefits an easier prospect. “Traditional benefits materials tend to use heavy jargon and language that’s hard for people to break down and understand,” Kirk says. “With something so critical to employees—honestly, it’s how you care for and protect your family—it was important for us to make sure they understood that. We needed our benefits communications and tools to be more approachable, friendly, and helpful. We created videos, storytelling, and lifestyle examples to bring plans to life to help employees understand, and we used our employees in the videos to tell their stories.” The final piece of the puzzle was the launch of Calibrate, a social-based employee portal, that allows hourly employees to connect with management and other areas of the company. “Before Calibrate, we weren’t able to connect with everyone—we were missing out on about
TA L E N T
WORK HAS CHANGED. notes that in the first year of Calibrate being operational, it received 2.8 million page views, while today that number has surpassed 6.5 million), she and her team aren’t about to rest on their laurels. A family isn’t built in three simple steps— it’s cultivated over years of growth and change, and the ideas from the company and Kirk’s team continue to find new ways to further shape the company’s future. For example, CPK has established the “Kindness Fund,” an employee-to-employee giving program that provides assistance to employees who might run into emergencies or financial crises. That notion of looking out for each other has been there through all of Kirk’s fifteen years with the company, and she says it’s one of the main reasons she stays. The other reason, she says, is that she loves working with a team that’s in a position to set a new course for the international company. “We’ve gone through a lot here, and the thing this team hates the most is hearing, ‘We’ve always done it that way,’” Kirk notes. “We all cringe at that. We don’t want to just challenge the status quo—we want to change it. The first answer is not always the best one or the right one. It might be the easiest one, but we need to look at a problem from all sides and consider every different answer.” Having cultivated a strong family that spans hundreds of locations and several borders, CPK can be sure that thanks to Kirk and her team’s work, there’s buy-in to her way of working and many employees ready to help provide different answers and viewpoints to consider.
Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products to meet the needs of individuals, families, employers, health care providers and communities. California Pizza Kitchen has partnered with Aetna to manage their benefit strategy, improve the health of their workforce and keep benefit costs affordable.
HR HAS CHANGED. It’s Time To Rethink HR Systems.
Aetna is proud to support California Pizza Kitchen.
Vibe HCM is redefining human capital management software expectations. We make it easy for companies to not only automate HR transactions but also connect, communicate & engage with all employees. For over 20 years, we have partnered with talent-driven businesses like CPK to elevate how they Work. Share. Applaud. Inspire.
www.vibehcm.com aetna.com ©2018 Aetna Inc. 2017299
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The Powerful Case For Putting People First Angie Zeigler, VP of talent management at the Oshkosh Corporation, details how the simple idea of prioritizing people contributes to the companyâ€™s strong culture By R A N D A L L C O L B U R N
Courtesy of Oshkosh Corporation
TA L E N T
First thing’s first: The Oshkosh Corporation is not OshKosh B'gosh, the ubiquitous manufacturer of kids’ clothing. The Oshkosh Corporation, as Angie Zeigler puts it, saves lives, builds and serves its communities, and protects customers with the “badass vehicles” it makes. Specifically, the multibillion-dollar, 15,000-person organization designs and builds heavy-duty vehicles—from defense vehicles to firetrucks— and access equipment. You wouldn’t think the two would get confused, but it happens. It’s likely to occur a lot less these days, however, as the company is in the midst of what Zeigler calls “a true transformation.” Zeigler, the vice president of talent management, along with CEO Wilson Jones, who stepped into the role in 2016, has spent the last several years facilitating the journey of instituting a “People First culture.” In several ways, this cultural shift serves as the bedrock for all the ways Oshkosh has evolved into a more unified, transparent company. “I don’t know that we had an intentional way of thinking about our culture here in the past,” Zeigler says. “Wilson had a very clear vision about how he wanted the company to operate, but also how he wanted the people who work here to feel. What he really wanted to do was focus on the people piece, because he truly believes that if you take care of the people, they will take care of the customers, which will take care of the shareholders, and in turn take care of our communities.” While Jones wanted People First to remain malleable as a cultural touchstone, he and Zeigler worked close with Oshkosh’s leadership to establish some key behaviors that they would first focus on themselves. “We wanted to show our leaders what it looks like to be a good leadership team,” Zeigler says. This alone was a big step forward for Oshkosh, which Zeigler describes as previously having been very siloed and performance driven. Jones’ first year found he and the
Angie Zeigler VP of Talent Management Oshkosh Corporation
TA L E N T
executive leadership team developing and articulating four key behaviors; respect and trust each other; be aligned; be collaborative; and have fun. The result was, in Zeigler’s words, a culture that was “much more open and collaborative in the way that we shared information.” Strategies were shared, strengths were leveraged in different areas, and departments were cross-pollinated. “Nobody had ever questioned the idea of a company culture and how that gets created,” Zeigler says. “There was a recognition that we owned it and we could actually change it.” Change it they did. Zeigler’s drawn upon the concept of People First and its behavioral guideposts while instituting a number of different initiatives. One of them is a clear set of competencies on which employees are assessed. Using Bob Chapman’s 2015 book Everybody Matters as inspiration, Zeigler and her peers looked at how the company’s existing competency models could be beefed up to better address the team on a personal level, rather than simply a technical one. To bring these competencies to life, Zeigler’s learning team developed an experiential leadership development program aimed at the top 370 leaders across the company. This program focuses on personal leadership through self-reflection and how to lead others by leveraging competencies. The executive team is engaged in many aspects of the program, so they can hear and see firsthand how their leaders are learning. This program has allowed richer, more focused conversations between team members, and it’s also changing the way the executive team talks about leadership. For example, Zeigler says succession planning in the organization has become oriented around these competencies. “We started to introduce leadership questions into those conversations, to say, ‘Well, they might be technically savvy, but are they
“Nobody had ever questioned the idea of a company culture and how that gets created. There was a recognition that we owned it and we could actually change it.” ANGIE ZEIGLER
really good leaders? How do they engage their people?’” Zeigler also worked with outside training programs, such as the Center for Professional and Executive Development at the Wisconsin School of Business. “Angie and Oshkosh Corporation have been a wonderful partner from day one,” says Mark Seifert, the center’s director of corporate learning. “They live the ‘people first’ philosophy, which was apparent as we together worked to customize and deliver sessions aimed to remove silos, connect people and functions, and develop the leadership skills of their most important asset.” The People First philosophies are also being integrated into a number of other processes within the company, such as Oshkosh’s talent acquisition efforts. The talent acquisition team, for example, used to be business-unit-focused, but they’ve now coalesced into a Center of Excellence that allows for greater functional collaboration and a more effective distribution of talent. New talent is given a stronger, more transparent view of the organization when interviewed, as the questions are born straight from the new competencies. The result is a more unified, organized workplace, which is a tough thing to manage in a company as large as Oshkosh.
Oshkosh is also working to corral its myriad training and educational programs into an on-site university. “We want it to be something that people feel is not only an online learning system, but also a place that you can go to access all kinds of learning,” Zeigler says, noting that next fall the new Oshkosh Global headquarters will debut three classrooms “right smack in the middle of the building.” Many of the programs that will unfold inside of these classrooms are directly related to the company’s newfound vision. Curriculum was specifically designed to support the new competencies, and a “leadership academy” will serve to bolster the People First cultural perspective all the way down through the organization. Zeigler admits that these kinds of changes are tough to enact in a company as large as Oshkosh, and she credits Jones and the executive leadership team for being so committed to making it all work. It’s paid off, too. Glassdoor, the workplace review website, recently named Jones as one of its top 100 CEOs, and Oshkosh was also was named as one of Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies for three years running. As Oshkosh’s cultural reinvigoration proves, change begins at the top.
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Move Fast, Break Things, Rebuild Them Better. Repeat. Our innovation issue guest editor Todd Unger knows how to accelerate and champion the kind of disruption that produces results
Interview with Megan Bungeroth Working in a field where “do no harm” looms large, Todd Unger understands that digital transformation is more than just breaking things—it’s building new capabilities at 100 mph. As the chief experience officer and senior vice president of physician engagement at the American Medical Association (AMA), Unger’s job is to redefine the AMA member experience for the digital age and drastically scale the impact and reach of AMA’s mission initiatives. His M.O.: teach the team how to break things faster, shed old ways of doing things, and rapidly embrace the modern digital toolkit. Unger, who earned his MBA from Harvard University, has been working in brand development, marketing, and digital innovation his entire career. His relentless focus on how to serve the consumer is the lens through which he has developed his approach to productive disruption. It’s also why Profile collaborated with Unger to identify and learn from executives who are pursuing innovation in unexpected, often uncelebrated ways. Here, Unger explains his approach to productive disruption, how to bring innovation into every business process, and why the buck stops at the chief experience officer’s desk. 52
Todd Unger Chief Experience Officer, SVP Physician Engagement American Medical Association
You’re an advocate for “productive disruption”—how do you define
Is this a title you think we’ll see more of across industries? What are
that term, and how do you apply it to your work in a practical way?
the benefits of organizations instituting this role?
When I joined the AMA, I was surprised that it took forty-eight
It’s not about the title or adding one more “C-Level” executive—it’s
days to get out a marketing email. I made quick decisions on who
about redefining an organizational structure for the digital age.
should be part of the process and approvals. Turnaround time fell to a matter of days, then to hours.
Multiple studies have shown that companies that wholly organize around digital make significant, consistent growth. This isn’t
I also moved quickly on implementing a data-driven, test-
something you can dip your toes in to and see how it goes.
and-improve culture, encouraging the team to try new ideas
You see a lot of CXOs who are more customer experience- or design-
constantly and benchmark them against existing approaches. This
focused, but it’s still rare to see what I think is the most important—an
test-and-learn approach immediately made email marketing our
operating leader who oversees marketing, product, design, and
fastest-growing marketing channel, and the culture of testing that
content to accelerate profitable growth.
followed unleashed a ton of creativity and energy across the board.
In a digital environment, it’s so critical that marketing, content,
These are the practical, everyday change-driving activities of a
and product move together cohesively. But so many companies are
productive disruptor. It’s not like anyone was enjoying the old ways
still organized and acting like it’s 1997, which is when I left marketing
of doing things, but sometimes you just need a leader to step in and
and started my digital career. I think that’s a key reason why CMO
say, “We’re not going to do it that way anymore,” even if it means
turnover is so high.
breaking some rules. Do the same thing five or ten other times, and the transformation ball gets rolling, giving you permission to tackle
How did a “productive disruptor” find his way to the AMA, and what
far bigger initiatives.
has been your experience so far?
Leadership advisory firm Russell Reynolds coined the term
When the recruiter from Russell Reynolds first met with me about the
“productive disruptor” to describe a new set of digital leaders who
AMA role, the first question I asked him was, “Why are you talking
are more innovative, disruptive, bold, socially adept, and determined.
to me?” I’d been in horse racing for six years, and it seemed like a
These are folks who can lead an organization successfully through
a digital transformation.
It turned out the AMA was looking for someone who could do
I try to live up to the moniker every day, being candid with
exactly the kind of digital transformation work I was doing at the
my team and colleagues, changing things that aren’t working,
Daily Racing Form. For me, it was a chance to do what I was good at
and trying to unleash everyone else’s ability to make change. It’s
on a much bigger platform and with a lot more impact.
People on the outside might think the AMA would be a conservative, slow-moving place, but the truth is I’ve never gotten
How do you define your role of chief experience officer (CXO)?
so much done in eighteen months in my entire career. This is an
My role, and anyone who has this title, should be 100 percent tied to
organization hungry for transformation, willing to put the resources
growth. Plain and simple.
behind it, and supported by some of the most outstanding colleagues
If survey results come back with 100 percent member satisfaction,
I’ve ever gotten to work with.
yet membership, retention, or other core KPIs are declining—that’s a
When I first arrived here, one of the key things I noticed was
sign that I’m not doing my job right. It’s a hard pill to swallow for many
that responsibility for the website itself was spread out across the
people, but CEOs who hire for this role should have the expectation
organization. As a former GM of many web operations, I knew we
that the chief experience officer is directly tied to results.
needed a unified publishing team to get the kind of rapid traction
This is a “buck stops here” role that the new digital era demands. In the customer’s mind, there is no difference between marketing,
we needed. That change happened within sixty days, boom. Very few organizations I’ve seen can move that fast.
product and design, and content—they just see and experience what you’re offering them. To deliver rapid growth in a digital environment,
What’s the biggest challenge facing the AMA from your perspective,
you need an operational and strategic leader who oversees all of these
and how are you getting after it?
areas, since they’re so intertwined and tightly consumer-focused.
We’re doing so much great work for patients and physicians, so it’s
pretty frustrating to find out how many people are unaware of it. Job
What advice would you give to executives who see opportunities to
number one is fixing that.
embrace a disruptive mind-set for their organization?
As CXO, my objectives are to maximize the impact of our mission-
You can be a productive disruptor anywhere. The key thing to learn
based initiatives and drive step-level growth in our membership. I
is keeping it productive—which is very different than being a bull
think one of my most significant accomplishments over the past
in a china shop or a pure dreamer.
eighteen months is proving that these two objectives are closely
There are a few simple ways to get started:
aligned, not separate.
Be candid. I wouldn’t have done this earlier in my career, but I’ve
We created a new campaign, Membership Moves Medicine, that
given myself permission to reset an unproductive meeting, address
translates the AMA’s work into tangible results to demonstrate the
misunderstanding or confusion, or push for a decision instead of
value and impact of an AMA membership. A big part of the campaign
leaving things up in the air.
is celebrating what our members are doing to move medicine. The
Test and learn. It’s the best part of digital. The low-risk, iterative
combination of logical “proof” and the emotional connection of
process delivers constant learning and a sense of momentum. One
seeing what real members are accomplishing (no more stock photos!)
of my team members was analyzing user sessions to try to pinpoint
has proven very powerful.
a design issue. He saw that people were clicking on what we thought was a well-labeled form instead of filling in their names. I celebrate
You have a strong background in marketing and advertising.
discoveries like this because little wins add up, and it encourages
How does that impact your thinking today about owning the
everyone to do the same.
Kill something that isn’t working. When I started at the AMA,
When I was at Leo Burnett, I came up with the idea for GladWare
there were a lot of product initiatives that would be much better
Plastic Containers, and it changed the whole trajectory of my
handled through content. I stopped them.
career. Seeing the reaction to a tagline I wrote—“the containers
Team up with other productive disruptors. Find other people
you’ll love to use but can afford to lose”—taught me that people
who are changemakers and figure out a way to work together. What
can have an emotional connection to almost anything, even a
started as an organic connection with one of my like-minded AMA
colleagues morphed into a model of collaboration and an official
That experience brought together everything I’d learned there
priority for the organization.
and at P&G—especially how to segment an audience and create a compelling consumer proposition that unifies marketing and
Disruption has become a buzzword, so how do you keep the actual
product. Funny how that carries through to my CXO role today.
meaning and practice fresh and relevant in your work?
Digital tools are not useful if you haven’t done the fundamental work of consumer marketing—segmenting the audience and building
Disruption is often put in terms of what’s done to you or an industry.
a compelling and marketable proposition. I find that many people
My brand of disruption focused on showing people the “how”—
in digital environments skip that part and go right to the product.
creating a vision and teaching a team how to do something in a
This why you read about different digital companies struggling with
new way, then leveraging a tangible success to go to the next level.
“product/market fit”—a failure to make sure your product satisfies
It’s infectious. When you see the team pick up the ball and start
a real market need.
innovating the same way, you know it’s taking hold.
But this is definitely a different and far more exciting time
At the AMA, we’ve started a content marketing operation,
to be in marketing than in my consumer products days. I had to
something unfamiliar to a lot of folks. So, I’ve used a totally
re-learn marketing in a digital environment when I went to the Daily
unrelated and funny example from my real life to help illustrate
Racing Form, and it had a profound impact on me. Digital marketing
the principles and bring the concept to life. The first article we
offers an entirely new set of capabilities that allows you to see and
produced using best content marketing practices generated one
measure the impact of marketing and product decisions in real-
hundred times the average number of page views and became the
time. For someone who’s into rapid growth, it’s an adrenaline rush
number one piece of web content we’ve ever produced. Deliver
results like that, and you can create believers. PRO
THEIR COMPANI WILLINGNESS FROM AN EMBRACE OF EVERY CORNER 56
ES FAR WITH A THINGS GLES AND AN IN THE
Product Photography by Cass Davis
Portraits by Cass Davis
Words by Jenny Draper
MAKER Beata Kashani, Head of Global
Total Rewards, HRIS & Payroll, Morton Salt
Beata Kashani taps into the historically innovative spirit of Morton Salt to revolutionize the employee value proposition 59
Morton Salt has spent the last century growing into a giant—but in recent years, it was a sleeping giant, until Beata Kashani arrived in 2014. “People forgot who we were,” she says. And while a cylindrical can of its table salt may appear in almost every kitchen in the United States, the American food company—which emerged in Chicago in 1848—fell into a comfortable routine as its heritage carried it through the manufacturing slump of the twenty-first century.
“Employees have a lot of pride working for such an iconic
“There’s pressure to produce more, faster, and at less cost.
brand,” says Kashani, head of global total rewards, HRIS,
Leaders must tap more creative thinking to stay relevant.”
and payroll at Morton Salt. “We’ll never let go of that solid
First, consider how Morton Salt has evolved in the
foundation, but no one was looking ahead at innovation.”
digital age thanks to the modern HR function that Kashani
As the leading producer and marketer of salt in North
has cultivated in nearly four years with the company.
America, Morton Salt has about three thousand employees
Internally, she overhauled the Total Rewards program
and twenty production facilities across the United States,
by diving into vendor management for the first time in
Canada, and the Bahamas. Its products not only involve the
decades. She implemented an Amazon-type experience for
pantry staple, but also include pharmaceutical and farming
employees to navigate benefits online and make educated
industries, water conditioning, industrial, agricultural, and
choices. Her team is now looking at perks such as insurance
for pets and identity theft, as well as parental leave and
Yet that complacency eventually came at a cost.
When Kashani announced her move to Morton Salt’s
In addition to the decision-making tool, Kashani
headquarters in the Windy City, she says the common
revamped the compensation program from profit sharing
response was: “They’re still in Chicago?” And that’s
to an individual performance bonus system to distinguish
when Kashani also realized many customers—external
talent and become market competitive. She also built
consumers and internal employees—may feel the same way.
out a performance management system essentially from
The opportunity to transform the brand recognition of a
scratch. As a result, her impact was recognized by HRO
true legacy company excited the HR leader, and Kashani
Today magazine with its 2017 HR Superstar Award, and
was the changemaker to do so.
she also earned a certification in the Future CHRO Leader’s
“Cha nge ma nagement ha s been huge in t he
Program governed by the Human Resource Management
manufacturing and consumer packaged goods space
Association of Chicago. She is now participating in the
because the margins are so small,” Kashani explains.
Midwest Cornerstone Future CHRO Leadership program.
“I am a bold leader, and I do stand up for what is right,” Kashani says. “Leaders have to challenge the status quo. We couldn’t keep thinking in a traditional mind-set while adding to the employee value proposition and still making our shareholders happy.” That boldness comes from her own history. Kashani was born to a mechanical engineer and a teacher during a particularly volatile political period in Poland. In the early 1980s, she watched her parents rise before dawn to stand in line for rationed food and clothes. Soon, her father rose as the community leader outspoken against the communist regime. “My dad risked everything to stand up for what he felt was right,” Kashani says. “He was on the front line with hundreds of people behind him, and they were all risking their lives because at any point the communist police could come and drag them away.” And they did. One morning when Kashani was six years old, a neighbor warned the family that authorities were on the way to arrest her father. Minutes later, about ten communist police armed with machine guns broke through the front door of their home and began turning over the furniture. They took her father away in handcuffs to an unknown location. Months later, he rejoined the family, and within the year they immigrated to the United States. As refugees, they lived with a foster family for a few months while her parents got back on their feet with jobs cleaning houses and working in factories. Kashani recalls not knowing a word of English walking into her first grade class, and her family’s struggle empowered her own fearless approach to her career path. After earning a bachelor ’s degree in business management at Northern Illinois University, Kashani launched her career in employee relations at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago before entering client services at Aon Consulting. Seven years later, she joined another multinational giant, Swiss investment bank UBS, as the associate director of HR, and she also worked for CPG giants Kraft Foods and Mondelez International. When the opportunity at Morton Salt surfaced in 2014, Kashani joined CEO Christian Herrmann to implement a new brand strategy that promised to mitigate the
The Salt Girl
Goes Green According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 30-40 percent of all food produced in America goes uneaten. To help address this and spread awareness of ways to prevent food waste, Morton Salt started a campaign named in reference to its iconic umbrella girl, called Walk Her Walk. CEO Christian Herrmann said in a release about the campaign that the company sees her as a symbol of drive and endurance, and wants her image to inspire people to take a first step to do good. The Erase Food Waste initiative encourages people to learn about food waste and actively reduce it, by planning meals, following recipes designed to keep leftover ingredients to a minimum, and preserving food.
industry’s high workforce turnover—projected to be as
and on-site town halls help position Morton to retain and
much as 40 percent. Helping Morton’s workforce engage
and excel is the core concept around which Kashani has built her new employee wellbeing initiative.
For example, health modules feature biometrics, nutrition guides, grocery shopping lists, tobacco cessation,
Within her first year, she unveiled a more holistic
and more. Employees can build their personalized program
approach to wellness branded as “Dash,” which comprises
choices in a Facebook-like profile and enable daily reminders
five pillars: health, financial, social, work life, and
or mobile push notifications to assist them in achieving
community. Morton Salt works closely with Virgin Pulse to
their goals. Kashani adds that many leaders now kick off
administer the program. “Morton Salt’s Dash program is a
meetings with a group mindfulness module. The platform’s
compelling example of how organizations are successfully
chat function also champions a greater sense of camaraderie
incorporating health and wellbeing into their workplace
and cross-collaboration across the Morton community.
cultures,” says Scott Robitaille, Virgin Pulse director
One of the many success stories is of an individual who
of client success. “Virgin Pulse is proud and honored to
lost more than one hundred pounds and quit smoking by
partner with this talented team in changing employee
using the Dash modules. “If I can change the life of one
lives for good.”
person, then it’s worth it,” Kashani says.
And that’s exactly what Kashani hopes they are doing.
The notion is reminiscent of the larger cultural
Just as companies have been expected to offer 401k plans,
revolution Kashani is spearheading to make a positive
today’s workforce expects wellness programs as well, she
impact in the lives of its customers in and outside
explains. Yet she takes it one step further with individual
the workplace. And from budget planning apps to its
customization. “What wellbeing means to one person is
sustainability #EraseFoodWaste social campaign, Morton
very different to another person,” she says.
is embracing innovation more than ever before, thanks to
A subsidiary of German mining company K+S, two-
Kashani and her team.
thirds of the Morton workforce are in production, with
“Individual contributors can be leaders here,” Kashani
many spending their workdays 1,300 feet underground
says. “I value competence and talent that challenges the
in mines. To reach different employee needs, Kashani
status quo—people who come from different backgrounds
facilitated the partnership with Virgin Pulse to deliver a
and experiences. I push the envelope as much as I can.” PRO
savvy web platform to house Dash modules in an interface
Editor’s Note: As of press time, Beata Kashani has begun
designed by behavioral health specialists. A network of
a new position as director, people & culture at Revantage
company-wide ambassadors for the wellness initiative
PROUD TO PARTNER WITH MORTON SALT Congratulations to Morton Salt on the success of DASH and for recognizing that employee health and wellbeing drive culture, engagement and the bottom line. We are thrilled to partner with such an iconic company in building a culture that motivates and supports all of Morton Salt’s employees to be their best, every day. We look forward to continuing our journey of Changing Lives for Good® together! www.virginpulse.com/mortonsalt (508) 766-3300
“Virgin Pulse allows us to address everyone’s wellbeing needs with a consistent platform in a way that is accessible to everyone.” Matt Beliveau, Vice President, CHRO, Morton Salt, Inc.
Give them a bonus on day one.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is proud to recognize our partner Beata Kashani of Morton Salt as an HR leader. All of us at Blue Cross and Blue Shield appreciate you bringing it every day.
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A OF MirrorCacheâ€™s Scott Ware is revolutionizing the hospitality industry with SmartAccessMirror, which was conceived as a smart safe and evolved into so much more 66
Portraits by Cass Davis
Scott Ware, CEO,
By Randall Colburn
Like so many great innovations, MirrorCache was born out of a deceptively simple idea: a smart-locking medicine cabinet. It’s the type of product you’d imagine would exist. So when Scott Ware—a technology specialist who was previously involved in hiring designers and engineers for products such as Xbox and the Microsoft Surface—realized it didn’t, he made it his mission to change that and founded MirrorCache.
That was roughly five years ago, and that seed has
Ware says the core focus of his product is to help
since sprouted into the SmartAccessMirror (SAM), which
create efficiencies not just for travelers, but also for
is, in itself, a malleable vessel for heretofore untapped
hotels. “Whether it’s concierge services or room services,
levels of comfort and accessibility. Designed specifically
there’s always been a lot of room for human error,” he says.
for the travel and hospitality industries, SAM essentially
“We’re helping solve that through an automated system
functions as a personal concierge that manifests in the
that can provide more detailed reporting and better
form of a touchscreen mirror. A built-in operating system,
communication with the hotel systems.” This, he adds,
FingertipsOS, allows it to sync with a guest’s mobile device,
can help lower operational costs for hotels as it improves
while the addition of Alexa allows the mirror to respond to
the customer experience.
a guest’s voice commands.
Demonstrating the flexibility of the core product,
The integrated DaisyMirror feature makes it easier
MirrorCache—which currently has a US, Canada, and
to order room service, explore activities in the area, or
European issued patent—has also developed a number
simply make the most of a hotel’s amenities. It can also,
of supplementary services for SAM. Among them are
based on one’s interests, create a personalized itinerary.
TravelSync, which can link itineraries and flights to the
And staying true to the product’s initial inspiration, SAM
OS; CleanSlate, a service that handles every facet of the
also functions as a smart-locking safe. This feature, called
checking out process from payments to incident reports to
the DonBox, is waterproof, fireproof, and tamper-proof.
ensuring everything’s been removed from the safe; Celsius,
It’s also equipped with a state-of-the-art security interface,
an energy interface that allows the user control of the blinds,
Ocual, and Blockchain personal identity security storage.
thermostat, and other sources of comfort; and there’s even a
Ware explains that those three components—
built-in, light-up makeup mirror called PangHalo.
FingertipsOS, the DaisyMirror, and the DonBox—comprise
That may sound overwhelming for someone still getting
SAM, but they can also be used individually. “I could use
a grasp on the latest innovations in technology, but Ware
any one of those systems on its own for other purposes,”
says MirrorCache is in touch with “the human element” of
says the CEO, noting that he’s also been in discussion with
police forces about them incorporating the DonBox as an
“I have a technology background, but I also know
alternative gun safe for police officers. “We can take the
that plenty of people are resistant to new technology and
company and our mission in different directions depending
products like this,” he says. “The first barrier to overcome
on what we find uses for with the technology.”
It’s notoriously difficult to change people’s behavior. How do you get a hotel visitor to begin using the full breadth of the functionality of the product, especially when they have other devices to do that work? How do you know there is a definitive consumer need for this additional functionality beyond the safe? We are working to provide what consumers and guests increasingly expect—personalized access to amenities and services and a truly secure place for their valuables. The smart-mirror capabilities feel natural and complement existing technologies people already use. Answer from
A Question from
Guest Editor Todd Unger
The company’s chief experience officer has compiled
hundred products for Microsoft and other companies, and
a great deal of research on how people interact with the
multiple team members have been through an IPO with
product. What do they respond to? What feels unnatural?
Ware says he wants users to be “delighted” by the product,
Ware has also partnered with the engineering
both in its approachability and in the intuitive, eye-
consultants at Nytec, who are assisting with the industrial
catching nature of its design.
design and mechanical engineering. There’s also RSA, the
“We really want to understand just how a user will
security solutions experts who are helping MirrorCache
be interacting with the product,” he says. “What are the
with information security and biometric authentication.
different scenarios they’ll be facing? Do they feel safe using
Ware also notes IBM Watson as a key partner is helping
it? But there’s also the look of it—the physical touch and
refine SAM’s use of AI.
textures. There’s the cool factor, but we also want to hit the gut factor. It all boils down to security and experience, and if we mess up on those two pillars, then we’ve broken our promise.”
“A lot of hotels are using IBM Watson right now, so it really melds perfectly with what we’re doing,” he says. Ware is only beginning to tap into SAM’s full potential, noting that, while the initial rollout is tailored to the
As Ware and his team work to refine SAM, they’re
hospitality industry, the possibilities are endless. In
also gearing up to test the product in the field. There are
addition to hotels, the company will be testing out the
a number of prominent hotel brands—Hyatt and Marriott
product on cruise ships, yachts, and Airbnb units, where
among them—that will help pilot the product, which he’s
SAM can function as a digital concierge in the same manner
hoping to have assembled locally in MirrorCache’s native
as it would in a hotel. The company is also making a version
state of Washington.
for consumer home use that works with existing home
At that point, the MirrorCache team will inevitably expand, but Ware’s already surrounded by an impressive
security systems, such as ADT, for monitoring valuables and property in new and innovative ways.
lineup of technology professionals, a byproduct of his
For Ware, though, SAM is more than just a product. He
background in tech recruiting. He mentions how one
sees its mission as aligning with his own personal mantra:
product manager who managed various aspects of the
“Do more for others than they can do for themselves.”
product development process helped create the voice-
“We created a smart safe,” Ware says. “It can keep your
controlled personal assistant Siri as well as helped
valuables safe, but we’ve designed it so it can also enhance
bring the T-Mobile Sidekick to market. The company’s
your travel experience, introduce you to new things, and
chief experience officer has helped build more than two
make life easier. That’s the mission right there.” PRO
Introducing one-touch access to security and interactive services; meet SmartAccessMirror (SAM), brought to you by MirrorCache, for residents and savvy travelers alike.
PRE-ORDER YOURS NOW
M I R RO RCACHE CO R P O RAT I O N | www.mirrorcache.com
S EAT T L E, WA
Chris Magnuson leads Naborsâ€™ innovative efforts to make energy exploration safer and more productive 72
Courtesy of Nabors
Chris Magnuson, VP,
MATION By Jeff Silver
Research & Development, Nabors
When most people picture drilling for oil, they typically conjure images of roughnecks risking life and limb, wrestling heavy chains and enormous pieces of equipment. Even though scenes like those are often scripted dramatically into movies and television shows, Chris Magnuson, vice president of research and development at Nabors—one of the world’s largest oil and gas drilling contractors—says that the industry has moved well beyond those manual operations that originated more than 150 years ago.
“You can still find manual rigs, but very few companies
on-site and be able to handle the stress and strain of rig-
drill like that anymore,” Magnuson says. In fact, he’s leading
down, transportation, and rig-up operations that can last
the initiative at Nabors to develop highly automated land-
anywhere from three to ten days.
based drilling platforms that are safer and more efficient and productive.
“Our challenge was to come up with cost-effective, safety-focused, automated equipment that could be
The effort began in 2013 when Nabors chairman and
integrated seamlessly into an existing rig,” Magnuson
chief executive officer Anthony Petrello challenged the
says. “We still had to provide a comprehensive platform
company to create a hands-free land rig and offshore drill
of services and enhance and optimize the human effort
floor that would remove personnel from hazardous areas
required to deliver them.”
where dropped objects and pipe handling are among the
In addition to being tested successfully, the R&D
most common causes of accidents. That challenge set
initiatives secured a portfolio of strategic intellectual
Magnuson on a process of reviewing all rig equipment
property that has yielded eleven patents with numerous
and operations to assess for potential automation. This
applications still in progress.
occurred during an economic downturn when most drilling contractors were reducing costs, not investing in R&D.
One representative innovation is the iRacker system, an automatic tubular handling system that weighs each
Magnuson’s efforts were complicated by the fact that
pipe, measures tubular lengths, applies pipe dope (anti-
land drilling rigs have a much smaller footprint to work
seize material that helps threads rotate and inhibits
with than offshore platforms. Mobile offshore drilling units
binding), builds stands offline utilizing the mousehole (an
are self-contained systems that contain all the needed
opening in the drill floor used for off-line construction/
equipment and are designed for ease of mobility. Land rigs
de-construction of drill pipe stands) and power slips
must be disassembled and reassembled to be moved.
(a hands free device used to grip the drill string at well
Additionally, compressed schedules can require land
center). The system allows all operations to be controlled
rigs to move to new locations after less than four weeks
from inside the driller’s cabin. Its patented automated
EXPLOSION PROTECTION FOR AUTOMATION
“Our challenge was to come up with costeffective, safety-focused, automated equipment that could be integrated seamlessly into an existing rig.” Chris Magnuson
Take it to the eXTReme
750 Series XTR:
parking system allows the pipe handling system to be moved offline so the rig crew can address problems, or
• eXTReme Vibration: up to 5g acceleration • eXTReme Temperature: -40 °C to +70 °C • eXTReme Isolation: up to 5 kV impulse voltage • eXTReme Intrinsic Safety: signal acquisition and transmission in Zones 0 and 1
position other large pieces of equipment on the rig floor. With the same specification as an offshore pipe handler, the iRacker system requires just one-quarter of the footprint and still meets the rigorous rig-up and rig-down cyclic loading. All of these breakthroughs are being tested on commercially active rigs. Magnuson anticipates they will
help standardize improved performance, productivity, safety, and efficiency across all of Nabors’ rigs. “Having this automation online throughout our worldwide network will help push a wide range of metrics to performance levels that are consistently higher than what humans alone can do,” he says. He’s quick to point out, however, that automation will put jobs at risk. Instead, it will enable rig personnel to move away from physical labor to higher level maintenance and technical expertise in electronics, controls, and the equipment itself. “Automation will improve the lives of our crews,” Magnuson says. “If you can do less hazardous, higher skilled work that’s not done in one hundred-degree heat or sub-freezing winters, then that’s definitely better.”
Two roughnecks are applying pipe dope while positioning a new stand to be added to the drill string. The drill string is being suspended in the rotary table with manual slips. Before automation, workers had to make up the drill string manually, which was arduous and physically riskier.
The physics and engineering education Magnuson
He adds that common practice was to keep parts of
received at West Point, coupled with ten years of military
failed attempts on the engineers’ and designers’ desks,
experience, played a crucial role in his approach to Nabors’
including his own. It was a tangible way to remind everyone
automation projects. He developed a Skunkworks-type
of the lessons learned from well-intentioned failures.
division—modeled after the Lockheed Martin division
The technical innovations will fit in well with Nabors’
that was responsible for developing numerous radical
well-established practice of incentivizing crews and
breakthroughs in aviation—that tapped existing personnel
personnel to continue learning and expanding their skill
to design, develop, and create multiple prototypes of the
sets. Magnuson calls it offering “pathways to progress.”
new equipment. The same teams then contributed to
“When you realize that some jobs require a guy to be
expedited learning curves as they transitioned to the field
nearly ninety feet in the air to help attach a new stand of
with their creations to oversee implementation and to train
drill pipe, it’s no surprise that, so far, crews have been very
other teams on their use.
open and supportive of all the new technology that we’re
“Our approach enabled the R&D teams to quickly become
introducing,” he says. PRO
understanding of overall operations,” Magnuson says. “It was very gratifying to see them grow professionally as they developed improved iterations of all the designs and were ultimately able to see their work all the way through to manufacturing and testing.”
Innovation is at the heart of everything we do at WAGO. From pioneering CAGE CLAMP® connection technology to our range of Interconnect, Interface and Automation solutions, such as the fieldbus independent WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM, our customers count on the performance and reliability of our products to ensure the safe, efficient operation of their systems every time.
Courtesy of Nabors
subject matter experts and gave them a comprehensive
MODEL, Fred Schacknies instills a people-first approach across Hilton’s treasury function to support its
mission to be the world’s most hospitable company
By Jenny Draper
As Hilton approaches its centennial anniversary in the hospitality space—an industry it has helped define—its leadership is looking to Fred Schacknies to help fortify the treasury function of the “new Hilton.” Following the successful spin-offs of Park Hotels & Resorts and Hilton Grand Vacations, Hilton’s next chapter is one that tells a story of a resilient, capital-light, fee-based business. Schacknies, senior vice president and treasurer since January 2017, and his global treasury team are responsible for preparing the hospitality leader’s corporate enterprise and managed and franchise fee portfolio for expansion.
“Our future growth will increasingly come from diverse
CFO role at Park. As assistant treasurer since 2009, I was
places around the world,” Schacknies says. “Having lived
familiar with the business. What was different was the
and worked abroad, immersed in other cultures, has
level of responsibility representing the treasury function
colored my perspective, which has been a great benefit,
and increased direct engagement with the CFO and his
because the value of travel and international experience
is fundamental to everything we do here at Hilton.” Today, Schacknies leads a world-class team that
Did your mind-set or goals change when stepping into
monitors financial risk and liquidity, as well as cash
the treasurer role?
and banking, for Hilton’s global enterprise, which in
There were three equally important priorities for the
turn engages with more than 5,500 properties across 15
treasury function: Complete the complex execution of the
brands in 109 countries and territories. Profile spoke with
spin-offs; manage the support agreements to continue
Schacknies to learn how he keeps innovating within his
providing business support to the new companies in a
function while simultaneously aligning with Hilton’s goal
segregated way; and continue business continuity for the
to raise the bar in an evolving industry.
remaining Hilton business.
How did you ensure a smooth transition from assistant
How has the business model evolved post-spin-offs into
treasurer to the department head?
the “new Hilton”?
The transition was prompted by the spin-offs of Park
It’s a simpler, capital-light model, focused on generating
Hotels and Resorts and Hilton Grand Vacations in January
resilient, fee-based income and primed for global growth.
2017, when the former treasurer went on to assume the
That creates a host of needs in the treasury space.
Our treasury engine is there to provide stability. That
SVP, Treasurer, Hilton
speaks to the need for financial risk and global liquidity management, but also the ability to efficiently scale our financial infrastructure. We had a financial risk management platform in place dealing with currency and interest rates, and weâ€™ve built on that foundation with balance sheet and cash flow hedging. Organizationally, weâ€™re migrating from a hub-and-spoke approach to a regional treasury model to provide more on-the-ground support. What advantages arise from decentralizing the department into a more regional structure? Each team now has direct responsibility for treasury decisions and actions that take place in the respective region, as well as developing relationships with finance team members and functions across the organization. As emerging markets present new opportunities for the company, it is important that we invest in building efficient teams to support this growth. What role does the global risk and treasury function play now in Hiltonâ€™s global growth plan? Cash moves around the world at different times in different locations. Central to our business model is a renewed sense of capital efficiency. The treasury team needs visibility across all of the complexities associated with geography, currency, legal entity structure, and other factors to ensure that the surplus cash flow generated by our global commercial engine can be efficiently returned to investors.
Our regional treasury model, supported by innovative software and processes, allows for a followthe-sun approach to maintaining real-time data links with the outside world. Leveraging new technologies keeps Hilton a step ahead, maintaining our competitive edge and driving continued satisfaction from our stakeholders. Answer from
Courtesy of Hilton
You mention the role of data and leveraging technology; can you be more specific about how that gives you and the team at Hilton a competitive edge?
A Question from
Guest Editor Todd Unger
Why do business abroad, when you can make the whole world your home?
How does your team leverage technology to increase efficiency?
Congratulations to Fred Schacknies & Hilton from HSBC.
We say we’re managing money but, practically speaking, we’re managing data—and a lot of it. The half-life of data is measured in minutes, so the scale and pace of data is an immensely complex technology challenge unique to treasury departments in the corporate finance world.
We have people operating in multiple locations sharing and maintaining real-time data links with the outside world. We make sure all inbound and outbound data, whether with banks or markets, is tightly controlled, centrally visible, and used strategically. How do you cultivate relationships with business leaders to implement solutions? Treasury is one of the more esoteric corners of the corporate domain, and yet everyone understands cash. Educating colleagues on the role of treasury starts with outbound communication. Advocating for solutions is fairly easy; it is just a matter of advertising our value. Now going into year three as treasurer, what are your goals? My number one goal is to continue being a productive, collaborative partner to the rest of the business and the finance organization. We are problem-solvers, and want to be viewed as a go-to resource for our stakeholders. We’re creating opportunities for Hilton team members to collaborate and contribute to our vision—to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality. PRO
Citi is proud of our partnership with Hilton Worldwide, which spans many years. We share with them a passion to deliver exceptional client service and strive to be leaders in our respective industries and communities. Citi congratulates Fred Schacknies for this well-deserved recognition of his accomplishments and contributions.
HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC. Copyright 2018. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Goldman Sachs is pleased to recognize the accomplishments of Fred Schacknies and Hilton Worlwide
ÂŠ 2018 Goldman Sachs. All rights reserved.
shine brighter Bank of America Merrill Lynch is proud to support Hilton Worldwide Holdings. Congratulations to Fred Schacknies on your well-deserved recognition. bofaml.com
“Bank of America Merrill Lynch” is the marketing name for the global banking and global markets businesses of Bank of America Corporation. Lending, derivatives, and other commercial banking activities are performed globally by banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation, including Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC. Securities, strategic advisory, and other investment banking activities are performed globally by investment banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation (”Investment Banking Affiliates”), including, in the United States, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated and Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing Corp., both of which are registered broker-dealers and Members of SIPC, and, in other jurisdictions, by locally registered entities. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated and Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing Corp. are registered as futures commission merchants with the CFTC and are members of the NFA. Investment products offered by Investment Banking Affiliates: Are Not FDIC Insured • May Lose Value • Are Not Bank Guaranteed. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation. GBAM-103-AD ARSHR7X4
By Pam Sornson
Nicole McCasey champions a higher standard of athletic gear at ASICS Canada while enhancing its consumer base across the country 84
Nicole McCasey, VP of
Portraits by Anya Chibis
Merchandising, ASICS Canada
Standing inside the ASICS Research Institute of Sports Science (RISS) outside Kobe, Japan, Nicole McCasey was fascinated by the science behind the design of athletic shoes, one of the sporting goods products she had been selling for years. After completing twelve marathons, McCasey understood how a seemingly lowly pair of shoes could make or break a race. Now as the vice president of merchandising & business planning for ASICS Canada, she’s differentiating the brand as an industry innovator by applying new infrastructure and technology to brick-and-mortar stores that boost the consumer experience.
“After years in the sales and merchandising of sporting
me articulate and execute corporate initiatives,” McCasey
goods, I was impressed with how data-oriented ASICS is
says. “ASICS’ dedication to granular product quality added
with its product development,” McCasey says. “As a runner,
another dimension that I was excited to pursue.”
it gave me a different perspective on how products can
Prior, she worked for Adidas in a business development
improve performance. Everything worked on at RISS leads
position to build the company's Canadian presence. By
to creation of the best product for the athlete, enabling the
then, she had nine years of marketing and sales experience
runner to go farther, faster without compromising comfort
with two internationally known sporting goods companies,
including two years spent in Korea developing leadership
As both consumer and company leader, McCasey is
skills in marketing strategies for foreign markets. She was
particularly proud of the mission to optimize sports
also well-versed in how the minutia of every product fed
performance. In fact, the company ’s research and
into the bigger marketing and strategy picture, as well as
development laboratory shows how data collected on every
the technology that transformed that data into actionable
nuance of every footfall informs the design of its running
decisions. Her earlier adventures seemed to have tailored
and athletic shoes, known for their capacity to both absorb
her very specifically for the work ASICS had planned for
shock and prevent injuries. And that scientific commitment
her in Canada.
to excellence is primarily what inspired her to join ASICS Canada in early 2017.
Introduced in 1949 by Kihachiro Onitsuka, the shoeless, post-war children running around Japan inspired the
“I had several years of experience developing sales
first iteration of what would become an "ASICS" shoe.
and merchandizing strategies for both products and
Onitsuka’s goal was to unite people through participation
brands. That process included discussions with sports
in happy activities, especially sports. Not content to sell
psychologists to better understand the connection between
just a foot covering, Onitsuka wanted to offer the best
athletes and their gear, and business leaders who helped
athletic footwear available that enhanced performance
while reducing the risk of injury. The 1964 Olympics revealed the level of his success: forty-seven medal winners were wearing his brand as they crossed their respective finish lines. In 1977, mergers generated the newly christened ASICS, a Latin acronym of "A sound mind in a sound body." Products, markets, and affiliates added in the decades since have cultivated high consumer confidence in the brand known for high-quality athletic gear. Today the company looks in part to its vice president of merchandising to equip it for market success in the years to come. “Canada was wide open as a market, so I was starting with a blank canvas,” McCasey says. “I knew my strategies were sound, and I wanted to use the emerging market data to design the company’s growth as precisely as ASICS uses its data to design its footwear.” By taking on a leadership role for ASICS Canada, McCasey returned to her home country to implement the company's strategies to achieve ASICS 2020 goals: build its consumer base with enhanced direct-to-consumer activities and ensure customer satisfaction by providing
What do you see as the next frontier in the marriage of technology and athletic gear? With so many devices connecting athletes with different exercise regimens, monitoring performance and essentially creating a bit of a walled garden around certain brands, how does ASICS stay in the game? We have seen technology playing an increasingly important role in every industry sector, including ours. In North America, ASICS has been working on scaling technology platforms like Runkeeper, a GPS run tracking app with over 50 million users worldwide, and ASICS Studio, a mobile fitness app that offers unlimited access to on-demand workouts. Beyond the work we do with a roster of ASICS sponsored athletes, we have made it a priority to understand evolving consumer trends, including how fitness habits are changing. Fewer consumers are defining themselves as “runners,” and are both exploring and experimenting with all different kinds of workouts and fitness routines. The sweet spot moving forward will be in how we stay current with these trends, marrying athlete engagement, technology, and consumer experience all into one. Answer from
brand consistency across all products. She was starting at ground zero; despite previously having a Canadian-based distributorship in place, as a market, Canada was still a wide-open territory. McCasey's task was to develop that national market while doing business in it at the same time. As part of the new leadership team, she began by setting up the company's Canadian headquarters in Toronto and hiring two marketing professionals to help her, a merchandising manager and a director of business planning. She also realized she needed an infrastructure; unlike at her previous positions, there were no existing systems that she could access. Essentially, McCasey would have to build the track she would run on while she was running on it. That opportunity, she discovered, offered her immense latitude to develop exactly the infrastructure she needed to accomplish the goals for the country. To do so, technology was essential. “Data is the best driver of every decision,” says McCasey, who ensured that Nicole McCasey
A Question from
Guest Editor Todd Unger
the data generated by every aspect of the enterprise— products, sales, marketing, revenues, expenses, profits, etc.—was recorded and parsed for insights and information. Technology also reveals external market trends and
internal market successes. She studies post-sales data as rigorously as she does production data. McCasey and the team at ASICS Canada also established a physical foothold as the next critical step. Within her first eighteen months, ASICS had opened its flagship store on Queen Street in Toronto, and four other stores in Ottawa, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Niagara, giving new customers the opportunity to experience product quality firsthand. “We want to offer our Canadian consumers a purposeful product that has the innovation behind it to produce the best possible performance for the athlete,” McCasey says.
“I had several years of experience
Drawing on talent was also critical. Along with a few colleagues, she launched the "ASICS Women's Collective"
developing sales and merchandizing
as a response to being a woman in the sporting goods
strategies for both products and brands.
sector—an industry historically dominated by men. As
That process included discussions
Collective is designed to educate, empower, and engage
a gathering opportunity for both men and women, the
with sports psychologists to better
all participants to achieve their best selves in every
understand the connection between
power of the individuals and the team, and to serve as an
capacity. “The goal of the Collective is to harness both the engagement tool,” McCasey says.
athletes and their gear, and business
Looking back, McCasey sees her adherence to her
leaders who helped me articulate and
primary merchandising principle. “Learn and know every aspect of your business,” she says. “Who and where your
execute corporate initiatives.”
consumers are, every cost of every product, how every item translates into profits or losses.” She is involved in every element of every product, from product procurement to
wholesale partners to sales successes. McCasey also knows she's set the foundation to achieve the company's goals. In conjunction with the parent company, brand awareness is rising. And she's now developing the strategies needed to appeal to a larger market, including younger shoppers, as data reveals people are looking at yoga, cross-training, and other opportunities as crucial elements of their fitness regimens. "It's a lot of work but this is what I've trained and tested for and now I’m putting to use what I've learned,” McCasey says. “Because I've got my hands in every bucket, I'm completely hands-on and shaping what the future of an organization looks like. I'm happily committed to seeing the growth through to the fulfillment of the strategy. I'm challenged in so many facets, plus the to-do list. Every day is super dynamic." PRO
AS THE C Karen Walker shares how a strong culture, continuous
innovation, and a passion for the companyâ€™s mission have kept Pandora Media at the forefront of the music industry
Karen Walker, VP, Chief
Accounting Of ficer, Pandora Media, Inc.
By Danny Ciamprone
â€Š O MMON 91
Few devices capture the essence of innovation quite like the radio. A technological phenomenon that symbolized the turn of the nineteenth century, it served as the precursor to television with broadcasts of Sherlock Holmes, Green Hornet, and the Glenn Miller Show. But eventually, these programs were replaced by television, and the radio became primarily a way to transmit music.
This history is one reason why Pandora was a
very difficult for people to discover podcasts,” she says.
revolutionary new company when it was founded in the
“We want to work to personalize it and help content
early 2000s, points out Karen Walker, vice president and
owners monetize it. Similar to our music genome—with
chief accounting officer of Pandora Media, Inc. Not since the
our proprietary algorithm you can discover music—we’re
invention of the radio itself had a company changed the way
looking to do that with podcasts as well.”
consumers could discover and access music, not to mention
Walker joined Pandora in 2017 with extensive experience
customize their own radio stations. Setting up The Strokes
in other media companies—including CNET Networks and
radio station could introduce you to similar songs using
CBS Interactive. “My past media experience provided a really
the company’s proprietary algorithm, leading to The Vines,
strong foundation for me and allowed me to hit the ground
Franz Ferdinand, and more previously unknown artists.
running,” she says.
More recently, Pandora has evolved its product beyond
Since then, Walker has been focused on transforming
personalized radio and now provides a three-tiered offering
her team, scaling the operation, and freeing up capacity
(ad-supported radio, Pandora Plus, and Pandora Premium)
for business partnering. Having joined organizations as
with the ability to search and play any song, create playlists,
varying stages of maturity, Walker has built teams from
and download music for offline listening.
the ground up but also stepped into more established
Thanks to these innovations, Pandora has inspired a
teams. “When I join an organization and the team is largely
plethora of competition from other streaming services, but
built, I spend a lot of time talking to as many people as I
Walker and her team welcome it.
can within the company to understand what is working
“I get inspired by the mission and the people I'm working
well and what’s not working well,” she says. “I also try to
with,” says Walker. “I love consumer businesses where
understand the personal and professional goals of my team.
disruption is the common denominator. It's fun, inspiring,
By understanding their aspirations I can better understand
and very powerful, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be part
how to create a vision and be an inspiring leader.”
of several well-known disruptors, including Pandora.”
Walker’s ability to maximize her teams has been evident
That’s one of many reasons why Walker joined Pandora,
throughout her career. “Having worked with Karen over
now the largest streaming service in the United States.
the years, I have always seen her embrace new challenges.
Walker says that “Pandora is well positioned to continue to
She has built teams from the ground up and or enhanced
disrupt the terrestrial radio market with its personalized
existing ones passionately and sensitively,” says Anurag
offering, non-music content, and in-app voice activation.”
Saha, a partner at PwC.
Walker is most excited about podcasts. “It's a big market
Now, Walker says one of the major changes she and
right now, but we think it can be much bigger because it's
her team are pursuing is pioneering transformation in the
What’s the number one thing you can do to stay ahead of the other music streaming services, many of which (like Spotify) are employing similar technology to raise the bar in personalization and discovery? Pandora has unparalleled technology for music discovery built over many years of interaction with its listeners and will continue to bring the same strengths in discoverability, personalization, and monetization to be a leader in non-music content. Answer from
way her team works, mainly by leveraging technology and
with Sonos, the wireless home sound system, listeners can
focusing on constant improvement. “By transforming the
control their music on Sonos within Pandora’s mobile app
way we work, we are not only creating operating leverage for
with voice commands via Amazon’s Alexa.
the company, but we are also freeing up capacity to be better
Venturing into these new strategies is exciting for
business partners,” says Walker. Now, Walker’s team is in
Pandora, but not without its challenges. That’s why Walker
the early stages of several new programs.
is quick to compliment the teams at Pandora and its culture
This year, Walker and her team started looking into
of collaboration as a pivotal reason why the company has
the use of robotics process automation (RPA) to automate
remained at the forefront in the music streaming industry.
routine tasks. “Initially I was looking to leverage IT
“People are passionate about what we're doing at
automation for manual work, but we had some constraints
Pandora, and since I've been here, that's actually the number
in terms of prioritization, and so I started to think through
one thing I see in so many people across the organization,”
other ways we could achieve some quick wins. RPA seemed
she says. “People are very excited about our mission, what
like a great way to do exactly that.”
we do, and how we go about doing it. One of our core values
What was unexpected for Walker is how quickly the
is ‘I got you,’ and that's really about succeeding as a team. It
potential of RPA was being embraced by her team. “An
means everyone's views are valued and everyone's voice is
early narrative came from the feedback I initially received
heard. And I think that's very powerful and quite frankly
when I joined, which was that we did not have strong tools
how Pandora grew up from the start.”
and some of the work seemed routine, mundane,” she says.
No matter how fierce the competition gets, Walker and
“Teams always want to minimize the routine and work on
her team are fueled just as much by their passion for the
more compelling and analytical projects. Similar to the way
company as they are for the technology that is keeping them
our business is continuing to leverage data insights to deliver
at the forefront.
great products, we in finance need to approach our delivery model in the same way.” Although it is early days, I can see the potential for machine learning and artificial intelligence in our world,”
“I enjoy the space, and I think we’ve really just scratched the surface on what we can do,” Walker says. “With that and the combination of a great culture, I think we are poised for success.” PRO
Walker continues. That can lead to greater efficiency and ultimately higher employee retention. On the commercial side, Pandora is seeing ways to leverage artificial intelligence to better serve its listeners, including in-app voice controls and integrations with voice-activated devices. Teaming up
Duff & Phelps is the global advisor that protects, restores and maximizes value for clients in the areas of valuation, corporate finance, investigations, disputes, cybersecurity, compliance and regulatory matters, and other governance-related issues. We are proud to recognize Karen Walker on her accomplishments and contributions to the business community.
A Question from
Guest Editor Todd Unger
TRANSPARENCY. CONFIDENCE. TRUST. Some things canâ€™t be bought, sold or traded. Clients have relied on Duff & Phelps to help protect these fundamental ideals for more than 80 years.
Learn more at www.duffandphelps.com
Leadership that inspires Being a leader takes more than drive. It also takes dedication. It takes an individual who innovates and who recognizes the value in mentoring others to help them succeed. It takes an individual like Karen Walker. Karen, your colleagues at PwC congratulate you on being featured in Profile Magazine. We wish you continued success and look forward to working with you in the future!
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A EXPER IENCE 96
Alton Lane CEO Colin Hunter shares how his nimble companyâ€™s tech adaptations allow his teams to evolve with their customers
Courtesy of Alton Lane (Hunter)
Colin Hunter, CEO,
By Will Grant 97
Colin Hunter once spent fifteen minutes waiting for a custom tailoring appointment at a well-known department store. By the time an associate did get around to talking to him, it was instantly clear that he was just one of many customers—the associate didn’t take note of his preferences, and had very little to offer in terms of feedback or styling suggestions. “If a customer comes into Alton Lane with the type of department store experience that I had, not only will we win them over in terms of the quality of the suiting, but we will quickly sell them on comfort and personalization,” Hunter says.
That’s because Alton Lane has built their business
experience as convenient and accessible as possible, even
entirely around a customer base that values experience.
to time-strapped customers who can’t physically visit
Since its inception in 2009, Alton Lane has brought a
their showroom locations. A newly implemented service
new standard to men's retail–even integrating advanced
enables customers to place orders by text, a practice that
technology in order to add an additional level of
Hunter jokes has resulted in some interesting late-night
customization for their clients, which include everyone
weekend requests. Alton Lane customers can also track
from Wall Street first-years to professional athletes and
the status of their order—from creation to delivery—much
Fortune 500 CEOs.
like the Domino's “Pizza Tracker” and Postmates’ order
Hunter says that “going digital” is where Alton Lane
delivery monitoring services. “By putting the power in our
has achieved some of its biggest successes, something
customers’ hands, our service call volume has dropped by
that many competitors in the retail business have not
30 percent,” Hunter says.
taken advantage of. “Simply having a website is already
Another high-tech component of the Alton Lane
outdated,” Hunter says. “We are constantly updating and
experience involves 3D body-scanning technology
evolving as the consumer technology landscape shifts.
that enables showroom managers to take over 300
Every investment that we make is done with our customer
measurements in under 30 seconds–ensuring that every
customer receives the best fit possible. In addition to
In Alton Lane’s case, that has meant implementing
having scanners installed in all thirteen of their showroom
tech solutions that drive down both production costs and
locations around the United States, the technology is also
costs for the customer, including the cost of time. One
integrated into Alton Lane’s “mobile showroom”: a branded,
of the company’s brand pillars is making the bespoke
traveling Airstream that the company sends to corporate
You’re facing some stiff competition from a slew of new customized clothing entrants, some of them purely digital and some of them hybrid digital with showroom locations or personal assistants, but all in a similar price tier and wide selection. How do you continue to differentiate the Alton Lane experience in this environment and reach audiences most likely to respond to what makes you different? First, I will say that I am a big fan of competition as it challenges you to be your best and ultimately makes the industry better and serves the needs of the customer better. Second, while an industry might seem crowded at first glance, a closer look will almost always reveal far fewer and more concentrated competitors than you might expect. To use an example from the automotive industry, a cursory review would say that there are dozens of brands that sell cars with the same features—four wheels, two axles, brakes, etc. However, a Porsche dealer would likely not view a new Nissan dealership as a competitive threat. They have a different quality of offering, different driving experience, and different brand promise. Similarly within our industry, while there are a number of new additions to the space offering “custom clothing,” the actual competitive set—when we look at quality, experience, and brand promise—gets much smaller. I think there are three primary differentiators for Alton Lane when we look at the sea of custom menswear providers. The first is fit—we obsess over giving our customers the best fit. We invented the “modern bespoke” approach, which incorporates our 3-D body scanners along with hand measurements and sample garments and allows us to deliver a better-fitting garment. On top of this, we worked for eighteen months with the top pattern makers in Europe to develop our approach to fit and proportion. As a result, our alteration rate and remake rates are the lowest in the industry. The second differentiator is value. We only offer a premium-level product, so we aren't the least expensive product on the market (a Porsche will never compete on price with a Nissan). However, we try to have the lowest price in the country for each quality level that we offer. The third differentiator is experience. We have built an experience that is comfortable, convenient, and actually enjoyable for men who don't like to shop. Experience matters today than it ever has (the hotel industry is a great example of this) and we invest a lot into delivering an incredible experience and level of personalized service to our customers. Answer from
businesses and individual customers around the country.
not a simple task, because Alton Lane’s customer base
“We have satellite hooked up to the outside of the mobile
is vast—they have clients ranging from twenty-year-old
showroom so you can still watch NFL Sunday Ticket and
college graduates purchasing their first suits, to Oscar-
have a few drinks while getting measured. We’re really
winning directors shopping at a significantly higher price
trying to reimagine shopping for guys in different ways.”
point. “In an age where you can customize the interior
In addition to their extensive consumer-facing
of a BMW online or build your own pair of Nikes, people
technologies, Alton Lane has implemented a number
want to be able to have things their way,” Hunter says.
of solutions behind the scenes that are designed to
“We just really stay focused on delivering that same level
improve efficiency and ensure that customers receive
their garments as quickly and accurately as possible.
To ensure that every customer is comfortable in
Using propriety software installed on iPads, the company
their space, the company offers a selection of premium
manages inventory directly with fabric partners around
fabrics—over 3,000 in total—across all price points. There
the world. The software is also synced to their factories,
are a number of additional customizable aspects of their
allowing customer orders to go into production within
experience, from the music that is playing to the beverages
minutes of being placed.
being served. This level of customization has proven to be
In Alton Lane’s case, reimaginging the traditional
a tremendous success already: “Some of our showrooms
shopping experience extends beyond just technology,
are seeing six-to-eight times the national average in terms
and also involves working to create physical showrooms
of sales-per-square foot, yet our cost-per-square foot is
that are aesthetically on-brand while also catering to
usually five-to-ten cents on the dollar of what other luxury
each customers’ unique style and preferences. This is
companies are paying,” Hunter says.
A Question from
Guest Editor Todd Unger
CREATING TOGETHER SIDE BY SIDE
“By putting the power in our customers’ hands, our service call volume has dropped by 30 percent.” Colin Hunter
Since 1925, the main aim of our job has been to make the simple daily gesture of choosing a special shirt a genuine pleasure, refreshed every day. Creativity, dedication to the product, and customer service are characteristics that cannot be improvised. The story of Canclini started over 90 years ago, evolving over time to become one of the leading reference brands today in high quality shirting fabrics thanks to a long-standing passion for work, dynamism, constant innovation, and creativity.
When Hunter speaks of Alton Lane’s edge over its bigger-branded competitors, he emphasizes the company’s next-level customization, which enables them to “grow” with their clientele. “We have built our business so that customers never have to graduate from our brand,” Hunter says. “Investing in experience drives a deeper customer relationship. Relationships drive loyalty. Loyalty drives lifetime value. That’s what everyone’s trying to go after, but big brands are sometimes too slow to adapt.” Hunter is also excited about Alton Lane’s recent partnership with a German fabric manufacturer that produces for Saville Rowe in London. “We’re now able to offer true, top-of-the line quality, fully handmade, bespoke garments that other accessible-priced custom providers are not able to offer,” Hunter says. The company plans to eventually expand to 300 stores in the United States and more elsewhere. They’ve tested denim and cashmere sweaters and plan on introducing custom shoes in 2019. Expansion aside, Hunter says the
For additional information, please contact Marco Ferrabue, export area manager USA, at email@example.com
real key to Alton Lane’s success and future-planning starts and ends with its customers. “Real value in retail is getting back to authentic business principles and really treating your customer more like a person than a transaction.” PRO
S T R AT E G Y
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How To Know If You’re Ready For Digital Transformation The cloud beckons, but is your organization prepared to reinvent the way it operates? Here, Microsoft’s Paul Maher provides the questions you’ll need to ask in order to find out. By R A N D A L L C O L B U R N
Photos by G I L L I A N F R Y
S T R AT E G Y : T E C H
“Digital transformation” sounds daunting, and Paul Maher will be the first person to say that it means “a lot of different things for a lot of different people.” As the general manager of Microsoft’s Industry Experiences Team, focused on the Microsoft Azure cloud, he’s also the perfect person to help articulate just what digital transformation looks like and how you can apply it to your organization. For Maher, digital transformation essentially boils down to “the blurring of the lines between physical and digital,” a process made possible by the cloud. Electronics and IT changed the workplace in the 1970s to 2000s. In the same way, Maher says, the cloud is changing it now by providing unparalleled computing power, capacity to consume large amounts of data and attain meaningful insights, and fundamentally enabling new levels of innovation all in a pay-as-you-go model. Maher has spent half of his two-plus decades in technology helping organizations migrate onto cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure. He’s helped shepherd cloud migrations in numerous industries, from banking and insurance to retail and healthcare, all of which leverage the cloud’s capabilities in unique, groundbreaking ways. He speaks to current trends that he sees across industries, adopting technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and Blockchain all made possible by the cloud. It sounds overwhelming, and it can be, but it’s the Industry Experiences Team’s job to help Microsoft customers and partners with their move to the cloud. The team helps them understand cloud concepts, and also gives tailored guidance to individual organizations based on their goals. Communication and collaboration are integral to Maher’s approach; it’s his goal, he says, to immerse his team in industry, where they can develop close, ongoing partnerships with Microsoft’s industry customers and partners.
Paul Maher Partner, General Manager Industry Experiences Microsoft Corporation
S T R AT E G Y : T E C H
As the landscape changes, the question of what digital transformation looks like in any given organization looms. Below, Maher has shared some of the key questions that those interested in driving digital transformation can bring to their company’s leaders to facilitate change and execute successful cloud transformation projects. It all begins, he says, with a conversation. WHAT’S OUR MOTIVATION? Clarity is vital, according to Maher. Articulate your business’s motivation up front. “It really starts as a business conversation,” Maher says. “What’s the driving force behind this need to disrupt? Is it because you need to drive new lines of business? A changing user base? Customer demand?” Transformation, Maher adds, should come from a desire to change the business, not as a means to chase trends or appease a certain base. He continues, “Digital transformation is, for many people, a buzzword. They want transformation, but there’s no real substance or understanding as to why.” WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE? “Too often,” Maher says, “I see people who can’t articulate what success looks like for them.” This is where hard metrics come into play: What gains are you hoping to see? How will each department benefit? When should the transformation be finished? How will you know the transformation worked to your benefit? DO WE HAVE THE RESOURCES? Digital transformation requires time and hard-working people. Is the business ready to take all of this on? “You’ll want to be clear on budgets, delivery dates, and participation, as well as any constraints or boundaries,” Maher says, adding that a pragmatic approach is as important as a strategic one. DO I HAVE YOUR SUPPORT? This might be the most important question of all. Digital transformation requires an all-in approach, which means support from the highest echelons of the business. It means leaders who understand the project and represent it appropriately, and also leaders who champion the project, internally and externally. “If the business doesn’t see the value, that can be an uncomfortable place to be,” Maher says.“The business,then,is only seeing an internal disruption rather than a transformation.” HOW CAN WE LEVERAGE OUR TEAM TO MAKE IT HAPPEN? Digital transformation is not a one-man operation, and while it’s important to have support from leadership, it’s just as key that the right stakeholders from throughout the business are involved in its implementation. “When you think about project teams, you’ll want to make sure that there’s the right buy-in with the right level of stakeholders to ensure the project’s a success,” Maher says. That means that a company’s IT experts should be just as involved as those on the business end. “If there’s too much of a bias toward one or the other, you’ll find there to be friction in the project,” he adds.
“You want a diverse, mixed demographic of people from throughout the company.” You’ll also want to ensure you’ve got some voices who are familiar with cloud transformation. “Cloud transformation is not new,” Maher says. “Bring in those with proven capabilities, people who’ve been there before. If you have an inexperienced team of folks who haven’t really worked on cloud transformation projects, that’s going to be a problem.” In cases such as those, it can be helpful to bring in outside consultants. “Consult from outside,” he advises. “Bring in people with experience in cloud transformation in your industry, then leverage them to ensure you’re able stay two or three steps ahead of the curve.” The Industry Experiences Team is available to help you do just that. Maher says it’s easiest to connect with his team on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. There you’ll find links to blogs and other types of content that center around digital transformation and the benefits of the Microsoft Azure cloud.
S T R AT E G Y : T E C H / F I N A N C E / L E G A L
Out o f into the F t r h yer, e Leg al O ffice
Eve r tim y mem e b com workin er of R a p that any â€™s f g in res ising C an ta oc focu s in us on c urants eâ€™s lead to th to b ersh usto e By e m t l t LIO ega er u ip spe ers. R l PH C o ami nders nds ffice ILL IPS ll ta to e nha e Penn nd the im nce grow an br th s ings afel y.
S T R AT E G Y : L E G A L
Camille Penniman SVP of Legal, Fry Cook & Cashier Raising Cane’s
Camille Penniman racked up impressive credentials before becoming the first lawyer hired by beloved fast food chain Raising Cane’s. She graduated from Vanderbilt University, spent four years in private practice, and then became associate general counsel of Sabre Holdings, a leading technology-solutions provider in the travel industry. Despite all that growth, though, Penniman’s current LinkedIn profile lists “Fry Cook & Cashier” as part of her current title—a fact of which she’s very proud. “When we’re hired at Raising Cane’s, we each spend time working in a restaurant,” she says. “We think it’s important for everyone to know what it’s like to work in the restaurants so that we can all truly know how to support what really is our focus.” While her stint at the fryer may have been corporate policy, Penniman has spent the ensuing four years reinforcing the belief behind it, using the legal office as a way to cultivate growth and truly support every team member. Starting in her time with Sabre, Penniman began developing a collaborative leadership style, bringing teams together to brainstorm and learning others’ perspectives to strengthen business. She also quickly realized the importance of being a partner to other departments. “No one wants to be the ‘office of no,’ so I really focus on not only providing an answer but giving multiple options,” she says. “That makes people seek out your counsel more and helps make them aware of risks.” But, after focusing primarily on litigation, Penniman wanted to broaden her horizons and take on a new challenge. She didn’t necessarily know that ringing up orders of chicken fingers would be part of the process, but she eagerly accepted the opportunity. Once she became fully ingrained in the inner
2 0 0 0 A T T O R N E Y S | 3 8 L O C A T I O N S W O R L D W I D E˚
CAMILLE PENNIMAN Vice President of Legal at
Raising Cane’s on all of her career accomplishments and recognition by Profile
Greenberg Traurig applauds the accomplishments and leadership of Camille Penniman, Vice President of Legal at Raising Cane’s. We are proud of our partnership with Raising Cane’s and look forward to continuing our work with Camille and the company.
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S T R AT E G Y : L E G A L
workings of Raising Cane’s at large, she was able to move from legal firefighting to a more proactive strategy—armed, of course, with a frontline knowledge of the needs and challenges of individuals at every level and in every department within the organization. Raising Cane’s holds the distinction of being the fastest-growing restaurant company in the US; the organization comprises ten thousand employees, and hungry customers can stop into the company’s restaurants in twenty-four states and counting, not to mention its seventeen restaurants in the Middle East. That growth continues to show no sign of stopping for the twenty-two-yearold company, and Penniman knew she had to address the legal challenges that come with it. In many young, growing companies, the legal office can be seen as a roadblock or speed bump. But Penniman has focused on aiding growth without sacrificing safety. “I’ve helped show people that protecting the brand and protecting the company from risk can enable growth as well,” she says. Traditionally, Raising Cane’s had always had far more company-owned stores than franchises. While other restaurant companies are refranchising, Raising Cane’s has had a unique perspective, focusing mostly on the growth of company-owned stores, and Penniman has supported that initiative as the company has acquired existing franchisees. Penniman has also indirectly enabled growth by restructuring the company in order to take advantage of millions of dollars in savings under tax reform. The few exceptions to the trend of company-owned stores shows a powerful loyalty and commitment among Raising Cane’s employees. Its franchisees, more often than not, are former longtime Raising Cane’s
“We need to embrace the challenge to take on something new and scary because that's how you grow.” CAMILLE PENNIMAN
operators. “It makes consistency in operations easier,” Penniman says. Prior to joining Raising Cane’s, Penniman had no experience in mergers and acquisitions, but the company’s growth gave her a crash course. A recent capstone on that experience came during contract negotiations to acquire the company’s largest franchisee. And, in addition to that massive deal, Penniman negotiated the contract for Raising Cane’s current credit facility, again pushing out of her comfort zone. However, adding more franchisees and restaurants to Raising Cane’s portfolio is only one of many facets of Penniman’s long-term
strategic focus. In order to handle her diverse project list, she’s had to build out a brandnew legal team. She’s added a paralegal and two generalist lawyers—one focused on IP, marketing, and sweepstakes while the other is growing into a first in-house role. In order to keep caring for Raising Cane’s thousands of employees, Penniman has focused on developing training materials for business-unit leaders on professionalism and harassment and discrimination in the workplace. She’s also helped implement varied paid-sick-leave laws in restaurants across many states, with a focus on doing so in the least disruptive way to operations. “Right now, I'm spending about 75 percent of my time on employment-related issues,” she says. In addition, Penniman will take what she calls “drive-bys” with employees, asking questions and discussing issues. In addition to supporting people within Raising Cane’s, its legal office needs to constantly ensure that it can make a positive downstream impact on customers. Penniman works closely with the social media team, PR consultants, and the chief marketing officer to ensure they can all balance brand issues and legal issues in a way that will bring a positive experience to customers. From her first shift working the register at a restaurant, Penniman knew how important providing that happiness and positivity to customers was, and she strives to bring that to her work every day. And, appropriately, it all stemmed from a need to explore and find new challenges. “We need to embrace the challenge to take on something new and scary because that's how you grow,” Penniman says. “You don’t need to be an expert in every practice area, but it’s so important to learn everything you can.”
S T R AT E G Y : T E C H / F I N A N C E / L E G A L
Mining Taxes for Value How Anne Coshow Beckelheimer made Coeur Mining’s tax department a trusted partner in planning and operations By L I O R P H I L L I P S
When Anne Coshow Beckelheimer joined Coeur Mining as vice president in charge of the tax function in June 2015, the company was still adjusting to its new corporate home in Chicago and a new leadership team. Having previously established its roots in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the ninetyyear-old precious metals mining company moved its corporate headquarters to the Windy City in 2013. Two years later, Beckelheimer was offered the task of redefining the tax function. Enticed by the challenge, Beckelheimer— who previously held tax leadership roles at two other mining companies—quickly
found that she needed to not only hire tax specialists, but also raise the visibility of the tax function. In the mining industry, tax matters can have a significant impact on financial results and should be considered in financial forecasting and strategic planning. Upon arrival at Coeur, Beckelheimer recognized the opportunity to optimize Coeur’s tax function. “Tax was not viewed as a value-add partner,” Beckelheimer recalls. And that had to change, because to some extent, making key decisions—such as whether to invest in a new mine—without examining the tax implications is similar to piloting a plane through fog without radar. It can be done, but the risk substantially increases.
Consider, for example, that Coeur took in roughly $710 million in metal sales and paid $13 million in income and mining taxes in 2017. A good portion of the tax total was for payments of mining taxes—industry-specific levies that vary from state to state and country to country. It’s important to factor the cost of taxes when considering investing in a new mine and predicting the mine’s profit over its lifetime. The first step to integrating the tax function with other parts of the business was to build a strong team of specialists. Beckelheimer assembled a team that had more to offer than just being tax savvy. “I’ve formed a team with various backgrounds and expertise,” she says. “The team is incredibly
technically proficient, but also personable.” It was critical, she continues, for the new hires to engage with people in different functions throughout the company, so strong interpersonal skills were essential. One of the first challenges for the new tax team was to demonstrate how they could contribute to planning and profitability. There were numerous opportunities, both formal (training sessions aimed at specialists in multiple departments) and informal (within the context of strategic planning sessions) to do that. As leaders debated strategic investments such as purchasing a new mine, Beckelheimer didn’t hesitate to bring up the tax implications. She also arranged cross-functional sessions focused on various areas, “everything from opening a bank account to acquiring a new mine in British Columbia,” she says. These matters impacted the work of several disciplines on the finance and legal teams. “We really focused on cross-functional collaboration and communication, as all business functions need to be on the same page, working together.” That outreach extends to field operations regarding the purchase of equipment. Tangible personal property used to extract minerals is subject to sales and use tax in some jurisdictions. In some cases, vendors also provide engineering and installation services, as well as charge for freight expenses. The freight, installation, and portion of services that are not necessary to complete the sale of tangible personal property may be exempt from sales taxes. In order to claim that exemption, the vendor’s invoice is required to separate the cost of services from the cost of physical goods, which vendors don’t always do. “It comes down to structuring invoices properly,” Beckelheimer explains. “We worked with the supply chain team so that they knew how to discuss with vendors to make sure the invoices were clear so the company would qualify for sales and use tax exemptions.” Time and persistent effort have helped the tax team make progress in being perceived as a valued partner throughout the
Anne Coshow Beckelheimer VP, Tax Coeur Mining, Inc.
Julianne Green Photography
S T R AT E G Y : L E G A L
S T R AT E G Y : L E G A L
“We really focused on cross-functional collaboration and communication, as all business functions need to be on the same page, working together.”
Congratulations to Anne Beckelheimer of Coeur Mining on this outstanding career recognition.
ANNE COSHOW BECKELHEIMER
organization. “A lot of our progress can be contributed to on-going education—talking through the issue in different ways from different angles,” Beckelheimer says. One approach is to explain the history and intent for certain tax laws. For example, mining taxes are generally calculated differently than income tax, and as a result, generate more tax revenue, faster for the relevant government. This was especially noticeable within the past decade as various jurisdictions enacted mining taxes when gold prices were rising. In many cases, the mining tax revenue is at least partially allocated back to the local and regional governments where the mine is located. The minerals are considered natural assets of the state and/or country. “The mining tax is part of the social contract for doing business there,” she continues. Another major aspect of the company’s social contract is to properly reclaim or clean up after a mine is closed. That, too, has important tax implications as the company can deduct the cost of land reclamation, but the company can’t write off the cost until after it spends the money on the reclamation work. That may mean the company has to wait to make the deduction. “You may be creating a loss that you can’t use for that tax year,” Beckelheimer says. That’s a key consideration for financial forecasting, as well as tax compliance. Having an in-house tax team is certainly an asset when it comes to such issues. Also an asset is having people familiar with the tax structure where the company’s
mines are located. Today, Beckelheimer has a tax team of four, based in Chicago, that focuses on domestic and international tax. She also has a team of three, based in Mexico who are well versed in Mexican tax matters. With a recently acquired mine ramping up in British Columbia, she envisions hiring in-house specialists in Canada who will focus on tax implications for that operation. Another aspect of Beckelheimer’s responsibility is to explain arcane tax concepts to people in layman’s terms. Most of the individuals that she and her team work with don’t fully understand complex tax terms and implications; therefore, Beckelheimer’s approach is to break down technical areas to their most basic concepts, tailoring discussions to her audience. She also isn’t afraid to sketch out ideas, firmly believing that a picture is worth a thousand words. Clearly communicating complex issues and striving to be a valuable business partner will continue to be as important to her job as panning for nuggets of value among tax codes. That’s just fine with Beckelheimer, as she presses on with the overriding goal of making the tax team a key collaborator with the company’s business functions.
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At EY, we are committed to building a better working world–one with increased trust and confidence in business, sustainable growth, collaboration and development of talent. We are thrilled to recognize Anne Beckelheimer for this well-deserved honor. By working with like-minded individuals such as yourself, we are able to solve the key challenges facing today’s capital markets.
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Authenticity is the Best Accessory Tommy Hilfiger’s Catherine Wilson threads passion and talent together to streamline the iconic lifestyle brand By L A U R Y N W YAT T
Since the age of twelve, Catherine Wilson has never worked fewer than two jobs at a time. Now she’s applying that strong work ethic at Tommy Hilfiger to lead a movement of authenticity across her team at the global apparel and retail company. “With finance you’re able to tell a story with numbers, as opposed to when I was in accounting where I was always recording the past,” says Wilson, who is the vice president of finance for the fashion brand. Renowned for its classic American cool style, Tommy Hilfiger employs more than 15,000 people to support distributors in more than on 100 countries and 1,800 retail stores in North America, Europe, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific, with annual global retail sales of over $7 billion. Wilson
joined the company in 2009, and whether she’s deciding where to allocate assets or strategizing on how to evolve her own leadership, momentum and growth are values she puts into each solution. Wilson started her career in accounting at the Big Four firm Ernst & Young and, after four years of working in the public sector, she decided to combine her love of numbers with her passion for fashion. She landed an accounting manager role at fashion retail giant J. Crew and started to get curious about the numbers she was recording. So taking a leap, and a pay cut, she shifted her career into merchandise planning to kick off her career in forecasting numbers. “It was the hardest thing I ever did, and it was the best move I ever made,” Wilson says. After over a decade, now with Tommy Hilfiger, she’s accelerated in
her positions at a rate she never expected. She credits her rapid rise to success to her drive to never stop improving, radiating a positive and authentic attitude, and surrounding herself with people she trusts and admires. The financial leader feels the best way to beat complacency is to work on improving yourself outside of work. While not everyone can leave a position, the best way to sustain job satisfaction is by cultivating personal growth. For example, one of Wilson’s tools to remain positive and focused on reflection and improvement is her gratitude journal. Every morning Wilson writes down three things she’s grateful for. “It’s quite hard,” she says. “Maybe the first day or two it’s easy, but you can’t keep repeating the same things, so you end up starting to find little
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Catherine Wilson VP of Finance Tommy Hilfiger
first day I walked into a meeting at Tommy Hilfiger, I had the opportunity to hear him challenging and engaging the employees,” she says. “From that moment, I knew that if any of his passion and drive and talent trickled down to the executives, Tommy would be an amazing place to work— and nine years later, I’m still here.” Yet for Wilson, finance is about forward projection, momentum, and decisions. Her passion for work, self-reflective development, and authentic attitude have enabled Wilson to drive success in each of her roles at Tommy as well as build a strong development program for young employees on her team. Every morning when Wilson wakes up and recounts what she’s grateful for, she tops the list off with being genuinely excited to walk into a topnotch team at Tommy Hilfiger.
tiny things that you almost search for to be happy about.” Then, every evening she reflects on her day and recaps one great thing that happened to her that day, and something she can improve on. This exercise helps her to self-analyze and leads to having a more positive attitude and finding joy in the little things life has to offer. One piece of advice she gives to young employees is to be positive. “I have people who work under me and who are just entering the field and have very little experience, but if they have a great attitude, it makes a world of difference,” she says. “A positive attitude is contagious—it creates a better work environment for everyone.” Wilson describes herself as always being in her head, and she believes that is perfectly okay. “It is through self-awareness and self-critique that you will become a better coworker, boss, employee,” she explains. Journaling and self-inspection are not Wilson’s only tools for self-development. She also seeks feedback from others to help her grow and improve. Wilson implores people who have a difficult time looking in the mirror and taking criticism to practice first. “Start by asking questions to your partner, sibling, or friend: ‘How could I improve?’ ‘What are some areas of advice that you would give me?’” she says. “Start slow, and eventually you will start to grow from those things that often those people around you that love you see, that people at work and bosses see as well.” Wilson joked that it’s better to hear it from a loved one than at your first performance review. Wilson also credits her rise to success to the people she has surrounded herself with; she calls them her “personal board of directors.” In her personal life, she trusts her older sister and husband to give feedback and support. At work, she has chosen two executives whom she admires for their progress, ambition, and experience. “Sometimes they can see things that I can’t when I’m up against an issue,” she adds. “So getting their perspective has been so valuable to me.” Combining her passion with something she excels at has been integral to her success as a leader, but she also credits the company she serves. PVH, the parent company of Tommy Hilfiger, champions incredible causes that give her the opportunity to work on projects that are fulfilling. She is currently involved in a project that focuses on helping people who live with disabilities develop more independence when they dress. PVH even encourages its employees to volunteer during work hours. She believes this kind of altruism attracts likeminded people who, in turn, make her office community an amazing place to work. Wilson also gives tremendous regard to the North American CEO Gary Sheinbaum, describing him as one of the most inspiring people she has ever met. “The very
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Building on the Accomplishments of Others Since suddenly inheriting the position of CFO at RhĂ´ne Group LLC, Vito Badalamenti has put together a strong finance team to support the companyâ€™s future growth By C L I N T W O R T H I N G T O N
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When Vito Badalamenti first joined Rhône Group eleven years ago as senior vice president of finance, he immediately faced a major challenge: the resignation of the CFO. Thrust into the top job just a few months into his tenure, he had his hands full. “I consider it the biggest challenge of my career to date,” he says. Now, he is gratified to report that with a strong team behind him, he has a built a high-quality, responsive, and effective finance organization. “I’m thankful that Rhône’s leadership took a chance to let me build this organization,” Badalamenti says. “I will never forget their generosity, and I work every day to justify it.” Before he began at Rhône Group, Badalamenti acquired a valuable set of diverse experiences at a series of accounting and investment firms. Though he initially aspired to work in marketing, he began his career in public accounting and worked his way up to a position as audit manager with EY. During his tenure at EY, he led a group of approximately eleven professionals providing consulting and best-practice efforts for start-ups. His extensive experience with start-ups led him to his next venture: a newly formed company called Greenhill & Co., a New York-based investment bank started by Robert Greenhill. He then worked with several other private-equity groups before joining Rhône in 2007. Not long after becoming CFO, Badalamenti realized that the challenges he faced were actually opportunities. Prior CFOs had built a capable organization, but Badalamenti knew that good wasn’t enough. “I saw a chance to build on the work of my predecessors and create a uniquely valuable finance and accounting team,” he says. His first step was to focus on quality. “We had been getting good service from some
third-party providers, but I felt that getting to great service required moving this work to a motivated internal team,” Badalamenti says. He set about the task immediately, starting with some key hires, followed by some difficult discussions to terminate many of the third-party relationships. Within a year, he had brought on a new team that included some trusted colleagues he had worked with before as well as some top-quality fund controllers, the first of whom is still working with Badalamenti today. And, he had saved some real money: more than $350,000 in annual service-provider costs. In addition to quality, Badalamenti focused on systems. He inherited a working infrastructure, but one he realized would not keep up with a fast-growing firm. Addressing this challenge first required understanding the numbers at an obsessively detailed level. Fortunately, Badalamenti was up to the task. “I believe in rolling up my sleeves and getting my hands dirty—really dirty,” he says with a laugh. Badalamenti knew he would have to be personally involved in migrating to a new general ledger. Working nights and weekends in the trenches with his team enabled him to develop a crystal-clear understanding of the company’s finances—something that pays dividends even today. It also enabled him to forge a strong bond with his team. “There is nothing like a tough, shared experience to foster trust and commitment,” he says. The final piece of the puzzle was a focus on responsiveness. “In this business, you have two demanding constituencies: your partners and your investors,” Badalamenti says. “And you better pay attention to both,” he says. Early on, he and his team spent time with these constituencies to identify pain points. The metrics were simple: speed and accuracy. The team responded with a religious focus on both. Today, thanks to these efforts,
“I saw a chance to build on the work of my predecessors and create a uniquely valuable finance and accounting team.” V I TO B A DA L A M E N T I
Badalamenti reports, the team quickly and routinely delivers monthly closes, quarterly summaries, and annual reporting requirements that last year included twenty-nine audits, seventy-six tax returns, and more than 1,500 K1s. “I am truly fortunate to work with the quality individuals on my team,” Badalamenti says. “It’s a real privilege.” When it comes to his leadership philosophy, Badalamenti stresses the importance of development. In addition to staying close to the details, he works to ensure all team
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members have a chance to grow and develop. Whether it is professional recertification or on-the-job training, Badalamenti tries to provide real access to learning opportunities. “I also try to disseminate whatever I know to whomever will listen,” he says. “I like to think my teaching style has evolved to an acceptable level, but I’m sure there will always be ways to make it better.” As for the future, Badalamenti is not resting on prior accomplishments. As he puts it, both the finance field and his own company are changing fast, and they present new demands almost daily. Such demands require constant questioning, constant reexamination, and constant renewal. “There are times when I feel like we are almost back at square one in terms of the task ahead,” he says. “But, frankly, renewal is good, and it keeps things interesting.” Badalamenti has some advice for new CFOs in situations similar to the one he inherited: “Remember that a finance function is at its core a service organization. So, if you focus on quality, accuracy, and responsiveness, you can’t go wrong.” Equally important, in his view, is the team. “Build your team, lead with purpose, and put the interests of your colleagues first,” he says. “In time, this approach will earn you respect across the organization—and more broadly with investors and others that depend on you.” For Badalamenti, that’s his most satisfying accomplishment.
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Mind of a Marketer, Heart of an Inventor Rahul Tripathi combines his engineering expertise and business acumen to lead a complex digital transformation at Micro Focus
By L E O H E R R E R A
Rahul Tripathi has led two distinct lives. The first, as an innovative software engineer, moving from India to Europe nearly twenty years ago. The second, as the vice president of product management for the largest software portfolio at Micro Focus, a multinational IT software organization headquartered in the UK with significant presence in the US. “I did four years in software engineering, and some of the things we worked on never saw the light of day,” Tripathi says. “I thought they were innovative, but they either didn’t sell, or customers didn’t see value in the product. I always questioned why. What separates a successful product from an unsuccessful one?” Tripathi’s search for the answer brought him to business school. One conclusion he reached was that the difference was related to the importance of commercialization. “If you have not considered how a product will be commercialized or inserted into the market, then you may not see the impact,” he says.
Thus began Tripathi’s second journey— this time into product management at Cisco Systems based in Silicon Valley—where he worked in the management software space. It was the first time he witnessed the interplay of engineering and business aspects in driving product success. As he further developed branch office applications, security products, and hybrid cloud solutions for Cisco, he learned firsthand what it took to build and grow a large business. Those lessons would help prepare him for his next mission in fostering a full business transformation. Two years ago, HPE Software announced its merger with the British software company Micro Focus, the same year Tripathi joined the company. The merger resulted in more than four decades of combined experience, billions of dollars in revenue, and one of the largest software technology firms in the world. In this environment, Tripathi took on the tall task of transforming a large part of the business and driving it into the future. “It always comes back to the basics,” Tripathi says. “Start with your customer in mind. After all, from the solutions, we engineer to the upgrade and support experience; we are
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serving our customer needs. Transformation is a team sport. Fortunately, I found myself among very capable cross-functional peers and a management chain that had the resolve to transform. My role was to catalyze it." PINPOINT THE ISSUE First came the diagnosis. Tripathi and his team set out to understand all the customer pain points and issues. During their discovery process, they found that customer issues had little to do with software features or functions, and rather had everything to do with the offerings becoming too complex and difficult to use. For example, Micro Focus’s customers used their software to run large-scale IT infrastructure systems in banks, airlines, large consumer organizations, and other global businesses. The software enabled users to monitor their data center, run a service desk, or even manage HR issues. But customers would also have to deal with separate point products for each use case: server management, server monitoring, asset management, for example. “For any single use case, people had to put together four or five products and integrate themselves, or hire a more expensive professional services organization,” Tripathi explains. “By the time they found value, they had to write a multimillion-dollar check for the software and services.” On top of that, it might take a year to get up and running, and by that time the next update was already out. “Our customers were not adopting our innovations fast enough because they were dealing with all this baggage,” he continues. “This was true not only for Micro Focus, but for most of large scale software companies we were competing with.” As it turned out, the pain points were not only on the consumer side, but internal as well. Engineers were experiencing challenges with maintaining the complex software w ith different groups building redundant functionality. Price books encompassed about 150 pages and over forty distinct products. There were also siloed functions for marketing, engineering, and product management based on internal structures not aligned to customer success. “As our product marketing leader explained
Rahul Tripathi VP, Product Management Micro Focus
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“If you have not considered how a product will be commercialized or inserted into the market, then you may not see the impact.” R A H U L T R I PAT H I
to me, we spent more time explaining our products than selling them.” Tripathi says. Internal complexity was resulting in the loss of customers and potential business. SET AN ACTION PLAN IN MOTION Once the problems were identified, it was time for action. “In my previous experiences, people believe you can’t drive a broad transformation,” he says. “Some believe you need to find a small project on the side and build from there. Another approach is experimenting with the latest processes and tools, like saying, ‘Let’s go agile; or let’s go to the cloud. That will take care of all our issues.’” Tripathi believes neither approach is successful. “When you do it on the side, it’s more of a showcase demo that does not drive broad impact,” he says. “In the second case, tools and processes become an end, and people optimize for the small details versus looking at the big picture. Instead, we started with an end goal in mind.” Tripathi and his team believed that the reason and goal for their transformation was to improve the life of the customer, and time-to-value became an important metric to measure their execution against use cases defined in discovery phase. The plan incorporated three main dimensions: transformations in technology, process, and organization. In terms of technology, Tripathi’s team saw that the HPE Software business and Micro Focus’s combined portfolio featured some of the best assets in the tech industry, but failed to bring them to market to the benefit of customers. “With guidance from our newly formed architecture team led by Srikanth Natarajan, we aligned our strategic bets across the portfolio on technologies such
as big data analytics, containers, and chatbot automation to deliver dramatic innovations to our customers,” he says. “Customers could get up and running in minutes instead of days and weeks they were used to with comparable solutions.” For process transformation, Tripathi got active support from his engineering team, led by Maria Anhalt, Georg Hornung, and Bruno Labruere. The operations team, led by Felicia Lin, helped adopt modern DevOps practices, particularly Scaled Agile Methodology. Now, instead of delivering software every six to twelve months, which resulted in slow technology adoption, the team aimed to deliver every three months, and the development team was fully onboard. “Our engineers loved this,” Tripathi says. “They could plan more quickly, see the fruit of their labors, and make mistakes and fix them without delay.” In the end, there were fewer headaches, greater velocity, and a higher quality of features, he adds. COMPLETE THE TRANSFORMATION Finally, in terms of organization, Tripathi and team carried on the transformation using mostly the same people onboard, which is typically uncharacteristic of many transformations. Instead of changing people, they changed the structures to align product managers, architects, developers, marketing, and sales people into smaller multidisciplinary teams mapped to customer use cases. The goal was extreme focus and alignment at the product level and consistency driven through process across the teams. Tripathi’s manager and champion of this transformation, Tom Goguen, was instrumental in aligning organizational structure and incentives to “favor the unknown vs. ineffective,” he says.
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The organizational transformation— particularly motivating a massive workforce in the thousands—was challenging. “Often times, large organizations have a lot of institutional memory and inertia,” Tripathi explains. “We needed the strong resolve of our leadership team to get moving.” In response, Tripathi and Goguen made sure to implement quarterly reviews and progress reports with participation from all stakeholders. “Initially, people were a little skeptical, but by the second quarter, they realized we were serious and making decisions aligned with the transformation,” he says. “By the third quarter, they started lighting up. By the fourth quarter, they were totally in the boat.” The key was teamwork, or more specifically, finding a “coalition of the willing” and simply starting and executing, not waiting for buy-in from skeptics, he says. Tripathi’s team optimized forty-one products down to just six customer-focused products. Shorter development cycles led to greater feedback loops and faster updates, and above all, customer renewals and new purchases increased, leading to revenue growth and the best-performing business in the company. And in the end, while his “coalition of the willing” was necessary to start the transformation, contribution from each team member and support from leadership was necessary for successful execution. “We put together a system that served our teams, empowered individuals, and kept focus where it needed to be—on our customers,” Tripathi says.
ENGINEERING SERVICES “Nearly two years ago the Micro Focus team brought in new leadership that enacted the dramatic transformation that we recognized as ‘Next Generation’ solutions that would provide our customers with the easy to install, easy to manage, and value realized that is the ‘Holy Grail’ of IT Operations Management software so rarely realized.” - Joe Madden
President, GreenLight Group
Capgemini is proud to partner with Micro Focus and Rahul Tripathi, through their transformation and product successes. Capgemini’s Engineering Services brings together deep domain and technical expertise to boost our clients’ competitiveness by unlocking the true potential of their product portfolios and software led differentiation.
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In Proximity to the Principal Emily Sussal Wolf moves from transactional law to in-house counsel, and finds her calling By C L I N T W O R T H I N G T O N
Long before Emily Sussal Wolf began working for Kushner Companies as general counsel, she and the New York real estate firm already had a significant relationship. Having practiced transactional real estate law at Meister Seelig & Fein for eleven years (four years as partner), Wolf had interfaced with Kushner multiple times; she liked how the private developer and lender handled transactions. “They made good decisions, good deals,” she says. In 2016, Wolf saw the opportunity to go in-house with Kushner and transitioned to the business side of the legal profession. (“I wasn’t looking,” she says. “It sort of found itself.”) Since then, just shy of two years into her tenure, Wolf has made tremendous strides in building the company’s
legal department by streamlining and implementing risk management initiatives intended to make Kushner’s in-house legal work much easier. When Wolf was first tasked to build Kushner’s in-house legal team, one aspect was clear to her: unity. “We didn’t want to create a law firm within the company, or set up a separate shop,” she explains. Instead, as an in-house function, she seamlessly integrated the legal team into the rest of the business. To do so, Wolf equipped the department with the capability to offer different services to different areas of the company. For instance, the department generates its own property level reviews, service agreements, and more, to streamline processes throughout the company. Wolf spearheaded initiatives to better manage
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Emily Sussal Wolf and Kushner Companies. Your commitment to your profession and community has earned you respect as a leader and role model. We are proud to have you as a client and friend. Committed to Client Service At Greenberg Traurig, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide in-house counsel with the hands on support and resources that are essential ingredients to success.
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OVER THE COURSE OF ITS 40-PLUS YEAR HISTORY, ROSENBERG & ESTIS HAS MADE ITS MARK ON THE NEW YORK SKYLINE. FROM THE OUTSET, THE FIRM’S SOLE CONCENTRATION HAS BEEN REAL ESTATE, GIVING ITS LAWYERS A VAST BREADTH OF KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERTISE WITH A UNIQUE AND CONCENTRATED PERSPECTIVE.
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outside counsel, simplify viewing of internal documents, and create confidentiality level protections, among other methods of facilitating faster processes. She manages these initiatives through biweekly calls and check-ins, establishing an effective, corporate legal environment. These initiatives have had substantially positive impact on the operation of Wolf’s department. “Having legal on-site and available makes it easier to get things done,” she says. Wolf and her team work closely with the property management staff as well, making for smoother transition processes and a better workflow between departments. This has also led to more productive interactions with outside counsel, which “frees up analysts to do other things,” Wolf adds. Her positive impact on the performance of the legal department can be attributed to Wolf’s hands-on, interactive leadership style. “I’m ultimately responsible at the end of the day,” Wolf says. “So mistakes are a reflection on me.” For that reason, she maintains an open-door policy, so any team member may come to her with issues. As a leader, Wolf is also incredibly dedicated to her team’s professional development. “I had a mentor myself, so I felt it important that you offer that to whoever’s working for you,” she says. She advises her mentees to take new opportunities as they come, and to make the most of the situation you’re in. This means building rapport with as many people as possible. “Keep relationships alive,” Wolf adds, “Because you never know where people you meet will end up.” Wolf relishes the opportunity to allow her team members to grow in their field and has done so throughout her career. These approaches have already borne fruit, as two assistants have gone on to become paralegals. While transactional lawyers simply do their work and move on to the next transaction, general counsel have access to their principal at all times and can see legal
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SHIFTING THE SCALES One of the most difficult elements of Wolf’s diligent work at Kushner is achieving a strong work/life balance. “It’s a struggle,” she says. “But I think I do a good job about being honest about that struggle.” As a working parent with a full-time job, she’s especially grateful to Kushner for its family-oriented corporate culture, which allows her to maintain that balance. To achieve work/life balance, Wolf champions time management and strong support systems both in the office and at home. Accessibility is also key, and Wolf ensures she’s available at all times to answer work problems—as she jokes about her cell phone, “It’s another appendage.”
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on her professional accomplishments and well-deserved recognition in Profile Magazine
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transactions come in at all steps of the process. Now that she’s spent almost two years in-house with Kushner, Wolf recognizes the appeal of this type of legal work as compared to her past in transactional law. “Being a few feet away from your principal makes things easier, from an outside perspective,” she says, valuing the proximity that in-house counsel provides with the client. As general counsel, Wolf is more involved in Kushner’s operations, which has significantly changed her perspective on her former transactional work. Rather than see a single transaction in the company’s portfolio, she can view the company’s entire approach toward an asset, which she considers extremely valuable. It’s a perspective Wolf highly recommends to others who are considering making a similar transition to in-house firms: “If you want to work for one client in great depth, it’s the right move,” she says. Wolf considers herself uniquely fortunate in working with a company and in an industry she enjoys, which she says is the central concern when considering a transition to in-house counsel. “You have to like what the company does, where the business is,” Wolf explains. As she continues to build out the Kushner’s legal department and maintain her personal, transformational approach to leadership, Wolf’s mission as general counsel is off to a great start.
“At Greenberg Traurig the goal is to deliver excellent legal services, at every phase of the client relationship. It is always a privilege to work with clients like Kushner and Emily in what can best be described as a collaborative team approach.” —Kristen Lonergan, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig
Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. members Blaine Z. Schwadel and Deborah E. Riegel are proud to celebrate this well-earned recognition of the achievements of Kushner Companies, General Counsel, Emily Sussal Wolf and look forward to their continued relationship. R&E is New York City’s premier, full-service real estate law firm. To learn more about the firm, please visit rosenbergestis.com
As a commercial law firm, Sills Cummis & Gross understands the importance of integrating the world of business and law. We feel privileged to work with Emily Sussal Wolf—a real pro—and we congratulate her on being recognized in Profile magazine as well as on her many professional accomplishments.
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Sandra Hall Mulrain VP & Associate GC Southwire
Courtesy of Southwire
Manufacturing a More Artful Deal How VP and associate general counsel Sandra Hall Mulrain helps Southwire do better business By A N T H O N Y R U T H
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Sandra Hall Mulrain remembers feeling siloed in her early days as an in-house attorney, talking to the business units primarily when they called her for legal advice. “I’d respond to a client request with whether an action was within the bounds of the applicable legal authority, but it didn’t really go much farther than that,” she says. That was the technical approach she’d honed in law school and in legal firms: apply the law to the facts at hand and give clients the answers to address their immediate problems. So she was initially perplexed when, a few years later, a new legal manager would go to a whiteboard to brainstorm different approaches to resolving legal issues posed by the business. “I’m thinking, why are we doing this?” she recalls. “You know the state of the law, I know the state of the law. We just need to figure out the best answer for our issue.” Getting out of the law books and onto the whiteboard taught Mulrain to consider the problem on a macro level, including the business realities and impacts, and to think about it beyond her legal lens. “It would force me to go back to my clients and ask them more questions—deeper questions and angles that I had not thought of initially,” she explains. “It also forced me to get to know my client’s needs in a more personal way.” This was when Mulrain, vice president and associate general counsel at Southwire, first experienced what she calls “artful lawyering”—putting your individual skills and abilities to work at the nexus between the business objective and the legal issue and, more specifically, acting as a “wired” business partner, not simply a legal tactician. “It’s not thinking you have the answer in a vacuum,” she says. “You really don’t get to the heart of good lawyering in a business context until you understand how your legal advice can help or hinder successful business results.” “Each lawyer can dispense legal advice, but how you deliver it is what differentiates us,” Mulrain says. She identifies five components to artful lawyering: trusted client interaction; strategic problem-solving; a deep knowledge of the business and what
motivates clients; good judgment; and value creation. “Each one of these are the abilities, when married with foundational legal skills, that can elevate lawyering to a more ‘artful’ practice,” she says. TRANSLATING LATIN, LAW, AND THE LANGUAGE OF BUSINESS Mulrain says one of the keys to artful lawyering is translating between the business objectives and the legal issues. “As an in-house lawyer, you will be faced with complex legal challenges that will require you to get legal experts in the room, or you yourself will have to explain difficult legal concepts,” she says. “However, you always have to look at it through the eyes of the business and their risk tolerance.” Mulrain recalls a time when a colleague, a subject-matter expert (SME) in the legal area at issue, scheduled a meeting to talk about a potential legal problem with a business leader. The leader immediately called her to discuss the issue first. Mulrain thought as she answered the call, “He knows I am not the SME.” The leader immediately said to her, “What’s going on here? I know you will give me the real story.” Mulrain realized that while he knew she was not the expert, he understood that when she talked to him, she spoke in his language—that is, in business terms. “The legal SME had a habit of speaking only in dense legal terms—which the client found difficult to follow and interpret— and rarely engaged the leader in how his advice would impact business objectives,” she says. As a classics major in college, Mulrain developed a mastery of language— even translating the epic Latin poem “The Aeneid”—that she says helps her to this day. “There’s a business language you need to learn to speak,” she says. “The most successful business partners are those who create value for the client by fostering greater understandings while using their expertise to drive better results for the business.” POLITICS, PERSONALITIES, AND PROFESSIONALISM Beyond understanding business objectives, Mulrain says it’s also crucial to understand
your clients on a personal level. She’s been known to put on a hard hat and go talk to workers in the manufacturing plants within the companies she’s worked, giving those employees time and attention that other attorneys may be reluctant to invest. In fact, for anyone in a consulting or advisory role, Mulrain says putting in that one-on-one time with clients can deepen the relationship and let you use your expertise to even greater effect. “You become part of the circle of trust. They’ll give you the dirt, they’ll give you the facts, you’ll learn more,” she says. “It’s not going to impair your career to sit with these people and understand their needs.” She saw the flip-side of this approach illustrated when working with an outside counsel team on a deal. A junior lawyer shot off an email in a somewhat high-handed tone to Mulrain’s internal client and misjudged his temperament; it backfired and the client did not want to engage with him directly after that interaction. “They were being great lawyers who were passionate about the issues at hand; the problem is, they really didn’t understand the people they were dealing with,” she recalls, “so they weren’t being helpful.” That situation self-corrected when a more senior lawyer on the outside team stepped in, but Mulrain has seen much more dramatic cases of politics and egos getting in the way. She once worked with a lawyer representing the other party in a commercial transaction who engaged in aggressive and negative negotiation tactics, including posturing during calls with clients, escalating minor issues as deal killers, and maintaining a contentious, blustery, and at times disrespectful demeanor. By the end of the transaction, Mulrain recalls, her clients remarked on how inappropriate the opposing lawyer had behaved. After the transaction closed, Mulrain also learned that the other party had acted against the advice of his lawyer on several issues in order to save the deal—even he recognized that his lawyer’s ego was getting in the way of a successful transaction. “I don’t care how talented a lawyer you are, professionalism matters and clients take notice,” she says, adding that this was probably an
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ARTFUL LAWYERING IN PRACTICE Mulrain’s colleagues share how they’ve benefited from her approach to in-house advising.
“Over the past several months, I have worked closely with Sandra during the due diligence process of several recent acquisitions and we have been involved in the evaluation of other potential acquisitions. Sandra has been exceptional in her abilities as a legal expert to manage and negotiate issues along with working with the team as a true business partner. Her guidance, sound judgment, creative problem-solving abilities, and excellent work ethic have been extremely valuable in ensuring each successful acquisition.” AL AN BEARDEN V P O F I N T E G R AT I O N , C O N S T R U C T I O N S YS T E M S & S O L U T I O N S SOUTHWIRE
“I have had the pleasure of having Sandra support my business now for nearly two years. She has been a great counselor in our day-to-day business activities and through multiple acquisitions. She is able to perform at a high level, because from the start she has worked diligently to learn our business and the tendencies of the team. Leveraging her legal guidance has enabled our business to experience significant growth.” BR ANDON MOSS S V P A N D P R E S I D E N T, TO O L S A N D A S S E M B L E D P R O D U C T S SOUTHWIRE
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Powering forward. We congratulate a trailblazer, dynamic leader and friend, Sandra Hall Mulrain, for her many achievements at Southwire Company. Together, we are proud to provide legal solutions that help Southwire deliver power responsibly.
example of the most unartful lawyering she had ever encountered.
Honor Mayer Brown is proud to be Sandra Hall Mulrain’s trusted adviser.
THE DEAL IS IN THE DETAILS Mulrain has helped lead Southwire through four mergers and acquisitions in the past two years. While her legal expertise was instrumental to negotiating, drafting, and closing the deals, in at least one case, she learned from the investment banker that her hands-on approach—literally—was a key deciding factor. “He said, ‘What helped to win this deal, Sandra, was that while you were in the management meeting, you walked over to the products, started examining them, and asking pointed questions,’” she recalls. The seller had never seen a lawyer so focused on the details of the product, and told the investment banker, “That’s when I knew we had a fully invested team.” For Mulrain, these nuances of artful lawyering have become a vital part of her role. While a litigator tries to reconstruct the facts of the past, business lawyers, she says, look into the future. “We’re able to get really creative, contemplating what could happen and using strategic problem-solving to get to a viable resolution,” she says. “That creates a more exciting practice for me, because I get to engage in the ‘what if’ and solve the ‘what if’—and get back to the whiteboard.”
Mayer Brown is a leading law firm with offices across the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. The firm is known for its ability to address the most demanding legal challenges worldwide.
Troutman Sanders partners with Southwire Company to power its business forward. Ideally positioned to help clients across sectors realize their business goals, our 650 attorneys transact for growth, resolve mission-threatening disputes, and navigate complex legal and regulatory challenges. Learn more at troutman.com.
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The Big Switch By P E T E R FA B R I S
Matthew Flood details how he converted Prestige Consumer Healthcareâ€™s IT systems to help reach its goal of becoming a billion-dollar company
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When the goal is to quadruple the size of a $250 million company, a lot has to go right for success. A sound strategy is, of course, crucial. But perhaps just as important is the ability to gear up operations and systems to support such ambitious growth. Matthew Flood, vice president of IT at Prestige Consumer Healthcare, can attest to that. Flood was instrumental in an effort to devise and implement a drastic revamp of the over-the-counter healthcare company’s business operations and technology platform. Without this complete IT overhaul and reform of order processing, inventory, sales, planning, production, and forecasting, the goal to become a $1 billion company would have been difficult—if not impossible—to achieve. STEP 1: BUILD The first step was to build an infrastructure that could support the rapid business growth that was about to occur. Flood and his network team realized the antiquated network infrastructure and facility could not sustain the growth. They moved the company to a larger facility and started to rebuild the entire network infrastructure. Flood converted the infrastructure to the latest technology and implemented SAP’s ERP 6.0 system with their SAP partner, AnswerThink, and went live within one year. Along with these projects, Flood and his SAP team built a system acquisition plan that laid the groundwork for a rapid expansion of the company. As if that wasn’t complex enough, the retooling included a major upgrade of the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system—a necessity for the company to optimize the migration to the new SAP platform. “Since we could not connect our old EDI system to the new SAP ERP system, both upgrades had to be completed at the same time and within ten months,” Flood says. “It was full-scale implementation of the two major systems at once.”
Matthew Flood VP of IT Prestige Consumer Healthcare
STEP 2: CONVERT A conversion to the SAP Integrated Business Planning (IBP) platform was at the core of the next transformation phase. “Everybody knew that we could not continue to manage the company with our existing, very manual sales and operation planning systems,” Flood says. Prestige’s methods for sales budgeting and planning were manual, slow, and error-prone. “Everything was done in Excel spreadsheets,” Flood says. There were
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Innovation at Work … numerous versions of Excel spreadsheets held by multiple people with data that had to be reconciled each time a document was handed off. “It was a cumbersome process to manage the data, and it would have been more difficult as the company grew,” he continues. It took an intense, nine-month, multidisciplinary effort spearheaded by IT, the business, and Bizbrain Technologies to get there. By leaping ahead technologically with the IT platform that backbones the business, the company boosted its ability to absorb other organizations and to support rapid growth. Additionally, the new system had to support approximately 150 employees in six countries. Salespeople and support teams had to change the way sales planning was accomplished. Asking for such changes in a company can sometimes provoke resistance from business units impacted, but in this case, representatives from the business side were eager to make the changes because the benefits were clear. Some had SAP experience, Flood says, and all knew a company with the software would not only benefit them in dayto-day operations, but would also be beneficial to their careers in the long run. STEP 3: REFINE Over the next four years, Prestige Consumer Healthcare acquired five new businesses; with the new infrastructure, SAP system, and a solid acquisition plan, they were able to complete the onboarding of the new companies within ninety days of each of the closings. Through acquisitions and organic growth, the company behind about seventy-five familiar brands, such as Dramamine, BC Goody’s, Chloraseptic, and Clear Eyes reached that target in 2017, three years after the technology, systems, and business process overhaul was complete. After all, the healthcare industry, along with other manufacturing industries, had been moving to SAP. For the same reason, Flood’s IT team was eager to learn the ins and outs of the ERP system. That boded well for the success of the project, and it continues to be a big plus for recruiting and retaining business and IT talent, Flood says.
One of the keys to the system’s ability to scale up with growth and accommodate software and upgrades without extensive recoding is to stay within the bounds of the software of SAP’s modules, Flood says. “The configuration stopped short of customization,” he says, adding that extensive customization raises the risk of project failure. Instead, it’s better to work with the features SAP provides—even if that means changing how you perform certain functions—rather than try to alter the system to conform to them. Since the SAP implementation was completed, Prestige had another major upgrade, moving to SAP’s new S/4 HANA Version 1610 database platform in May 2018. The latest version of the software platform provides more advanced analytics and is more compatible with other databases, hardware, and software. Getting businesspeople to buy into a major upgrade took some more salesmanship on his part, Flood says. His pitch emphasized the advantages of learning and working with the latest technology. Today, Flood and his IT team of ten, augmented by AnswerThink consultants, continue to refine the company’s business planning systems by consolidating applications and eliminating those that are no longer needed. Intimately involved with strategic planning, Flood tries to ensure that IT capabilities run ahead of business requirements. “Every year, I take a look at the three-year business strategy,” Flood says. “I rethink the IT strategy—is it time to upgrade?” Crucial to this effort is staying plugged in to business conditions via different lenses: sales, marketing, forecasting, human resources, legal, and other functions. Flood’s industry experience informs valuable insights, he adds. “I’ve been in the pharmaceutical industry for almost thirty years,” he says. “I know the business side better than IT.”
Bizbrain Technologies is proud to have been selected by Prestige Brands to deliver a new sales & operations planning process focused on business value rather than technical metrics. Bizbrain Technologies is the go-to consulting firm for SAP Integrated Business Planning, helping Enterprises achieve organizational growth and success.
. . . is when leadership is focused on product innovations while aligned with technology solutions to become an SAP best run business and improve people’s lives. Congratulations to Matt Flood and his team at Prestige Brands!
Bizbrain Technologies is the go-to consulting firm for SAP Integrated Business Planning, located in USA, Latin America and India. Answerthink and Bizbrain provide a single solution comprising S/4HANA, Analytics and SAP Integrated Business Planning (IBP).
Answerthink, a division of The Hackett Group, is a certified SAP Platinum Partner that develops and offers qualified SAP® Business All-in-One solutions, as well as SAP application management services, training, support, analytics, mobility, Cloud offerings and SAP HANA® platform.
Answerthink is a member of united VARS, an SAP platinum partner. profilemagazine.com
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Mind-set over Matter
How IT leader Shelly Moore jumped into a different industry to apply her domain expertise and help YRC Worldwide continue to grow By J E N N Y D R A P E R
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Jack and June Photography
Shelly Moore VP of IT Infrastructure YRC Worldwide
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New perspectives help fuel the next era of innovation at YRC Worldwide, thanks to the example set by Shelly Moore. She spent decades in retail shaping up the IT functions at household names, such as Safeway, Albertsons, and Payless ShoeSource, before joining the transportation service provider in 2017. Equipped with cost-effective strategies, she’s reinventing her own career while transforming her department in the Fortune 500 company into a learning organization primed for growth. “You have to be introspective before you move into a new industry,” says Moore, vice president of IT infrastructure at YRCW. “It can’t be about the title. There has to be a particular reason you’re passionate about the opportunity—then take the risk. What energizes me at YRCW is the complex, nationally known, multibrand structure, and opportunities to drive innovative cost savings while improving service for our customers.” Founded in 1924 and based in Overland Park, Kansas, YRC Worldwide has evolved into one of the largest transportation service providers in the world. Today, the American holding company’s portfolio of freight shipping brands—Holland, New Penn, Reddaway, YRC Freight, and YRC Reimer—spans North America, and its award-winning fleet delivers 22 million shipments of industrial, commercial, and retail goods to more than 200,000 customers each year. With almost a century spent cultivating expertise in heavyweight shipments and supply chains, today the multibillion-dollar enterprise comprises 32,000 employees providing innovative door-to-door service to customers across the continent. In recent years, organizations such as Walmart, Inbound Logistics, and Security Magazine have awarded the YRCW network for its effective solutions that deliver a top-notch customer experience. That cultural mind-set is anchored by the company’s six core values: “Work safely,”
“Exceed customer expectations,” “Value our people,” “Demonstrate good citizenship,” “Act with integrity,” and “Embrace teamwork.” Growing up in a rural setting in Wisconsin, Moore says she learned a lot of those tenets at an early age while helping her family raise row crops and livestock. Based on those shared early roots and passion, in 2010, she and her husband started an Angus beef cattle and show swine livestock operation in Kansas. “I was raised around what many would consider more traditional blue-collar roots,” Moore says. “From that perspective, my IT career path has been focused in relevant industries that serve our basic human needs.” Moore arrived at YRCW in 2017 with the goal of applying her strong work ethic to optimize its IT investments. It’s an approach she knows well from working in the low-margin retail industry. Prior to YRCW, she spent over a decade optimizing processes and improving service and support for applications and infrastructure at Payless ShoeSource. From rotational assignment exposure to process design and requirements management, application delivery, software quality assurance, PMO, enterprise application support, ITIL service desk, global IT inventory optimization, field services, 24-7 operations, disaster recovery, and automation, Moore has streamlined IT operations through team alignment, process optimization, tighter vendor contracts, and strategic road maps— an effective tool she is recreating at YRCW. The road map outlines program investments that will help YRCW leverage more reliable, higher-grade services and solutions at lower costs, according to Moore. One example would be the legacy MPLS T1 lines YRCW uses to connect many of its terminals to the internet; as business needs evolve, and the company adds more systems and increases work process automation, it’s driving the need for a network with higher bandwidth and more resiliency.
“Be willing to ask lots of curious questions and leverage the talent around you.” S H E L LY M O O R E
“One exciting change is the transformation of our terminal IT network strategy to one that is more scalable, robust, and supportable going forward,” Moore says. “And, the potential to do so at a significant cost savings.” While the IT leader has efficiently helped incorporate innovation across the company, she’s also developed relationships with vendors to ensure the upgrades are seamless. “Shelly is adept at leveraging internal and external expertise,” says Jeff Waters, chief sales officer at Serviam Communications, a telecom and IT vendor management firm. “Her exceptional ability to roadmap her goals and requirements enabled my team to negotiate significant enhancements to the YRCW network across multiple telecom providers.” To advance her industry learning pace, Moore structured her own onboarding plan at YRCW. She met with the executive from each business area to better understand their
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function and key metrics; visited a customer service center location in Des Moines, Iowa, to see how it handled thousands of calls each day; and traveled to a billing center in Topeka, Kansas, to see how the function works in real life. “It was eye-opening,” Moore says. “You have to get outside the four walls of the office. Get comfortable not being the expert.” The IT leader also toured terminals to see how operations run first-hand and accompanied a city pickup and delivery driver—a forty-year veteran—on his route. “He did an amazing job showing me how they use the technology,” she says. “I’m still in the process of digging in, asking questions, and reaching outside the boundaries of my role to make those industry and process connections.” Identifying the business need and practical application for new technology solutions drives the prioritization, design, and implementation of their IT initiatives, according to Moore. For example, an industry-wide federal mandate last December required the company to transition from paper logging to electronic logging devices, and Moore witnessed how the drivers have adapted their processes firsthand during her ride-along, in addition to how they efficiently handle pickup requests and optimize mileage. “It’s easy to optimize processes and systems within a group, but it can break down at the borders as processes move cross-functionally,” Moore says. “Bringing people along in the journey of process and solution development is critical to successful and long-term adoption.” Her background in consulting and the retail industry formed the collaborative mind-set that Moore now applies to the world of transportation at YRCW. She launched her career as a consultant at IT services giant Ernst & Young/Capgemini after earning bachelor’s degrees in accounting and management information systems at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.
She pursued an opportunity at one of her key clients, Albertsons, in 2003. There, she stepped through multiple responsibility additions, and was promoted to senior director of business process and project services, which further shaped her expertise in process design and improvement. “Every company I've worked for has gone through at least one merger, acquisition and/ or divestiture,” Moore says. “Those experiences definitely provided an opportunity for me to see the work and planning that goes into organizational integration. Navigating the complex human dynamics that often play out in those situations provided me with some great perspective.” By translating her retail and customer-focused experiences, Moore offers YRCW a crucial perspective to further differentiate the company. And even though the industry may have been new on Moore’s résumé, she claims a personal connection to the trucking world: her husband’s father worked as a truck driver for thirty-five years, and his grandfather managed a distribution center for Yellow Freight System (a precursor of YRCW) in the ’70s. Looking back at her first year with the company, Moore is most proud of several of her team’s accomplishments. For example, last July, her team relocated a data center from an aging facility to new premises without incident. “The team did a phenomenal job with preparation, identifying incremental steps to de-risk the transition, and flawless move-day execution,” she says. “I want to help them build their own competency profile and make sure the team feels they have a path to drive their career forward here.” She has spent this time getting to know the people and how to best bring together IT services for four independent operating companies. Process alignment was front of mind as Moore consolidated and crosstrained teams. She split the engineering and support functions into focus groups to better
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service customer needs for client technologies, such as laptops, desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. “We’re improving our service quality and our connection with the customer by having our engineers focus on engineering and moving our support team members closer to the help desk to drive customer service and turnaround,” Moore says. “In addition, we’ve implemented a series of voice-ofthe-customer roundtables to gain a deeper understanding of the real challenges in the field and structure approaches to resolve service issues.” Now she’s gearing up for year two with a more strategic approach that continues to emphasize teamwork and professional development. While Moore believes in engagement and empowerment, she wouldn’t describe herself as a hands-off leader. “You have to know your people’s strengths, give them growth opportunities, then coach and guide,” says Moore, who also cites honesty, integrity, and accountability as important facets of her servant leadership style and expectations. And while her own arrival at YRCW meant a crash course in new vernacular and processes, Moore’s proactive approach helped her gain foundational knowledge quickly. “You have to be willing to ask lots of curious questions and leverage the talent around you,” Moore says. “Being open-minded to new and unfamiliar challenges has allowed me to move from area to area and opportunity to opportunity.”
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Privileged to support YRC Worldwide through the years to solve workforce challenges, Genesis10 recognizes Shelly’s contributions to the technology community promoting professional growth and job retention in Kansas City. Genesis10 congratulates Shelly and her team. We look forward to building on our relationship and wish Shelly continued success.
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Bringing Corporate Strategy to Treasury After a ten-year career in corporate development, Lee Wise found a new field to thrive in as treasurer for TreeHouse Foods By L O R I F R E D R I C K S O N
Lauren Michelle Studios, LLC
S T R AT E G Y : F I N A N C E
Lee Wise has always known that he didn’t want to be stuck in a role where he wasn’t able to grow. And though this was a challenge in his early career in corporate strategy, with limited opportunities to move into different sides of the company, he kept expanding his knowledge base to prove that he could be of value in new ways. “I don’t want people to tell me I shouldn’t strive for something else, for something greater,” Wise says. “And in my opinion you should constantly be thinking, when you wake up each morning, what can I do to become better?” This mantra was what led him to take an unusual career turn in 2015, when, after working for four years as the vice president of corporate development for Mead Johnson Nutrition, he was asked to also become treasurer. Wise had been in corporate development and strategy for over ten years, but in areas that also enabled him to gain some financial experience, including strategic finance work while at Rockwell Collins, private equity, and initiating a major financial transition at Brunswick during the 2008 recession. And because he was working on financial strategy at Mead Johnson, particularly during overseas expansion, when a treasury position unexpectedly came available, the CFO realized that Wise might make the best fit. It was an exciting new challenge. “I enjoy transactional work, and you can apply some of the same principles of corporate development to treasury,” Wise says. After two years of successfully managing the company’s financial assets—particularly as it began expanding overseas, as the company expanded into multiple global markets including China—a buyout by Reckitt Benckiser Group had him looking for another opportunity. And rather than
Lee Wise VP, Treasurer TreeHouse Foods
S T R AT E G Y : F I N A N C E
going back to corporate strategy, he decided to stay in a financial role, and took on a new one as vice president and treasurer of Chicago-based TreeHouse Foods, where Wise started in 2017. Wise joined TreeHouse during a critical juncture, when the company was going through a merger that opened up the need for a full-time treasurer. The private-label packaged food company had begun competing within a dynamic landscape that includes new entries, such as the Amazon-Whole Foods partnership. Wise recognized there would be a unique opportunity to leverage his talents in a new way. One of his early strategies at TreeHouse was based on long-term financial planning. “The market is really hot right now to get corporate financing,” Wise says. “That gave me leverage to negotiate terms that aren’t necessarily in-market.” Within his first three months at the company, knowing that interest rates were low, he was able to lay out a road map to create a brand-new credit facility that allowed extremely cheap access to capital, stretching out term lengths and knocking down amortization. Part of being able to implement better financial planning came from one of his other talents as a strategist: knowing the importance of relationships. “The bankers I meet need to grow their business as well, and they’re very much inclined to help,” Wise explains. “They’re also closer to a lot of different aspects of the total market.” Developing those relationships during that early phase allowed Wise to utilize the expertise of other financial professionals to help strategize other changes at TreeHouse, like restructuring or leveraging new developments in the marketplace. Wise’s business partners recognize the value he places on relationships. “Lee’s deep expertise in capital markets and M&A have helped him transition seamlessly and achieve success in various finance leadership roles
“I enjoy transactional work, and you can apply some of the same principles of corporate development to treasury.” LEE WISE
throughout his career,” notes Marko Ratesic, a managing director at Goldman Sachs who works with Wise at TreeHouse. As he’s thrived in his new field, Wise has also learned quite a few things. One is that treasury operations has its own language, one that’s about fundamentals like ways to move money between countries or between subsidiaries, and the associated tax ramifications. Another is the importance of ensuring that the strategic goals of the company and its finance department are aligned. “In treasury, you need to translate corporate strategy into cash flow. You need to understand the business strategy and its accompanying financial models, and translate that into cash flow models,” he says, adding that this relates to leverage, debt terms, and financing. “There must be tight alignment between the business strategy and capital structure—otherwise you become entangled with competing priorities.” For Wise, part of the enjoyment of moving into finance has been intellectual—he loves
reading about the capital markets. And he’s also loved being able to work with so many different members of the company, whether in accounts payable or inventory, to focus on a united goal. “Being able to interact with them and come to a common way to improve things has been very rewarding, and we’ve done some great things,” Wise says, noting that last year they reduced inventory by $220 million. If he could give any advice to others looking to make the unusual move he did, it would be to build relationships and always acquire new knowledge. And it would be to know how to think on your feet. “Change is a constant — there’s always something that will come out of nowhere,” Wise says. But that might be what he loves most about working now as a treasurer, where every day brings the unexpected. “Each morning when you wake up, there’s something new. And those challenges keep it exciting,” Wise says. “They allow you to think about doing things a little bit differently.”
Goldman Sachs is pleased to recognize the accomplishments of Lee Wise and TreeHouse Foods.
ÂŠ 2015 Goldman Sachs. All rights reserved.
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Kamau Coar General Counsel Heidrick & Struggles
Heidrick & Strugglesâ€™ General Counsel Kamau Coar finds ways to contribute to the business beyond the bounds of most lawyers By P E T E R FA B R I S
Tina Smothers Photography
An Attorney with a Value-Add
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Leaders of global corporate recruiting and consulting firm Heidrick & Struggles monitor business trends garnered from an unexpected source: the legal department. Led by Kamau Coar, general counsel, the legal team spearheaded a project to collect and analyze data from client engagements. Now analysis of that information is building on the firm’s sixty-five-year legacy as Coar’s team moves beyond legal advice into strategic analysis for the future of the multimillion-dollar organization. Since emerging in Chicago in 1953, Heidrick & Struggles has spent decades optimizing thousands of leadership teams and cultures around the world. Yet the provider of executive recruitment and development services is also making moves internally to optimize its own efficiency, thanks to Coar. Recently, his legal team has streamlined client contracts so that far fewer standard agreements need the attention of lawyers. That action led to a significant reduction in both the number of contracts requiring approval by Heidrick’s legal department and the average time it takes to do so, from just under three days to less than one day. Many general counsels aspire to make such substantial impacts on business strategy and operations, but given all of their responsibilities overseeing a legal department, most have limited opportunities to do so. Coar is an exception. Taking charge
of matters not traditionally advanced by lawyers is Coar’s modus operandi. He has used a wealth of available data to identify areas where the legal team can help business leaders make better decisions and better serve customers. “We have been trying to move closer to the business so that we are not just reactively giving advice to the questions posed, but also giving proactive information and tools,” Coar says. Part of his strategy has been to study data gleaned from the 4,000 to 5,000 contracts the company forms with international clients each year. Information such as the terms clients use to describe traits they desire in managerial candidates yields clues about business trends that impact Heidrick & Struggles’ services, according to Coar. In today’s rapidly changing business world, the attributes needed to succeed in some newly formed positions are still being defined. “For example, we have seen an uptick in the number of clients that want to access diverse talent,” Coar says. “By taking a proactive stance on what diversity means in the markets we serve, Heidrick & Struggles can identify and access diverse talent earlier and more efficiently, ultimately reducing the amount of time it takes to help its clients select the best talent for their organizations.” Heidrick & Struggles’ client engagements most often kick off with a standard letter of agreement delineating the terms of service. Recognizing the terms where clients frequently sought clarity or negotiation, as well
“We’ve seen a significant decrease in certain spend areas where we know the questions have been raised previously, and the knowledge base across the legal department is much greater now.” K A M AU C OA R
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Jones Day congratulates Heidrick & Struggles GC Kamau Coar for his well-deserved recognition in Profile magazine. We applaud his work as an innovative leader dedicated to improving efficiency and strengthening his firm. Why Jones Day? A true partnership based on communication, collaboration, conviction, and talent across specialties and jurisdictions.
as those terms which were not necessary to articulate each sides’ legal obligations, Coar and his team rewrote the standard agreement. The length of the standard letter was cut from nine pages to three pages, Coar adds. Legal also created an annotated explanation of the standard agreement. Those explanations—like CliffsNotes—have been distributed to consultants who refer to them in client negotiations. The result has been a more efficient process. Now, in many cases, bargaining between a client and Heidrick & Struggles can be handled by businesspeople without the need for legal to weigh in. “We were able to cut in half the number of engagements where legal has had to approve contract terms,” Coar says. Coar’s team has also partnered closely with internal human resources in the development of a standard methodology to improve performance of the company’s more than 400 consultants. The effort provided rules and parameters to raise the performance of struggling employees and allow the firm to reward those who meet or exceed expectations. The initiative has helped foster more transparency in employee evaluations and performance improvement plans, and create a better decision-making process guiding which consultants are promoted to partner. This, in turn, has aided managers and made the process fairer to all. The legal function, too, has been a subject of Coar’s streamlining focus. His team has analyzed its use of outside counsel, looking for issues that repeatedly prompt outside spending. Knowledge from these actions has been captured and distributed throughout the global legal team, enabling more matters to be handled internally. “From a spend perspective on outside counsel, we’ll probably break even this
year,” Coar says. “But we’ve seen a significant decrease in certain spend areas where we know the questions have been raised previously, and the knowledge base across the legal department is much greater now.” Early indications point to reduced spending on outside counsel in the coming years. Coar has also consolidated the number of law firms the company works with, an action that ensures those firms will continue to see a steady workload from Heidrick & Struggles even if the overall need for outside counsel wanes. Coar applied his analytical approach to his department’s organizational structure, as well. Historically, the legal department was organized with most lawyers at the Chicago headquarters specializing in certain roles augmented by a team of generalists distributed around the globe. He has begun to assign specific roles to his team according to experience and acumen, regardless of location. A lawyer in London, for example, will be the company privacy expert. Another in Chicago will be the point person for making the client experience more efficient. “Before, that was everybody’s responsibility, which meant that it was nobody’s responsibility,” he says. Looking ahead, Coar aims to continue taking proactive steps beyond the traditional purview of the legal department to advance the legacy of innovation at Heidrick & Struggles.
Jones Day congratulates Kamau Coar on his well-deserved recognition by Profile magazine. We applaud his innovative leadership and practical, problem-solving approach. We value our relationship with Kamau and Heidrick & Struggles and look forward to our continued collaboration.
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Building a Safer Tomorrow 148
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New CEO Nish Vartanian explains how MSA Safety honors its long-established mission of providing safety for workers, while also taking essential steps into the future By L I O R P H I L L I P S
Photos by G I L L I A N F R Y
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Many interns dream of snagging a permanent role at the company where they’re interning. But not many wind up spending their whole career at that same organization. Far fewer wind up becoming the CEO. But when Nish Vartanian first began his internship at MSA Safety, he recognized a mission that would inspire him to stick around and do whatever he could to advance that mission and leverage the similar passion that exists among MSA’s 4,700 global employees. “I was so engaged by this one mission that has gone unchanged for more than a century: that men and women work in safety and that they, their families, and communities may live in health throughout the world,” Vartanian says. “For 104 years, MSA has been helping people in high-risk environments, and that became a very intense passion for myself as well.” After completing his internship, Vartanian spent a lot of his time in the field as a salesperson. In addition to gaining a better understanding of the products that MSA designs, develops, manufactures, and markets, that experience put him into close contact with the professionals who relied upon them. As the only publicly traded company in the United States completely focused on worker and workplace safety, those relationships often were essential to the well-being of the customers. “Some of my customers became very good friends, and I came to really understand the risks that they undertake and the role their equipment plays in minimizing or eliminating those hazards,” he says. In addition to the people he met out on the road, Vartanian grew to understand the true impact of working with great people as well. As he advanced through the sales ranks, he developed a leadership style that helped leverage the strengths of those teams while engaging and motivating them to constantly improve and grow, always focused on the values of the company. Throughout, he marveled at the mission’s ability to draw in a diverse group of employees, all incredibly skilled and dedicated to helping improve the safety of workers around the world. In fact, MSA continues to focus on diversity and inclusion—a core MSA value—at every level; three women sit on its board, and the leadership team has established pipelines and development programs to continue to grow and nurture talent in underrepresented communities.
Vartanian’s role continued to rise as the years passed, reaching a position as president of MSA North America in 2015. Three years later, he was chosen to become president and CEO of the entire global organization. “I’ve spent my entire career here, and we’ve only had nine CEOs in our 104 years,” he says. “That’s an incredible honor.” Vartanian credits his success in part to having been able to connect with John Ryan Jr., former CEO and son of one of the company’s founders, as well as his son, John T. Ryan III, another former CEO. “John Ryan Jr. often talked about ethics back in the early ‘80s, before ‘ethics’ was even a buzzword,” Vartanian says. However, transitioning to the CEO role required more than relying on the base (no matter how strong) established by previous leaders. As he stepped into the role, Vartanian focused on bringing his own vision to a corporate strategy that’s focused on improving MSA’s competitive position in the marketplace, continuously enhancing the company’s financial strength, and developing a strong succession plan. In addition to working closely with customers, he now needs to split his time with shareholders, analysts, the board of directors, employees, suppliers, and more. “It’s a big challenge, but I’m constantly learning from people who’ve gone through some of the same things,” Vartanian says. “Beyond previous CEOs, two of our board members are sitting CEOs. They’re all great sounding boards.” Appreciating the importance of two-way communication, Vartanian devotes a good deal of time and energy to making sure he connects with employees in a manner that’s open and transparent, reflecting his personality. “Our employees from top to bottom need to have a clear understanding of our strategy,” he says. By pairing those communication skills with hard data and metrics, the progress can be felt more tangibly. Vartanian reviews key performance indicators and operating plans with his executive leadership team on a monthly basis, in order to course correct whenever necessary, with speed and agility—another core MSA value. Vartanian leans on his past sales experience to ensure the company’s market-leading products and the life-saving value that they provide to customers are at the center of all product development processes. In the global $40- to $45-billion safety market, MSA
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Nish Vartanian President, CEO MSA Safety Inc.
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“Some of my customers became very good friends, and I came to really understand the risks that they undertake and the role their equipment plays in minimizing or eliminating those hazards.” N I S H VA R TA N I A N
competes in an estimated $8-billion segment defined best as sophisticated safety. For this segment, MSA disproportionately invests R&D dollars in seven core product groups that include portable gas detection monitors, fixed gas and flame detection systems, industrial hard hats, fall protection equipment and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), and helmets and protective apparel for firefighters. “By focusing on those core products, we've improved the key financial metrics of the organization in addition to providing safety to our customers,” Vartanian says. “We've been rewarded well by investors, and we think we still have some very good runway for growth as we go forward.” Coming from sales, growth is naturally in the newly minted CEO’s wheelhouse. “We’re moving toward organic growth through research and development, finding new customer solutions,” Vartanian says. In addition to that in-house development, he notes that the organization has gone through plenty of inorganic growth
via acquisition as well. MSA has made three acquisitions since 2010, and is looking out for opportunities to grow further. “I led the integration of General Monitors, which is the biggest acquisition we've made and really solidified our position in the fixed gas and flame detection space,” Vartanian says. “That really helps us protect valuable assets for customers.” The other acquisitions came in fall protection and turnout gear for firefighters; falls remain the predominant area for worker injury and death, while the latter acquisition helped further expand MSA’s presence among fire departments. In addition, MSA is moving toward realtime, cloud-based sensoring through a new subsidiary called Safety io. In all of these facets, MSA remains focused on areas that help them fulfill that one mission of providing essential safety to customers. Still, it’s MSA’s work in fall protection that hits particularly close to home for Vartanian. “When I was in high school, I had a close friend of my family die in a
construction-related fall. He was an experienced steel worker who fell to his death,” he says. “Worse yet, he was not wearing any fall protection equipment. We have room to grow in the area of fall, and I’m so passionate about increasing safety in that realm.” Whether developing gas detection sensors that minimize the need for calibration, or designing more comfortable fall protection harnesses for workers who need to be suspended for hours at a time, Vartanian and MSA have been upholding their storied mission while also taking important steps into the future. “If you see firefighters or roadway workers, it’s highly probable they’ll be wearing our V-Gard hard hat or our G1 breathing apparatus,” he says. The G1 SCBA in and of itself is a breakthrough design, largely because it allows fire departments to integrate new technology as it becomes available, thereby reducing total cost of ownership. “It’s so rewarding to know our products can save their lives. And that’s the passion our associates bring to work every day, and I’m glad I still get to be part of that.”
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Accelerating Into the Future
Jill Gregory, chief marketing officer at NASCAR, has redefined how the racing juggernaut engages digitally with its followers, leading to an influx of younger, more diverse fans By R A N D A L L C O L B U R N
Jill Gregory EVP & Chief Marketing Officer NASCAR
Jill Gregory didn’t grow up watching sports car races, but soon a f ter joining NASCAR in 2007, she was all in. There’s the tight, breakneck races, the automotive wizardry, and the crowd’s fierce devotion, sure, but Gregory was just as enticed by the business itself. The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) sanctions more than 1,200 races at more than one hundred tracks across more than thirty US states, Canada, Mexico, and Europe— making the American cultural icon an agile brand that now extends around the world. “NASCAR was really coming onto the scene as this amazing, exciting sports property that just keeps growing,” says Gregory, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of the stock car operator. Equipped with NASCAR’s seventy-year legacy, it’s now her job to accelerate the growth of a new era by reaching both die-hard lifers and potential fans using the latest developments in fan engagement, technology, and social media. In the wake of the financial crisis of the late 2000s, Gregory and the rest of the executive board coalesced their vision into an Industry Action Plan comprising seven different pillars. “The plan has resulted in bigger content strategies, as well as a willingness to make some significant changes and try things we might not have previously,” she says. One major shift was the reacquisition of NASCAR’s digital rights and social media accounts, which had previously been outsourced. “Like any other sports property or brand, we felt that it was important for us to own the narrative,” Gregory says. Now those social media channels operate on multiple levels, from simple presentations of race data—leaderboards, lap times, etc.—to what Gregory calls
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“underneath-the-helmet-type content,” which seeks to provide a revealing, more personal look at the drivers themselves. Gregory also notes that each social media platform, from Facebook to YouTube to Snapchat, has its own unique strategy—an approach not every brand has the know-how to master. “It’s become one of the primary vehicles by which we communicate with fans, not to mention a much more efficient means of delivering really rich content to people across the country,” Gregory says. In 2017, the company reported a 32 percent year-over-year increase in social engagement. A key component of these social strategies is the ongoing branding of both veteran drivers and rising stars. Gregory’s been working hard to help cultivate a new crop of household names to stand alongside now-retired drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick. She’s helped usher drivers onto Jimmy Fallon’s late night talk show, as well as onto the silver screen with cameos in films such as Pixar’s Cars 3. There’s also content specifically focused on the personalities of these drivers—Bubba Wallace, for example, saw his journey to become the first African American driver to race in the Daytona 500 since 1971 spotlighted in an eight-episode Facebook Watch series. But not all of NASCAR’s initiatives are unfolding in the digital space. Education is another area where NASCAR is making headway. “We’ve seen that if we get a fan at the age of ten or eleven, they often end up being a fan for life,” Gregory says, noting the myriad ways that NASCAR engages with youth at the racetrack. For example, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races offer free admission to kids under the age of twelve. In the classroom, the organization has partnered with Scholastic on a STEM (science,
“We’ve seen that if we get a fan at the age of ten or eleven, they often end up being a fan for life.” J I L L G R E G O RY
technology, engineering, and math) program called NASCAR Acceleration Nation that uses racing as a lens to learn. The integration of an accompanying app and trove of online resources further demonstrates the organization’s continued commitment to youth through technology. “We’re basically putting a NASCAR wrapper around the subjects teachers want their students to develop an interest in,” says Gregory, who notes that, after just three years, program learning materials are available in more than 30,000 classrooms.
All of these innovations emerged directly from NASCAR’s ongoing strategies to grow the sport, as did the refreshed logo and branding. The new mark was the organization’s first in forty years and, according to Gregory, served to “signify our growth and change” while also reflecting the “sport’s rich heritage.” Most people, she adds, don’t even notice the change, which she says is a good thing. “We’re proud of the fact that we were able to transform the brand and do it in a way that people just automatically accepted,” she explains. “As if this were the way we’d always done it.” Gregory admits that the numerous programs that NASCAR’s growth strategy has spawned will continue to transform with time and technology. There’s plenty of work left to be done, but Gregory stays balanced with her work outside of the organization. “I believe to be your best at a professional level you need to have a means of fulfillment that exists outside of work,” she says. That’s what led her to link up with Charlotte’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, where she has helped organize fundraising events. She also joined the board for the NASCAR Foundation, which has impacted the lives of more than one million children in need of medical solutions including funds, checkups, and health screenings. “The foundation gives me and other NASCAR employees another outlet to be creative, as well as a place outside of our to-do list to give back to our community,” Gregory says. Within NASCAR, her mission remains the same. Though she’s made huge gains digitally and in the classroom, the goal is always for those efforts to bring more people to the races themselves, where they can truly experience the revving engines and the windy rush of a passing racer that has thrilled spectators for generations.
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Growth in High Gear How Cheryl Black built an agile value strategy for employees at Sunbelt Rentals By J E N N Y D R A P E R
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When Cheryl Black joined the HR team at Sunbelt Rentals Inc. in 2000, she was immediately faced with an enormous challenge: the company doubled in size the next month. Since then, Black has grown her team of two to a staff of more than ninety people to facilitate the concurrent expansion of the workforce—from 1,800 initial employees to almost 12,000 employees today. Throughout the years as senior vice president of human resources at Sunbelt, Black has cultivated a can-do approach to human resources that has resulted in important strategic initiatives, such as leadership training
Cheryl Black Ryan Newton
SVP of HR Sunbelt Rentals
and a benefits revamp. She has led her team through acquisitions and greenfield openings in her eighteen-year tenure, seeing the company grow from 80 locations to more than 750 in the United States and Canada. That dexterity has positioned the construction equipment rental company as the second largest equipment rental business in North America. Black has not only witnessed this evolution, but also played a significant role in its development firsthand by establishing human resources as a driving force behind this exponential growth. “Nobody ever told me I couldn't do something,” Black says. “When you're developing and growing so fast, you need to be able to morph and move to help each other build the processes. We aligned with senior managers in the field to be boots-on-theground support. We continue to investigate ways to make sure people understand the value of retention and adjust our strategy here.” Part of the Ashtead Group based in the United Kingdom, Sunbelt rents specialized equipment across industries, such as general tool, climate control, power generation, and industrial resources, among others. From her base in Fort Mill, South Carolina, Black is entrenched in all facets of human resources: employee relations, benefits, compensation, performance development, recruitment, career development, HRIS, and employment litigation. The ever-growing employee base, responsible for more than $8 billion in Sunbelt’s rental fleet, rallies around the mantra
“make it happen,” which could easily have been derived from Black’s own personal experience growing up on a farm in North Carolina. Her father ran a paint and body shop, and she recalls an important lesson. “Out in the country, you do whatever it takes to get the work done,” she says. Black continues to go out in the field today, to meet with and support the thousands of Sunbelt employees at work. This face-to-face interaction is crucial, Black explains; it’s an extension of the due diligence her team completes for each acquisition. Creating positive integrations is a cultural cornerstone for Sunbelt. Not only is getting out into the field important, Black says, but also recognizing each employee as a whole person is crucial as well. “We realized we've got to be inclusive of the family, because these spouses are also taking care of our employees at home,” she says. “We have dinners when we bring them in and talk about what to expect, and that has made a huge difference in the retention of the employees and how they feel about the company and our culture at the early stage.” To take this one step further, in December 2017, Black rolled out a more high-touch approach in the HR department. Her team geared up to interact with each new hire to cultivate relationships on an individual level. That philosophy is an expansion of the process used during many of the mergers and acquisitions, when her team invited the newly acquired company to a meeting to discuss each step ahead. Sunbelt’s benefits program, which Black continues to evolve, also caters to the needs of the employee base. For example, Black initiated automatic enrollment for the company’s 401k program, resulting in an award-winning high of 96 percent employee participation. “From the president to our support staff, to our yard staff, our
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mechanics, our service managers, our salespeople—everybody is saving for retirement,” she says. Black and her team collectively sum up this goal as “paternalistic empowerment,” and that investment in the lives of employees points to a larger philosophy at play within human resources. Human resources also teamed up with insurance management giant Lincoln Financial to implement a unique design for disability insurance tailored for Sunbelt. “We realized early on, being in the construction industry, that our employees worked a lot of overtime. Lincoln enabled us to become one of the first companies to cover overtime in its disability benefits,” Black says. “Later, when we realized that employees didn’t understand signing up for disability was a ‘one-shot deal,’ we approached Lincoln about open enrollment for disability each year. We’re always looking for ways to help our employees so they can help our customers.” “Cheryl and her team are committed to making sure the right benefits are available to Sunbelt’s growing employee population– they consistently evaluate the needs of their people, and work very closely with us on shaping their disability plans,” says Eric Reisenwitz, senior vice president of group benefits distribution at Lincoln Financial Group. “We’ve worked with Sunbelt for more than twenty years—it’s been a privilege for us to partner with Cheryl throughout this period of tremendous growth.” When Black first joined Sunbelt as HR manager, she got to work upgrading the outdated payroll systems and most recently upgraded to the financial and human capital management software Workday.
Embracing every opportunity to connect with candidates through technology, Black’s LinkedIn bio asks interested applicants to text “sunbelt” to a number to join their talent network. Yet Black maintains that the personal touch, such as a human being answering on the end of the phone line, is essential for employees to not only access information, but also get the answers they need. “If people can’t understand what you’re doing or why you’re doing it, they’re not going to participate,” she says. “Keep it simple.” Yet with each acquisition comes upheaval of the status quo, and that’s why Black, when recognizing that Sunbelt systems needed to be upgraded, partnered with the Center for Intentional Leadership to train teams for effective, open, and honest communication to better manage change. That’s when the mission statement “make it better” emerged within the HR team, Black says. “Now we apply that mentality to everything we do,” she adds. Her efforts to remove the silos within the HR department early on paved the way to support new growth opportunities and interactions with other functions outside of human resources, including cross-collaboration with the marketing, business development, and strategic initiatives departments in recently launching Sunbelt’s new talent strategy. Part of Black’s strategy is to hire HR managers in the field and align them with senior management. Coaching field leaders is a priority for her team to target turnover issues with a more strategic focus. “Out in the field alongside Sunbelt employees is where human resources can add the most value now,” Black adds, and field leaders take ownership to
“We’re always looking for ways to help our employees so they can help our customers.” C H E RY L B L AC K
Love them with all your heart. Plan with all your head. We like many people, but we love only a precious few. For them, we’re willing to do the extraordinary, but we don’t have to do it alone. At Lincoln Financial, we can help with everything from life insurance to protection from the unexpected. It’s one of the most important things you can do for the most important people in your life.
Lincoln Financial congratulates Cheryl Black and Sunbelt Rentals on their growth and successful implementation of new technology and leadership programs.
This is what you do for people you love.
LincolnFinancial.com LCN-1560804-080216. Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation and insurance company affiliates, including The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, Fort Wayne, IN, and in New York, Lincoln Life & Annuity Company of New York, Syracuse, NY. Variable products distributed by broker/dealer-affiliates. Lincoln Financial Distributors, Inc., Radnor, PA. Securities and investment advisory services offered through other affiliates. © 2017 Lincoln National Corporation.
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Core Values AccruePartners is proud to congratulate Cheryl Black on her exceptional leadership and passion for the business and the exceptional talent at Sunbelt Rentals. As a proud Talent Workforce Solutions company, we’re excited to partner with nationally growing companies like Sunbelt Rentals.
Innovative leaders of excellence in Staffing, Search & Project Solutions across the U.S. AccruePartners is a Total Workforce Solutions company that offers Staffing (temporary, temporary-to-hire), Search (direct hire) & Project Solutions across seven lines of business: ACCOUNTING & FINANCE + INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY + ENGINEERING + FINANCIAL SERVICES + HUMAN RESOURCES + MARKETING + OFFICE
Cheryl Black’s approach to building lifelong, personal relationships based on trust, transparency and open communication is at the core of NFP’s philosophy. In fact, it’s the “NFP Purpose.” As Sunbelt’s leading insurance broker and consultant, we are thrilled to congratulate Cheryl on earning this accomplishment by epitomizing these values!
deliver solutions for employees and ultimately Sunbelt’s customers. While that proactive mind-set, coupled with a strong commitment to safety, is propelling Sunbelt into the future, creating a cohesive culture stems in part from the past, and Black’s past in particular. The HR leader started her career as an office manager and says she fell into positions through networking and referrals before attending Queens University of Charlotte to earn a bachelor’s degree in business management at age twenty-nine. While enrolled at the university, Black joined CCH Capital Holdings as a financial controller in 1994. Later she entered the operational realm at CCH Capital Holdings with her promotion to HR and PR manager, where she brought payroll in-house and consolidated the function within the human resources department. She established corporate policies and created a competitive benefits program from handbooks to substance abuse prevention to streamline the organization’s twelve privately held companies. Unifying departments to boost efficiency proved to be Black’s specialty, first at CCH Capital Holdings and now at Sunbelt, where she taps her experiences to usher in a new era of growth. Looking ahead, Black aims to replicate the US success in Canada. “I always say the only way we're going to make it better is just doing it,” Black says. “Don't ever sell yourself short or not do something because you’re scared. If you show your value and build the relationships, success will come.”
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Partners in Search
Michele James and Roysi Erbes started James & Co. sixteen years ago, but the pairâ€™s relationship spans three decades. Here, they discuss how their rapport informs their work connecting executive candidates to the right companies. By R A N D A L L C O L B U R N
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Roysi Erbes(left) James & Co.
Michele James(right) Founder James & Co.
Courtesy of James & Co.
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I n t he me d ia , entertainment, sports, and consumer tech nolog y industries, diverse top management ta lent is a vital asset. No matter what segment of these businesses you’re in, you need to maintain a high level of innovation and originality while confronting a changing economic landscape, new competitive challenges, and continued technological upheaval. In this environment, securing the right people for senior leadership positions is perhaps the most critical competitive edge. At James & Co., a sixteen-year-old boutique firm that Michele James started with longtime friend and business partner Roysi Erbes, a collaborative approach is one of the many outlooks they’ve helped to pioneer when it comes to talent acquisition. James and Erbes’ focus is to redefine talent acquisition to ensure the right executives are in the right roles to capture growth and “win” for their organizations, both today and tomorrow. They are known for their unique ability to assess culture fit, which results in leaders who take organizations to new levels of innovation and sustained profitability. As a woman-owned business and diversity supplier, inclusion and cultivating talent with transferable skills have been core tenants of the business since its inception. Over the years, the firm has developed a reputation for the high quality of assignments that they lead as well as their discretion, which ensures that their calls to senior talent get returned immediately. The cornerstone of the firm became their unique access to a diverse candidate talent pool, one which developed over the years making these relationships long lasting. Candidates find themselves coming back to James & Co. for several reasons, including advice and counsel on the next step of their career. “It is important for us to have these growing relationships with candidates,” Erbes says. “It’s the best of
both worlds—placements who we have a relationship with can introduce us to new talent and communicate trends they are seeing in the marketplace. There is also the possibility of them becoming the client in the future depending on where their career takes them.” The duo has developed a flexible and effective methodology that they apply to every assignment. By sharing their process with their clients upfront, they ensure that everyone involved knows exactly what to expect each step of the way. No two companies are alike. No two executives are alike. No two search assignments are alike. At James & Co., each engagement is viewed as an opportunity to apply their full experience and expertise to the client’s unique need at their organization. James & Co.’s success throughout the years comes from a collaborative, teamdriven atmosphere. The entire professional staff shares a commitment to understanding the client’s challenges and opportunities. Like the firm’s founders, they combine industry experience with search expertise to offer clients a truly industry-focused, strategic solution. “The magic is in identifying the timing of the executive’s career and finding the right culture fit,” James says. Finding the right timing is a defining factor for candidates, but evaluating the client plays a major factor in the firm’s primary methods. To do so, James & Co. fully evaluates the client’s executive structure, gains clarification for each role, prioritizes short- and long-term goals and discuss succession planning to have a complete picture of how this candidate will fit culturally and professionally in the organization. “Speed is important in completing the search, but creating a clear picture of the clients ‘wants vs. needs’ is what helps us narrow down our pipeline to find the perfect executive,” Erbes says. That convivial, collaborative atmosphere is evocative of James’s and Erbes’s own relationship, which spans three decades. They
“The magic is in identifying the timing of the executive’s career and finding the right culture fit.” M I C H E L E JA M E S
met at a leading search firm in the 1990s. They stayed friends and close collaborators after James left to lead human resources and, eventually, serve as chief talent scout for AOL Time Warner. From that vantage, James identified what the executive search industry was missing, as well as the areas that could use a massive overhaul. With James’s myriad observations in mind, she and Erbes formed James & Co. in 2002 with a specialization in the fields of media, entertainment, sports, and technology. In addition to executive search, the firm has expanded in product lines to include organizational design, performance management, and transactional assistance. All of that, though, is a culmination of James’s and Erbes’ successful partnership for so many years. “There’s very few places where the senior leadership has been together for more than three decades,” Erbes says. “That we still have this partnership speaks to just how special it is.”
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As general counsel for Maricopa Community Colleges, Leslie Cooper uses behind-the-scenes technology to create streamlined contract processes and shore up cybersecurity for the Arizona districtâ€™s ten schools
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Courtesy of Maricopa Community Colleges
By C L I N T W O R T H I N G T O N
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Leslie Cooper General Counsel Maricopa Community Colleges Duke Photography, Inc.
“Public education is the foundation of our democracy,” says Leslie Cooper of the Maricopa Community Colleges. As the institution’s general counsel, her passion for providing students with a standard set of competencies and exposure to the values of our democracy is a fundamental motivator for her work. One of the largest community college districts in the United States, Maricopa serves more than 220,000 students every year across ten colleges in Maricopa County, Arizona. It’s a task whose scope provides no small number of challenges for Cooper. However, by implementing new software and drawing from her legal background to modernize the contract process, Cooper is taking great pains to serve this population of budding citizens to the best of her ability. An Arizona native with almost thirty years of experience in law, Cooper spent a great deal of time in private practice with both large and small firms before coming to Maricopa. Most notably, she worked as the primary lawyer handling experts for a large environmental case; it was “interesting but unbelievably contentious,” Cooper notes, and a turning point for her career. “If that’s what the practice of law was, I didn’t want to do it anymore.” After stepping back and working parttime for a nonprofit, she was exposed to the advocacy and education work of public-sector lawyers, which brought her back to the fold. In 2010, she started working at the Arizona Attorney General’s office in the environmental section, eventually taking her current position at Maricopa in 2017. While she is passionate about her work at Maricopa, she understands (and even hopes) that her work as general counsel is invisible. “Ideally, the students wouldn’t know we exist,” Cooper says. Among the most important work she does at Maricopa involves maintaining compliance with the federal financial aid system, as well as enforcing Title IX protections to create a
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“Public education is the foundation of our democracy.” LESLIE COOPER
safe, productive environment for students. Cooper feels that her private practice experience helps her a great deal in these areas. “Private practice litigation teaches you to analyze deeply and examine facts carefully,” she says. Right now, Cooper’s biggest projects surround the updating of Maricopa’s cybersecurity practices and modernizing the contracting process. In 2013, the district suffered one of the first major cybersecurity incidents faced by a public institution, when a data incident exposed the information of thousands of students and employees. While no data was exfiltrated, it was “a wake-up call” for Maricopa with lasting impact—such that one of Cooper’s roles, even four years after the incident, was to help address the shortcomings in their system. Alongside a team of three strong senior associate general counsels, Cooper continued the evaluation of system flaws and addressing holes in their cybersecurity begun in the wake of the incident. However, these updates have a wider scope than mere data protection. Cooper and her team are also working to modernize contracts and then to further organize the vast amounts of data held by a ten-college district. With her team, she is currently working on a new contract system that, among other things, allows those requesting contracts to access the status of their contracts on demand. “They don’t need to rely on relationships, or hoping they catch the right person on the phone,” she notes. The
team is also creating template contracts to minimize the amount of legal review. Maricopa deals with thousands of contracts a year, and this system streamlines the process, according to Cooper. “There are too many contracts to responsibly see without technology,” she says. Right now, this contract modernization system has been piloted at five colleges, and Cooper has seen the benefits of the new process. The efforts have created a lot of goodwill for the law department within the community, she says. “When people believe you’re working hard to fix their problems, they’ll be more likely to come to you with them instead of ignoring it or trying to fix it themselves.” As these changes continue to roll out, and Cooper settles more into the work environment of Maricopa, she grows increasingly proud of the organization—especially its higher proportion of women in high-ranking positions. Maricopa’s District Chancellor, provost, and many of its college presidents are women, and Cooper runs an all-female team of lawyers. “It’s a dramatic change from the world I entered in 1986,” she says. “It’s good to experience the benefits of the work of women, such as Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who braved law school in the fifties only to be told they would be hired as secretaries and paralegals.” Now, Cooper is proud to follow in the footsteps of these groundbreaking women, and to help pave the way for the next generation through educational opportunity.
Thank you Leslie Cooper, General Counsel of the Maricopa Community Colleges, for your service to the higher education community!
201 East Washington Street Suite 1200 Phoenix, AZ 85004 602.262.5311 lrrc.com
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Multiple Media and Merchandise Channels Talent Strategy
? s ve In t en tm PROFILE
Tr H an a fr sb sfo om ro rm â€™ To s M in ys is g sio n
Multiple Media and Merchandise Channels
Su ra cce nd ss P fu l iv ot
Br an ds
D sm olp C co ar h J L IN m t, oh T pa dr ns W O ny iv on R T â€™s en w H IN am yo o G T un rks b O i N tio g ha us tal rd br ent to an fo cu di r t lt ng he iva pi to te vo y t
Multiple Media and Merchandise Channels
rowth C O M PA N Y
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Dolph Johnson SVP & Global CHRO Hasbro
Courtesy of Hasbro
For almost a hundred years, toy giant Hasbro has thrived in the competitive world of branded products and consumer goods, with revenues currently over $5 billion. However, the company’s sustainability is based largely on its ability to change and adapt to shifting market forces—currently, Hasbro is in the middle of a branding pivot from consumer goods/manufacturing to a global play and entertainment company, a move Dolph Johnson, executive vice president and global chief human resources officer, sees as a necessary and profitable one. A twenty-year veteran of Hasbro, Johnson started in the human resources field as a group management development leader at Frito-Lay. There, he worked with leadership development and leader succession, cultivating key talent, and more, which was a great learning experience for him. “They tend to throw you into the deep end of the pool,” he says. Wanting to stay with Frito-Lay, he initially turned down an offer to work for Hasbro in 1993; four years later, they came to him again with a better offer, and he joined the team in 1997. In his two decades of working for the company, he has seen it grow from a “sleepy little toy company in Rhode Island” to a thriving business with a lot of moving parts. At first, Johnson says, Hasbro was a very “toyetic” company, chasing other company’s brands and buying licenses to build toys around them. Over the past few years, however, the company has seen the value in controlling the brand itself and building multiple media and merchandise channels around it. “We started looking at the economics of being invested in our own business, instead of riding waves,” Johnson says. There were many factors that precipitated this pivot, Johnson notes, chief among them the restrictions that came from being unable to look at the consumer in totality. “Every discussion with a brand started with, ‘What is the right toy or game?’” Johnson says, and did not go much further beyond that. With this pivot, Hasbro focuses much more on a “brand blueprint,” which speaks to a consumer base that wants a play experience in every format—from analog toys to digital games, as well as TV and film media and licensed products. As global CHRO, Johnson sees the cultivation of talent as his most important role in facilitating this shift in Hasbro’s direction. “When I first came on, I would look for talent in other toy or game companies,” he notes, “and now I
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Bill Simon and Kathy Vrabeck at Korn Ferry are proud to be a trusted business partner of Hasbro, Inc. and its forward-thinking leaders like Dolph Johnson.
“We must continue to think of ourselves as a learning company and challenge the way we think about everything.”
Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We help clients synchronize strategy and talent to drive superior performance.
need to look for people who have all the skills required to manage a full brand.” To that end, he reshaped their talent acquisition strategies, talking to people from big brand companies and using more robust reward structures to attract that talent and ensure their full investment in the company. He also had to look at existing staff and determine who might not be as responsive to these changes. “We started rethinking how to get people invested in the long-term success of the brand,” Johnson says, which includes moving away from performance reviews and ratings and toward a more fully formed career experience that interests younger millennial staff. When it comes to his global staff, Johnson ensures that everyone involved is able to contribute to Hasbro’s new brand-heavy direction. This includes investing in development for their frontline leaders, teaching one thousand of them a new leadership model that best fits their revised mission. The process has not been easy. “Many leaders didn’t grow up native to the digital space,” Johnson says. “We’re used to a very analog business.” However, with virtual training
and other development tools, the company has made great strides toward building a team ready for these modern changes. Given a constantly changing media and market landscape, Johnson expects that Hasbro’s branding pivot will be an ongoing process. Part of his job is to anticipate the next turn of the market: “What is the new point of disruption? Who will be the new Amazon?” he frequently asks his team. In this way, Johnson and Hasbro can keep on their toes by consistently keeping ahead of the curve. “We must continue to think of ourselves as a learning company and challenge the way we think about everything.” So far, Hasbro’s renewed focus on its own brands has yielded substantial fruit, with hit properties like Transformers, My Little Pony, and Power Rangers under its belt. Even so, Johnson feels there is always room for improvement. “We’re a great company, but not a perfect company,” he says. This motivates him to continue to seek out people who share the company’s values and sense of social responsibility. “Our ambition is to make the world a better place for children and families.”
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Printed Circuit Boards:
TTM Technologies is the third-largest manufacturer of printed circuit boards in the world. General Counsel Dan Weber credits the companyâ€™s disciplined culture for its success. By B R I D G E T T N O VA K
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SVP and General Counsel TTM Technologies
“You’d be hard-pressed to go through a day and not interact with one of our products,” says Dan Weber, senior vice president and general counsel of TTM Technologies. TTM’s core business is the manufacture of printed circuit boards (PCBs), the building blocks of all computer-based electronics, or as Weber explains, “the green boards that have all the copper lines in them that connect almost all electronics.” Just how pervasive are PCBs? “Almost every electronic product has one or more PCBs in it,” says Weber. “Our PCBs are in medical scanning devices, cell phones, diabetes monitoring systems, airplanes, and locomotives. We produce circular PCBs that go into missiles, and design and produce PCB assemblies that are integrated into radar systems that help the US prevent missile attacks.” Incorporated in 1998, TTM has been doubling in size approximately every four years, taking on new industries and expanding geographically via major acquisitions. The companies TTM has absorbed represent a who’s who of the PCB world—Honeywell Advanced Circuits, Tyco Printed Circuit Group, Meadville Printed Circuit Corp., and Viasystems. The Tyco acquisition made the company the largest supplier of PCBs to the aerospace and defense industry; Meadville pushed it into smart phones and tablet computers and expanded its footprint in Asia; Viasystems catapulted it into the automotive world and increased its presence in the aerospace and defense industries. In 2015, as Viasystems’ vice president and general counsel, Weber steered Viasystems through the acquisition by TTM. He was then asked to bring his talents and experience to the TTM family. Since then, he has helped the company continue its acquisition-oriented approach. In 2018,
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“I will not allow the legal team to be an administrative black hole or the department of ‘no.’” DA N W E B E R
TTM purchased Anaren, which designs and manufactures high-frequency radio and microwave microelectronics for the space, defense, and telecommunications industries. “One of the great things about Anaren is that it allows us to move up the food chain, from a build-to-print model (using customers’ designs) to build-to-spec (creating the design),” explains Weber. Weber credits TTM’s CEO Tom Edman with ensuring smooth integrations following acquisitions. “This is one of the most disciplined organizations I’ve ever seen, and it starts with Tom. There is constant and continuous communication about what we’re doing, and how and why we’re doing it,” says Weber. “At some companies, management will get enthusiastic about a deal and lose sight of the lives that are being affected. At TTM, Tom makes it a priority for management to focus on the human as well as the capital assets.” Weber, who earned his law degree from St. Louis University, says part of his job is to stay up-to-date with the highly complex world of manufacturing electronics. “It’s extremely important for in-house counsel to not only understand the products but to effectively help manage the business,” he notes. “If you know the products you are selling and the business and financial goals,
it makes providing counsel and serving the company’s interests much easier because you know the sticking points or ‘must haves’ in each situation.” Weber had to be a quick learner early on in his career. “For me, it was trial by fire,” he admits. In the early 2000s, he was part of a team that managed companies acquired by Hicks, Muse, Tate and Furst, a private equity firm. At one point, Weber was in-house counsel for three companies—Viasystems, International Wire Group (IWG) and Courtesy Corporation. After the economic downturn of 2001, all three companies ended up going through bankruptcy. “If you want to earn your stripes as a corporate attorney, handle a bankruptcy,” he says. “It helps you understand the core competencies of the business, the critical assets and liabilities, and the interplay between the legal and business variables. There really is no better way to get up to speed on all of that than to go through a financial dissolution.” While managing IWG’s bankruptcy, Weber also handled a mass tort litigation with potential liability of more than $250 million. “I was in my early thirties, so this gave me a chance to cut my teeth on lots of pieces of the legal puzzle. We managed to protect IWG’s equity holders’ interest and
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recoup some value for the shareholders, while expunging the majority of the liability for IWG,” he says. “I didn’t sleep much in those years, but I sure learned a lot.” Today, Weber brings his well-rounded experience to just one financially sound company—TTM. To prioritize projects, he and his team regularly engage with colleagues throughout the company to assess needs and define expectations. “You have to identify and maintain regular touch points with critical internal stakeholders to be effective in this job,” says Weber. For instance, after identifying inefficiencies in Viasystems’ and TTM’s process for protecting important confidential data for their military customers, Weber’s legal group partnered with the IT department to develop a better system. “We saw a need and we dove in to help solve the problem. Our old system was effective, but inefficient. The new tool allows our customers to properly classify specific data as military and confidentially input that data onto our secure network at the very beginning of the engagement,” Weber says. “This allows us to isolate and protect that data more efficiently. The resulting improvement demonstrates the importance of the legal department staying close to the needs of the business.” Though Weber is in general a pretty easygoing guy, he admits he is a stickler when it comes to deadlines. “I want to always beat them,” he laughs. “This is a $3 billion, publicly traded multinational with 30,000 employees. We aren’t advancing the business if we are a bottleneck. I will not allow the legal team to be an administrative black hole or the department of ‘no.’” Weber’s goal is to provide business-oriented solutions to the company. “We want to make everyone’s job easier and customer interactions more productive, to be a help rather than a hindrance, and to encourage our colleagues to involve us early and often,” he says. “That’s why we made the legal department’s motto: ‘To serve, support, advise, prevent, prepare, and protect.’ They’re not just words to us; they’re our whole reason for being.”
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Streamlining Business at the Source As VP of engineering and procurement at Toray Plastics (America) Inc., John Eustis brings a datacentric approach to managing the supply chain By L E O H E R R E R A
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John Eustis VP of Engineering and Procurement
Toray Plastics (America), Inc.
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In the ’80s, the popularity of VHS tapes led to a boom in the demand for and production of magnetic tape, the part that stores the images viewed on the screen. But when DVDs were introduced, in the mid-’90s, VHS tapes rapidly lost market share. Toray Plastics (America) Inc., located in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, a major manufacturer of polyester film used to make magnetic tape at the time, had to revisit its focus. “Before I joined the company, it had gone through a period of change and had to reinvent itself,” says John Eustis, vice president of engineering and procurement for Toray Plastics. And reinvent it did. Toray Plastics invested heavily in research and development, finding new uses for the films it made. Today, that same polyester film, and other types of polypropylene film that the company manufacturers, are used in creating transparent and metallized high-oxygen and moisture barrier packaging that protects popular brands of cookies, seeds, nuts, dried fruit, and other snacks, and helps companies grow business. Toray’s polyester film is also used for a variety of industrial applications. Thanks to that data-driven, fact-based approach to management, Toray Plastics is one of the most successful divisions of the multibillion-dollar company that Toray Industries Inc., Toray’s parent company, is today. But, from the moment Eustis joined the team, the challenge remained: how can a company continue to be successful despite changes in market demand and technology, and high costs in labor, logistics, and supply? “We focus on the fundamentals of dayto-day execution of the business,” Eustis says. “Today we operate as efficiently and effectively as possible, and continually invest in the development of leading-edge, value-added film technology. We have no
interest in being a commodity manufacturer. Our customers expect high-quality products and service, and we’re committed to delivering on that.” Eustis joined the procurement and logistics team at Toray Plastics in 2008 as a senior director. Over the past decade, he has traded his responsibilities in logistics for engineering. “Our engineering group designs and installs new equipment in the plant,” Eustis explains. “When Toray decides it needs a new piece of equipment to increase capacity, my engineering team will identify OEMs, recommend the best equipment, review all the specs, and determine what modifications are necessary to meet our manufacturing needs.” That special attention is also appreciated by Burns & McDonnell, which works with Toray on certain projects. “John and his team really understand the need for quality engineering and how a little extra effort up front can result in significant savings in capital and maintenance costs,” says Chris Courtright, vice president at the company. But, back when Eustis was settling into his first role with Toray, he noticed an opportunity to improve certain procurement processes within part of the business. The company had purchased some key raw materials from one or two suppliers for fifteen years. “Raw materials and energy significantly impact the cost of manufacturing our products, and we needed to take a more analytical and structured approach to how we managed them,” Eustis explains. “Part of my role was to challenge the thinking that only those suppliers could support our processes.” Eustis began to push back methodically on those process and procurement standards. One of those pushbacks led to a breakthrough and helped transform Toray’s polypropylene films business. Eustis and
his team discovered that a majority of the raw materials used in the manufacture of those films also came from only two suppliers, which left the company vulnerable if one had a delay in production or, in a worstcase scenario, if one of the businesses was seriously compromised or folded. Eustis created a raw materials strategy team with staff from all of the key functional groups, not just procurement. This team worked collaboratively to identify alternate raw materials and sources of supply. Today, Toray has at least nine domestic and international suppliers, effectively strengthening the company’s control over its inputs and helping it to minimize risk. Eustis says that the company must be willing to try alternative materials or different specifications, sometimes of equal quality at lower price points or at increased cost but of better overall value provided by improved process yield. All decisions circle back to data, which enabled the cross-functional team to significantly improve value for the company. As Eustis delved deeper and analyzed data from across Toray Industries, he found a commonality in materials and suppliers among the separate divisions. Other entities within the Toray Group manufacture carbon fibers, specialty resins, and water filtration membranes. Each Toray Group company operates independently, but Eustis saw opportunities for collaboration in streamlining their shared supply chain. He developed a joint purchasing group for trucking services, maintenance supplies, and travel costs, ultimately allowing the company to save collectively. Eustis continues to lead that effort. Joe Egertson, CEO of Sheer Logistics, recalls his first impressions of Eustis’s unique work style. “At the onset of our collaboration, we worked in a completely
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AHL Turning powerful ideas into practice
“Raw materials and energy significantly impact the cost to manufacture our products, and we needed to take a more analytical and structured approach to how we managed them.” JOHN EUSTIS
transparent manner, a practice that was unheard of at the time in logistics,” Egertson says. “John’s openness and innovative spirit seemed revolutionary, and ultimately helped foster a relationship with Toray that has lasted ten-plus years.” Eustis’s interest in procurement and engineering originated during his college studies. He earned a bachelor’s degree in materials engineering from Brown University, though he originally wanted to pursue theatrical production. After a year in the Yale School of Drama, Eustis decided he favored the analytical problem solving of engineering and went on to graduate from
MIT with a master’s degree in materials engineering and a second master’s degree in management from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Prior to joining Toray Plastics, he worked at Motorola’s manufacturing and technology research division before moving to the manufacturing floor to work in process engineering and production management roles. There, Eustis developed his curiosity and passion for supply chain management. Logistics and distribution eventually became part of his purview as well. “I learned early on that the manufacturing process drives a lot of the quality of the product,” he says. “That experience opened my eyes to the reality that intimate knowledge of the entire supply chain is integral to success.” He would take that expertise from Motorola and apply it to a smaller brand, Hinckley Yachts, which made custom power yachts and sailboats. Right before the recession hit, Hinckley had begun to experience a slowdown in business. “It was clear that sales were starting to decline and that it was time for me to make a change,” Eustis says. Toray attracted Eustis for a variety of reasons, but the two primary ones were its approach to management and its size. Having worked in a large company like Motorola and a smaller one like Hinckley, he found Toray to be the sweet spot. “I’m surrounded by like-minded people throughout the organization who have a similar approach to solving problems. And because we’re a mid-size company, we can move and change fairly quickly.” Moreover, Toray and Eustis share a fundamental philosophy. “There are two words we don’t use at Toray: can’t and try. It’s a mind-set of focusing on what we can do. Let’s commit to action and getting things done.”
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Brian Shield has helped the Boston Red Sox succeed on the field, at the ticket office, and beyond by linking the right technology to the right growth opportunities By C H R I S G I G L E Y
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The Boston Red Sox celebrate beating the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the 2018 World Series.
Brian Shield got a firsthand lesson on how his hobby, technology, can profoundly transform a business when he was in college—and he has been a tech-driven growth catalyst for his employers ever since. Today, Shield implements state-of-the-art technology to maintain Boston Red Sox’s position as a leader in baseball and in business, helping to drive business growth with one of the largest and most passionate fan bases in professional sports. “We’re doing creative things on premise and in the cloud that will allow us to remain highly competitive for a long, long time,” says Shield, vice president of information technology for the Red Sox. Yet in the mid-’80s, Shield was an economics/finance major at Bentley College with a part-time job at an investment company. Using an old Apple IIe, he wrote software that automated the company’s financial portfolios. It was all fun and games to Shield until he had a lunch meeting with a portfolio manager, who asked Shield what he was getting paid. “He said, ‘I’m not telling you you’re not getting a fair shake here, but before you arrived we had a limited number of clients because we couldn’t update our system fast enough,’” Shield recalls. “‘Now, we update the system every night and we’ve literally tripled our business.’” The portfolio manager suggested Shield have another talk with the CEO. Shield had an alternative plan. He switched his major, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems, and promptly went to work leveraging new technologies to drive growth in a number of different industries, including financial services, retail, media, hi-tech, and ultimately sports. “I’ve never been one to define myself based on the industry I work in,” Shield says. “It’s much more about problem solving, growing the business, and identifying opportunities where technology can be an enabler and make a difference at a company.” Now as the IT leader for the Major League Baseball team established in 1901, Shield is ensuring the 117-year-old organization’s legacy is ahead of the game well into the next century. Prior to the Red Sox, Shield spent almost fourteen years as executive vice president and CIO at The Weather Channel in Atlanta, where his positive impact is still evident. When Shield joined the network in 1998, it had just launched weather.com, but the company’s technology awareness was so nascent and the dot-com space was so early-stage that the site lacked the defensive protection of a firewall. One of Shield’s first tasks was convincing the CEO of the importance of safeguarding what would soon become a top 20 website. Reflecting back on that moment, Shield says he is amazed at how much The Weather Channel evolved from the family-owned television network it was to a
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Brian Shield VP of IT
tech company owned by Baine, Blackstone, and NBC, to today with its data and digital assets a part of IBM and its network assets part of Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios. “You can do a lot of interesting technology-related work in your career, but it’s very rare to help influence the evolution of a company’s culture,” Shield says. That evolution began when Shield discovered upon his arrival that, with all the forecasting data the channel had generated over the years, almost none of it had been saved and curated. He immediately changed that, and today that historical data is the bedrock the fuels IBM Watson’s weather. Shield used that experience to help the Red Sox advance its status as a sports industry innovator. There isn’t a decision today made by analysts, scouts, and decision-makers that isn’t based on data generated by technology. However, the IT leader says, “equally impactful tech-driven changes are happening on the business side with fan engagement and emerging technology.” “When I joined the Red Sox in 2013, we were just coming off ten straight years of sellouts,” Shield says. “Leadership knew going into the 2013 season that the sellout streak
was coming to an end. It was a reality check for the organization.” At that time, the organization had done relatively little to capture and leverage fan-related data. It became a strategic imperative to change that and mirror the years of success data has brought to the baseball operations organization. “It’s more than learning about just the traditional fans who come to baseball games,” Shield says. “It’s also understanding the habits of attendees who enjoy the many non-baseball events held at Fenway Park. Whether it is the more than 300,000 fans who come for tours, or attendees who enjoy concerts, hockey games, football games, hurling matches, or other festivities, the goal is to understand all of our fans and to create the fan amenities that seamlessly complement that action on the field and keep fans returning to Fenway Park. It’s a goal for the organization to understand all fans and get our arms around all those people who take advantage of what the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park have to offer here.” Customer relationship management (CRM) data is now the lifeblood of a number of key sales areas, providing a window into
how best to service fans. “While CRM continues to evolve and provide insights into our fans, emerging technology will enable new and more engaging services that Fenway Park can offer, and provide insights into how to touch our fan base in more compelling ways,” Shield says. “Whether it is IoT, AR, VR, Wi-Fi, 5G cellular services, mobile technology, or other forms of digital technology, the technology teams aggressively look for opportunities to create a digitally rich fan experience. Through all this technology, we’re learning more about how people pass through Fenway Park, so we can seamlessly engage with fans of all ages.” Shield and his department collaborate with outside partners as well to bring the best solutions to the team. “In working with Brian on developing new applications and analytics to bring substantive advantages to the Red Sox, we found great alignment in looking outside of baseball for new ways of thinking,” says Russell Norris, general manager at consulting firm Slalom. “His understanding of the challenges the organization was having with new concepts enabled us to put together a successful approach for his teams.” The bottom line to everything Shield is doing is the same as it’s been everywhere else: innovate and grow. He is focused on ensuring that the technology is a differentiator for his employer. And now with the Red Sox, he may be having the most fun doing that since writing software on that old Apple IIe. “We are right in the center of the bullseye as far as the ability to leverage data and technology in a positive way to benefit our fans,” Shield says. “Ideally, we hope to create a frictionless experience for fans where they can enjoy the amenities of Fenway Park, without technology becoming a distraction or taking away from the experience on the field. I’m optimistic that combining emerging technology with a deeply loyal fan base (Red Sox Nation) affords us the opportunity to create a unique fan experience well into the future.”
Courtesy of The Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox
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love your future
The energy industry is always in a state of flux, responding to changes in the global commodities market, government regulations, environmental protections, and trends in the workforce.
The executives in this section have faced these challenges head on, and are leading their companies toward a better future for the energy sector.
E N E R GY R E N E WAL
When natural gas prices dropped and dark days fell upon Southwestern Energy in 2016, Jenny McCauley was there to help steer the company in a new direction. A year later, when five leadership positions were suddenly vacant, she helped find the right people to fill them. Itâ€™s no surprise thereâ€™s very little that scares her. BY PA U L S N Y D E R
PHOTOS BY FE LIX SANCH EZ
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Jenny McCauley SVP of Administration Southwestern Energy
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Jenny McCauley remembers the darkest day of her career. It was in January 2016, and Southwestern Energy, a Texas-based oil and gas exploration and production company, was preparing to reshape the company in light of the significant decline in natural gas prices. The company was built on an average $4/MMBTU model, and at best, prices were topping out around $2. Prices looked to hold at this level for the near term, resulting in the “lower for longer” view on natural gas. To thrive during this downturn, the company had to pivot. That meant shedding 40 percent of its staff in one day and halting all drilling and completing operations—two moves that, on their own, could be a show stopper for other companies. “We knew things were going to be bumpy, and failure was not an option,” says McCauley, the company’s senior vice president of administration. The company also had to recognize that leadership needed help and support to pull off a dramatic transition that would keep it afloat and lead with fortitude, confidence, and resilience. With the company’s industry in a trough, McCauley worked with the Center for Creative Leadership on a program called Leading Through Transitions that would provide training for leaders so they could help the company resume operations, as well as sustain business moving forward. “We were not interested in the standard change management training,” she says. “It was about developing a skill set to help our leaders be able to lead through any kind of transition they may have—personally or professionally. We wanted to reinvigorate the confidence of the leaders because we needed them to immediately reengage and ignite passion in the workforce. It was a period of tremendous emotional strain internally and, as an industry, we were getting beaten up from the outside. We asked ourselves, how do we take this situation from where we are today to where we need to go, and how do we get the leaders the help they need to do it quickly?” The answer was to build a metaphorical bridge to bring people along, and that concept might just be what strengthened Southwestern Energy in those dark days. The Leading Through Transitions program walked leaders from the past through a “neutral zone” and ultimately to the new beginning. Effectively
“The right people doing the right things, wisely investing the cash from the underlying assets, will create value plus. This is who we are. Our collaboration, innovation, curiosity, integrity, and competitive spirit remain unchanged regardless of what we face. The essence of Southwestern Energy is our strong culture and spirit.”
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and efficiently working through the “neutral zone” was a large part of the focus to help leaders pivot the organization from the past to the future. The need to move through the neutral zone quickly was critical because this is where mistakes happen, safety issues arise, and people become disengaged. “We used a bridge on the cover of our annual report that year and talked about ‘strengthening the bridge,’” McCauley recalls. “We used the metaphor to demonstrate our resiliency and path to our future. We had to quickly rebuild credibility with all of our stakeholders and we needed our leaders to get us there. Practically, we could use the bridge metaphor to show our journey and how we would return to drilling and completion activities and create the path to the future.” McCauley was pleasantly surprised to see the high levels of commitment and engagement of employees at all levels during that challenging period. “It really was a credit to our strong culture to witness so many of our employees continuing to be creative, imaginative, and resourceful in their jobs while the company was making these big changes,” she says. While it would have been not unexpected for some employees to focus more on their own futures during this period, McCauley was impressed to see that they continued to volunteer, donate time and money, and stay very active in the communities where they lived and worked. “I believe these efforts helped the company commitment to community engagement grow even stronger during some tough times,” she says. Rebuilding credibility was another big task. The company had to shore up its balance sheet by divesting of assets and paying down debt. Once operations resumed and the strategy for the reshaped company was developed, McCauley says the strategy work revealed organizational capability needs at the top of the organization. The company had benefited from strong technical and functional talent at its highest level, and now needed more strategic, enterprise-wide, and broad executive leadership capability. McCauley says the company started searching for two new executives, a COO and an executive vice president of corporate development for its C-suite, but then another unexpected turn occurred. The company’s CFO left for another role, leaving the top three positions next to the CEO vacant. Compounding that, a change was
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Jennifer McCauley recalls navigating five leadership changes in an abbreviated timespan, while also trying to prevent the company culture from shifting alongside it.
made with one of their senior level divisions, and in addition to all that, McCauley was searching for a vice president of human resources to backfill her as the top HR leader as she transitioned to the broader role of senior vice president of administration, amounting to five senior leadership vacancies and transitions just one year after the dark days of 2016. For a company looking to hire one new executive, it is challenging and critical to make the right hire. The challenge of managing five leadership changes in a short time while you restore credibility and deliver results is almost unheard of. McCauley and the team had to ensure that they could find the talented executives who believed in the Southwestern story and wanted to be part of the future—people who would not be spooked by such significant leadership changes. “We had to be very sure that we selected the right leaders for our culture and integrated them carefully so they could quickly assimilate and add to our culture. We did not want to risk changing our culture,” McCauley says. “At the same time, that sea change for our employees was enormous—the most I’ve ever gone through. People might have scratched their heads and wondered, ‘What’s going on there?’ We were consistent in our story and addressed, head-on, rumors or concerns about why we had so many leadership vacancies.” The ultimate answer, it turned out, was projecting an air of confidence with strong humility, key characteristics of the Southwestern culture. “We were and continue to be extremely excited and confident about the path we are on, but at the end of the day, we can’t make candidates excited—they have to be excited,” McCauley says. “What people are buying into is our strategy and story, but what the people we hired really connected with is our culture, and the opportunity to collaborate and move together to a new future.” The roles were filled, and while the Southwestern Energy of 2019 might look a lot different from
the one of 2015, McCauley says there is a common thread that’s helped strengthen all bridges. “We have a formula that anchors everything we do,” she says. “The right people doing the right things, wisely investing the cash from the underlying assets, will create value plus. This is who we are. Our collaboration, innovation, curiosity, integrity and competitive spirit remain unchanged regardless of what we face. The essence of Southwestern Energy is our strong culture and spirit.” Sure, Southwestern Energy became more disciplined and learned to deliver more value with less investment, but it led to rethinking its priorities and refining its work. While growth for growth’s sake was once what worked in the industry, McCauley says the company is now focused on economic value-oriented results. But the spirit that was there from day one still underscores everything Southwestern Energy does. She saw firsthand the spirit, emotion, and passion that pulled the company through its dark days in 2016. It’s also the reason that McCauley is still around—and isn’t afraid of whatever curveballs might come her way. “The biggest challenge I’ve faced here? I mean, take your pick,” she says with a laugh. “But I always believed we would be OK. I love being part of a team that makes people feel fulfilled, excited, and know that they’re adding value as a team. People spend way too much time doing this to call it just a job. We’re impacting people’s lives. “I’ll know when the day comes when I shouldn’t be doing it anymore,” she adds. “Every day I walk through the doors at Southwestern, I think about that and I feel it. It’s an internal, intuitive reaction that I know I am where I am supposed to be. “I am fulfilled being part of a team that’s helping do that for our employees. As we look toward the future and our next phase, it is the team spirit at Southwestern Energy that will drive our success.”
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General Counsel Martha Wiegand enjoys the challenges and excitement of the industry as she is part of the team rebranding CONSOL Energy
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Martha Wiegand General Counsel CONSOL Energy
“We are going back to our roots as a coal company, but we are doing what we do in a safer, more technologically advanced and savvy way.”
Previous Spread and Portrait: Courtesy of CONSOL Energy
When Martha Wiegand first became a lawyer, she thought her specialty would be real estate law. “I found out that wasn’t really interesting to me at all,” she admits. “The more interesting deals were ones that involved companies with many different businesses and issues. “As a finance and deal attorney, I saw every kind of business known to mankind, and one of the most interesting areas to me was the energy industry,” she continues. “It seemed as if everything was constantly moving—the regulations were changing, and there was a lot of flux and excitement.” That excitement has continued throughout her career as general counsel and secretary of CONSOL Energy Inc., based in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. She joined the legal department of CONSOL’s former parent company, now known as CNX Resources Corporation, in 2008 after a decade at several law firms handling financing and corporate transactions in the banking and energy industries. Prior to the spin-off of CONSOL Energy from CNX in 2017, the company had produced both coal and natural gas, but following the spin-off, CONSOL Energy became a stand-alone coal company with a management team and employees focused solely on coal. Now, counting the long history of its former parent, CONSOL Energy has been a coal producer for more than 150 years, and is in the midst of rebranding. The company’s rebranding efforts look back at its history and forward to its future. “We are going back to our roots as a coal company, but we are doing what we do in a safer, more technologically advanced and savvy way,” Wiegand says. One example of that technological advancement was showcased when CONSOL won a 2018 Mine Safety and Health Technology Innovations award from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The award-winning, technically innovative safety system provides proximity detection on the long wall face where coal is mined. With the system, moving, mechanized mining equipment automatically stops when it gets too close to a miner with a special badge in his or her pocket. “Those are the kinds of things we are working on— things that are both safety and compliance-oriented and at the same time more techno-
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logically advanced—to step into the next decade in mining while still retaining our history,” Wiegand says. CONSOL is also embracing that philosophy across the company, from improved sustainability efforts, to advancing their internal business processes, and partnering on innovative projects such as OMNIS, which creates a cleaner-burning option for coal-fired power plants, and reducing the need for waste coal impoundments on the surface of sites. Another part of CONSOL Energy’s rebranding is its community engagement efforts. These include roundtable discussions with the communities around its mines and its marine terminal at the Port of Baltimore to discover how it can help them. One such program resulting from these meetings is CONSOL Energy’s pledge of $180,000 to pay the salary for three years of a safety officer for the West Greene, Pennsylvania, school district. Wiegand busies herself on the compliance and legal side, focusing on the company’s water treatment, safety, technology and automation efforts. Lately, her role has expanded to lead a contingent from various internal departments in discussions that focus on communications and rebranding projects aimed at reintroducing the company to communities, customers, employees, and the general public while making the case for coal in the twenty-first century. As part of the rebranding, employees were asked to submit suggested mission statements for the company. Forty-five statements were suggested that provided input for the final one formulated. The new mission statement was launched at an employee appreciation event in early October. “We are glad to see so many of our employees involved,” Wiegand says. “A big part of our vision is to have a really effective team at every level.” To maintain those teams, Wiegand supervises approximately fifty employees responsible for land, health, safety, environmental compliance, and internal auditing. One lawyer and a paralegal are on staff, and the rest of CONSOL Energy’s legal work is outsourced to different law firms.
To increase efficiency and provide savings for that outsourcing, CONSOL Energy and one of its outside law firms is testing new litigation management. “All information will be in one place,” Wiegand points out, “and the new software will allow us to have up-to-date information on a more real-time basis and to evaluate synergies and commonalities among cases that will be extremely useful in the future.” Because Wiegand supervises teams of specialists in highly technical areas, she has developed a hands-off management style and leads by example. “I seek to understand what people do and then guide them, and then also try to figure out what motivates people,” she says. “How can we help people do their jobs more efficiently? So a person out in the field in one location who is manually measuring to make sure the water tested complies with relevant standards could instead be using a more tech-driven automated process to improve accuracy and efficiencies for the workforce.” For the future, Wiegand sees advancing to higher levels of management as a possible career path while still using her legal background. Her advice to others is to be flexible in career planning. “I thought I wanted to do real estate law,” she says. “If I stuck to the plan, I’m not sure I would be very happy right now. But if you are more open-minded and go where the opportunities take you, that probably makes for greater personal satisfaction and more opportunities to consider.”
Congratulations Martha Wiegand! We applaud your professional excellence and support for Friends of Safe Schools USA – Pennsylvania. FOSSUSA is committed to improving safety in and around schools. Learn more and join Martha to support
“It is such a pleasure to see Martha get the recognition she deserves. Jackson Kelly is proud to partner with Martha and Consol in the very important work they do. Martha brings great energy and insight to a very important job and industry.” —M. Shane Harvey, Member, Jackson Kelly PLLC
Sharon O. Flanery “Leech Tishman congratulates Martha Wiegand on this well-deserved recognition. It has been our distinct pleasure to partner with a lawyer as bright as Martha on a range of employment and corporate matters. Our firm shares CONSOL Energy’s commitment to making practical, cost-effective decisions to support their continued success.” —David J. DelFiandra, Partner at Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl, LLC
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Paula Gold-Williams and the executive team at CPS Energy illuminate the culture thatâ€™s fueling a new era of advancement for diverse talent and ideas WOR DS BY J E N NY DRAPE R PHOTOS BY G I LLIAN FRY
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Charged with serving more than one million customers (822,000 electric; 348,000 gas), CPS Energy’s New Energy Economy has delivered a cumulative local economic impact of more than $5 billion dollars over the past seven years since its beginning in 2011. As the utility company increasingly prioritizes solar, wind, and renewables in addition to natural gas, coal, and nuclear sources, the emerging hub for clean energy and innovation also seeks diversity of thought to strengthen the company culture—and bottom line. “Energy is facing a new frontier,” says Paula Gold-Williams, president and CEO of the company, which has $11 billion in assets. “What has made the industry successful for the last 150 years will not be what the industry looks like over the next ten to twenty years. We’re going to be the organization that keeps thinking differently.” Nationally, American women make up 25 percent of executive- and senior-level officials and managers, hold 20 percent of board seats, and are 6 percent of CEOs, according to a recent Catalyst survey. Yet big businesses in Texas trail the national diversity and inclusion ratios, according to the National Diversity Council. The report revealed the state’s oil and gas industry comprises 70 percent women, but only 13 percent are executive leaders; people of color comprise 30 percent of the workforce and 6 percent of corporate governance. Meanwhile, CPS Energy is disrupting the traditional, organizational culture and talent management structure in favor of more organic networks of diversity and inclusion. Guided by a proactive, people-first philosophy, the industry innovator’s investment in its employees and community may have contributed to its recognition last June, when Market Strategies International ranked CPS Energy as the “Most Trusted Utility Brand in the US Southern Region For 2018” for the second consecutive year. CPS Energy is closing the gap between workforce diversity and leadership diversity, and that’s why Profile talked with three of its top leaders—Gold-Williams, chief customer engagement officer Felecia Etheridge, and chief legal and administrative officer Carolyn Shellman—about the cultural evolution they are powering up across the company.
Paula Gold-Williams President, CEO Years at CPS Energy: 14
While clean energy projects continue to reshape the oil and gas sector, the largest municipally owned electric and gas utility company in the United States is proving that inclusive leadership is as crucial to the energy industry’s future as a diverse portfolio. Based in San Antonio, Texas, CPS Energy bucks state and national norms with unusually high gender diversity at the helm—four out of six members of the executive team are women. That unorthodox culture, cultivated to empower all levels of the workforce, is redefining what it means to be a leader in the energy industry.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female and minority leadership today? Carolyn Shellman: Certainly women have had a harder path to leadership roles in business, in some industries more than others. The utility industry has historically been a male-dominated industry, but that is really changing. So I think the lack of opportunities and mentorship is the barrier. Paula Gold-Williams: It’s a sweeping generality, but men will look at a job description, and even if they don’t have that experience, their confidence fills them up. Women who are a very close match tend to feel less ready for the job. Felecia Etheridge: As a woman, we have a tendency to want to make sure we are perfect at the job before jumping in. Generally, women don’t put themselves out there.
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As part of a uniquely diverse executive team in the energy industry, how has CPS Energy created opportunities for women to succeed, in your experience? Gold-Williams: To some degree, I’m a reminder that it can be done. As an accountant, I’m a very unusual leader for a 150-yearold energy company. It used to be that the more experience you had, the better the opportunities, but we’ve become better listeners and more appreciative of people’s diverse backgrounds. We need different thinking to augment our deep, rich history. Etheridge: We want everyone to strive to be a leader, and we want to give them the opportunity to be a leader. There are not a lot of companies who want to lean into it and learn that they need to give people the opportunity to be the best that they can be. Shellman: We’re seeing more and more women in leadership positions. That means that there are men who are open to giving women opportunities and helping them find the path to success. We’ve done a lot of work moving people around within the company. Gold-Williams: We don’t put people in boxes here.
Felecia Etheridge Chief Customer Engagement Officer Years at CPS Energy: 2
How has CPS Energy built a sustainable D&I strategy across the company? Gold-Williams: I never wanted to make it about metrics. People may unfairly think it’s about filling roles with people who are not qualified. We mitigate that thinking by making it more of a conversation and a commitment to making change happen. We believe in long-term career investments. And we’re taking our Zero Harm operational policy into the office because it’s important to share failures so others can avoid those same mistakes. Etheridge: I do think it’s leadership. Paula is always mentoring the men and women at our company about how being a leader is having a critical understanding of how you’re perceived and the value you bring; what is it that you can teach others, and how do you create followership. I think that’s been inculcated through the whole leadership team. Shellman: And we’re continuing that tradition. It’s a successful one; it’s one where we’ve given people an opportunity to learn from each other and to meet other people in the company. Which D&I initiatives are you particularly excited about at CPS Energy? Gold-Williams: We have a pool of business coaches and life coaches that is externally available to our employees so they can get feedback from a different vantage point—not just people who are directly their supervisors. We also support the organic creation of groups. Financial Services created “Fun Share.” It is a thirty-minute huddle organized solely by employees where they control the agenda, they invite people to talk, and there’s a timer. I love the fact that they give everybody a platform and everyone is equal in that conversation.
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Shellman: Legal has developed a very diverse group and we look for opportunities for women- and minority-led businesses when we hire outside lawyers. We also have networking groups such as Women Empowered and the Association for Women in Energy which gives women in our workforce the opportunity to meet other women, and we also provide resources and training for different demographic groups to learn and grow. Gold-Williams: We’ve had a Hispanic organization for employees for a long time, and we have AABE (African-American Blacks in Energy). All groups here are inclusive, and there is a lot of ability to network across the organization. You’ll find people who are in two or three of the networking groups. I think that’s the best way to organically breathe inclusion, understand the importance of diversity to support one another, and then find ways to work together. Etheridge: We also support STEM, and we support Girl Scouts and Girls Inc. That’s helping us build and plan for our future leaders coming into the company. Inside the company, we have the Women’s Energy Network, where we support women in energy and partner with other agencies focused on ensuring women are prepared. I have been in the utility industry for almost thirty-seven years, and I was one of the first women. I can tell you, it was a hard-fought career path when I started. As I look at the company we have and the opportunities we offer to women, it is like daylight and dark. How does your leadership style contribute to the inclusive company culture? Etheridge: If the people you lead are successful, you will be successful by definition. I think you have to be vulnerable— not an egomaniac—and you truly have to have the heart for helping people get better. Shellman: Leaders must have vision and ideas to move the company forward, but also stay connected to the people. I try to be open to new ideas and give everyone an opportunity to participate. I want to be a good listener. I want to make sure that the people that work for me know that I’m going to give them the resources they need and honest feedback. Gold-Williams: I’m a lifelong learner, and I learn from everyone. Early in my career, I took the projects other people never wanted, like a policy creation project, but it was the best way to learn and understand my organization. I encourage employees to feel in control of their own engagement, and management supports them so they feel connected and respected. What advice can help women achieve leadership roles in the energy industry? Shellman: Be confident in what you know and be willing to ask questions when you don’t understand. Don’t be paralyzed
Carolyn Shellman Chief Legal and Administrative Officer Years at CPS Energy: 12
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“What has made the industry successful for the last 150 years will not be what the industry looks like over the next ten to twenty years.” Paula Gold-Williams
by a lack of perfection. Be willing to throw yourself out there and risk failure, and do not consider failure permanent. Gold-Williams: Yes, stop thinking about all the barriers to being successful. Oftentimes for women in particular, parenting or caregiving become the most insurmountable things in the world. I acknowledge the complexities of life—I cared for my parents. So what we like to do here is measure inputs and outputs. We try our best to be flexible. People must understand that in a career that spans decades, you may have challenges, but that shouldn’t stop you from putting your hat in the ring. It’s imperative that you continue looking for opportunities to grow. Etheridge: Do not wait for the perfect job. Be ready when the opportunity presents itself to jump in and put forth your best effort. Don’t make up your mind before you learn what all your options are. Own it, make it your own, learn what you can, and then pass it along. From the viewpoint as an industry leader of workforce diversity, what do you think other organizations must do to catch up? Gold-Williams: No matter how much you have in hard assets, people really make the organization. Don’t create single profiles for success. What we’re looking for now instead of pedigree is emotional intelligence; a person who can aggregate years of experience for the benefit of the organization, and someone whose self-worth is focused on helping customers and being a team player—and that is not gender-specific. Etheridge: Be intentional. It’s not going to happen by sprinkling pixie dust on it. You have to carve out the time with the real-life men and women who make up the organization. You can’t just do it to achieve a number. Shellman: And you have to be open to new ideas and not be stymied by how it’s been done in the past. Bring new people in and listen to them. Move people around to help them learn the business from different perspectives and you will
have a workforce that’s much more ready to take on the challenges ahead. In your opinion, what makes a great leader? Etheridge: For me, a great leader is authentic. They don’t think of themselves. They recognize the success of others around them. Shellman: Great leaders are willing to discard whatever policies and practices have worked in the past, and have the confidence, based on knowledge, to proceed even when you’re not 100 percent sure. If you’re not willing to try things, you’ll miss opportunities. Gold-Williams: A great leader considers that they’re a work in progress, and at the same time they encourage those behind them to be better. A true servant leader knows when to set the example and when to stand in the back. What do you want CPS Energy to accomplish in the next few years? Shellman: We’re integrating energy technologies like renewable resources and battery storage, and we have to make them more affordable. We’ll continue to move our reliability and great customer service to a world where people want different kinds of service. Gold-Williams: We have a wonderful foundation, and over the next couple of years we’ll be even more of a learning organization. We’ll be closing two coal units this year, and we want to provide the opportunity for people to lean in and change their career paths. For example, we opened up a tech competition, C3 (Customer Centric Competition), across the company, so people can bring their ideas outside of their normal job description. Etheridge: Our industry is changing exponentially every day, and the pace is faster and faster. We’re in the evolution, if not revolution, of customer service. There’s prime opportunity for women in our industry to embrace the change and step up to lead it.
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Carter Reid and Dominion Energy strive to attract new employees, retain experienced workers, and shape a workplace environment that welcomes everyone
As the energy industry faces massive changes in staffing, technology, and more, companies face the tall task of adapting quickly and competing for the best talent. But perhaps even more important is the ability to take those steps into the next generation of technology without sacrificing the knowledge and skills of the generations that came before. At Virginia-based Dominion Energy, Carter Reid, executive vice president and chief administrative and compliance officer, is reshaping the company’s future workforce, while upholding the company’s fundamental values. And an outsider’s perspective complements her twenty years of industry experience. “I joined the company not really knowing about the energy industry,” Reid says. The University of Richmond School of Law graduate came to the industry after practicing corporate finance law in a large firm. “It’s been an amazing twenty-plus years filled with so many great opportunities. Even more change is ahead for the energy industry, especially as stakeholders seek climate change solutions and technology companies attract the best and brightest workers,” she says. For Reid, one of the biggest draws for the role (and for Dominion at large) is the opportunity to constantly learn new things and face new challenges. This business reality is driving major changes in the energy workforce. “The energy industry is unique in that so much of the infrastructure was built up across the country around the same time,” Reid says. “We had the backbone of our business—pipelines and power plants—and we knew we needed engineers
Carter Reid Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative and Compliance Officer Dominion Energy
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and technicians to work on them. It’s been a fairly stable industry until recently. But today, while we need to maintain that base, we’re also looking for employees with an innovation mind-set who want to try new things. We’re working to help our more tenured employees be successful while taking advantage of these new opportunities.” As Reid grew in her career and took on new roles, she learned that a successful in-house lawyer needs to think inclusively and gain different perspectives, not just focus on transactions or financing. That insight honed her focus on driving the company’s workforce efforts. The strategy starts with listening. Dominion Energy has surveyed all 16,000 employees three times in six years, to understand their experience in the workplace. What’s working well? What needs to change? The results have shaped a three-pronged engagement strategy. First, the company is aiming to give office-based employees a “workplace of the future.” This includes new design principles that emphasize more natural light and less formal space, as well as more access to gyms and healthy food options. Gone is a suit-and-tie culture, replaced by a flexible dress code that trusts employees to dress as their workdays require. Flexible schedules prioritize delivering results above clocking time in the office. All of these changes are about crafting a future with a diverse workforce and a diversity of working styles. Second, the company aims to shape a diverse workforce that reflects the communities it serves. Tactics include recruiting veterans, and building relationships with groups that have been historically underrepresented in energy, including women, African Americans, the LGBTQ community, and many others. And third, the company has bolstered its intern program and scholarship programs. These new efforts supplement longstanding partnerships with engineering programs by intentionally seeking to hire diverse interns from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and liberal arts schools. “Tomorrow’s workforce starts with students who are seventeen, eighteen, nineteen years old today, and we intend to reach them where they are,” Reid says. Reid also emphasizes that learning continues throughout an employee’s career, and has helped shaped programs to address that. “We hold numerous lunch-and-learn opportunities for employees and small groups to sit down with company leaders and talk about whatever they feel is important,” Reid says. “There’s nothing better than
“Tomorrow’s workforce starts with students who are seventeen, eighteen, nineteen years old today, and we intend to reach them where they are.”
Giving Back to the Community
Carter Reid appreciates the company’s commitment to giving back to local communities—including $30 million in community contributions and 125,000 volunteer hours a year. “Dominion Energy encourages all of the leadership team to serve on boards for community organizations,” she says. Every employee is given one day each year to volunteer in the community, whether at their children’s school or at their favorite charitable organization. Reid uses her volunteer time to focus primarily on art and theater organizations that work with kids after school. That commitment has been contagious even within Reid’s own family: Her college-age daughter spends a lot of time volunteering, a fact which makes Reid endlessly proud.
THEREâ€™S ENERGY IN DIVERSITY. With a talented workforce of over 16,000, weâ€™ve found that bringing all kinds of people together makes us stronger, smarter and more innovative. We believe a diverse team is an opportunity to explore new ideas and deliver our best to every community. For more information: DominionEnergy.com/diversity
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Strategically located in the middle of the building, the “Energy Zone” was designed to provide added opportunity for employee collaboration. It offers casual and formal meeting spaces and will serve as a destination for connecting employee populations on all floors.
sitting down face-to-face and having a conversation about how to support employees and help them be successful.” This includes learning from experienced workers, tapping into deep institutional memory. “We’re creating new mentorship opportunities and seeking ways for different generations of workers to share with each other,” Reid says. “We’re even working this into the design of our office spaces, which have lots of common spaces to spark brainstorming that often comes from unplanned interactions and informal meetings. “We’re investing in new technology to document processes so that people moving into new jobs have support even when they don’t
have forty years of experience of having done it themselves,” she says. These changes are making it easier to tell the company’s story effectively, which in turn attracts talented new workers in a competitive labor market. “We are so much more than just your local utility,” Reid says. “We want top talent to know that we are the country’s third-largest solar provider. We’re leading the industry in reducing carbon and cutting methane emissions. We’re growing cleaner and greener every day. Dominion Energy is shaping the energy industry in the United States, and this is an exciting place to build a career.”
Helping clients meet their legal and business challenges throughout the world, McGuireWoods LLP serves public, private, government and nonprofit clients from countless industries in all areas of law. We prize our long-standing partnership with Dominion Energy.
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Nick Thurlow joined InterGen knowing the energysupply company needed a shift in its mind-set. That shift has spurred a new level of buy-in from employees, customers, and shareholders. BY PA U L S N Y D E R
Nick Thurlow VP, Human Resources and Public Affairs InterGen
Bill Truslow Photography
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Working in an industry that evolves on a continuing basis makes it difficult to establish hard-and-fast goals, let alone identify the road your company should take toward an uncertain future. In the energy business, however, Nick Thurlow says relying on gas and coal in a world that’s moving ever-closer to renewable energy is a challenge. “How we get to a renewable future is still up for debate,” explains Thurlow, vice president of human resources and public affairs at InterGen, the Burlington, Massachusetts-based power generation firm. “But the fact that we need to go there is inarguable. We can’t just rely on what we knew.” For Thurlow, that doesn’t mean tearing down power plants and building new ones. Instead, it means charting a course for an entirely new mindset in a company with a more than twenty-year history. InterGen operates five power plants located in the United Kingdom and Australia that represent a total generation capacity of 4,213 megawatts. The company also has a new plant under construction. In addition to InterGen’s HR strategy, Thurlow is also responsible for leadership and organizational development, talent management, employee engagement, and workforce planning. That all needs to tie together to enable an international organization to move the needle, and Thurlow finds himself in the unique position of bringing that sense of unity to the company. Of course, changing the way that people at the company think about business isn’t exactly starting from square one. Thurlow points out that moving toward a new future includes capitalizing on the strengths you have. Nevertheless, for a company that had become used to handling matters in a regional way—opening it up to a global matrix that allows for both direct and indirect collaboration across all locations—can be a startling change. “I’m used to being in industries that reorganize regularly,” Thurlow says of his HR background with technology companies that include Cabletron Systems, Boston Technology, and Comverse. “InterGen didn’t foresee the need to reorganize, frankly, until I got here. People didn’t feel like they needed to cross-communicate in the past. They wanted to be in charge of their own destinies.” That regional mind-set is understandable, but moving toward an uncertain future doesn’t work if a company’s leadership isn’t on the same page. So Thurlow implemented a change methodology at InterGen, encouraging employee feedback, transparency, improved coordination, agility, and a committed workforce. The challenge, he says, was getting people to adjust to a new methodology toward an uncertain goal. “This is an organization that’s culturally more adept at keeping its feet on the ground,” he says. “We’re trying to stretch our vision beyond today and make people realize we need to be more aspirational. Right now, we are repositioning toward a renewable future while optimizing our existing plants.
We’re chasing a goal that’s well beyond our reach, but it’s a worthy pursuit because we simply can’t afford to stand still.” With a focus on the company’s values of safety, integrity, teamwork, entrepreneurship, and community, Thurlow and his team set about working with InterGen’s executives and managers through curriculums focused on change management, operational processes, and the effects that a new mind-set would have on people, communications, and individual engagement with consumers and shareholders. “We took a comprehensive view saying it doesn’t matter what the change is itself; it matters that you learn how to navigate it,” he says. Throughout the process, Thurlow also engaged with the consulting firm Redwood & Co. to assist implementing the new HR strategy, which also helped empower team members. “The key to crafting InterGen’s change methodology was focusing on change as a subtle mix of operational elements, human elements, and leaderships’ role in hosting space for change rather than directing it,” explains Carol O’Reilly, managing director for Redwood & Co. “People really owned the changes as something they did themselves. Rather than being directed to do something, they saw why they were doing it and contributed to how it was being achieved. With the executive team having worked through a clear vision, it was really about working alongside the people to bring that vision forward in a very practical way. Although such upheaval can cause long-time employees to leave or reconsider their options, he says the company’s ability to retain people provides solid feedback on the company’s new mind-set. “The tenure of our employees is longer than most companies have in this industry,” Thurlow says. “We’ve had people who have left and returned. When they came back, they were embraced and felt better about their decision to come back.” Much of that retention can be traced to the work Thurlow is doing in helping InterGen’s managers and leaders not only get the best out of their employees, but also the best out of themselves. “I learned early in my career that just trying to manage things as an HR person was not giving me enough depth and breadth to generate success,” Thurlow says. “It was when I was coaching executives and senior managers who had influence over large groups of people that I learned that what got you here won’t get you there. In other words, everyone has a certain set of skills, but those skills can and should be improved over time.” Leadership roles require that gap to be bridged, and Thurlow says his favorite part of the job is bringing out the traits that many leaders might not have even known they had. Not only does that lead to improved interaction between managers and their teams, but it also spurs reinvestment from the leaders who can now work with an expanded toolbox. “My motto is: ‘Don’t spend twenty years doing a year’s worth of work twenty times,’” Thurlow explains. “Learn and grow each year. Don’t be afraid of that. Push yourself to try new things.”
“We’re chasing a goal that’s well beyond our reach, but it’s a worthy pursuit because we simply can’t afford to stand still.”
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“People never forget the way you make them feel.” Diane Adams and Richard Byrd are creating a people-first culture at Sprinklr By J E F F S I LV E R
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Diane Adams Chief Culture & Talent Officer Sprinklr
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Diane Adams makes it a point to meet with leaders at Sprinklr in person to learn about their ideas and concerns firsthand.
The town hall meetings also uncovered issues that previously might not have been considered significant. For example, awarding employment anniversary jackets had been discontinued after an employee’s third year with the company. But they were so popular, the practice was reinstated. “Relatively small things like a company jacket carry a lot of weight,” Byrd says. A new Employee Delight Assurance Program has also been implemented. Leaders hold one-on-one monthly meetings with members of their teams to discuss their overall happiness score, including their recommendations for improvements. These are summarized for leadership and executive review for further action.
After one quarter of this employeeleadership collaborative partnership, employee happiness scores showed a distinct positive trend and attrition decreased by 5 percent. “We’ve put a lot of effort into strengthening our communication cadence,” Adams explains. “There’s been a definite correlation between improved clarity about the company’s direction and recognition among employees of a caring culture.” The Sprinklr2Grow Learning Plan is another element of the transforming culture. After completing a strength assessment, employees help create a customized plan for their professional development. This positive approach of building on individuals’
Since it was founded in 2009 by CEO Ragy Thomas, Sprinklr has become a leading social suite for the enterprise. In addition to enabling client companies to engage with their customers across all social media channels and to optimize customers’ experiences, Sprinklr grew to have a presence in ten countries and to work with some of the world’s most iconic brands. Today Sprinklr’s social media management platform reaches 3 billion consumers across 350 million sources and 26 social channels. That’s part of the reason why more than 1,500 industry leaders—such as Nike, Visa, McDonald’s, Verizon, and Microsoft—have opted for Sprinklr technology and services. During this period of global growth, Thomas also recognized the need to optimize Sprinklr’s employees’ experiences to ensure that they can function at their best both personally and professionally. To achieve that goal, Diane Adams, chief culture and talent officer, and Richard Byrd, vice president of culture transformation, joined the company. “An emphasis on people and culture is a differentiator for any company,” Adams says. “It’s especially important in an industry like technology, where there’s so much competition for talent. ” To get started, Adams met face-to-face with Sprinklr leaders around the world. One of their common concerns was the need for more frequent and clearer communication. This was addressed by aggressively implementing more venues more often to give employees opportunities to actively question leaders and engage on a wide range of issues. Company-wide town hall meetings are now held twice each month. Within a single quarter, attendance grew from 300 to more than 1,000—about 80 percent of the company. Byrd points out that such rapid growth indicates how quickly employees have become comfortable with sharing their thoughts and asking difficult questions. “After expressing their opinions, employees have also seen the company act on their input,” he says. “This has led to even greater engagement, improved role clarity, and more trust on all sides.”
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High Impact Recruiting PU TTING PEO PLE FIRST
“After a company has been in growth mode, it’s especially important to celebrate tangible wins.” D I A N E A DA M S
strengths is in sharp contrast to most companies’ strategy of focusing on improving specific weaknesses and deficits. Prior to Sprinklr, Adams and Byrd worked together to create and transform cultures at healthcare solutions provider Allscripts and data analytics software company Qlik. These experiences gave them the insights needed to identify the subtlest details that contribute to successful transformations. For example, a great deal of thought went into deciding whether to call individuals in the company part of a “team” or a “family.” Family was chosen because of its connotation of care and respect for each other—but that choice wasn’t made before addressing some people’s understanding of the word to mean “always being nice to each other.” Byrd points out that healthy families can still have conversations that are honest, straightforward, and address difficult issues. To help guide behavior within the new culture, Adams and Byrd are emphasizing Sprinklr’s core values and how they fit
into evolving business phases. The values reinforce behaviors such as learning from failure; humility; accountability; persistence; and genuine caring. They have even been incorporated to help change the company’s recruitment process. Teams consisting of representatives from the culture and talent department, business partners, and CEO Thomas screen for talent and abilities, as well as for matches to the culture. The process involves a minimum of six interviewers, and the CEO and CHRO interview every recommended people-leader hire. “ We use behavioral questions that ref lect our core values,” Adams says. “They’re all part of living and modeling the Sprinklr Way—the cultural road map of our way of living, being and working— that was defined by myself, CEO Thomas, and the executive team.” “This is some of the most difficult work in internal communications,” Byrd adds. “But when it’s done right, it pays some of the highest ROI in terms of productivity, quality, and alignment to company objectives.” Ack nowledging a nd rewa rding accomplishments are part of the path to successful implementation, according to the Sprinklr team. “After a company has been in growth mode, it’s especially important to celebrate tangible wins and to highlight what individuals have done to make them possible,” Adams says. “Part of creating a people-first culture is making sure we’re not so busy getting our jobs done that we don’t stop to show much we appreciate all the hard work.” Byrd agrees. “It’s important to underscore the importance of treating people well since they never forget how you make them feel.”
High Impact Recruiting partners with Diane Adams and other inspirational leaders to provide the most talented and well qualified customer-facing candidates who position disruptive technologies. Our services are utilized by innovators in Customer Experience, Social Selling, Marketing Automation, Software-Defined Data Centers, and Cloud Computing who need impactful salespeople that can solve complex issues. When it comes to candidate selection, we’re choosy. Check us out at www. hireforyou.com
Diane, congratulations on this special commendation! Attracting top talent is a challenge every business faces, whether you're a technology start-up or an established industry leader. High Impact’s services are used by growing software companies seeking top Account Executives, Solutions Consultants, Customer Success Managers, and Sales leaders in North America.
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Why True Innovation Demands Diversity Diana Geseking prioritizes diversity and inclusion on her legal team at Dyson because she sees the integral impact it makes on their work By W I L L G R A N T
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Diana Geseking Assistant General Counsel for the Americas
Bethany Fritz/Malpole Studios
Diana Geseking lives by the idea that she might as well be the one to make the change. The idea of going in-house wasn’t even presented to her in law school. Now, as assistant general counsel at Dyson, she mentors law students. When given the chance to hire outside counsel, she hired a successful team made up of minority lawyers with a strong track record. She likens going in-house to cliff diving (“It’s a leap of faith.”) and her legal team is the beneficiary of legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler’s advice that no individual can outplay a great team. Geseking has become a
mentor by having a great role model at Dyson in general counsel Jason Brown, committed to diversity and valuing the idea that difference makes a difference. For Geseking, the concept and value of diversity was built into her law school years. She lived in a house with six other students while at the University of Michigan. The demographics ranged from Southern Conservatives to New York Liberals, brand new citizens and shipping-off Marines, with experiences, orientations, and backgrounds of almost every variety. But they all found common ground. “We all wanted to be lawyers, and we all loved Michigan football,” Geseking says. The bond they formed
normalized the idea that diversity brought out the best in people, not that it was merely an idea to be tolerated. It was a lesson that would repeat itself throughout Geseking’s career and really take root at Dyson. “My team is very diverse, and that’s something that my past experiences have pushed me to want to surround myself with: diversity in backgrounds and in personalities. It just always makes a better team,” she says. Geseking saw that as soon as he joined Dyson, general counsel Jason Brown began demonstrating his commitment to diversity. The majority of the legal team members are women, and Geseking says that was because Brown includes voices that aren’t always the
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“My team is very diverse, and that’s something that my past experiences have pushed me to want to surround myself with: diversity in backgrounds and in personalities. It just always makes a better team.” DIANA GESEKING
first to be heard. “He could have hired a bunch of lawyers without regard to creating a diverse team, because that’s a lot of what’s out there in the firms, but he made it a priority to diversify the conversation,” Geseking says. In turn, she has had the opportunity to apply the same principles that she feels have been made a priority at Dyson. “When I got to the point where I started having the decision power as to who we were going to hire for outside counsel, that’s where I found we could put our money where our mouth was,” Geseking says. When the occasion arose to staff a new case, she pursued a legal team staffed primarily with women and minorities who had significant success in their cases. Geseking says this has the further effect of influencing other firms to value diversity, if only for their own bottom lines. “We’re the ones writing the checks,” she says. “They’re realizing that they
might not get the business or opportunity with this client if they’re not able to retain diverse talent.” Those outside firms see the commitment and appreciate it. “In our work with Dyson, Diana pushes for all the attorneys on our team to get opportunities,” says Ross M. Weisman, P.C., a partner at Kirkland & Ellis. “She wants women and minorities actively involved, because she recognizes that diverse opinions and ideas make us better.” Diversity at Dyson means more than a lawyer’s background, Geseking says. The company’s open office work environment has meant that ideas and conversations are shared and have the ability to mix and mingle amongst a variety of minds and talents. When the company moved headquarters, it adopted an agile working environment that doubles down on the commitment to connecting coworkers. “The new office space is designed to help drive those informal conversations where new ways of thinking come about,” Geseking says. Geseking is grateful that the company’s commitment to diversity seems more embedded in Dyson’s core and less so in banners or what can often seem like empty gestures. One of Dyson’s meeting rooms was called “5127,” the number of times founder James Dyson tried and failed to perfect the first bagless vacuum. “When you’re looking toward the future and to be innovative, you inherently promote diversity,” Geseking says. “You don’t get that if everyone is the same.” Geseking says the idea of diversity has also influenced her career path and how she landed in her current role. “The only path I knew about when I was going to law school was to go to a law firm,” she says. “That’s what I did. I didn’t know there was this whole world of in-house lawyers and these opportunities.” After realizing how much she loved going in-house, Geseking was encouraged to become a mentor for the Association of Corporate Counsel mentorship program, showing future lawyers the many different paths their career might take them. Committed to promoting women lawyers, she has presented at the National Association of Women Lawyers and recently spoke about
self-advocacy at the Women In Law & Leadership Summit in Chicago. While Dyson’s legal team celebrates its diversity, Geseking says its united goal of working to make legal be known as more than the “Department of No” brings it together. “We want to be approachable and we want to be business partners,” she says. Geseking says her penchant for new and challenging experiences puts her right at home in the world of the in-house counsel. “You have to figure out how to communicate sometimes complicated legal theory with people who don’t speak it,” Geseking says. “You hope that all of your legal knowledge just is enough to get you through and that you’ll figure it out as you go along.”
PASSING THE LEGAL TORCH After going in-house, Geseking wanted to pass along her experience as a law student, private practice attorney, and in-house attorney to those law students who may not have any idea where their lives were heading. The ACC Diversity Summer Internship Program provides minority students with internships and mentors after passing a rigorous selection process. “At this point, I have a much broader perspective than someone who is a rising second-year law student thinking, ‘What do I do?’” Geseking says. She stays she’s stayed in touch with many of her former mentees, providing an introductory network for many a new lawyer.
Kirkland & Ellis is proud to join in recognizing our friend and client
Diana Geseking for her ongoing contributions to Dysonâ€™s success.
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From the White Board to the Real World
Rebecca Roby Vice President Business Affairs
R.J. Nelson Photography
Hard Rock International
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By J E F F S I LV E R
Attorney Rebecca Roby knows that for Hard Rock International’s employees to succeed, she needs to take corporate initiatives straight to them and learn how they work in real time at the company’s many restaurant, hotel, and gaming locations
Rebecca Roby joined Hard Rock International with the goal to expand her horizons as a lawyer. She brought extensive intellectual property expertise from her previous position at Red Bull, but she expected Hard Rock’s lean structure to help her develop a broader range of experience by allowing her to engage in all aspects of the business. That is exactly what happened after she was hired to handle transactional and litigation issues, in addition to managing Hard Rock’s global intellectual property portfolio. Roby quickly segued into all aspects of Hard Rock’s restaurant, hotel, and gaming business—drafting and negotiating contracts, franchise projects, merchandising, marketing and sales initiatives, and managing litigation. Just as quickly, she also developed a personal connection to staff in the field and all the activities they help manage, including customer experiences. “I view our consumers and our staff as my clients,” says Roby, now vice president of business affairs. “I
want to ensure that the right tools are in place so that every customer can leave thinking, ‘That was awesome. I can’t wait to come back to Hard Rock.’” She knows that materials she helps develop—whether marketing collateral, training guides, contract templates, or corporate policies—all have an impact on each guest interaction. For example, the profitability of a BOGO promotion will be severely impacted if it isn’t clear—to both staff and customers— which merchandise is included. Roby believes it’s her responsibility as a senior leader to support field staff to be successful. When she learns of customer complaints, her first reaction is to assess whether internal policies or procedures need to be improved or better communicated, or if training materials are effective enough. “It’s one thing to develop an initiative on a white board at headquarters, but something completely different when it’s implemented in our restaurants or hotels,” she says. “We have to be sure we’re providing the right tools in the right ways to communicate and execute the vision.”
Roby readily admits that this perspective causes her to “manage down.” She views field staff as brand ambassadors and as the face of Hard Rock with customers. As a result, she makes it a priority to look beyond ROI forecasts and profit and loss statements to real-world operational details. “I can stay focused on writing sweepstakes rules that no one but other lawyers will read, but I have to get out from behind my desk and engage with our staff,” Roby says. “Otherwise, I won’t know if a program actually works and if we’re meeting expectations.” She also makes a point to deliver what she’s promised—often sooner than expected— and to be a helpful resource. That might mean proactively adjusting a clause in a contract that typically creates problems with potential events or clients. In addition, she never responds to inquiries with “that’s not my area.” Instead, she leverages her ten years of experience with the company to find answers. “If I can assist staff members by finding the information they need, I hope that will be reflected in the attitude they bring to help create strong customer experiences,” Roby says.
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Another way she strengthens her relationships within the company is by sending handwritten notes to thank colleagues for their efforts. Regardless of their title, she feels the personal connection creates a more productive, collaborative, and trusting work environment. And each year she visits at least one Hard Rock location she hasn’t been to before to meet the local teams face-to-face. The relationships Roby has developed over the years were particularly helpful during her work on the second revision of Hard Rock’s loyalty program. It required collaboration among all the company’s business units to transition from a consumer points system to a surprise-and-delight model based on individual customer preferences. Roby says the experience taught her not to always “wear her lawyer hat” and enabled her to tap into her own personal preferences to help develop some of the member reward options. Roby’s passion and dedication hasn’t stopped with staff and colleagues. It has extended to being part of Hard Rock’s mission to preserve and promote the musical legacies it helps curate and its mission to always give something back. She has also enjoyed protecting the Hard Rock brand—policing and investigating counterfeit merchandise produced in China and full-blown brick-andmortar “pirate” imitations of its facilities. The accompanying global perspective and close ties with legal counsel in China were particularly gratifying and enlightening, Roby says. They were also instrumental in furthering the company’s goals when it opened the first Hard Rock Hotel in China. However, in 2017, when the company announced the relocation of its headquarters away from Orlando, Roby faced a difficult decision. Using her mother—a homemaker, writer, and English professor—as a professional role model, she also wanted to demonstrate to her own daughter, age five, the importance of her job and the passion she has had for doing it. After struggling with the decision, Roby decided to follow her instincts and to stay in
• BEIJING • SHANGHAI 226
“It’s one thing to develop an initiative on a white board at headquarters, but something completely different when it’s implemented in our restaurants or hotels.” R E B E C C A R O BY
the community that she has become attached to, and where her daughter feels happy and at home. “My job at Hard Rock has been so important to me that a part of me feels like I’m letting people down by leaving,” she says. “But sometimes significant career changes are forced upon us, and that doesn’t have to be a negative thing.” The experience helped her come up with advice for other parents facing a similar career crossroad. “Balance your head, your heart, and your gut, you’ll find the right outcome for yourself and your family,” she says. “Ultimately, if you’re happy with your decision, the rest of your family will be, too.”
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Mike Isaacs brings two decades of experience from Ford Motor Company to MacLean-Fogg, a power and auto parts distributor, to help bridge the divide between two formerly disparate divisions By L E O H E R R E R A
You may not think about it often, but every car you drive is a complex machine made up of axles and transm i s sion s pr o duc e d i n advanced factories. And the energy your town uses originates at a power plant but gets to your home through a distribution network composed of equally intricate components. For many of the ordinary moments in everyday life, manufacturing company MacLean-Fogg is behind the scenes developing these crucial components. Almost every time you drive a car or turn on a light, a MacLean-Fogg product is hard at work. Founded in Chicago, MacLean-Fogg has been steadily growing over the past ninety years to become the billion-dollar company it is today. While the company now operates like a lean battleship, it used to be split into two separate businesses, power and auto, which were navigated like two separate steamboats. To effectively streamline business operations and merge the two businesses, the company embarked on an initiative they call “One MacLean-Fogg,” and chief financial officer Mike Isaacs has played a pivotal role in this. “Before there were just two different businesses,” Isaacs says. “They just weren’t getting things done effectively. Financial disciplines had room for improvement, and we needed to grow our operational capabilities.” Bringing the two businesses together was no small feat, but Isaacs and the team were committed to the task. As a graduate of the University of Michigan, he received a degree in mechanical engineering as well as an MBA. Originally, Isaacs worked as an engineer, but slowly shifted his focus to finance as his business perspective became broader. By the time he started at MacLeanFogg, he had already developed his expertise
Mike Isaacs Chief Financial Officer MacLean-Fogg Company
Studio West Photography
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working in much larger companies. Isaacs worked for twenty years for Ford Motor Company, where he had a wide variety of finance-related experiences in product planning, manufacturing, overseas operations, joint venture management, and corporate strategy. Later, he served as finance director of Mexico operations for Cooper Tire and Rubber Company (with responsibility for both a sales company and the manufacturing company). “One of the biggest lessons I learned is to know when you need help and ask for it,” Isaacs says of his experience. “We tell that to all of our people—don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it; it’s a strength, not a weakness.” On the business side, Isaacs learned how to develop far-reaching strategies. “At one time, I was responsible for financial planning and control for Ford’s SUV and truck product lines,” he says. “I learned the importance of and how to put business plans together, bring a team together, and make sure everybody understands their roles and responsibilities. What I really learned is process flow in businesses.” The key to that process flow, as Isaacs found, was the people who followed it. Tapping into the workforce’s brightest and most proactive employees was necessary for the company to move forward. “Just like understanding you need help and asking for it is a strength, you have to make sure you have good people who know their roles and responsibilities and understand they are accountable. If you don’t have that, you’re never going to get anything done.” Isaacs found that there were two types of finance leaders in his business units at the time: business partners and number crunchers. Those that fell in the latter half would calculate the financial numbers, and then simply pass the information on to the
operating team. Business partners, on the other hand, helped to identify problems and develop solutions. “We created another level of personnel called finance directors who had that capability to be a business partner,” Isaacs says. These finance directors were given clear responsibilities and goals for each division and held accountable. Once the right people were in place, Isaacs worked to instill what he calls “financial discipline,” something he learned from his prior experience. Financial discipline can mean a number of things, like making sure you have the data and facts needed to make a decision, clearly understanding alternative courses of action, or choosing to purchase a part versus making it in-house. It can also mean things as simple as recording financials accurately and working with customers to collect receivables on time. Isaacs presents an alternative definition: making the decision to support communities. When disaster strikes, like a hurricane, access to MacLean-Fogg products is critical to timely restoration of power, but requires the company to incur additional costs to support. “We do it, but we go into it with our eyes open and knowing how it is going to impact our bottom line,” Isaacs says. One specific issue that Isaacs faced when he came onboard was that MacLean-Fogg had room to improve its financial planning and controls. It had a capital spending approval process, but projects were being approved as they came in without considering potentially higher-priority projects down the road. “The danger is you get halfway through the year and run out of money,” he says. To address this, Isaacs implemented a capital planning process, which looked at the company’s capital needs several quarters out. Whenever someone had a new priority project, another one of lesser
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“We tell all of our people—don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it; it’s a strength, not a weakness.” M I K E I S A AC S
priority would be tabled. “We put financial discipline around capital planning, so we didn’t spend based on order but based on priority,” he says. The third piece of the One MacLeanFogg initiative was the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system used to manage the business units. Before Isaacs came onboard, the divisions used a variety of ERP systems across the business units and several were antiquated. The varied systems were largely driven by how the company came together through the years via acquisitions. Getting the whole company on one system would be arduous, but ultimately result in more streamlined processes and data sets. Isaacs also emphasized the importance of keeping the basic software intact going forward, meaning they did not allow alterations to the code but solved issues by adapting
business practices to work with software. “We chose JD Edwards as our software provider and Terillium as our implementation partner—these combined with our internally developed IT team proved to be an incredibly effective team,” Isaacs says. “The problem with changing the software itself is that if I change it in one place, it affects it in other places,” he continues. “We chose one instance—it means each of our business units uses the same software. The benefit is that whenever there’s an update, the software company doesn’t waste time and expense dealing with local software modifications implemented locally. We implemented twelve business units to date, and we’ll be done in 2020.” The philosophy of One MacLean-Fogg reaches into all aspects of how the company runs, Isaacs explains. There’s one accounts
payable system, one healthcare plan, and one HR system that keeps track of all 3,200 employees. These systems are centrally coordinated and locally executed. In the four years since the initiative started, MacLean-Fogg has noticed some startling results. Now, the company can cut costs as purchase orders are grouped together, contracts grow larger, and the financial structures are combined. Operational transformation (MacLean-Fogg’s continuous improvement program) is now taught at every level, from corporate staff to the shop floor, to educate all employees on eliminating waste. A standard of safety program has also been implemented across the board, including how they report incidents, track metrics, implement improvements, and conduct safety meetings. But the biggest benefit is the feeling of cohesion. “Everybody on both sides of the business knows each other and is willing to help each other when needed,” Isaacs says. “We don’t have a ‘we’ or ‘they’ anymore. It’s just ‘us.’ It’s easier to bring people together, build teamwork, and realize the synergies of best practices across the enterprise.”
Terillium is an award-winning Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) consulting company and Oracle Platinum Partner. Our team is proud to be a long-time partner of MacLean-Fogg. We appreciate their trust in us as we work together toward the strategic mission of transforming their global business with state-of-the-art technology solutions. Congratulations again to Mike Isaacs and team. We applaud your dedication to excellence and wish you continued success.
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Deborah Borg Chief HR and Communications Officer Bunge Limited
Â Mackenzie Stoh
A Taste of
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Global Culture Bunge Limited has a 200-year history and a massive global presence—and it’s Deborah Borg’s job to ensure that as the company builds on that history and expands into new territories, it stays true to its purpose of feeding the world By PA U L S N Y D E R
If the name Bunge Limited doesn’t ring any bells, it’s not really a surprise to Deborah Borg, the company’s chief human resources and communications officer. “Although we’re a very large company, many people have never heard of us,” she says. Nevertheless, the 200-year-old company that has its roots in Argentina and is now headquartered in White Plains, New York, is responsible for moving agribusiness, food, ingredients, fuel, and fertilizer in various territories throughout the world. The company’s estimated 32,000 employees are spread throughout 40 different countries. It’s a lot of ground to cover, and when Borg arrived at the company in November 2015, it was in the process of expanding even further. Bunge was in the midst of negotiations to acquire a large global specialty food business. Two years later, Bunge welcomed Loders Croklaan to its business. There were also a number of smaller acquisitions underway in other markets, and as chief HR officer, Borg found herself immediately tasked with the due diligence work of
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ensuring these acquisitions would smoothly integrate into Bunge’s culture. It’s a tall order for the first few days on the job, but Borg notes that her predecessor remained on the job for Borg’s first three months—allowing her to travel the world, talk with management and employees, listen to where they felt the company needed to go, and identify the company’s talent and management needs. The “learning tour” was a huge help to Borg, but it also made clear that as these companies were being acquired, bringing everyone in line with the culture of a company that few people knew by name presented its own unique challenges. “Every one of our markets had operated in a fairly decentralized capacity for the company’s history,” she notes. “They built their own HR infrastructure around that, and as we’re trying to absorb this large business in a global fashion, it quickly became apparent that we needed to build more of a global backbone.” To that end, Borg got to work immediately, hiring employees who had more of a global mind-set with regard to HR and to strengthen key capability gaps and communications. Thankfully, she had a lot of experience to help her navigate this undertaking. Prior to joining Bunge, Borg worked at the Dow Chemical Company and General Motors, both of which gave her experience in terms of finding the right people for the company and cultivating a culture at an international level. Still, she says that while there are lessons that can be carried from one job to the other, the old way isn’t always the right way. “History can be a hindrance and a help,” Borg says. “I worked at my former company for seventeen years. You take for granted that things just work—and you stop questioning why. Then you’re in a new place, challenging yourself why what used to work doesn’t anymore. You have to unlearn. What do I need to forget about the past? What do I need to borrow from the past? What do I need to learn to move into the future?” If there is one lesson she’s carried time and again throughout her career, it’s that no matter how much experience one has, there’s always more to learn. “You have to listen first before you can offer a solution,” she says. “You have to know
what the business went through, what got them to this place, what they were proud of, instead of coming in with a preconceived conclusion. Changing jobs and working internationally gives you that perspective that just because something works in one place doesn’t mean it will work in another.” When it comes to making sure the right people are in the right place, Borg says that certain qualities present themselves on paper (e.g. technical expertise, management experience), but there are also harder-to-identify qualities that are important to consider. Cultural fits can be more challenging to identify, but Borg says it usually distills down to whether a candidate for the job wants to join the company for the right reasons and if their key motivators will fit in to the culture of the organization. In a day and age when employee retention can be just as challenging as recruitment, Borg says she has to stay on her toes and help the company do more to keep its talent happy. Nevertheless, where some companies might invest in high-tech break rooms or interactive meeting spaces to appeal to employees, she says Bunge’s engagement tool is really the company itself. As Bunge connects farmers to homes around the world, the company revolves around the concept of feeding the world—a purpose that it further cultivates through philanthropic work and employee events—which is something that a lot of employees simply buy into wholeheartedly. It’s also something that can make a hard job pretty enjoyable—even if it’s not easy. “I love to get the right people in the right place and maximize their potential,” she says. “There’s never a dull day here. Feeding the world is both a tremendous challenge and an incredible responsibility. There’s always something unique happening, and always ways that people and communications can contribute to the bigger business agenda.”
Accenture solves complex business challenges and drives innovation by combining human ingenuity with groundbreaking technologies. We are proud to partner with Bunge Limited and celebrate Deborah Borg as a business-outcome driven leader in Human Resources. Congratulations Deborah!
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Quality is Cool As CFO at Burrow Global, Mark Vise ensures that he and his team translate numbers and data into actionableâ€”and memorableâ€”initiatives By R U S S G A G E R
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In today’s evolving business world, what do you see as the CFO’s role? Our job is to tell a story with the data, helping business leaders better understand the factors that impact performance. Data can be a valuable asset when transformed into actionable information. This requires working with and mixing it up with operations to increase their financial literacy so they can attack problems in a proactive manner. But unless you can tell a story with the numbers, then you’re not nearly as effective. How have you expanded the role at Burrow Global? Within Burrow Global—as well as a lot of other companies—the CFO’s role has
broadened to encompass strategic planning and working with operations on tactical execution of the CEO’s vision. I have been very fortunate to have worked with CEOs who have allowed and encouraged me to step outside of the traditional CFO’s finance function. It only really works if you can truly add value and gain the respect of your peers. You do that by really understanding the business, how the company makes money, and what levers you can pull to drive efficiency and growth. If I am doing my job, you are welcomed inside the tent, where you really have to be to truly drive change. For example, I treat financial reviews not as a venue to beat people up over their numbers, but as an opportunity to increase financial literacy across the enterprise and move them toward a more strategic view of their businesses and markets. How have you expanded the CFO’s role at other companies? Across several companies, I have been involved with implementing new processes and procedures to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the proposal process. While this is a function that typically resides within sales and marketing, a competitive proposal requires a total corporate-wide commitment. Qualifying, pursuing, and winning require a very disciplined approach. When I worked at Bailey Network Management from 1993 to 1996, I was asked to take over an ISO 9001 certification process that had failed its first audit. To ensure success, I pulled together a cross-functional team, establishing ownership across all disciplines of the company. I ordered shirts with the moniker “The Q Team” and a logo across the back reading “Quality is Cool.”
Mark Vise EVP of Administration & CFO Burrow Global
Cindy Crofford Photography
As executive vice president of administration and chief financial officer of Houston, Texas-based Burrow Global, Mark Vise’s portfolio of responsibilities is larger than the average CFO’s. It includes all back-office functions such as finance, human resources, IT, and contracts. He also works on strategic planning initiatives and handles Burrow’s quality program as well as the project services functions that support project managers and operational groups. These wide-ranging responsibilities are part of the evolution of the CFO role at Burrow Global, which provides full-service engineering, procurement, construction, and facility services primarily in the Gulf Coast areas and Oklahoma. Profile spoke to Vise to learn how he pushes the boundaries of the traditional CFO purview, how goofy T-shirts can inspire dedication, and how he advises other financial professionals to be more than just number crunchers.
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Congratulations Mark Vise
We wore the shirt every Friday until we passed the certification. This established a real sense of camaraderie and teamwork as well as high visibility across the organization. We passed the next audit. Other initiatives I have led outside the traditional scope of the CFO have been concerned with improving processes, such as reengineering the contract administration, order entry, and distribution systems associated with product sales. Other times, it has been studying a specific underperforming business to identify the underlying issues contributing to the poor performance. Each time, I start with mapping out the process. Typically the underlying issues are process-related, or you can see the problem clearer by analyzing the process. How did you develop the new quality management system (QMS) at Burrow Global? We already had a quality management system in place; however, we took a really hard look in the mirror and made the determination that we could do better. As in any successful change program, you have to first make the case for it, and we did this by rolling out the transformation program in every office to every employee. Burrow Global has had a great safety record and devotes a lot of time and energy promoting its internal safety program. We decided to model the quality program along the same lines as safety. For example, we have always started every internal meeting with a “Safety Moment;” we now also end every meeting with a “Quality Moment.” We held a company-wide naming contest for the program, and the winner was Committed-to-Quality or “C2Q,” as it is known inside the organization. We view C2Q as more of a frame of mind or attitude that quality is at the forefront of everything
we do at Burrow Global. We believe quality attracts talent, and talent and quality attract customers. What advice do you have for other CFOs looking to push beyond the typical role? The key is to always maintain a curiosity about the business—a learning mind-set— and constantly push yourself outside your comfort zone. Cultivating and developing mentors throughout your career that you feel comfortable confiding in is also helpful to career development. It is also imperative that you develop critical relationships across the enterprise and with key players outside the company, such as independent board members, bankers, important suppliers, and even customers. Sales and marketing do not maintain exclusivity around customers. If you want to know how to improve the organization, ask your customers what values they place on your product and services. Would you say that you’ve reached your career goals? I definitely haven’t achieved my goals yet, so the finish line is always ahead of me. It is now my turn to give back as I am trying to do at my alma mater, Lamar University, by being a mentor to the next generation of business students. I have been so fortunate to have had an allstar list of business mentors, such as Robert “Bob” Forsyth, who as CEO of Synercom Technology Inc. took a chance on a thirty-oneyear-old as the new CFO of a NASDAQ-listed company. Mark Loughead and Lloyd Pitchford were incredible mentors of mine at Intertek, showing me what true leadership looks like. Working alongside Mike Burrow, Burrow Global’s CEO and founder, I continue to learn, especially the art of maintaining an entrepreneurial culture.
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There’s No “I” in Heat
Vered Yakovee VP & Associate GC
The Miami Heat
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Vered Yakovee thrives in the culture of diversity at the Miami Heat, and relies on the strong network of the Sports Lawyers Association, in her role as vice president and associate general counsel for the team By R O L A N D A R C H E R
She grew up in Greece, annually serves as a professor of Sports Law for LLM students in Spain, and has multicultural parents, so when she came to Miami to meet the Heat staff for the first time, Vered Yakovee felt right at home amidst the diversity she found. The city of Miami is home to so many cultures, and the Heat staff reflects its community. Among the effects of that diversity is that the Heat staff has a full range of ideas and talents, which results in creative business outgrowths, such as an in-house apparel line and robust retail operation that generates significant revenue while promoting fan interest and engagement. In her fourth year as vice president and associate general counsel for the Miami Heat and AmericanAirlines Arena, Yakovee reflects on the special culture of the organization, the unique work it does, and the extracurricular professional activities she undertakes to stay prepared to adequately support her colleagues’ innovation. Yakovee says that she is uplifted by working in what she describes as kind of a post-modern environment. “I’d bet that for everyone in the company, there is someone they can see themselves in and that they can look up to,” she says. “I know that is true for me. I see women who remind me of myself in different stages of my career, and I see women who I want to emulate.” In addition to these women, Yakovee also notes that she works with many men and people who are different from her in other ways that she admires for various reasons, from their business acumen to their leadership skills. The genesis of the Heat culture was a desire on the part of the organization to truly reflect its community, and that mission is apparent, as the senior staff of the Heat business operations includes leaders who are women, African American, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Jewish, and LGBTQ. The Heat’s full-time staff consists
of 70 percent minority and 30 percent female employees. In January 2018, that culture was recognized when the Heat received the NBA’s inaugural Inclusion Leadership Award for its history of, and commitment to, inclusion. Yakovee doesn’t take that culture for granted, and folds it into everything she does, from seeking mentoring, serving as a mentor to others, broadly interviewing candidates for open positions, and trying her best to be a consistent example of the culture she espouses. That extends to how she works with outside partners as well. “In addition to being a substantively excellent member of the Heat legal team, Vered is one of the most thoughtful, loyal, and empathetic people with whom we have the pleasure of working,” said Christopher Keefe, a corporate partner at the law firm of Nixon Peabody LLP who regularly partners with Yakovee and the Heat. “She has made a well-run and engaged organization stronger through her commitment to inclusion and outreach. We are proud to be part of her team.” Yakovee recognizes that many benefits flow from working with colleagues with different backgrounds. For example, she has by happy accident become an apparel attorney. The Heat has a robust creative department, which designs t-shirts and other apparel, reflecting a broad range of experience with organizational history past and present, as well as the culture and history of the city of Miami. These ideas and the team’s designs organically evolved into a recognizable style and then into a brand, Court Culture, that is now the in-house label of the Heat. While she thoroughly enjoys the work that is more traditional for a sports franchise, she is also inspired by the nontraditional legal work that arises. “The creative department personifies the inclusiveness of our company,” Yakovee says. “Our creative team
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Vered Yakovee and wishes her continued success
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comes up with things that reflect every pocket of our community. Frankly, as a Miami transplant, those t-shirt designs are more than just cool; I actually learn a lot from the meaning behind them.” During the 2017-18 NBA season, the success of the creative team collided with another notable aspect of the Heat, its retail business, when Nike collaborated with the NBA and each team to design “city edition” uniforms. Yakovee had already worked closely with the consistently NBA-leading Heat retail department by supporting it in connection with its stores online, in the Arena, at the Miami International Airport, and at the Dolphin Mall. Still, Yakovee explains, the Heat City Edition campaign, a throwback to the era when the Heat was established, took the retail operation to another level. The fuchsia-and-blue nostalgic campaign incorporated elements of the old Miami Arena and 1980s Miami and was a huge commercial success, outselling all of the other twenty-nine teams combined. Alongside her work with the Heat, Yakovee is also a member of the Sports Lawyers Association, an organization she’s been a part of since graduating law school and that she credits for providing countless professional resources. The SLA was established in 1975 by a handful of lawyers—mostly agents—in an effort to establish a forum in which cordial labor-related discussions could take place. Forty-five years later, the SLA has grown to a couple thousand members, but still maintains a communal feel and provides a forum where the likes of league general counsel and players’ union representatives can exchange ideas while also educating their many peers who come together for the annual conference. Yakovee gradually became part of the fabric of the SLA through outreach volunteerism, research projects, and eventually her current service on the board of directors and as secretary. Having served in the latter two roles through five years and three SLA presidents, she mentions with nostalgia that the current president-elect is the person who told her about the SLA sixteen years ago, and
in looking forward to working with him, she also has a sense of things coming full circle. Although the benefits of the SLA include such nostalgia and the camaraderie among friends made over the years, they also extend to substance. Aside from being a fun excuse to see friends from all over the country and beyond, the annual conference provides an overview of various legal issues facing the collegiate, Olympic, and professional sports worlds. Yakovee admits that the first time she attended, she was overwhelmed and probably could not understand or recall any of it. However, after attending year in and year out, somewhere along the way, the benefit became apparent. “It’s like going to the gym—the first time you go, you don’t see results,” she says. “But if you go to the gym for fifteen years, one day you’ll wake up noticeably stronger. Over time, I developed a broad perspective of the issues that are critical to lawyers in this industry. That knowledge base helps me be the best lawyer I can be for the Heat. “It gives me the frame for the jigsaw puzzle, so to speak,” she continues. “When I’m out in the legal world and I see a puzzle piece, I know where to put it. I have the framework now.” In other words, when her colleagues start clothing lines and operate successful retail chains, she can pivot to the right area of law and work alongside them. That creativity, born from the diversity and inclusiveness of the organization, is something that Yakovee appreciates, but does not consciously think about every day. Living it and perpetuating it have become second nature, just like seeing those palm trees around the Arena that make every day feel like a vacation, even while everyone is hard at work inside.
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Celebrating Strong Leadership We’re proud to work with Vered Yakovee—a dynamic leader and our valued teammate in our partnership with the Miami Heat. We celebrate and support the Heat’s ongoing commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion, helping to create a world where everyone can prosper and succeed.
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Just Ask Ana Lang knows that working for Magic Leap, a company that deals in mixed reality and artificial intelligence, requires a lot of creativityâ€”legal department included By PA U L S N Y D E R
When Ana Lang began her law career, she didnâ€™t envision having to know about mixed reality headsets, add-on applications, or the cadences of over-the-air software updates. She was a transactional lawyer by training, and a corporate attorney to start. How things can change. In 2015, Lang joined Magic Leap, a Florida-based start-up company that recently launched its first product, the Magic Leap One Creator Edition, a lightweight, wearable computer that allows digital content to step out of the screen and into the real world. As vice president and associate general counsel of Magic Leap, her technology
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Ana Lang VP & Associate GC C&I Studios
knowledge set is now a lot wider than it was when she graduated from law school at UC-Berkeley. “Coming in and learning about software and how a device operates was a huge challenge for me,” she concedes. “I was surprised by the level of in-depth requirements from a knowledge perspective. When you work here, you become a brand ambassador.” Although knowing the ins and outs of the company one works for is a pretty standard M.O. for employees—let alone company executives—Lang says everyone in the legal department must have an almost innate understanding of Magic Leap’s technology and product road map, like its devices, the apps and content available, key third-party business relationships, and overall specifications for the product’s optimal use. All handy things to know from a legal perspective, but also required knowledge to solidify the culture of a legal team at a company that’s still realizing its full potential. Magic Leap has come a long way from its comic book roots, but it is only at the beginning of its story and the story of mixed reality computing. Lang believes a company that pursues new horizons has to be on the same page
in every department, and legal cannot afford to be out of step with any new development. “I expect my team to speak the same language as our business folks and be familiar with the terminology Magic Leap uses for its products and services,” she says. “Demonstrating knowledge shows you have an interest in what other people are doing. It’s about collaboration. When the lawyers understand more than paperwork and legal issues, it nurtures an environment where everyone is open to asking questions and deeper understanding.” In other words, it’s about fostering a culture of “fearless curiosity.” Although legal departments at some companies have a reputation—however unfair it might be—of being places where good ideas go to die, Lang says she works every day to destroy that stereotype and establish the legal department as a place where creative solutions are provided for questions that anyone at the company might have. “I don’t want my team to be the team that tells the business that they can’t—I want them to tell the business how they can,” she says. “Sometimes, how they ‘can’ is messy or complicated, but I want people to know that
when we say, ‘This is how you can,’ we’re here to do it with you every step of the way.” That spirit of unity starts within the legal department itself, where Lang says her team sits in close quarters, uses checkins to bounce ideas off each other, and crowdsources ideas on how to solve various problems that the company might face. Besides strengthening the bonds within the team and with the other departments in the company, she points out this strategy is also a good learning tool for the more junior attorneys on staff. “When they see people thinking outside the box to get to a respectable legal solution, it teaches them that skill, and they’re going to be able to apply that in the future,” she says. Magic Leap is at the forefront of new technological frontiers and with that comes all the necessary paper work and headaches that you might expect with contractual provisions; marketing studies; issues about patents, copyright, and trademarks; licenses for third-party software; and a host of other issues keeping the legal team busy. Lang says looking after all that itself could be a full-time job for most legal departments, but in addition, she wants the legal team to be proactive about spotting issues, rather than purely reactive. “When you empower employees within the company to find issues they spot online or in social media, it increases their awareness of how people are using the company’s information or materials and, in some instances, the information gathered by the employees has been the most valuable,” Lang says. “We want people to participate in that process. “We work with marketing and business development to monitor how people are publicizing relationships with Magic Leap and to make sure they’re staying within the terms of the agreement,” she adds. When a team has the capacity to be as transformative and flexible as the very products it produces, the sky’s the limit. Nothing less should be expected, Lang says. You just have to ask. “Asking questions around here is not verboten,” she says. “In some more institutional cultures, asking questions might be frowned upon. Quite honestly, from my perspective, it’s required.”
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“We start with the people.” As the CFO of LAZ Parking, Nathan Owen is tasked with looking after the financial wellbeing of a nationwide family. The key is putting the needs of people before the company’s bottom line. By L E O H E R R E R A
When you think of parking lots and valets, what comes to mind? For some, perhaps, a boring or tedious experience. For Nathan Owen, CFO of LAZ Parking, parking can represent a number of important moments. Valets might be one’s first human interaction in a foreign land, upon arriving at a hotel or resort. Or they could be wingmen creating a stress-free dining experience at a five-star restaurant. Valets can even provide assistance at the hospital during emergencies. For Owen and the rest of LAZ Parking, the second largest parking company in the US, their parking operations—and more importantly, the people who run them—represent a large and loyal family. “We really see the organization chart as being inverted, based on servant leadership,”
Owen says. “Our executives are here to support our managers, our managers support the front-line staff, and the staff serve and support our clients and guests in the field. Other companies tend to look at it the other way around; they look at the bottom line. We start with the people.” This is just a taste of what Owen and the rest of the company refer to as “The LAZ Way.” Few people embody The LAZ Way quite as well as Owen. He jests that he has quite the loyalty streak, but it’s true—he’s only ever worked for two employers, married his high school sweetheart (they’ve been together for twenty-seven years), and he still supports his childhood soccer team, the Wolverhampton Wanderers. Throughout the years before he joined LAZ Parking, Owen received many offers to join other companies, but nothing proved worth his attention until he got the
offer from LAZ and looked into the type of company it is. A HISTORY OF GLOBAL EXPERIENCE Now based in Connecticut, New England, Owen is originally from (old) England. Twenty years ago, he worked as a chartered accountant in the UK. From 1994 to the end of 2009, Owen worked for Deloitte, one of the “Big Four” accounting organizations, as a partner in the mergers and acquisitions services. The latter ten years were spent in Paris, France. As a partner, Owen advised on transactions with clients such as L’Oréal, the shampoo and cosmetics company; Renault Nissan, the car company; Saint-Gobain, a construction materials company; and VINCI, Europe’s largest construction company. His work brought him to Japan, Taiwan, Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, Egypt, and some thirty other countries.
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Steven Laschever LTD.
“You just can’t take your existing mind-set and apply it around the world,” Owen says. Even though he was already fluent in French, working in France and internationally was a completely different experience. “That really opened my eyes that there’s a whole world out there in terms of cultures, mind-sets, ways of doing business that you need to appreciate and respect.” Owen’s first interactions with LAZ came about while advising for Deloitte Paris. “One of my clients was VINCI, and their parking business was a leader in providing parking services throughout Europe. They were looking to acquire 50 percent of LAZ Parking to enter the US market. So, I advised on the 50 percent investment, and LAZ Parking subsequently engaged me with Deloitte to assist with three subsequent acquisitions by LAZ in Boston, San Diego, and the mid-Atlantic market.” Owen had received numerous propositions in the past, but LAZ’s was different. “What really made LAZ stand out was the way they focused on people. I felt they treated people the way I did—with respect.” Over the course of two to three months working together on these projects, Owen had the opportunity to learn more about LAZ’s commitment to its staff and clients, the values they upheld, and The LAZ Way. He received an offer to join on Christmas Eve, 2008, and the following year transitioned out of Deloitte, sold his home and cars in France, acquired new ones in the United States, and applied for a US work visa—all while his second daughter was about to be born. It all worked out, and Owen has worked for LAZ Parking ever since. THE LAZ WAY As CFO of LAZ Parking, Owen views his role as to adding and protecting value for LAZ’s stakeholders, which includes its people. Functionally, this refers to accounting and finance, payroll, audit, and compliance. But Owen says that a large amount of his time is spent on people. “Absolutely our people are integral to our success because they’re the ones who make things happen,” he says. “I have a pretty high disregard for email,” Owen continues. “I find it very inefficient; it gets us away from people. The key thing is getting them to share their concerns, perspectives, and ideas with me so I’m able to support them. I try to avoid staying behind the computer and making sure I’m out there on the phone or in person.” With over 13,000 employees spread out across thousands of surface lots, parking garages, and commercial businesses nationwide, supporting the LAZ family takes dedication. But dedication to the family is also what separates LAZ from competitors. For example, one long-time employee had a stroke in 2016, and LAZ continued to pay him for an entire year, including his year-end bonus. Owen shared other recent
Nathan Owen CFO LAZ Parking
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Wells Fargo would like to congratulate Nathan Owen, CFO of LAZ Parking for his passion and commitment to excellence. On behalf of LAZ’s entire Wells Fargo relationship team, we are honored to work with Nathan and wish him continued success.
“When you take care of people, and create a high-trust environment, it fosters loyalty, motivation, and engagement, and that in turn drives amazing results.” N AT H A N O W E N
examples of LAZ putting its people first: The company covered the flight, hotel and spending money for a valet to fly to his uncle’s funeral in Chicago. LAZ’s Houston team came together to help clear debris from a facility manager’s house after Hurricane Harvey; the team was led by their general manager who spent hours in a canoe helping rescue others from their homes. An employee’s wife passed away, so LAZ covered the cost of her child’s daycare for a year. Another had an aneurysm on vacation in Mexico and couldn’t afford an emergency flight home for treatment, so LAZ covered the expenses and logistics of bringing her home and caring for her. In 2018, LAZ plans to spend one million dollars taking care of its employees, and over $600,000 in training. The company has made 150 hardship loans to its employees over the past five years. “We treat our people like family, we take extra special care of everybody,” Owen says. “Life isn’t a straight line; there are bumps along the way.” In the last ten years, LAZ has grown sixfold, adding more than 200 facilities each year. Along the way, they’ve managed to preserve and strengthen the culture of family and taking care of people. Part of that is with LAZ’s HR department, which they call “People and Culture.” Whenever a new hire is brought into the “LAZ Family,” they are first screened to see how well they fit the company’s culture. Once hired, they go through LAZification, an internal program focused on teaching the company missions and values. The company also founded LAZ University five years ago, which provides training
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in both personal skills and parking expertise and now has over 400 graduates. “Get Connected” events involve a nationwide roadshow, featuring executives and founding partners touring national branches to hear people’s stories. The company even calls its leadership meetings “annual family reunions” in keeping with their culture. Owen believes that this all comes together to make LAZ a purpose-driven company. “We believe LAZ’s level of engagement and purpose sets us apart from the competition,” Owen says. “Part of our training is: greet, engage (‘how’s your day going?’), and thank 100 percent of the time, which we call GET 100.” The experience varies for hospitals, where patients or their visitors could be in distress. “We try to make that first touch point a positive one. That makes a difference.” “When you take care of people, and create a high-trust environment, it fosters loyalty, motivation, and engagement, and that in turn drives amazing results,” Owen says. Since LAZ Parking isn’t public, they don’t need to worry about short-term earnings or financial analysts. They can focus on people over profits, and plan seven to ten years out. Beyond parking, LAZ is expanding into other “strategic silos,” such as event staffing and mobility. They currently operate close to 200 shuttles nationwide for airports, hospitals, and municipalities. “We hire, train, motivate, and retain people. That translates into a lot of different businesses,” Owen says. “Parking is just what we do; we could be doing other businesses. But at the end of each day, we always remember, we’re a people company.”
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A Diverse Workforce for a Better, More Accessible World
Louise Pentland spearheads the drive to build an empathetic workforce from various backgrounds and life experiences, to better help PayPal serve more people with essential financial services By P E T E R FA B R I S
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Louise Pentland EVP, Chief Business Affairs and Legal Officer PayPal
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A mission to democratize financial services might sound lofty and abstract to most people, but at PayPal, where that is in fact the mission, the digital financial services company has been creating initiatives to make it a reality. Take, for example, a new partnership with Walmart that will let mobile app users take cash out of their PayPal accounts at a brick-and-mortar store. This collaboration is designed to reach customers who are traditionally excluded or underserved by traditional banks—a direct step toward the mission of giving everyone access to a trusted, secure, and efficient form of digital banking. At the forefront of this mission is Louise Pentland, PayPal’s executive vice president and chief business affairs and legal officer. In her role overseeing the company’s global human resources, legal, communications, intellectual property, government relations, and social innovation functions, Pentland speaks enthusiastically about employee diversity and the importance of building an “empathetic workforce.” She is especially passionate about ensuring that PayPal’s hiring and talent retention practices align with its mission. Empathy is essential to business success and to building an inclusive, sustainable company culture, she says, as well as to devising successful new products and services. “We believe access to financial services is a right of all citizens of the world,” Pentland says. It is critical for the company’s employees to understand the challenges of the people it wants to serve. Knowing what their lives are like, and how lack of access to financial services creates challenges, helps PayPal refine its offerings and create new ones. Much of PayPal’s success stems from initiatives that cater to underserved groups. That includes small businesses and people in rural areas of the developing world. These demographic niches may not be profitable for conventional banks to serve, and so they are left at a disadvantage. Without a bank account, it’s tougher to save money, collect fees from customers while running a small business, or take out small loans. Another of PayPal’s core constituencies is owners of small businesses who depend on PayPal services to sell products globally, Pentland explains. Some of these owners do the bulk of their business during certain seasons— November and December for holiday gifts, for instance.
“If we offer them the ability to pay back loans linked to their revenue cycles rather than the traditional twelvemonth cycle, then we can work with them so that they can pay back when they have the money,” Pentland says. To ensure that they can anticipate and better serve the needs of these kinds of customers, PayPal has recruited and hired former small business owners who have run such businesses, and their firsthand knowledge is valuable in creating terms for loan offerings. In fact, PayPal has created a culture of encouraging its global workforce to go the extra mile to better understand the company’s constituencies—literally. “It’s important for them to get out of our headquarters and go to where the customers are so that they can see what their lives are like and bring back that knowledge on a regular basis,” Pentland says. These trips also inform Pentland’s legal team as it advocates for changes in financial laws to benefit its customers. “It helps us when we talk to regulators so that we can optimally serve that constituency,” she says. This ethos of inclusiveness permeates PayPal’s values and what Pentland calls “conscious inclusion,” a pledge to drive greater inclusivity both internally and externally. Global conscious inclusion training includes personal actionplan development, bringing lessons learned “in class” into one’s real world. “We want to create an inclusive work environment so that people can do their best,” she says. Pentland’s personal mission to make PayPal a more inclusive company is recognized both within the company and by outside partners who work with her team. “Louise’s deep and genuine commitment to diversity is reflected not only by her innovative actions at PayPal, but also through her insistence that outside counsel field diverse teams for all PayPal matters,” says Bruce Yannett, a partner at Debevoise. That commitment to inclusion can sometimes mean readjusting expectations and making extra effort to get a diversity of life experience and perspectives into the workforce. To that end, PayPal runs a sixteen-week boot camp for women and nontraditional candidates who have taken time off work and are ready to re-enter the technology industry. Called the Recharge Program, it enables these candidates to refresh their skill sets before jumping back into the professional world.
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“We believe access to financial services is a right of all citizens of the world.” LOUISE PENTL AND
PayPal also encourages the formation of groups where employees come together to build impact around a specific affinity, united by the common purpose of fostering a sense of belonging and support for inclusion to thrive in the workplace. “These groups are not just for people to get together and talk among themselves; they also drive initiatives across the company,” Pentland says. Whether its policies for improved accessibility for the specially abled, or ways the company can help working parents strike a better work/life balance, PayPal looks to these groups to spark changes in the company’s culture. One initiative close to Pentland’s heart unleashes the talents of her legal team to aid those in need. An active volunteer dedicated to aiding South American immigrant children seeking asylum in the United States, Pentland founded a global pro bono program to encourage the legal team to volunteer their professional skills to organizations, individuals, or charitable causes the team
is passionate about. PayPal’s lawyers have helped organizations working to aid victims of domestic violence, ease ex-convicts back into society, and advocate for consumer law benefits and consumer rights. “Louise genuinely shares Orrick’s commitment to access to justice,” says Glynna Christian, partner and co-head of Orrick’s global technology transactions practice. “That’s why we’re so thrilled to partner with Louise and PayPal on an Equal Justice Works fellowship focused on clean slate services for immigrants in California.” Pro bono work, Pentland says, allows PayPal lawyers to give back to their communities while stretching their abilities to learn about unfamiliar areas of law. Often, volunteer work provides insight that can benefit PayPal’s mission and strategy. “Most roads lead to financial services in some form,” she observes. Victims of domestic violence, for example, may need monetary aid while they separate themselves from their abusers. Insight into the particular struggles of certain
groups of people can help PayPal create new products and services that meet them where their needs are greatest. Pentland has seen firsthand the benefit of employees broadening their horizons on the job. In her previous role as global chief legal officer for Nokia, Pentland was once forced to expand her legal team members’ focus areas by necessity. Toward the end of her sixteen years at the company, Nokia’s business was suffering after new competitors like Apple entered the market. Company-wide cost reductions and workforce downsizing created tough challenges. “We were asked to cut our budgets by 20 percent a year,” she recalls. “I had lawyers leaving, and had to get creative to give people a reason to stay.” Realizing that members of the legal team had extra capacity to do work outside of their assigned areas of responsibility, she created “a public marketplace for legal team members to take on work in another part of the business.” A Wiki-type application allowed lawyers to choose interesting work that bolstered their legal skills, which aided morale and retention despite the challenging financial state of the business. This creative approach to management helped earn Nokia the Financial Times Most Innovative In-House Legal Team of the year recognition in 2011. Pentland has carried over that principle to PayPal, where lawyers can take on new work that keeps them motivated and makes them more valuable as employees. “If you want to learn new skills, you shouldn’t have to leave the company,” she says. It’s another example of how diversity of experience can only make for a stronger organization. That philosophy has been a proven success at PayPal, and Pentland is determined to continue strengthening the company’s commitment to developing an inclusive workforce to deliver upon its mission to democratize financial services for all.
We feel privileged to work with a leader like Louise Pentland and are delighted to recognize her many achievements in promoting innovation and economic inclusion at PayPal.
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CELEBRATING LOUISE PENTLAND Louise, you are a true leader – in the market and in your tireless work to advocate for access to justice. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with you and the extraordinary PayPal team. And we are especially grateful to you for partnering with us on our work to advance women at Orrick and in the profession.
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On a Bona Fide Mission of Care How Jolee Bollinger involves both Catholic canon law and civil law to evolve the business and best serve patients of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System By J E N N Y D R A P E R
A chance encounter at a party in Birmingham, Alabama, led Jolee Bollinger to a job interview in an office converted from an old convent space. That’s where, in 2006, the legal leader met with the C-suite and Sisters of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System (FMOLHS). She seized the opportunity to support the largest Catholic health organization in Louisiana, which has also provided $39 million in unreimbursed care. Now the general counsel and corporate integrity officer is uniting its network of hospitals, clinics, physicians, elderly housing, and information systems more than ever before. “I'm a strong believer in an individual being placed precisely where she should be,” she says, “with the skills needed to meet the challenges that lie ahead.” As Bollinger guides the hospital network’s transition into a more integrated health system, she’s also ensuring FMOLHS doesn’t leave behind the ministry created by its founding Sisters more than a century ago. Profile spoke with the legal leader to discuss how she balances operating the
ministry in a commercial environment and how the recent movement toward an integrated health system will continue to serve communities in need. Your organization certainly has a rich history. Did that attract you to the opportunity there? It really did. Being able to translate my personal faith in this environment has been a really meaningful experience. The ministry isn't just posted up on the wall here; it guides our decisions and keeps our integrity in check in a very tough and changing healthcare environment. We emphasize to all of our team members that you are here because of a calling, and if you don't feel that calling, then this is not the place you should be. When I think about how our health system has grown over the years—going back to the six sisters that left Paris to come to Louisiana to start our first hospital—we always try to make decisions that are respectful of that tradition and heritage. Have there been significant changes at FMOLHS during your tenure? While the health system was formed in the
’80s, the hospitals have been operating for seventy-five to one hundred years as separate entities. And, when I joined as general counsel of the health system, each hospital still had its own legal function. Since then, we’ve consolidated legal, compliance, audit, and many other functions, such as risk management, finance, and human resources. We’re still on the road to consolidating where it makes sense. Another change that will take effect next spring relates to the sisters’ sponsorship. To assure the continued Catholic identity of our health system and to implement the teachings of Vatican II, the sisters requested the Vatican to create a new sponsorship structure, which ensures involvement of laity and continuation of the Catholic identity. What key considerations do you have for your team during this integration process? Our main goal has been to preserve the stability of our facilities and our ministry so that we will continue for the next hundred years. To do so, we have grown the department with lawyers who are able to deliver service as business partners. You certainly need a technical skill set, but you also need
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the right personality so that the lawyer feels invested in the business outcomes. We have a very talented team that does amazing legal work, and they also are able to assist the business teams to achieve their goals. It is a partnership rather than a sterile lawyerclient relationship.
Jolee Bollinger GC and Corporate Integrity Officer Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System
Jenn Ocken Photography
From a business perspective, what are the benefits of adhering to both legal and faith-based frameworks? We recognize that we must operate in a commercial environment; that’s the way that America works. But at the same time, we must assure we remain true to who we are in carrying out our mission. I've worked in both worlds—for-profit and not-for-profit healthcare. The outcome of decisions made between for-profit and not-for-profit entities may not be different, but the way the decision is made is extremely different. The discernment of who’s involved and considered stakeholders is very different; we really see ourselves as partners with our communities rather than merely a service provider. What’s an example of how stakeholders are brought to the table at FMOLHS? Before we transitioned a community hospital into a teaching hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, we started with the hospital medical staff. We knew that if the physicians would not support the effort, then we would never be successful. We also spent a great deal of time with the community, with our local government leadership, to address how we would assure populations had appropriate access to healthcare services. We have all the competitive pressures that impact any business, but with every decision, we focus on how we can best care for the patient.
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What does the corporate integrity aspect of your title mean to you? Those words are behind my name, but that’s a standard that we place on every leader and every team member within our organization. I oversee many of the safeguarding functions, but corporate integrity more broadly assures that we are all operating in a way that displays personal integrity not only when we carry out our technical jobs, but also how we conduct ourselves—a higher level of professionalism and compassion for what people are going through as they walk in our doors every day.
“Crowe congratulates Jolee Bollinger and Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System on the welldeserved recognition of their efforts. We are proud to continue working with FMOLHS toward their mission of ‘Making a Significant Difference,’ which we see reflected in all our interactions with Jolee.” –Crowe LLP
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Then how would you describe the cultural impact on the organization itself as it becomes more integrated? It's big. We have about thirteen thousand team members system wide, and they are really energized by the message because it’s providing an outward response to all the consolidations that are going on in healthcare. Instead of looking to partner with another system, we have decided to strategically grow ourselves to ensure stability. We have been a system of different hospitals in separate markets, and now we are continuing to coordinate that activity as an integrated system. One of the most significant first steps was our conversion to the Epic electronic health record system wide. Additionally, our efforts to develop population health through our clinical network is extremely impressive. Our goal is to connect the dots to help patients navigate the complex American healthcare system to either maintain their best health or return to a functional state of health in the event of chronic illness.
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The Global Risk Manager Robert Shoemaker of SUEZ weighs the cost of doing business in countries riddled by bribery and corruption with a web of complex laws and regulations across more than one hundred international jurisdictions By PA U L S N Y D E R
Chief Compliance Officer SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions
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“Simple” might not be the first word that comes to mind when you look at Robert Shoemaker ’s job description or the rundown of territories in which SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions operates. As the chief compliance officer for the Philadelphia-based water technologies and solutions business, Shoemaker is tasked not only with making sure the company and all of its partners operate in line with US regulations, but also in line with the regulations of the more than 120 countries in which SUEZ does business. Roughly 60 percent of the company’s workforce is based outside of the United States, including countries in which bribery and corruption are simply part of everyday life. For Shoemaker, and a company dedicated to working with customers that range from governments and municipalities to the private sector, that means keeping a close eye on every business partner, every product it ships, and the decisions made by each employee, with no room for error. “There are places where corruption is de rigueur—it happens all the time at every level of society and, in some cases, it’s expected,” Shoemaker says. “Our employees have to be trained quite thoroughly that it’s just not how we do business. For us, it’s about having a strategy to build the right culture, and continuously reinforce this with our teams. We’re fully willing to walk away from a deal if it involves corruption, bad actors, or violates the law.” The training isn’t a simple handout or rundown of company rules on a new employee’s first day of work. It’s a constant investment on the part of Shoemaker and his team, and it permeates every level of the company, from new hires all the way up to
the CEO. In addition to constant compliance training and processes that include expense pre-approval processes and hotlines when someone suspects a possible act of corruption, Shoemaker and his team push quarterly reviews with SUEZ leadership to reinforce the importance of the company’s ethics and culture to a workforce that tallies more than 100,000 employees and third parties worldwide. The key to making that work is efficiency—or at least to be as efficient as a company can be in an environment riddled with risk, myriad law changes across multiple international borders, and the potential for bureaucracy threatening to hold up business. Although the simple approach might be to consider a one-size-fits-all process that leaves no room for question or error, Shoemaker says business is more nuanced than that. What one department at SUEZ deals with might be something another department never faces, and an effective program needs to account for this. So, Shoemaker and his team tore down the bureaucratic walls that might have held up work in the past and tailored solutions and answers for departments throughout SUEZ in how they go to market. The result has been improved performance in a number of the company’s key metrics. But Shoemaker is the first to admit the system isn’t foolproof—nor can it be. “An organization needs to understand that failures are going to happen,” he says. “If you want zero risk, then everyone stays home in the morning and no one comes to the office. There’s no such thing as a zerorisk organization. Our job is to ensure everyone is aware of the rules, and make sure we don’t have failures that harm the business. Now and then, we’ll have a bad actor that makes a bad decision and we have
an effective response for that, but you can’t have a policy or process that covers absolutely every conceivable scenario.” Indeed, sometimes you have to improvise and find the answer when the question presents itself. For example, the WTS Business—along with Shoemaker’s team—used to be a part of General Electric until SUEZ acquired it. Although big picture changes didn’t seem too complex—Shoemaker was familiar with the risk associated with working on several international fronts within GE—the smaller-level issues quickly began to present themselves with the changeover.
ROBERT SHOEMAKER ON BUILDING OUT EFFICACY IN BUDAPEST “We’ve been able to build a duediligence shared service in Hungary in just a few months that consists of five people who service the entire globe for due diligence on over 100,000 customers, suppliers, third parties, and other partners. It’s a one-stop shop that any part of the business can plug into. If you’re working in sales in the UK, you can plug into the shared service just as easily as if you’re looking over an Excel spreadsheet for the finance team in India.”
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“We’re fully willing to walk away from a deal if it involves corruption, bad actors, or violates the law.” ROBERT SHOEMAKER
For instance, GE previously provided the department with due diligence services, and now that work has been transitioned in-house. GE had an elaborate training program that Shoemaker had to rebuild from scratch after the acquisition. Either task on its own could present a logistical problem for most companies. “Our diligence program isn’t just on all of our customers, but also on our business partners, suppliers, third parties—any party that touches our business,” Shoemaker explains. “We’ll do a risk-based, and sometimes heightened level of diligence, so that we can understand applicable sanctions, whether the external party has any adverse media reports, a reputation of bribery or corruption in the marketplace, whether they use child labor—anything and everything.” What makes it possible for Shoemaker and SUEZ, he says, is the buy-in from the company’s leadership. With a reputation for excellence to uphold, the investment in doing everything SUEZ can to ensure it
doesn’t have a compliance failure has never been questioned. Of course, with Shoemaker running a tight ship built on efficiency and efficacy, that’s no surprise. Having spent decades as part of GE’s compliance team, he has the highest expectations for his program and his business. “I’m an engineer by trade, so I have a natural tendency to like to build things and put things together,” Shoemaker says. “I like building things that are efficient and simple, but also robust. If you make a process or solution too complex, people will actively work to avoid it. That’s the worst-case scenario. You want something that people can see the value in, and that’s what I want my team to build and deliver.”
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Widening the Lens Lizanne Vaughan VP & Corporate Counsel
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Getty Images provides more than just stock photos—it also breaks major news stories. Lizanne Vaughan explains how its commitment to diversity and integrity helps fuel the national conversation. By R A N D A L L C O L B U R N
Getty Images is a go-to platform for publishers, editors, content creators, and pretty much anyone in need of professional, relevant photography. But it’s more than a place to find new photos of politicians, celebrities, and events; it’s also a forum for breaking news. The photojournalists it employs have worked to uncover a number of groundbreaking stories, from John Moore’s coverage of immigration at the Mexico–United States border and the Ebola crisis to Dan Kitwood’s work on the Rohingya crisis in Burma. For Lizanne Vaughan, vice president and corporate counsel at Getty Images, the company’s image-based work is crucial in a media environment overwhelmed by accusations of “fake news.” “A free and open press is the foundation of a solid democracy,” she says, “and the potential of an image to educate, provoke conversation, and drive change is unquestionable. It’s also key to ensuring we have informed debates, perhaps at this time in history more than any other. The impact of our photojournalists on the dialogue that happens on a global level has been profound.” A 2017 study from the Pew Research Center found that roughly two-thirds of Americans reported getting at least a portion of their news from platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. On platforms where the image is just as important as the words accompanying it—if not more so—Vaughan stresses that it’s beyond important to ensure that these images come from trustworthy sources.
“Without trusted sources, it’s really challenging to have honest debates on critical issues like the border and migrant issues John Moore has so thoroughly documented over more than a decade,” she says. “His images really help inform those conversations in a way that, without that context, you lose. Photography has the power to ignite passion, but it has to be rooted in credibility and integrity.” Cultivating and maintaining that sense of integrity is a key part of Vaughan’s job at Getty Images, and she works with the company’s leadership to ensure that integrity manifests both in-house and in the breadth of work it produces. Within the organization, Vaughan works to support each and every photographer in her role, adopting a proactive strategy on the back end that finds her and her team developing local and national partnerships that ensure access and enforce the rights of a free press. “If John runs into issues at the border, we have relationships with the right agencies and the resources to rapidly address those issues,” she explains. That support is crucial for photographers working within the United States as well. In 2014, Getty Images photographer Scott Olson was on the ground photographing the protests in Ferguson, Missouri that erupted following the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. In 2017, Olson was back in Missouri, covering protests in St. Louis following the acquittal of another
“Photography has the power to ignite passion, but it has to be rooted in credibility and integrity.” L I Z A N N E VAU G H A N
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Sebris Busto James a professional service corporation
Sebris Busto James is one of the leading management labor and employment law firms in the Pacific Northwest. Since its inception in 1992, the firm’s mission has been to provide a high-quality and cost-effective alternative to large multi-practice law firms. In addition to providing legal and practical advice and performing workplace investigations, the firm represents employers in employment litigation, agency proceedings, and traditional labor law matters.
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former police officer on charges in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. Olson was arrested both times while covering the news events. Getty Images acted quickly to get him released and partnered with other industry organizations to work with police and local agencies on ensuring photojournalists are not impeded in their work. “It is not OK to have American journalists getting jailed in America for doing their job,” Vaughan says. “We made sure that we got him released right away so we can ensure that these stories get told.” Another major effort of Vaughan’s, one that’s emboldened by Getty Images’ leadership, is an internal push toward diversity that helps to, in her words, “increase the engagement of underrepresented communities.” Diversity, she emphasizes, is especially crucial at Getty Images, as differing perspectives are essential to exploring every side of an issue or national conversation. Anyone who has a role in creating, distributing, and selecting imagery at any level in the advertising and editorial industries has the ability—and responsibility—to better represent the diverse audiences they are speaking to, Vaughan says. “We have a set of leadership principles by which we operate as a company, and among those leadership principles is a commitment to trust and transparency and to creating and fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce,” Vaughan explains. “Are we bringing all voices to the table to create a diverse and inclusive environment in terms of gender, race, age, and thought?” By weaving these disparate viewpoints into Getty Images’ library of images, the hope is that consumers will have the “access one needs to view different perspectives,” Vaughan says. The direction of the lens and the choice of what to shoot and how to frame it is inevitably impacted by the background and experience of the person behind the camera. And, when it comes to understanding the breadth of a current headline-generating
issue, an abundance of perspectives makes for more nuanced conversation. “We’re trying to ensure that our citizenry has choices,” Vaughan continues. “The mind processes imagery faster than words, so when you lay those images against one another, it allows you to process their individual details in a unique and important way.” These efforts are having an impact, too. Vaughan says that less than a decade ago, Getty Images’ most downloaded image using the search term “woman” was of a “scantily clad” model in bed. In 2017, after the company committed to providing more options and new perspectives—including launching its partnership with LeanIn.Org, the women’s nonprofit founded by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, to create the Lean In Collection on GettyImages.com—the most downloaded image was depicting a woman alone atop a mountain in Banff, gazing off into the distance. “This principle of diversity and inclusion feeds our potential to change the narrative in society around how women are pictured,” Vaughan says. “We can offer different viewpoints of traditional roles that, until now, have been seen through male-dominated or primarily white lenses.” The impact ripples not just through the news outlets in need of images, but also to consumers. “It’s that powerful gaze that allows us to move dialogue not just through our news journalists, but also through the way our customers are using our creative content to support their articles or advertising campaigns,” she says. “It helps create a society that can embrace all of these cultural differences.”
Sebris Busto James is privileged to represent Getty Images as employment counsel and is privileged to work with Lizanne Vaughan. Lizanne brings energy, imagination, humor and compassion to her role as vice president, corporate counsel. She is an effective advocate and business leader, and a pleasure to work with.
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An Ambassador for Inclusion Diageo’s Timothy Chow champions diverse talent and the LGBT community to help strengthen the global leader of beverage alcohol By J E N N Y D R A P E R
La st yea r ma rked a new record for inclusion in the business world: more than 600 employers earned a perfect 100 percent score on the Huma n R ights Ca mpa ign (HRC) Foundation’s annual Corporate Equality Index, setting the precedent for today’s LGBT-friendly workplace higher than ever before across industries and the world. One such employer, ranked by the HRC as a “Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality” for the tenth consecutive year, is the global distillery giant, Diageo, where Timothy Chow serves as general counsel for the company’s Latin American and Caribbean and global duty-free businesses, as well as global sales and global compliance. For Chow, the mission of inclusion is personal. The son of a Chinese father—a surgeon—who emigrated from Taiwan to the United States in the late 1960s and an American mother of Dutch-English descent, Chow grew up in a small, rural town in Michigan. “I was one Timothy Chow of those kids who never General Counsel, knew which box to tick Latin America & the when they asked for your Caribbean, Global Travel racial background because and Global Compliance ‘other’ wasn’t an option,” Diageo plc Chow says. “We were the
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minority, but growing up in a small town gave me a really strong sense of community, and I could see the impact my parents had on people’s lives as respected members of that community. That stuck with me.” Chow has contributed to Diageo’s regulatory solutions and cultural journey firsthand. He arrived at Diageo in London in 2004 as a corporate finance lawyer who went on to fill various head office roles before moving to his current role in Latin America in 2013. He was one of the first to complete Diageo’s Leadership Performance Program, then served on the faculty to coach others. Last year, the annual Global Counsel Awards recognized Chow as one of the best in-house lawyers worldwide in 2018. Today Chow supports the business while also helping Diageo lead a movement across the business world. “In Latin America, we have increasingly looked to attract local talent to fill roles there, for example,” Chow says. “Historically, there would have been a lot more people from a European or North American background. We’re recognizing that if we truly want to be a global company that is interacting with consumers, then our employee base has to represent our consumers, and it’s a winwin to create opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds across the company.” Representation also fuels the steps taken by HRC employers of choice like Diageo to ensure millions of LGBT workers across the United States are covered under non-discrimination policies. Chow adds that true inclusivity goes beyond what’s outlined on paper to promote a more expansive cultural attitude of acceptance. Diageo has purposefully cultivated such a culture so all 30,000-plus employees feel empowered to bring their authentic selves to work every day, beyond the London headquarters to each of the 80 countries with Diageo offices. The alcoholic beverages company’s reach extends even further, selling products in 180 markets that comprise such iconic brands as Smirnoff vodka, Johnnie Walker whisky, Baileys liqueur, and Guinness beer, among others. With that scope comes a global
“Consumers want to see their lives reflected in the brands they buy, so we’re not recognizing our consumers if we’re not reflecting their diversity.” T I M OT H Y C H O W
influence, and Diageo has been an early and active supporter of equal rights. In recent years, the multinational company has appeared on numerous “Best Places to Work” lists for women, new fathers, diverse managers, and the LGBT community. “We have terrific gender diversity in our legal team,” Chow says. “The legal team interacts with many parts of the business, so we are representative leaders in that sense.” In 2017, Smirnoff donated $1 per bottle of its limited edition “Love Wins” packaging to the HRC, and last year, Diageo North America president Deirdre Mahlan pledged to follow the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion initiative. In April of last year, Diageo also announced its partnership with the Open for Business coalition, a worldwide corporate alliance promoting LGBT+ rights as a key driver of economic success. These moves mark the multibillion-dollar organization’s continuous commitment to diversity as a crucial enabler of its own business growth around the world. Thomson Reuters recognized these efforts last September, when it ranked Diageo as the fourth most diverse workplace globally. “The heart of diversity and inclusion is authenticity,” Chow says. “It’s about
bringing your best self to work and applying that with skill in order to achieve your objectives. Also, consumers want to see their lives reflected in the brands they buy, so we’re not recognizing our consumers if we’re not reflecting their diversity.” Tapping a variety of perspectives from diverse talent is key to Diageo’s value strategy, and it’s one of the reasons why Chow felt inspired to come aboard fourteen years ago. “Almost every aspect of my life has had an international aspect to it,” he says. “The idea was really liberating that I might have some unique perspective that could change the work.” He launched his legal career at the London office of international law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. Prior, while earning a bachelor’s degree in Italian literature at Dartmouth College and a juris doctor at the University of Pennsylvania, Chow took many opportunities to study and work abroad in Asia and Italy. “When we talk about diversity, we often can talk about categories of people, but what we’re really trying to get to is that unique combination of skills, talent, and background that everyone has,” Chow says. “My thinking was molded by that, and it’s where I try to lead from now.”
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He turned the idea of change into action at Diageo by helping to build focus groups for LGBT employees. The Rainbow Network, Diageo’s mobilized employee group, increases the visibility of LGBT issues while promoting community-support initiatives amid various cultural contexts within the multinational organization. In 2017, Diageo fully backed The Rainbow Network’s first Inclusion Week, branded as INC., which featured events, debates, and TED-style talks addressing unconscious bias, disability confidence, LGBT employees working in hostile countries, support of trans employees, the power of allies, and more. “When I started, the group was already really strong in North America, but there was a need and a desire to do more,” Chow says. “In London, I was probably the most senior, openly gay leader. So frankly, I thought of it as a responsibility. Up until that point I didn’t consider myself an activist, but it was clear to me that there were people who felt they needed a voice, and Diageo was really receptive to people starting these conversations.” The network in Europe has spread to Amsterdam, Brussels, Budapest, and Scotland, with the goal of worldwide impact. From 2013 to 2016, Chow also served as board president of New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, and he continues to support the organization as a member of the board of directors. He also helped facilitate Diageo’s corporate sponsorship of The Center, which hosts more than 15,000 events and activities each year to support local LGBT communities with health and wellness programs; arts and cultural events; parenthood; family support services, and more. About 6,000 people visit The Center per week, Chow adds. “Diageo gave me the opportunity to explore LGBT+ advocacy within the context of the company,” Chow says. “I’m grateful for the skills it has given me, and if you have the platform, I believe you need to step up and use it.”
We congratulate Timothy Chow, General Counsel at Diageo, for his accomplishments. Hunton Andrews Kurth is a global law firm serving the world’s leading companies. Our industry focus spans the energy, financial services, real estate investment and finance, retail and consumer products, and technology sectors. With offices well-situated throughout the United
Timothy Chow for his extraordinary contributions at
Diageo and to the legal profession
States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Hunton Andrews Kurth is poised to help businesses around the world navigate complex legal challenges. For more information, visit HuntonAK.com.
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Teaching Business for the Greater Good President Jim Collins leads by example at Loras College, where an ethics-focused business school is the newest fulfillment of the Catholic institution’s mission By C H R I S G I G L E Y
As an avid runner, Jim Collins, president of Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, has the perfect campus to put in his miles. No matter where he goes, he can see how his work is helping the Catholic liberal arts institution grow. One of the latest signs of growth is the launch of the Francis J. Noonan School of Business, which welcomed its first class of students this fall. Its namesake, the late Francis J. Noonan, was a faculty member at Loras for forty-three years and, to this day, remains the longest-tenured business faculty member in the college’s history. He retired in 1991 as professor emeritus. Collins calls the school’s launch serendipitous. When he helped lead the Inspiring Lives & Leadership fundraising campaign in
2013, the goal was to raise $75 million within five years. It ended up being the largest fundraising campaign in school history, netting Loras $106 million upon the campaign’s completion in 2017. In talking with alumni during the campaign, Collins learned that many of them wanted to see the college put a greater emphasis on business, something that made a lot of sense to him. “Whether you go into healthcare or media, everyone needs some business acumen going forward,” says Collins. “At the time, we had seven undergraduate business majors, but it was the largest number of majors in any one academic area at Loras. And we’d had some significant success. In 2017, for instance, we recorded the nation’s seventh-best first-time pass rate for the CPA exam.”
In addition, a team of finance and economics students placed second worldwide in the 2018 Peeptrade Global Investment Challenge, an investment competition for undergraduate and graduate students. The bottom line is Loras already had the foundation on which to build a new business school. The fundraising campaign simply made it a reality. That Collins followed through on the wishes of his alumni is no surprise. Since becoming the school’s youngest president in 2004, he has boosted graduation, retention, job placement, and fundraising numbers to all-time highs. Last August, the Loras College Board of Regents gave Collins a five-year extension, ensuring he will be the school's longest-serving president. Collins admits he has had offers to go elsewhere but says he hasn’t been tempted.
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Part of it is geography. He grew up in a large, close-knit Catholic family in nearby Crystal Lake, Illinois, and likes being close to them. While five of his six siblings attended Loras, Collins’s own family has continued the legacy, with all six of his children having attended Loras at one point in their education careers. Another part of Collins’s affinity is comfort. As a 1984 Loras College graduate, he’s served in some capacity at the school for thirty-four years. He says Loras has given him the kind of transformational experiences he doesn’t think he’d find anywhere else. The campus environment, he says, is magical. “That has to do with a very dedicated faculty and staff,” says Collins. “This is not a 9-to-5 place. You see lots of faculty and staff attending sporting events and performances. Students see this deep sense of care and interest. Among faculty and staff the rewards are intrinsic. They can watch the growth of the students and see the impact of the role they’re playing as these students go on to be accomplished alumni.” The Francis J. Noonan School of Business is embodying that ethos of caring. According to a Loras College release, its mission is to educate students to be ethically aware, data-informed, globally prepared, responsible leaders. How? The answer is captured in the mantra of the undergraduate and graduate business analytics programs: “Just because we can, should we?” Loras business students learn how to manipulate and interpret data, but they also learn how to put it in context of the greater good. Collins agrees that balance is more striking than ever in the current economic and political environment, where ethical failings tend to be the news of the day. “If we continue to provide a strong academic experience and partner that with morality, we can make an impact and have a ripple effect on how that plays out in the world,” says Collins. “We need strong ethical leadership, and too many people are willing to sacrifice what’s right in their effort to get more power or money.” It will be up to James Padilla, who was picked last May to be the first dean of the Noonan School, to fulfill the philosophical and practical plans developed by the college. Padilla previously served as associate dean/ associate professor of Marymount University’s School of Business. It’s his job to make sure future Noonan School graduates combine insight with integrity as they navigate the global business world. Collins is optimistic it will happen. He mentioned a recent conversation with fellow Loras alumnus and longtime sportscaster Greg Gumbel. It was Gumbel who said that his experience at Loras has helped him maintain his integrity in an industry that has suffered its fair share of scandal over the last few years.
“As much as young people are seeing so much of what’s wrong, there are some good examples out there to show what we teach here works, and you can live a more meaningful life and make life better for people you serve and work alongside,” says Collins. He should know. Collins continues to do just that at his alma mater.
Jim Collins President Loras College
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The Art and Science of Change How Deanna Siegel Senior is shaping a culture of impact at WW Words by J E N N Y D R A P E R
Photos by P E T E R G A R R I TA N O
A fter almost two decades inf luencing the culture of some of the world’s most ic o n ic b r a n d s — P f i z e r, Deloitte, and Tiffany & Co. to name a few—today, Deanna Siegel Senior is utilizing her experience to bring change to another household name. The changemaker is applying world-class talent strategies cultivated at these industry giants to transform the world’s leading commercial weight-management program and global partner for wellness, WW, the contemporary iteration of the billion-dollar enterprise Weight Watchers International, Inc. WW looks for candidates to help change people’s lives. “Most of our recruitment efforts these days are in the tech space,” says Siegel Senior, vice president of talent and organizational development at WW. “To become the world’s partner in wellness, we’re evolving the experience we offer our members. And to do that, we need to add to our talent pipeline, different skill sets, and areas of expertise. Today
some of the open positions at WW include software engineers and scrum-masters. I feel I have a great responsibility to bring in cutting-edge talent that exudes passion for our purpose; to develop and nurture these extraordinary individuals; and to make sure we're creating a culture that reflects our purpose and represents the best of our heritage and reflects where we are going as a company and as a brand.” Since its founding in 1963, WW has spread across eleven countries to deliver nutrition and lifestyle solutions for its roughly 4.5 million members. “We ask the question, ‘What is your why?’” Siegel Senior says. “It used to be to lose weight, but now there is a shift to being healthy. Losing weight may be an important part of that, but there’s so much more.” In a reflection of this evolution to focus on overall health and well-being, in addition to weight management, the company
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Deanna Siegel Senior VP of Talent & Organizational Development WW
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announced on September 24, 2018 that it would become WW and add the tagline “Wellness that Works.” Of the new tagline, Siegel Senior notes that it speaks to the efficacy of the program. “Not everybody has the opportunity to impact lives the way WW does, and our tagline is a promise we make to people that no matter what their goals are, we will be their partner, bringing them science-based solutions that work.” WW works with celebrity brand ambassadors such as Oprah Winfrey, DJ Khaled, and actor Kevin Smith, to better connect with the members it serves and to connect with new communities. It also focuses on the digital experience for members, with enhanced tools for activity tracking and community building. With this new external promise, Siegel Senior and the people team have been focused on enhancing the internal culture by staying true to the spirit of the company’s culture and connecting to the brand’s evolution into a global wellness company. To do so, she guides the employee life cycle with the vision of holistic health, well-being, and innovation front of mind. Internal WW investments include the launch of Workplace by Facebook to connect and give voice to WW’s 18,000 global employees. Through this platform, Siegel Senior launched a series called WW Inspire which includes engaging content comprising presentations and fireside chats hosted by CEO Mindy Grossman and other WW executives. The series features authors, scientists in the health tech space, and social psychologists who help bring the internal community together and focus on WW’s purpose and its employees. Siegel Senior’s team also created Impact Behaviors (“Stay curious”, “Act boldly”, “Win together”, and “Make a difference”) to guide WW employees to embody the principles of the company’s Impact Manifesto. It outlines “the unique promises we make to all we serve and their focus on personalization, science-based habits, and community building. Our impact behaviors outline the specifics,” Siegal Senior says. She also launched WW’s Career and Impact Conversations globally, a program in which employees and managers engage in meaningful career development discussions as well as focus on the impact
they’re having on the business through twoway feedback conversations. “The opportunities now at WW are numerous and exciting. We are creating a modern community-based environment for our team that’s reflective of our brand,” Siegel Senior says. “To integrate and unify WW inside and out is a huge part of my role.” Siegel Senior arrived at WW in December 2017 to channel her expertise in organizational strategy to deliver this new mission—one that reenergizes the employee value proposition for the 18,000-person global workforce. “I’ve always had a passion for why people choose the work that they do, what draws them to the company that they work for, and what makes them stay,” she says. Her career began at Big Four accounting firm Deloitte after she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and political science at the University of Michigan. After, she pursued a PhD in organizational psychology from Columbia University, her dissertation focused on corporate volunteerism. She spent the following four years advising biopharmaceutical giant Pfizer. “At Pfizer, I learned the critical importance of corporate social responsibility and attaching meaning to work,” says Siegel Senior, who led the South Asian Earthquake Relief Fund project there. Then in 2006, she joined Tiffany & Co. as manager of organizational effectiveness. It was at Tiffany where she spent the next decade rising through the ranks of the luxury jewelry retailer, before becoming the vice president of global organizational effectiveness, talent management, and leadership development. In this role, she created cultural values for the senior leadership team and her team designed a global leadership excellence and diversity job rotation program. She’s applied the lessons she learned there to create a brand-led culture for the global workforce of corporate and studio employees at WW. Siegel Senior also cites her mother, a learning and development executive at IBM for twenty years, as a mentor and the inspiration behind her own career in a similar space. Senior recalls the start-uplike energy at WW when she first walked through the door for the interview and soon felt compelled to team up with CEO
HEALTHY HABITS TO ALL Last June, WW launched its “Summer of Impact” initiatives. It included a global social impact campaign, WW Good, which featured six festivals throughout North America and a global hashtag campaign to support wellness journeys in underserved communities. The events gathered nearly 8,000 attendees, 70 percent being non-WW members, and provided healthy meals to 12,000 local families in need, in addition to donating 15,000 pounds of fresh food to local food banks. “It introduced WW to new audiences, and is just the start of how we can bring healthy habits to all,” Siegel Senior says.
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Mindy Grossman and Chief People Officer Kimberly Samon. “As a working mom of three kids, these women are mentors to me and inspire my work every day,” Siegel Senior says. “And our purpose truly drives me. I'm proud of the fact that we're helping people change their lives by building healthy habits.” WW recently launched a suite of new innovative experiences to support members on their journeys. In October 2018, WW launched WellnessWins, a rewards program in which members earn “wins” for engaging in healthy habits that can be redeemed for exclusive products, services, and experiences designed to inspire their wellness journeys. “It’s different because we’re not rewarding people for money they spend on our program; it’s rewarding the habits that we know will make them successful,” Siegel Senior says. Following the same principle, Siegel Senior and team are designing an employee recognition program that rewards employees for demonstrating the newly launched Impact Behaviors. “Our internal culture should align with our brand. How we show up externally is deeply connected to our employee experience.” Internally, Siegel Senior focuses on individual development, cross-functional teams, and employs cross-regional surveys, focus group interviews, and robust senior leader involvement to determine what aspects of the WW culture must stay and what it needs to evolve to as a technology experience company. Looking ahead, she aims to continue building an authentic, altruistic, and impactful team as WW increasingly integrates in people’s lives as a true partner in wellness. “I feel like I’m at a start-up, but with fifty-seven years of powerful heritage and the resources of a big brand,” Siegel Senior says. “By drawing on over five decades of experience and expertise in behavioral science, we build communities in order to deliver wellness for all. The idea of inspiring healthy habits for real life—for people, families, communities, the world, for everyone— makes it a very exciting place to be, and my family is as proud as I am that I chose to work for WW.”
“I feel like I’m at a start-up, but with fiftyseven years of powerful heritage and the resources of a big brand.” DE ANNA SIEGEL SENIOR
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Laying the Financial Foundation for New Cities With a combination of financial analysis and improving investor relations, The Howard Hughes Corporation’s CFO David O’Reilly plays a critical role in the planning and funding of communities across the country By P E T E R FA B R I S
A new dow ntow n ha s emerged in the city of Summerlin, Nevada, soon to include a premier ballpark for Minor League Baseball’s Las Vegas 51s that will be a capstone of the booming retail and entertainment district. It’s the creation of real estate developer The Howard Hughes Corporation, a publicly traded company with a unique business strategy. Howard Hughes has a large, geographically diverse portfolio that focuses on three distinct business segments—master planned communities, strategic developments, and operating assets—and affords competitive advantages. With the country’s preeminent portfolio of master planned communities, Howard Hughes invests in residential and
commercial properties, retaining ownership, and operating multifamily and commercial buildings. The company also sells land to homebuilders for single-family residences and constructs multifamily and commercial buildings such as retail, office, and hotels within the same developments. “No other public company in the nation constructs whole communities on this type of scale,” explains David O’Reilly, Howard Hughes’ CFO. “ We are developing, in essence, small cities—communities with thousands of residents that are essentially their own ecosystems.” O’Reilly plays a key role in the development of places such as Summerlin, obtaining sound financing deals, spearheading investor relations, and driving critical financial
analysis of investment opportunities—all of which are vital to the developer’s success. When it comes to something such as the Las Vegas 51s ballpark, success can be defined both quantitatively and qualitatively, O’Reilly says. The cost to build the venue, about $115 million, is relatively easy to price out. Estimating annual income in this case—$7.2 million from operations, including ticket sales—takes more nuanced estimations, but can be calculated with reasonable certainty. While the impact on quality of life for the community is more difficult to quantify, Howard Hughes is committed to investing in such forward-thinking community amenities, with the new Las Vegas ballpark reflecting the burgeoning national trend of professional sports facilities serving as
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catalysts for accelerated economic growth and cultural development. Increasingly, O’Reilly says, people are looking for extras when they choose a place to live. “When you build landmark destinations like entertainment venues, people can have great experiences without traveling,” O’Reilly says. That makes the community
CFO The Howard Hughes Corporation
more attractive, thereby boosting demand and property values. By how much, though, is nearly impossible to determine. That’s where O’Reilly’s expertise comes in. O’Reilly is one of the company’s top decision-makers, along with the CEO, president, and other corporate officers. Together, they are responsible for choosing how and where
to invest capital in new ventures. The company has regional leaders who pitch ideas for new opportunities to O’Reilly and other top executives, and it’s up to them to evaluate the proposals. “Our business plan revolves around selling land to homebuilders and using that capital to fund commercial amenities— office, hotel, and retail,” O’Reilly explains. “This makes land more valuable, which creates a virtuous cycle of value creation.” The current booming economy also makes for a target-rich environment for investing. “We have more opportunities than we have capital for,” he says. “My job, along with others in upper management, is to decide how to allocate capital where we are going to have the highest risk-adjusted return.” Since he joined The Howard Hughes Corporation in 2016, O’Reilly has also focused on garnering better deals in capital markets to reduce the cost of borrowing. In July 2018, his efforts paid off with a one-notch upgrade on the company’s credit rating from Standard and Poor’s, as well as a positive outlook for another upgrade. That reward mainly came from reaching out to the credit rating bureau to provide increased transparency and communication about the company’s business model, goals, and results. Though the upgrade may only yield a modest benefit during this strong economic period, it could pay off handsomely in the future. “There are points in the business cycle, such as now, where the incremental cost of capital for a double-B company versus a triple-B company, for example, may only be five basis points,” O’Reilly says. “But in a credit market like that of February 2009—a much more challenging market—the difference between a double-B company and triple-B can be 250 or 350 basis points. As a CFO or risk manager, you need to be planning for those harder times.” Boosting credit ratings and educating investors also helps to make the company more flexible with regard to its capital strategy. “It gives us better access to different types of capital that could be cheaper,” O’Reilly says. When O’Reilly first joined the company, Howard Hughes’ leadership team charged him with crafting a more robust investor
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Close to clients since 1856. It takes an entrepreneurial mindset to drive progress. Credit Suisse thanks David Weinreb, Grant Herlitz, David O’Reilly and the team at Howard Hughes Corporation for their inspired leadership as one of the premier real estate companies in the USA. It has been our pleasure to work with them to bring vision and innovation to everything they do.
Copyright © 2018 Credit Suisse Group AG and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
We are honored to work with David O’Reilly, CFO, at Howard Hughes Corporation. As lead lender on a current financing assignment, we appreciate the partnership and look forward to building our relationship with David as Howard Hughes Corporation achieves future success.
Wells Fargo Securities is the trade name for the capital markets and investment banking services of Wells Fargo & Company and its subsidiaries, including but not limited to Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, a member of NYSE, FINRA, NFA and SIPC, Wells Fargo Prime Services, LLC, a member of FINRA, NFA and SIPC, and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Wells Fargo Securities, LLC and Wells Fargo Prime Services, LLC are distinct entities from affiliated banks and thrifts. © 2018 Wells Fargo & Co. All rights reserved. PDS-1178581
relations program. With a unique business strategy, that effort is a tougher challenge than it would be at a typical public company. “We’re a company without a true public peer,” O’Reilly says. “This makes us unique in the investment community and therefore harder for folks to readily understand because we’re not one of several. We’re one of one.” On the investor relations front, O’Reilly has two chief areas of focus. He’s implemented a more aggressive outreach strategy—including quarterly earnings calls, conferences with investors, nondeal roadshows, and simplified but expanded financial disclosures—to allow for more transparent communication so that investors can better understand the story of Howard Hughes. Experience in the investment industry, including an eight-year stint at Lehman Brothers, has also aided in those efforts. O’Reilly began his career in civil engineering, working for an engineering firm that specialized in revamping vacant buildings in Boston. “I learned how to creatively problem-solve, and that has served me well,” he says. Later, O’Reilly took a management role overseeing construction and operations. As he became more involved with financial aspects of this work, he developed an interest in the finance field and earned an MBA at Columbia University. Next to selecting the right areas to stake out a new planned community and designing it, how to fund development is a close second in importance to Howard Hughes’ success because even a well-planned investment can be derailed by the wrong financing strategy. Part of O’Reilly’s job is to anticipate what could go wrong and work to reduce risk, which he refers to as “constructive paranoia.” Today, though, Howard Hughes has a thriving business with a successful formula. O’Reilly will continue to work tirelessly to get the word out about that and to make the right investments so that residents have the amenities they want within the company’s mini-cities. It’s all aimed at keeping that virtuous cycle in motion.
P E O P L E + C O M PA N I E S
Adams, Diane 216 Alton Lane 96 ASICS 84
Desjourdy, Amee 20 Diageo plc 265 Dominion Energy 206 Dyson 220
II-VI Incorporated 8 InterGen 211 Isaacs, Mike 227
Raising Cane’s Reid, Carter Renewable Energy Group, Inc. Rhône Group Roby, Rebecca
Louise Pentland, EVP, Chief Business Affairs and Legal Officer, PayPal
Badalamenti, Vito 115 Beckelheimer, Anne Coshow 109 BIC Graphic 40 Black, Cheryl 156 Bollinger, Jolee 256 Borg, Deborah 232 Boston Red Sox 182 Bunge Limited 232 Burrow Global 235 Byrd, Richard 216
Erbes, Roysi Etheridge, Felecia Eustis, John
161 200 176
Flood, Matthew 131 Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System 256
Kashani, Beata Kayton, Edward Kirk, Shannon Kushner Companies
Geseking, Diana 220 Getty Images 262 Global Partners LP 20 Gold-Williams, Paula 200 Gregory, Jill 153
California Pizza Kitchen 45 Chow, Timothy 265 Coar, Kamau 144 Coeur Mining 109 Collins, Jim 268 CONSOL Energy 196 Cooper, Leslie 164 CPS Energy 200
James & Co. James, Michele John Wiley & Sons Johnson, Dolph
H Hard Rock International 224 Hasbro 168 Heidrick & Struggles 144 Hilton 77 Howard Hughes Corporation 274 Hunter, Colin 96 Hutcherson, Eric 14
161 161 37 168
58 28 45 122
L Lang, Ana LAZ Parking Loras College
242 246 268
M MacLean-Fogg 227 Magic Leap 242 Magnuson, Chris 72 Maher, Paul 102 Maricopa Community Colleges 164 McCasey, Nicole 84 McCauley, Jenny 188 McCraw, Nicki 24 Miami Heat 238 Micro Focus 118 Microsoft Corporation 102 MirrorCache 66 Moore, Shelly 134 Morton Salt 58 MSA Safety Inc. 148 Mulrain, Sandra Hall 127
N Nabors 72 NASCAR 153 National Basketball Association 14
Kristin Fortier/Paypal (Pentland), Kelly Kenney (Walker)
O O’Reilly, David Oshkosh Corporation Owen, Nathan
274 48 246
At Pandora Media, Karen Walker applies the company’s innovative mind-set to its accounting functions
Pandora Media Inc. 90 PayPal 250 Penniman, Camille 105 Pentland, Louise 250 Prestige Consumer Healthcare 131
105 206 32 115 224
S Schacknies, Fred 77 Schwebach, Jonathon 32 Shellman, Carolyn 200 Shield, Brian 182 Shoemaker, Rob 259 Siegel Senior, Deanna 270 Singh, Archana 37 Southwestern Energy 188 Southwire 127 Spirit Airlines, Inc. 28 Sprinklr 216 SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions 259 Sunbelt Rentals 156 Sussal Wolf, Emily 122
T Thurlow, Nick 211 Tommy Hilfiger 113 Toray Plastics (America) 176 TreeHouse Foods 140 Tripathi, Rahul 118 TTM Technologies 172
U University of Washington Medicine 24 Unger, Todd 52
V Vartanian, Nish Vaughan, Lizanne Vise, Mark
148 262 235
W Wagner, Dave 8 Walker, Karen 90 Ware, Scott 66 Weber, Dan 172 WW 270 Wiegand, Martha 196 Wilson, Catherine 113 Winterbottom, Barbie 40 Wise, Lee 140
Y Yakovee, Vered YRC Worldwide
Z Zeigler, Angie
Running on Data When she was first introduced to the ASICS brand, Nicole McCasey, now vice president of merchandising & business planning for ASICS Canada, was impressed by the company’s datadriven approach to athletic footwear. “As a runner, it gave me a different perspective on how products can improve performance,” she says.
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SCIENCE DESIGN POTENTIAL SUIT INFRASTRUCTURE TECHNOLOGY EXPERIENCE MUSIC APP PRODUCT USER INVENTION PERFORMANCE SAFE STRATEGY SNEAKER DATA SHAKER COLLECTIVE EXPECTED FOUNDATION ENTERPRISE OPPORTUNITY DRILL ALGORITHM INTERFACE LOBBY INDUSTRY CONSUMER ACCOUNT SAFETY APPLICATION APPROACH BROADCAST CUSTOMIZATION PLAYLIST HOTEL ROOM ROUTINE TRANSFORMATION CHALLENGE PLAN OPERATION