What inspires your leadership approach?
I believe in and am inspired by the “I am third” principal. The original version, I first heard in the ’70s from the great Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears. Shown in practice upon the caring of his friend Brian Piccolo at his deathbed. … God first, family and friends second, and Gale third. My leadership approach was adapted from the “I am third” principal. The customer first, the companies I’ve worked for and represented second, and Jack third. This leadership philosophy served the customers and companies [I’ve] worked for well. Of course, the original version are words to live by. This successful format has stood the test of time.
Where do you see the dairy, deli and bakery industry headed? What is the future of the category?
After 40 plus years in the business, seeing many changes, I find the categories going back to the “good old days” from a product standpoint; products that are good tasing, made with good, clean, natural ingredients [and] packed responsibly and procured sustainably. I believe the future is bright for our business categories as consumers will continue to shop our supermarket trade formats for the products they love to serve to their families and friends.
How would you define a Champion of Change?
First off, I believe you have to have the mindset of “the willingness to change” coupled with the willingness to try. A Champion has to be proud of what they do, adapt to the changing environment of our business while having the right attitude. A Champion of Change is an individual that adapts and accepts change while leading by example. If you originally don’t like the change, learn to like it, and make a positive impact from there.
How do you effect change in your organization?
Make positive contributions to the team. Share your knowledge, wisdom and experiences with your team. I’ve accumulated a great deal of knowledge from the relationships I was so fortunate to have in this business. First, starting with my Oscar Mayer mentors as a young salesman to the mentors I have from the great company Giant Eagle Markets, their managers, buyers, warehouse and store personal, to my current group at Affinity Sales. They have challenged me to be the best I can be and pass the knowledge on, to help build sales and profits while satisfying their guests and consumers.
Favorite food: Wife’s potato salad.