Voice of Supply Chain – Jan. 2022
Featuring: Anna McGovern
This is a show where we meet every third or fourth Wednesday of each month. The purpose of our show is to tell stories of people in procurement and supply chain, doing extraordinary things. I am your host, Sarah Scudder. I oversee marketing for SourceDay. We automate purchase order changes and enable supplier collaboration for manufacturers, distributors, consumer packaged goods brands, and retailers.
If you want to talk more about Women in ERP or what’s happening in the world of manufacturing, you can connect with me on LinkedIn and follow my hashtags, Women in ERP and Manufacturing Maven.
Today, our guest is Anna McGovern. She and I have known each other, I want to say almost coming on three years, and we still have not met in person, so we are technically COVID friends. So, it’s an honor to have her as a guest on the show, and her and I have done a lot of projects and things together over the last couple years.
The show is meant to be interactive, so please do not be shy. We’ve got a chat and Q&A function at the bottom of the screen throughout the show. So, submit questions. Anna is not a shy person, so feel free to ask away.
And then, to kick us off today, I’d like to have you share in the chat where in the world you are joining us from today. So, pop us a note in the chat: what city and state, and then anything else that you would like to chat or talk about today. Again, submit those throughout the show.
So, Anna, I always like to kick off the show going way back in time, talking about childhood days, because I think a lot of the things that we experience and learn in our childhood actually impact and affect our careers and the path that we take. So, I’d like to have you start off by sharing a favorite childhood memory.
Oh my goodness, I think just by the nature of the answer to this question, I’m going to really be dating myself. You know, when I was growing up, this is in my early days of living in Patterson, New Jersey, you know, we didn’t have playdates. We just went out in the streets and there were tons of neighborhood kids. And we would ride our banana bikes, and we would stick baseball cards to them with clothespins so they would clickety-click along the way. But my favorite thing to do, we just went outside. We came home from school, we changed our school clothes, we went outside to play, and we didn’t come back until it got dark, in time for dinner. And we played in the street, things like kickball and dodgeball, monkey in the middle, run the bases, and we would pop wheelies with our banana bikes. So that’s probably the thing that came to mind when you asked me about childhood memories, is how simple it was. And no one kept track of us. We didn’t have cell phones. You just knew to be home, and any neighbor’s mom could kick your ass if they wanted to. I call this pre-cell phone, pre-video game days.
Yes, exactly. So, Anna, what in your childhood shaped you to be the person that you are today? If you had to pick one thing that really, really stands out.
Well, you know, that’s an easy one for me. So, I’m the daughter of immigrant parents, right? And my parents came to this country from Syria, in fact. And it was really about providing their family with a better way of life. They really were truly about the American dream. That’s what immigrants came here to do. They knew they could come, they could work hard, they could own a home, and live in freedom. And that’s really what shaped me as a first-generation child of immigrants. It was really about the work ethic. It was to appreciate everything we had, and we didn’t have much. And really, it was their love of this country and their love of having an opportunity to work with dignity. So, you know, my dad owned a convenience store for about 40 years. And you know, my brothers and I, all at one point or another, had to pay our dues and work in the store. You know, my mother worked for a company that made elegant handbags and other accessories. And just the dignity of being able to go to work was what shaped her. And she didn’t go to work until it was my freshman year in high school. So, she was a stay-at-home mom until we got older, and then she went to work. But it really, it’s that attitude towards work, towards appreciation, that shaped who I am today.
What’s the tradition that you learned from your parents that you’ve continued on to your family today?
Oh my goodness, well, it’s really family. Family is everything. Family is it. So, the gatherings, my mother, when we were young, was sort of that ‘it’ woman. You know, she’s the one that got everybody together. She was the outgoing personality. She brought everybody together. And I kind of emulate that role a little bit. You know, we’re kind of homebodies in the sense that we love to entertain in our home. So, we’re kind of home central, you know, when it comes to summers and having family barbecues, bringing friends together. So, that’s probably the tradition I’ve picked up and held on to the most.
Most influential person in your childhood and why.
Okay, well, the obvious answer would be my parents, but that’s not who I’m going to say. I’m going to say it’s my aunt, Lily, who is not my aunt by blood. She was a dear family friend. She was older than my parents, but this was a woman who would probably be well over a hundred years old today had she lived. But she was a tough broad who really made it. She got divorced when it was taboo to get divorced. She talked about getting divorced with five dollars in her pocket. And she worked hard. She worked for an automotive, an auto parts company. And she came in and was a clerk, worked her way up to bookkeeper, and eventually became controller of the company. And so just in terms of that strong women who can make it on their own is why she means so much to me. And I just remember like seventh, eighth grade, she would buy me graphing notebooks and red pencils. And we would pick up the local newspaper and we would turn to the business section, and she would teach me about the stock market. You know, and again, I’m dating myself. This is way before Yahoo Finance or anything. Literally, she would make me pick a couple of companies. And I just remember, you know, we would plot them in the graph notebook that she would buy me, and we would see and track the stocks over time. She made a fortune investing in stocks, investing in real estate. And when she did finally pass away, she was an incredibly wealthy woman. She is my idol. And she got me my first day timer. Again, I’m dating myself. Do you remember day timers?
When I graduated from high school, I wasn’t even gonna ask. It’s a planner with pages. It was like a planner that you add pages to, and you write everything down. So, that concept of planning, you know, that’s what she gifted me after high school.
Final childhood question, and then I want to transition into college days. What’s one thing you learned as an adult that you wish you knew as a kid?
Oh my goodness, I would have to say, ‘Don’t be in a hurry to become an adult. Enjoy your childhood.’ You know, it’s like, you know, ‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m 12 and a half.’ You know, ‘What do you want to be?’ ‘I just want to be old enough so I can drink and I want to do this and do that.’ You’ve got your whole life to work for the rest of your days. Savor every stage of life. I wish I took more time to appreciate the special little moments in life that mean so much to me now that I think about them from way back then. You know, life was simpler. And as an adult, I sort of long for simpler days sometimes.
So after high school, you went to college, which is a big deal coming from an immigrant family. Why did you choose to major in psychology?
Well, something about being in the daughter of immigrants going to college, I’m the first person in my family to actually go to college. So that was a big deal. I studied psychology thinking I wanted to go on and become a psychologist, quite frankly. I always had the knack for wanting to help people. I also thought I wanted to be a teacher, so I thought I could combine the two. But you know, I think I’ve always had that entrepreneurial spirit. Teaching wasn’t going to pay enough, and psychology was never going to pay enough unless I went on for a PhD. But that was the initial motivation.
What’s the most important thing you learned during your undergraduate program?
Oh my goodness, honestly, the thing I learned is just as I started to look at what are the options after graduation, you know, I learned that it’s okay to stop and think, and that it’s okay to change direction sometimes. So, I pivoted and started to take a lot of business classes, thinking this is going to be my plan B. So, I took a lot of business and marketing classes and eventually had enough credits to have a double major. Maybe I think I was like one class short, but it was that realization that it’s okay to change when something is not a good fit. And I didn’t pursue psychology in the end. So, that was the big lesson there, that it’s okay to change.
Perceived worst advice you received in college that has actually turned into good advice.
Oh worst advice. I’m not really sure. I’m not really sure I have anything that jumps out that was the worst advice that turned into good advice. I’ve gotten tons of bad advice that was really bad advice. I don’t know that it turned into anything good eventually, but you know, bad advice is also a good teacher for the future. You know, if you learn from your mistakes, then it was worth it.
Why did you choose to go back to school to get an MBA in finance?
Because you know, at the time, you know, we’re talking in the 90s here now, at the time it was perceived that an MBA was going to be worth anywhere from 20 to 25% more salary. It was a way to differentiate ourselves, and honestly today, it’s table stakes to get into a good company, a good job. So, whatever you need to do to give yourself an edge, I thought it was going to give me an edge. What I really wanted to do was get an MBA in marketing. But you know, at the time, an MBA in marketing was a dime a dozen, unless you were going to the big designer degree schools, you know, the Ivies and everything else. So, finance, although I hated every minute, I thought it was going to be a good way to differentiate myself. And I’m so glad I did because it was really important to have that background of being a supply chain and procurement professional.
Was getting an MBA worth it, the time, the money, the stress?
It was, I had no life. I was single at the time, so I worked full time and went to school at night. It took me three years to complete all the credits. It was worth it because I did get that bump in salary. It really did propel me ahead.
So after college, what was the best and worst part of your first paying gig?
So, I joined a company that was in the business of making industrial plastics products. So, the company was the maker of something called Polycast, which is the competitor to Plexiglas. We also made things like naugahyde and other things. And so, it was an industrial space. I took the job, the first entry-level job. I was making $28,000 a year. And I was a customer service rep, inside sales rep, something like that. And, you know, at the time, it was a very high-paying job. And I took it because of the money. I’ll be very honest. I took it because it was going to pay me more, and I was going to be making more than all of my friends, except for the ones that were going into engineering or accounting. And, you know, it’s all about cultural fit, right? And it’s all about understanding, you know, when you should show your cards and when you should fold them. And I probably stuck around a little bit too long, but everything happens for a reason.
It was a good company, you know. They made good products. I met really good people. In fact, there are still people that I met back in those days that I’m still very close friends with, so that’s a really good thing to come out of it. But if I had to write a Harvard Business case about how not to manage or how to be a bad boss, I would have to go back to those days in order to write that case study. So, but it was great learning, you know. It was a good way to cut my teeth in the corporate world or in the manufacturing world because I was in a manufacturing environment. And it was a good training ground. So, why’d you leave? Because I got that call to have me join Unilever, where I spent the next 23 years of my life. So, I got a chance to work in the middle of Manhattan, on Park Avenue, and I was going to double my salary overnight, and it was the best decision I ever made. So, I did get recruited, and you know, and I landed there, and it was the best thing to ever happen coming out of there.
What was the most difficult part of transitioning into procurement?
Well, so I, you know, when I was at Polycast, I worked in customer service, inside sales, and there was an opportunity to transition to operations where I was doing material planning, you know, for factories, and, you know, from there I was able to become a purchasing agent, you know, slash purchasing manager. But back then it was purchasing, and it was very, very transactional. So, when I went to Unilever and started my career there, I started in the planning track, and I loved planning. It was end-to-end supply chain planning. It was demand, it was supply, it was capacity, and I was getting promoted very, very quickly. And at Unilever, you had to sort of check off more than one lane in the supply chain highway. So, if we look at plan, source, make, and deliver, I had the manufacturing bit. So, I had the make. I had the plan. I didn’t have, you know, source and deliver at the time. And as I was looking at it, I wasn’t going to move to a factory. So, I was like, you know what, why don’t I get into purchasing? It was still called purchasing. So, I did it sort of to check off a box, right? And at the time, we were making that transition from purchasing to supply management. So, the evolution of procurement is purchasing, supply management, strategic sourcing, procurement, and the professionalization has continued from a strategic standpoint. So, I did it and I didn’t know the difference. I was working in consumer packaged goods. I didn’t know the difference between a bottle and a cap. And what we were looking for at the time was that skill set, so that finance background. So, there you go, the MBA in finance was really important. It was that planning background, somebody who knew the value chain end to end, and that’s what we were looking for in order to understand the cost drivers and the value drivers within procurement. It was still about cost savings. So, taking that value chain, how much does something cost? It was no longer about what the supplier A versus supplier B versus supplier C charge. It was understanding the cost drivers of whatever you were buying and negotiating a fair and equitable margin for something. So, that was the beginning of open book, itemized everything for me. And the hardest part was just learning what it was that I was buying, right? So, I was visiting a lot of suppliers, going to factories, putting on my safety shoes and goggles, and standing with operators, learning what it was that I was buying. How do you make a bottle? How do you make a cap, an injection-molded, you know, component, and so on.
What skills were most important during your procurement career at Unilever?
Okay, so in procurement, you know, I’ve always said, you know, you have to wear multiple hats, right? So, when you’re in procurement and you’re talking to people internally, you’re your supplier’s biggest advocate. You’re representing your suppliers. You’re selling your internal stakeholders on what value your suppliers can deliver. And then when you are talking to your supply base, you are representing your business and your strategic needs and what they need to do in order to fulfill them. So, aside from understanding business drivers, knowing how to read the P&L, and you know, learning the commercial ins and outs, you need to be a coach, you know, to your suppliers. You need to be a legal advocate, understanding terms and conditions. You need to be a marketer, by selling your ideas internally and externally. So, I would say the biggest skills, um, that you could prepare for a career in procurement is understanding those soft skills, right? So, how do you strategically influence? What is the why? How do you map out what the strategic relationships and the arguments that you need to make? You know, especially the higher you go in the upper right-hand box, the more strategic your category is, okay, versus the transactional ones. The more you really need to understand that end-to-end value chain when you’re in procurement. So, it’s not about finding the cheapest supplier. It’s about how to harness value out of your suppliers to drive both the top line and the bottom line.
What advice would you give for somebody who is at an organization that’s struggling with prioritizing cost over anything else?
So, it has to be about the why, right? It has to be about the why. I was involved in a program in my latter years, I would say within the last 10 years of my Unilever time, where we were trying to help convince the business owners, the category owners, from a business or marketing standpoint, the value that’s the suppliers can bring to the party. Because, you know, the marketing folks, the business folks, you know, when they think procurement, you know, they think that’s supply chain’s problem or, ‘Oh, it’s suppliers.’ So, it’s about delivering cost savings. It’s really about convincing them that having collaborative discussions and partnerships, there is that tangential value that you get, you know, adjacent industries. What can you learn from other industries that are going to drive your innovations? I always like to point to a couple of supplier-led innovations and consumer packaged goods. You know, the K-cup, the Keurig cups, the Swiffer, you know, for Procter & Gamble. Those were supplier-led innovations that revolutionized the category that they were in. And, you know, another key lesson that I learned in my procurement days, because you know, honestly, I still have the mentality, you know, when you’re in procurement, it’s about saving costs, and um, Unilever was in the laundry category for a very long time in North America, and they’re in it still to a limited extent today, but they sold their major business back in 2008. And that’s because, you know, Procter & Gamble own that category here in North America. But Walmart had gone to Procter & Gamble to talk about sustainability within the laundry category, and they didn’t get a warm reception necessarily. So, they approached Unilever, and Unilever, being the number two challenger, wanting to really make an impact, decided to go ahead and do it, right? And this was about concentrating liquid detergents, taking water out, that big downsizing of the category. And we were going to go into a test market. And, you know, the supply chain folks came up to me, and they needed bottles, and they needed, you know, small bottles from Europe air-freighted in to North America, you know, so that we can do a test market. And I flipped my lid because, you know, ‘Do you have any idea how much this is going to cost?’ So, I was thinking in terms of cost. And my biggest champion and my biggest mentor, you know, the head of the supply chain, who is a Scotsman, invited me to his meeting, to his staff meeting, and it was in front of everybody. And he was very kindly teaching me a lesson without embarrassing me. But as I look back on it, he asked me about the vision of, you know, ‘We have an opportunity to create a hundred million dollar category here. How much is it going to cost to ship these bottles, like a million dollars?’ And he said, ‘Would you take a million-dollar bet to create a hundred million-dollar business?’ And it was such an obvious question that I just, I left the room thinking, ‘Wow, that was really silly of me, right?’ And I called up my supplier, and this is where I had to put on my marketing and sales hat. Here I am, the customer. I had to call my supplier to create a business opportunity that they weren’t convinced was a good idea, and I had to sell them on why they should partner with us and help us go to market, right? Long story short, it took 15 million dollars of total investment in terms of promotion and advertising to create a hundred million-dollar source of revenue. We were able to concentrate, revolutionize the category, and that enabled, you know, a thousand basis point improvement in margin that allowed Unilever to sell that business at a high profit. And it was that decision, that revolutionary conversation that switched my mindset that it’s not about cost, it’s about value.
When telling that story, you mentioned your boss. Tell me about the best boss you’ve ever had and the most important lessons you learned from him or her.
So, Alan, okay. So, he is by far and away, and I’ve been blessed throughout my career to have had so many great bosses, but he was really transformational in his thinking. So, I was, he was a VP, you know, he came over and I was still a young manager, and he became an expat here in the US, running the laundry business, and eventually went on to run the Americas, and eventually went on to run the entire supply chain for Unilever’s personal care globally. And he was my champion throughout my career since we met. I just remember I was, you know, my kids are only 13 months apart, you know, and I had them when I was in the prime of my career, shouldn’t be taking time off to, you know, go on maternity leave. And so, I was on maternity leave with my first son. I came back shortly thereafter. I find out I’m pregnant again, and really, this was going to be career suicide. And so, I was thinking, you know, I need to do 12 months of work in eight months, basically, while I’m out. And I started to ask for 360 feedback from my stakeholders because I was like, I’m ruining my career here. I’m going to go off, have a second child in such a short period of time. And I remember I emailed him, you know, ‘Alan, can you give me some 360 feedback?’ And he said, ‘This isn’t something I’m prepared to do in an email. Why don’t you contact Karen and set up some time in my office?’ So, he gave me two hours of his time, okay? And this is back in 2003 when no one was asking the question. And so, I’m sitting in his office, and he said to me, ‘Well, you’re a mother. You know, you have a young child at home. You’re going to have another infant. What do you need from the company in order to create work-life balance and to give you the bandwidth to be a good mother, take care of your family, and still manage your career?’ And I looked at him like he had six heads because no one had ever asked. No one had ever cared. And it was such a mind-blowing question that somebody could care, what a young mother who is in the midst of her career. And he said to me, he goes, ‘We will wait for you. You just have to be very clear on what it is that you need.’ And this is the first of many transformational conversations that he and I have had. He supported me throughout my career, and he did that with everybody. There was nothing special about me, but that’s the kind of impact he had. And he was the kind of person that could see a hundred steps ahead of everyone else. He could just envision the future and then bring everybody along. You know, he just brought you along and was always teaching and adding value to your life. And that’s what makes him stand out in my life. He’s probably next to my parents and a couple of really good professors the most influential person in my life from a career perspective.
So you spent a couple years at Arcade Beauty and then you took a dabble in entrepreneurship so would would like to hear a little bit about that experience and then I want to close out our conversation today talking about how and why you transitioned into supply chain in non-profit, right?
Yeah, you know again, it’s going to sound strange for somebody who loves to plan her life, that many of the things that have happened to me really happened unto me rather than me being very deliberate. The one thing I’ve always talked about in my life and in my career is never say no to an opportunity and you know, be open to signs, be open and be ready to pivot. Okay, so you know, my time at Arcade came, you know, came to an end and again this is part of the lesson of working for a PE-backed firm, you know, the lesson is if you’re going to join a PE, join on the front-end instead of the back-end. But I learned so much and and you know, it was the right thing to do, you know, for me to move away from that role. It was lots of travel and it was time to move on and I thought to myself, you know, I have one more good role in me and so, I started and this was in the winter of 2020 right before the pandemic shut down and then life came to a screeching halt because of the shutdown. And as I was having conversations, it wasn’t that roles went away, it was people were scared to death to hire because nobody knew what was going to happen. So then I was getting questions like, you know, no, you know, yes, we were talking to you, yes, you got to the fourth interview but really, we’re going to put this role on hold. But, you know, we would love to talk to you, you know, about this four-week project where we could really use your advice about this and that, and that’s how I pivoted to consulting. The demand was there. I’ve always had the knack, you know, for that. I created this LLC way back when and and it became time to turn it on full throttle. And then as I was doing that, you know, I get a call from from the CEO of the food bank for New York City where she had just started in the middle of the pandemic. She was building out a team. Food banking during the pandemic was something and she’s saying, you know, we’ve got an opportunity to professionalize the supply chain. You know, I’ve always had a calling, you know, to fulfill my purpose and it sort of came, you know, with this thought that I can use 30 years of training to finally live out my purpose. So, take 30 years of training and talent and now applying, you know, apply it to doing good in the middle of a pandemic, it seemed like a natural fit. I’ve had a lot to learn in that transition but that’s what prompted the transition to leading the supply chain and non-profits.
What is the hardest part of working at a non-profit?
It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had, right? So, it’s an interesting question because we don’t have a choice, right? So, we know, people are standing in that line, hungry. There’s 1.6 million New Yorkers that are food insecure and you know, the pandemic just exacerbated that situation and um, you know, as you’re looking around, you know, because the supply chain and you know, distribution and logistics doesn’t care about your filing status with the IRS, you know, it’s the supply chain. However, when you think about if I can’t do my job and if I can’t get food from point A to point B, somebody goes to bed hungry at night. So, how do you deliver, not because of your processes, but in spite of them, right? So, you’ve got to get the food out and at the same time, you know, your processes are broken and you need to fix them along the way. But it’s like working for an almost 40-year-old startup, right? And the one thing that’s different is that people in my nonprofit and in nonprofits, they’re all there because of their ‘why’, you know? And I’ve always said, you know, I always look for competencies for character when I hire someone because my thing is I can always teach someone supply chain but what you can’t teach is commitment, heart, dedication, right? And I’ve got people on my team that if they lost their foot, they would sew it back on and get right back to work because of their ‘why’, and that’s the hardest thing, you know, because on the one hand, you’ve got your mind going and then you’ve got your heart, and somehow you need to create that balance, still get the job done even though it’s not as efficient as you were trained to think about, and in dealing with government agencies and bureaucracy, so it’s again it’s this cultural shift. So, on the one hand, we want to corporatize and professionalize yet on the other hand, we need to be agile and nimble and scrappy and get things done regardless of whether it’s good or you know, good process or not.
What do you think is the biggest impact that you’ve made at the food bank?
So, I’ve created an incredible team, you know, we’ve made some strategic hires over the last you know 12 months or so and the people that are there that have been there and predated me now see the change. They see that we’re running efficiently, that hey, there is a way to be efficient, to be productive, and still get the food out to where it needs to go. And they can see that we’re delivering at record levels. We’re distributing and receiving food at record levels and it’s because of the process enhancements and changes that we’ve made. So, that’s probably been the biggest impact and honestly, it’s not me making an impact, it’s about them making an impact on me, you know, and just knowing their stories. So, it’s really me who’s changed, not them.
How important has technology been in your time at the non-profit?
So, technology is extraordinarily important and this is an area that we’re still behind. It’s all about the data, you know, it’s really all about the data and how to leverage data quickly to be able to make proper management decisions and move forward with them.
So we’ve got a digital strategy that we’re implementing. It’s slower than I would like, but we’re moving in the right direction. And, you know, we’ve created some excellent productivity tools and management tools that are allowing us to make fact-based decisions. So, technology that allows you to make fact-based rather than anecdotal decisions is everything. You know, you still need your gut, you still need to be scrappy and quick, and make, you know, making decisions with 70% of the information, but boy, wouldn’t it be special if we can do it, you know, do it a little bit quicker by enabling technology.
So one of the things that really stands out for me, Anna, in all of our conversations over the last couple years, is that I would describe you as someone who’s very strategic. And I don’t think procurement and supply chain professionals are always acquainted with being strategic. So, how can supply chain professionals become more strategic in their careers and help them become better leaders because of it?
I think that’s changing, right, and it’s always been this way with the bigger designer companies, you know, the A-plus companies, the big Fortune 50s and so on. You know, in a way, they’ve written the supply chain, you know, for a very long time but the pandemic has forced us to put supply chain and procurement at the forefront. They’re sitting at the board table. The way you become strategic is by connecting the dots starting with what is the strategic plan, what is the business model, what is the strategic plan, and then breaking it down, right? So, you’ve got a strategic plan that’s cross-functional, that everybody, you know, the functional heads on the board are aligned behind, so what’s the next step forward, right? So, a strategic business plan comes up with an integrated business plan or, you know, a sales and operating plan for the year and from there, we’ve got to have a production plan. So, how are we going to market and what do we need to do to enable that? So, if we start thinking of ourselves in supply chain or in procurement as enablers to deliver a business plan, that’s how you become strategic. So, if you work for a car company, you know, if you’re Ford or if you’re Tesla, and you know, Tesla wants to start building cars in Vietnam and you’re the supply chain head, do you have factories in Vietnam? Well, you need to create them. So, if the strategic plan is about, you know, going to Vietnam and you don’t have a manufacturing presence or a plan to have cars be delivered to Vietnam, then you need to create a supply chain strategy that’s going to enable, you know, the delivery of Teslas in Vietnam. I’m using that as an example. Same thing if you’re a supplier, you know, many conversations, you know, that I’ve been involved in where, okay, you’re, we’re in personal care, we want to move to India or we want to be in China or we want to be in, you know, Korea. Well, you know, when you’re a supplier, you need to be close to the factory or the source. So, you’re having those strategic discussions about this is our growth plan for laundry, for personal care, for, you know, ice cream, whatever it is. If this is the business strategy, hey mister supplier, hey missus supplier, this is our business strategy, you’re a strategic partner, we want you to come with us and co-invest with us. That’s how you become strategic as a supply chain professional or procurement professional. It’s not about the transactions, it’s about delivering on the business plan or the business model. You know, if you’re into sustainability, how are you going to become more sustainable? If you’re a bottle supplier, you know, and you’re supporting a company like Method, you know, how are you going to deliver, um, you know, less plastic in a bottle? So, your job is the category manager is to help the supplier understand the strategy and help them come to work with you in that manner.
In our last few minutes before I close out with my spitfire question where you do a quick thought or response to each, I want to know what’s next for you.
You know, I’m one of these people that’ll probably take after my dad and not retire until I’m 86. You know, I just, what’s next is I want to continue to grow and learn and make a difference, right? So, for as long as I can make a difference, have an impact, and feel fulfilled, that’s what I will do, right? And if I don’t, if I can’t feel that, then I will stop that activity and move on to something else. So, right now there are hungry people in the world and I’m helping to feed them, so that’s a very fulfilling mission. So, that’s the answer to that one.
Alright, so I’m gonna ask you six spitfire questions. Question one: accomplishment you are most proud of from a career perspective?
I would have to say that laundry story I told earlier, just being able to make that shift in my thinking, probably is my career highlight.
Quality you admire most in yourself? My ability to see the good in everyone around me.
What’s your dream? That my kids are happy and fulfilled in their lives.
Biggest pet peeve? People who, um, people who respond to emails, you know. I’ve got this rule that if it takes more than three emails, it needs a phone call.
Favorite thing to do in your down time? Oh, spend time with my family. I’ve got, you know, I’ve got sons that, you know, are athletes and musicians, and anytime I could be in their presence while they’re doing what they love is a favorite activity. That, and being around my family and friends, entertaining.
A bucket list item? Hawaii. I’ve never been. I’ve never been to Hawaii and I hope I could just, like, knock myself out and bear the 10-hour flight to go.
For those that joined us today or are watching on demand, what’s the best way for people to connect with you if I’d like to continue the conversation or follow your content?
The best way is probably to reach me on LinkedIn. I’m active on LinkedIn and I do check my messages. Probably need to do it a little bit faster, but that’s the best way to get ahold of me.
Awesome. Well, Anna, thank you very much for being on the show today. Join us next month on February 16th at 2 p.m Eastern time for our next supply chain interview.