Transcript: Voice of Supply Chain – November 2023

Voice of Supply Chain – Nov. 2023

Featuring: Joseph Martinez

Welcome to our voice of supply chain show brought to you by ISM New Jersey and the fabulous Kathy Perna and my company Source Day. 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 joining today from Austin Texas. I’ve been bouncing around the country the last couple of months and recently moved into a different house in Austin. The Scudder family Thanksgiving had gosh 35-40 people and it is becoming quite a covid super spreader event. So I am still testing negative so very thankful and and hope I don’t catch anything else this week. So our guest today is somebody who I’ve known now for gosh several years. Joseph and I I think actually met through Sig or ISM and he is probably one of the most interesting people I have ever met in my career and definitely one of the most interesting people that works in our industry. And I spent some time with him this year at a couple of conferences and thought he would be a really really good guest and fit for our show. He’s done so much in his life and his career and I I think there’s a lot that we can learn from him. This was a reschedule; we were supposed to do our show a couple of weeks ago but had some internet issues so we are back and ready to go today. For those of you that are joining live drop us a note in the comments; tell us where in the world you are joining us from and your favorite memory from the holiday last week. If you are someone who celebrated Thanksgiving or a holiday drop us a a fun note or story about your experience. So Joseph welcome to our show today.

Thank you Sarah. It’s really great to be here looking forward to the conversation.

So Joseph we the show always I like to start the show by going way back in time. I think there’s a lot that we can learn about from things that we did or didn’t do in our childhoods. So we’re going to get your thinking cap on a little bit here and and we’re going to go back in time. So I’d like to have you start by sharing a favorite childhood memory.

Oh thank you Sarah I appreciate that. And my childhood was decades and decades and decades ago but I do have a a favorite memory. It was fly fishing for trout with my grandfather my uncles and my dad and my cousins out on our Ranch in Northern New Mexico. And then we would you know ride horses we’d camp out on the ranch and you know I always L listening to the stories of my uncles my dad and my grandfather late into the night. You know we’d actually do the old you know campfires and they would play guitars sing songs then they would always tell you know different things to scare us or actually find ways to scare us. And you know every summer now as an adult I go back to New Mexico and I fish with my sons and I remember the awesome times that we had you know fishing with my grandfather when I was a kid. That’s probably my favorite childhood memory is really getting out there and camping and fishing and just really enjoying life with my relatives.

So Joseph I’m a vegetarian. I don’t eat meat or fish so I do not have a fishing background. What is the biggest fish you’ve ever caught?

Let’s see. The biggest fish that I ever caught was I caught a a salmon on the Kenai River in Alaska and that was probably about 56 inches long which in my my world seems very very big for a fish. It’s a good size fish.

Alright we’ve got some people joining us from Canada. We’ve got Houston Texas and Ryan enjoyed smoking turkey. We’ve got Barb. Hello Barb. We just saw her a couple of weeks ago in Phoenix. We’ve got someone joining from New York and they they loved their family food and fun. We’ve got Matthew joining us from New Jersey. Food family and football. And we’ve got someone joining us from Houston Texas today. Chicago lots of eating and Phoenix. So lots of Phoenix and Texans on the call today.

So Joseph the weirdest thing you did as a child? Okay don’t judge. Okay my brother and I accidentally burned down an old ouse on a ranch and we did that in a kind of a weird way back in the 60s. I know I date myself there. There were these little liquid tubes that had balloons that you would blow up. The balloon and you know I’m sure that they were highly toxic. I can assure you that they were extremely flammable. And we were out on the ranch and we blew them up and we kind of put them around this old building and you know as we were attaching them we were like literally in the middle of nowhere. And we kind of had this idea you know kind of between he and I

Hey let’s see if these things actually are flammable.

And we lit them and as you can imagine you know it went up and it created quite a stir. The ranch hands rushed over to try and put it out and by the time they arrived it was like way too late. my mother was livid but my grandfather just kind of laughed it off and we got away with it. And that was probably the weirdest thing I did as a child because I was normally a pretty reserved kid. And then one day you just blew up an ouse. Yeah so so you can just imagine that out on a ranch on a plain in a field and up it went. So that’s probably the weirdest. Be careful with fire around you Joseph.

I’ll make note of that.

Exactly. But again that was in the 60s so that was a long time ago.

So one of the things that I think comes through and kind of the person you are today is that you seem to be very family-oriented and come from a very strong traditional family background. So what would you say in your childhood shaped you to be the person you are today coming from that strong family foundation?

Well you know I grew up in a large family. You know there are eight kids in my family and you know this taught me at an early age the importance of working together and trying to kind of solve complex problems. Again also burning down ouses. Now my father was a university dean and a professor who stressed the importance of treating people as people and now striving to do the right thing. One of the things that was a feature for us was we always had chores daily and we always had academic assignments daily and my father would assign them to us in the morning and then he would actually review them and grade them in the evenings because he wanted to make sure that we were doing things. And this really shaped me as a person because I’ve always strived to accomplish a set of mini goals on a daily basis so that I can kind of progress towards larger more complex initiatives. And anybody who’s worked with me will tell you that I always say ‘You have to accomplish at least—you can do 50 things—but you got to accomplish at least three mini goals on a daily basis to drive towards a more larger and more complex goal.’ And I learned that you know from being a kid. And you know this dedication to driving for results you know was deeply embedded in me into who I am as a person. So that said I feel that growing up in a diverse community also allowed me to see others for who they are not what society thinks they are. you know I went to school on the Native American reservation and this experience has really shaped my respect for all people. So I think you know that would really be foundationally you know creating who I am as an adult today in terms of looking and driving for results and trying to be very respective of all peoples.

Yeah not many people actually I don’t know if we’ve had anybody on the show who’s blown up an ouse or has gone to school on a reservation. So interesting interesting experience for sure. I watched the show ‘Yellowstone,’ which I know is quite crazy and may not be super accurate but they talk a lot about life on the reservation and what that was like for kids growing up there. I’ve never watched it but but I can assure you it’s probably a Hollywood version of what it really was like. There’s lots of killing so prepare yourself if you’re gonna watch it.

Okay most influential person in your childhood and why?

Oh that’s easy that was my grandfather on my father’s side. He was the most influential person in my childhood and probably even as an adult. You know he my grandfather was a man who was you know many things in his life. He was a rancher he was a police officer early in his life he actually went to law school he was a businessman he had several businesses and he was actually a U.S. federal judge. So so he was very influential in my life. He taught me respect for others and you know he had he had all these wonderful sayings and you know I use them a lot as you know because you know you and I talk to each other regularly. You know his sayings are a daily reminder of him in my life and anyone who knows me knows that I quote him often. And a couple of them that I use because they’re they’re just so you know spot-on. My one of my favorite sayings is that my grandfather taught me was ‘Transparency modifies all behavior.’ You have no idea. Say that one more time ‘Transparency modifies all behavior.’ And that is absolutely true. You know when you shine the spotlight of light on whatever an initiative is or a problem is you know you can get to the root of what’s actually going on. And I honestly believe that behavior is modified by transparency. Another another one of the things that I use quite often is that ‘One hand washes the other and both hands wash the face.’ I say these sayings and many more you know with kind of the wisdom that was handed down to me as a very young child and this influenced you know who I am as a person today. So you know my grandfather was a very serious man but he had an unparalleled love for his grandchildren and a passion for teaching us how to be better people. And you know I think of him daily. I try to live up to the person that he wanted us to be and you know he’s probably the person that influenced me the most as a young child.

You’re lucky that you got to spend so much time with him.

Yes he lived to be 103. You have some genes in your family. That’s that’s quite impressive.

What is another question that kind of ties back to your childhood and who you are today? One what childhood tradition have you continued on with you and your family today? Something that you picked up from your childhood?

That’s easy you know you know we had many childhood traditions but you know the one that we continue today as an entire family okay and this continues to grow as people get married have kids etc. like as we gather as a family every summer to celebrate the 4th of July which is obviously our Independence Day here in the United States and the 5th of July which is my father’s birthday. So these two days are one continuous celebration of family friends you we celebrate the two great events that happened in our history: the creation of our of our great country and my father’s birthday. And one of the things that we’ve always done is we’ve always tried to kind of outdo the fireworks from July 4th on July 5th to celebrate his birthday. So both days are days filled with friends and family. We come together from all over the world and you know we are proud Americans and we’re we’re very proud of my dad and his amazing life. And so those are traditions that have continued and I I imagine that even after my father passes we will continue to do that because it’s kind of like a family reunion every year on the fourth and fifth of July.

Interesting. Do is the ranch involved in the holidays in this big celebration still?

Always always. It’s the only place that has enough room.

So you had a very unique and I would say kind of interesting childhood growing up on a reservation and being so close with your family. After high school you decided to attend the University of New Mexico which I don’t know a ton about the school. It’s a Lobos.

What did you get your degree in and why did you select this degree?

I have a degree in art and a degree in history so I actually have a dual major focused on the Renaissance and Reformation. You know I’ve always been interested in history and in painting and photography and these have always been passions of mine. So I was lucky enough to get a presidential scholarship in high school as well as an ROTC scholarship which helped me pay for my education and I got that at the University of New Mexico. So that’s why I chose to go there and I chose a degree that was aligned with my skills and my interests. You know I’ve been an oil painter since I was five and then I’ve had a phenomenal love of history because that’s been kind of passed down to me. So to me that was really important. You know my ROTC experience really prepared me to serve in the US Army after I graduated and it was really really you know an important thing for me to do and something that I’m very proud of.

Most important thing you learned in college?

That’s interesting. To like people I believe that my time at the university provided me with you know kind of a unique environment. UNM at that time you know where I was motivated and encouraged to question assumptions and to really analyze different sources of information and you know to actually go out there and solve different and complex problems together. But I think what I really learned was how to communicate more effectively and then I also learned how to do time management mention skills and understanding you know how to actually value perseverance and self-discipline. To me those are things that I think are quite important. That said I think that the most important takeaway varies and will vary from person to person depending on their field of study or the goals in lives or the personal experiences. I learned and what I studied prepared me well to deal with the next challenge which was to become an officer in the US Army which was something that I was passionate about and successfully did upon graduating.

So was going into the army something that was planned when you started school? Was that kind of the path that you had mapped out for yourself?

Yes yes. So I knew exactly where I was going after college. I went through the Reserve Officer Training Corps and received my commission in 1985 and then I left for the US Army and went to flight school.

Okay so why did you decide to enlist and why flight school?

Okay so I didn’t enlist I got commissioned slight difference. Okay I decided to join the Army because I was on an ROTC scholarship which required me to serve for six years post-graduation from the university. So I also come from a long line of US military veterans going back multiple generations. I’ve even had an ancestor that fought in the Civil War and I felt that serving in the US Army was my civic duty. And I was very pleased that I was able to serve with honor and to protect my country and you know it’s something that I am passionate about. I believe that service to to your country is is extremely important.

So, walk me through the kind of your path, um, in the Army, and then how that transitioned into you winding up in this crazy world of procurement. Apples and oranges, to be honest with you yes. So, you know, I got my professional career and my start from a leadership perspective. I learned a lot of that, and kind of the core foundation for that, was my time serving in the Army. And, you know I’ll say, I encourage any young person to consider serving in the military. But what I did in the military was very different from what I did post-military. And so I think it gave me the leadership skills, the competencies the self-discipline, the awareness to be able to kind of go on a certain particular path. But post that, when I got out, I actually went in a completely different, um, different area. And, you know, I guess what I would say about that is that I kind of fell into procurement because back then there were no supply chain degrees, there were operation degrees, but, um, really, the the whole path for many of us that are kind of in my age group, we kind of fell into procurement, and I literally did that. So, you know, we can talk a little bit more about that at some point, but, you know, I really kind of feel like that it was important for me to take the skill set that I had and to then leverage those when I was provided with the opportunity to, once I got out of the military, to actually get into procurement. And I literally met some folks that, uh, took a chance on a veteran and allowed me to actually come into their organization, and I was taught by several people how to actually kind of, on the job, training to learn how to start becoming kind of what, those days, we call a buyer. And then I used that as a springboard for actually how I was going to drive my, my, my career. Obviously, I did take some additional college to education around Supply Chain management. I got certain certifications from organizations like ISM, as an example, and Sig, and others, um, but I mean, it really, the two things, they paralleled each other, but they didn’t really cross with each other, other than from a leadership capability.

Now, do I have this correct, that you actually kind of started out in Consulting?

Well, I started out, again, in Consulting, and then I was, um, I actually got to work, and I was hired into Price Waterhouse. At the time, it became Price Waterhouse Coopers. FL was there I got hired into their organization, specifically working what they call the strategy organization. And within that, we actually developed the practice of what was called Full Value Procurement. So, I did that for a number of years, and that was, uh, I think, very foundational to kind of teaching me methodology, teaching me how to actually think more strategically around category management, around how to actually go through transformation. So, I had the opportunity to work at a number of very large firms where we did engagement. I actually was on the phone recently with the chief government officer over at the Disney Corporation, and he was remembering 20-some years ago when, probably close to 30 years ago, when we did a big engagement for them, and, uh, and he said, ‘Yeah, I still probably have your name on a deck somewhere.’ So it was a really great foundational organization who really invested in their consultants, and they taught us how to actually, you know, rise above, and actually create a new offering, outfit, and I was one of the folks that helped to do that at PWC.

So, after your time at PWC, you went and worked for a financial services company, as I think a managing director, or senior VP. Was this?

Yeah, so tell me a little bit about this role, and why you transitioned from Consulting to the kind of, I guess, the buy side. Well, all good consultants eventually go work for a client. I ended up doing that, and, uh, I went to go work for a company, which doesn’t exist anymore in that form but still exists today. Um, I used to work for, I went to go work for a bank called Bank One, which was later acquired by JP Morgan Chase. Uh, we always used to say they acquired us so that they could get Jamie Diamond to be the CEO. And, um, so, for me, that was, you know, one of the, I think, one of the great highlights of my life, is the fact that we went through this merger and that really kind of threw me into the process of having to actually go in and optimize the supply chain on a global basis in a very short period of time, so that we could extract the value that we had promised the street, relative to what we were actually going to be doing. And, uh, I actually took a role working directly for the chief procurement officer at the time, and I was essentially asked to lead two categories: to lead Professional Services and to lead the Business Process Outsourcing, from a procurement perspective, working hand-in-hand with the business. And for me, that was a really great, you know, unique and rewarding experience that enabled me to actually kind of go in there and put into practice some of the things that I had been thinking about, that I had been developing, when I worked in Consulting. And I was very pleased at the fact that I was able to do that.

So, most important thing you learned in that role?

I think the most important, most important thing that I learned in that particular role was really, you know, how you have to actually work with, um, your various constituents, both internally and with your, and with your, um, suppliers externally. And I think what I learned was, uh, we had to really kind of optimize our processes and build strong teams if we were going to extract the value in the timeframe that we needed to do that. And so, I think it was really critical for us to actually learn how to actually, as individuals, um, Jamie Dam always talked about a meritocracy, and so we had to be able to be self-reliant. We couldn’t be relying on third parties to be essentially, you know, helping to drive our strategy. We had to actually set that strategy, defend that strategy, and then go and execute upon that, and ensure the results of those strategies. So, you know, I learned that, you know, it’s really important to be able to kind of push back, even on senior executives, when what they’re doing is deviating from what the outcome is going to be in the best interest of the shareholder. And so, I learned quite a bit around actually how to actually set up and optimize offshore teams, how to actually go shore and make sure that we actually created the right level of processes in the ecosystem, systems in order for us to be able to have, you know, repeatable, consistent processes, figure out what the metrics were that mattered, and report those metrics, and, and not to be afraid to raise our hands if we thought something was going pear-shaped and to take responsibility, you know, to make sure we were righting the ship as we were along the way

So, you said you did a lot. One of the things that stands out that you mentioned that was part of one of your roles and responsibilities was setting up an offshoring team, um, which I think is something that is relatable to this audience and maybe something that people are either have lived through or may at some point need to do something like that. So, is there a story or example that you maybe could highlight or talk about from that specific experience?

Well, I think one of the things is, before you even decide that you want to offshore or outsource something, you need to make sure that you have a good solid process foundation. Because at the end of the day, it’s the process that has to be optimized. And if you have a broken process and you push it offshore, you may make it a lower-cost process, but you’re still going to have a negative result because the process is broken.

So, you know, anybody who’s ever worked with me knows that as soon as I go into an organization, one of the first things I do is I make sure that we, that we process snap everything down to at least the level four. We create a process library, and then we start to optimize that. So, I want to make sure that we have that in place, I want to make sure that we have the right controls in place, we want to make sure we have the right policies in place, want to make sure we have the right people in place, and then we start to think about what the ‘art of the possible’ is as to what the location strategy should be for whatever that activity is, and whether that should be done in-house, offshore, or whether it should be done outsourced with a third party, offshore or nearshore, depending on what that strategy looks like. And so, for me, it’s really critical that you actually understand your process, and you understand how that process integrates into the ecosystem that is the overall organization that you’re working with. And what you are doing can never lose sight of the fact that what you’re doing is helping to drive the strategy of the business forward, and you need to think about it from an earnings per share perspective. So, everything that we do impacts what’s called the cost-income ratio. So, you’re trying to improve that cost-income ratio. First off, you got to understand what it is. Secondarily, you need to make sure that what you’re doing is, is that whatever contribution you’ve signed up for, that you’re able to hit or exceed, and that comes down to actually making hard decisions but making decisions that are fact-based and making sure that those decisions are actually defensible, and making sure that they all have an underlying process that you’re optimizing to make things go much more effectively.

You know, you guys at Source Day do a lot of things from a direct materials perspective. In financial services, we do a lot of things in an indirect perspective, but at the end of the day, it comes down to what is that process, and how are you actually putting that into that ecosystem and optimizing it. So, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a direct material or whether it’s an indirect category that’s in support of the overall organization, the end of the end, you do this to improve your earnings per share.

What would you say is one of the biggest wins or benefits that you got from implementing this offshoring project? Because sometimes I feel like the ROI can be hard to track and communicate.

Well, I think a lot of the things that you can do is you can actually be able to show what your baseline is. You know, work with Finance, work with your FP&A group, and really, really understand what your true cost base is. Okay, so then as you optimize and you move it into a different location, you should be able to show, ‘These are the metrics that we’re going to measure as we go forward, and these are the things, these are the controls that we’ve turned in order to be able to tease out what that new cost base is going to look like.’ And you’ve got to measure it, and you’ve got to be realistic that you may have some setbacks, but you’ve got to make sure that you’re thinking about it holistically, right? You know, so when you’re going, you got to say, ‘Okay, it’s not just about what the run rate cost is today, but you got to take a look at what the opportunities are that we’re able to experience.’ You know, ‘All we can set up a follow-the-sun process, so we’re able to run globally.’ Two, you know, ‘We may be thinking about okay, how do I actually go in there and set up a process that is going to enable me to actually reduce the number of headcount that I’m having? I may have lower-cost headcount in a different geography, but that’s not the point. The point is, how do I actually have the right level of resources for the activity that I’m trying to drive out, and how do I actually look at it from the lens of my customer, my end user? How do I make their life much, much easier? I don’t want to create complexity for them. What I’m trying to do is I’m trying to reduce cycle time and improve throughput, and make sure that the variability in the process gets washed out, while also looking at the risk associated with whatever the activity is that you’re doing.’ So, there’s a lot that you need to be thinking about as you’re setting this up and instructing it. And by the way, you know, there are certain things that are tactical. Put those into a third party from the perspective, but make sure that the partner that you’re picking for that actually has a clear understanding of what the outcomes are that you’re looking for and is working in your best interest.

One of the things that I’m also for is, I want to make sure that I don’t like to outsource parts of a process to different suppliers. The reason I don’t want to do that is because then you end up with people pointing the finger at each other if there’s a portion of a process that interacts with somebody else, and you don’t have the right systems, right metrics, and right tools. You end up with this. So, I like to have kind of an end-to-end view in terms of who my business process outsourcing partners are going to be so that I’m able to actually hold them accountable for the outcomes that we’re looking for.

We have one of our listeners joining us from Northern California who says,’Optimizing the process is so critical for supply chain.’

So, what did you do next, Joseph, after this role where it seems like you had a lot of process and strategy work? You managed these pretty impactful and large outsourcing projects. Where did you go next, and why?

Well, I was actually recruited to go to, sadly, a company that no longer exists in the form that it was. I went, I got recruited from New York City, and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, to work for Wachovia. Wachovia is now part of Wells Fargo, and my job there was, I worked for the Chief Financial Officer and the head of shared services, and it was really to go in there as the chief procurement officer, to centralize their supply chain, and to work to implement the vendor risk management program. We had to implement ERPs, we had to implement source-to-pay tools, but one of the things that we did was we partnered with Genpact to set up our operations in India, and that was really unique because we were there, we were a shareholder in them, and they were, we were their first large global client, you know, after they were spun off from GE.

So, I went there, and I worked, I worked with that institution to basically help optimize, again, the cost-income ratio. We went along the way; we were on, you know, somewhat of an acquisition-hungry organization. We bought a lot of different organizations, and well, I was there, and one of them that we bought was a company called Golden West. Okay, Golden West, in my opinion, led to the collapse of Wachovia during the economic downturn. So, you know, after the issues that we went through, you know, it doesn’t matter how optimized you can get if the economy turns against you, because the portfolio that you have from a front-office perspective has shifted, and the economics essentially work against you. But it was a great opportunity. I ran a broader portfolio than just procurement, and it was great for me to kind of, as a young executive, learn how to actually work with the operating committee. I had a standing, uh, I had a standing invitation to report to them. I did that at least on a monthly basis. I worked very closely with the folks in finance to make sure that we were actually understanding the process, and with each of the business lines of business, which, you know, was something that I thought was really important for us to be able to do. And I think a lot of those practices still continue today, and some of those team members are still there.

Biggest impact you made in that role

I think it was really one of the biggest things we did is we had to implement a new ERP system, and I think that was a really important event for us because we were migrating away from an old ERP system to a new ERP system. That also gave us the ability to set up category management within procurement for the first time, and actually create category managers for that. So, I think that, you know, I think that was at the very beginning and onset of when category management was coming into vogue. So, being able to kind of implement that 20-some years ago, when other people were still looking at things from a very tactical perspective, I think was a great win. And I still value the relationships that I have with a lot of the folks that stayed.

For those that are listening that are maybe struggling with a category management program that’s impactful and actually effective, what would you suggest?

Well, I suggest that they actually create a category strategy, and that category strategy needs to be documented. It can’t be PowerPoint; it needs to be something that’s actually inculcated down into writing. And I think what you need to do is you need to take a look across your different categories, and with that, what you have to do is you need to make sure that inside the business you have a capability owner. I think it’s really important that you actually have buy-in from a senior executive who can actually help to influence across horizontally across an organization for working with you hand-in-hand as you actually set up your category strategies. Because it’s one thing for procurement to do it, it becomes much more actionable when you actually have an executive who is the owner of that strategy inside the business to work with you, because that creates consistency, that creates an opportunity for them to actually help you as you go through that transformation. And I think it’s really important that you actually are able to report out on the progress that you’re doing, and that you’re able to actually show dynamically how that strategy is actually impacting the outcomes that you’re trying to do, in terms of your organizational costs or whatever the strategies are that you’re trying to put in place.

It’s a country that is very stringent and will not put up with nonsense, and I happen to think that they’re probably right in terms of that because you end up with a great citizenship that’s educated, that’s trying to do the right thing, and you don’t have a whole lot of criminals there, which is a great thing. Well, I didn’t mean to derail too much of the conversation, but it’s on my list of places to go check out. I don’t think I would ever live there, but I definitely want to go visit and spend some time. I think, Joseph, what would be useful for our audience today is talking a little bit about how you advanced your career so quickly. So, after your service, you had pretty senior roles and served as a CPO at multiple organizations, and there are people that go their whole careers and never get to that director, or SVP, or CPO title. So maybe just some tips or lessons for people that are tuning in and saying, ‘Wow, I would love to progress my career like Joseph did, but I don’t know how to do that.’

Well, I think when you’re going to be progressing your career, it’s important that you’re able to actually be flexible in terms of what you’re doing. I think it’s really important for you to be able to say, ‘Okay, you know, I want to just be in a particular category or that’s one doing work in procurement, go into the business, come back into procurement.’ I think that that’s really important. I think it’s also very important that you work outside of the organization and get certifications. I’m a big believer in that. Anybody ask anybody who’s worked with me, I literally run hundreds of people through certification courses, and I think that that’s really important. I think finding a good mentor is critical. I think that that helps your career if you find a good senior mentor that can help you. I was lucky enough that I had a couple of very, still have a couple of very senior mentors that helped me in my career. And I think one of the things that’s really important is that you deliver. If you say you’re going to do something, deliver upon it. I think that that’s absolutely critical. And I think it’s important for you to also be willing to go to different parts of the world. How often have we heard people say, ‘Oh, I’m a global procurement blah, blah, blah,’ but they’ve never actually left the United States or the UK or whatever country they’re in? I would say most people that I would consider that I know in global roles have not lived internationally. And so, if you get that opportunity, and it’s not for everybody, I would say seize upon it because that international experience is going to make you a bit more culturally sensitive. It’s going to allow you to adapt and become more adaptable to challenges that arise in your supply chains, and it’s ultimately going to help make you a better executive.

I’ll give you a tangible example of two things that were not related but actually helped. On March the 11th of 2011, those of us that lived in Asia know what happened on that day. That was the big earthquake and tsunami that happened in Japan. You know, I was living in Asia; we had to actually shelter in place 15 people in Tokyo. We had to find ways to get them food. We had to find ways to make sure that we actually ended up moving our trading floor from Tokyo down to Osaka. We had to work with the regulators. There’s a tremendous amount of logistical capability that had to happen because of that particular disaster. Fast forward to the beginning of the pandemic for COVID-19. You know, I spent January of 2020 in India, and, you know, it was starting to kind of percolate in February of 2020. When we got back, we were starting to kind of see things were happening. We made decisions that protected our supply chain at Bank of New York Mellon when I was there because of some of the examples that I knew that were happening when I was in Asia for the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. And so, we were able to kind of work to make sure that we were getting the appropriate equipment that was needed, make changes to our contracts to ensure that our suppliers, as well as our employees, were ready for what was going to happen. And when we actually went on work-from-home, you know, we already had the capability to do that because we had worked with audit, we had worked with compliance, we had worked with HR to make sure these things were taken care of. We had worked with our suppliers to make sure that we had the appropriate types of equipment, laptops, etc. Everybody remembers how difficult it was initially to get laptops.

We had already taken care of that in February, so that when March and April, and all of that started to close down, so I think that international experience, I think makes you, I think, a bit more broad-thinking, and, and, and I think it allows you to, to be a more effective leader on a globalized basis. The other thing that I, I think is really unique, about you and your story, Joseph, is you have so many hobbies and things that you do personally. It’s not just having a big career but it’s all the things you enjoy doing. And one of the things that stands out to me is that you’re an artist, and if I recall, I think it’s oil painting and photography, that’s correct. And one of, or some of your work, is actually in a White House Collection, which I’d like to have you explain, because that sounds super interesting and cool, but how does having hobbies, and these personal intrix, how has that impacted your life, and potentially helped you in your career as well? Well, I think what happens is, is that, you know, I’ve enjoyed oil painting and photography since I was five years old, right? It’s something that I have been an avid artist and photographer, you know, basically my entire life, and so I think that it’s important, that you’d be able to use your entire brain. Okay, and so that has helped me, I think, actually come up with creative solutions, and it also is a way to kind of center and balance yourself. Because when you’re actually painting, you know, it’s just you and the canvas, right, and, and, and it’s really important I think for you to, to be able to think about what you’re doing with, and you know, and I do different styles, you know, sometimes I do portraits, sometimes I do flowers. I love to do a lot, lotus flowers, and Noid Etc U. I like to paint landscapes, you know, I live in Southwest, so I, I like to do that, and so for me, you know, it’s really an area where, where I think it’s really important for you as a person to be holistic. And you know, I guess if people looked at what I do, they would probably say that my style is kind of Neo-emotionalism, which is, you know, an art style where, where you’re really looking at emotion and mundane passion and really kind of creating a narrative, in terms of what it is that, that you’re doing, so that people have an ability to actually see a story in what you’re doing, even if it’s a portrait. And so yeah, to your point, some of my art does sit in the White House Collection. I was actually selected by President George Bush, to be in the White House Collection, and you know, it, what does that mean exactly, to be selected in this, in a collection? I had had some art that had been in a number of different areas. President Bush and his wife actually went to one of these areas and they saw a couple of pieces of my art and they said, ‘We want this,’ and they actually had it, the curator for the White House Collection, and actually purchased it, and it is now a permanent part of the White Collection. That’s how it was selected for that, but it was selected specifically by President George B. Interesting. And then what about the photography piece, tell me a little bit about that part of your interest. No, that’s something that I’ve done all my entire life, like I said, and it’s something that I do every day. I, I like to, I’ll give you a tangible example, I like to walk five miles a day, and I was out walking last night, it was quite late, but you could see, rising above the Usery Mountains, was an almost full moon with a lot of clouds. I stopped to take pictures of, so, so, so for me, you know, photography is something that, that I started out obviously in the old days with film, but today I do with digital, and it’s something that, that I’m passionate about, is something that I do every single day. I paint every single week, but I take pictures every single day, and it’s something that, that just kind of, it’s cathartic, it’s something that allows me to actually present my view of the world in a slightly different perspective, and it’s something that, that I’m, you know, it’s something that hopefully I will pass along to others, that will be able to kind of remember how I saw the world and how I interacted with the world. So to me, it’s extremely important. What’s next for you, Joseph? I feel like you’ve already done so much, like what else is on your bucket list, or things that are like, ‘Wow, I still really want to make sure I do this.’ You know, one of the things that I’ve been very interested in is potentially, you know, having my own company. I’ve done a lot of work for others, and that’s an area that I’m interested in, and I may have another CPO gig in me, I don’t know about that, but you know, I think what I’m trying to do right now is to just really spend time with my family, spend time with my wife, who’s my favorite person in the world, and spend time with my parents who are quite old, and just, you know, make sure that what I’m doing is helping them. You know, I also am doing these kinds of speaking engagements, and I’ve kind of kicked around the idea with a couple of people of actually writing a book. So you know, again, I have multiple fires going on at the same time, I’m trying to see which one is actually going to catch the right spark. So I guess at the end of the day, living deliberately is really important to me, you know, getting up and doing things on a daily basis are really beautiful for me. I think out-of-the-box thinking is something that I always come from, and you know, talk to my family, they’ll tell you, like there are days that I will get up at 2:30 in the morning and paint for a couple of hours, go out for a walk or a run or a bike ride, and stay up until 11 o’clock at night doing something else. So I mean, it’s just, I think that it’s really important for me to actually encourage others from a creativity perspective, but also to think about things, how we can harness diversity, and help ourselves to be better, but help others. If you talk to anybody who knows me, they always know that I try and pay it forward. That’s, you know, I want to give a broader perspective. I want people to actually see that I’m open-minded, and I’m trying to consider a wide range of factors in helping to make decisions that not only impact myself but impact others, and I’m somebody who has a keen passion for the environment, and I’m somebody who is doing a lot of work around ESG at this point, with a couple of other people. So you know, I think if you ask me what I’m going to do, I have two or three different things that I have percolating at any time, but starting a company is probably the next big frontier for me. So, we are at what’s called our Spitfire round. I’m going to ask you a few questions, and you’re going to respond with the first word or phrase that okay here. Accomplishment you are most proud of, could you repeat that, I didn’t catch it, I’m sorry. Accomplishment you are most proud of? I think being a good father and husband is probably the accomplishment on the personal side. I think becoming a Chief Public Relations Officer multiple times on the professional side. Quality you admire most in yourself?

Tenacity. Biggest pet peeve? I cannot stand disingenuous people. What are you reading or binging? I’m reading a lot of things, but, and this is not a plug, I just finished this reading this book here with my friend Brad Beach, and he and I are actually working on creating a certification course on software and in it, so that’s one of the things that I’m doing. In terms of binge-watching, I’m not much of a TV guy, but I am watching a series called ‘Murdoch Mysteries,’ which takes place in the turn of the century, 1900s in Toronto, Canada, and it is a fabulous show, if anybody ever wants to take a look at it, they weave history in there so beautifully. Favorite thing to do in your downtime? Paint oil.

Alrighty, you survived the spit round, no sweat. So, for those that were able to join us live, if you’re not yet connected with Joseph on LinkedIn, I highly encourage you to follow him, reach out, he’s a great leader and supporter of our industry. Joseph, I hope to get to spend time with you at a conference or two next year, and with that, I’m going to wish everyone a wonderful afternoon.