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It’s tremendously energizing to interact with and learn from many of Michigan’s entrepreneurs, and to, where possible and useful, leverage my experience to provide insights.
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Strategy, marketing, brand management, sales management, international management and business development
I find it tremendously energizing and fulfilling to interact with, learn from, and provide whatever insights I can to an amazing group of high energy, purpose-driven, and passionate entrepreneurs.
As of 2010, La-Z-Boy had struggled for decades to overcome the incredibly deeply-rooted notion that all La-Z-Boy made was recliners. We created a brand platform and advertising campaign, featuring Brooke Shields, that showed our target audience that we had a wide selection and range of great-looking furniture, beyond our iconic recliners. This campaign helped contribute to thirty-eight straight months of same-store sales increases, averaging double-digits. We’ve just completed our successful eight-year partnership with Brooke and recently announced that beginning in May of next year, Kristen Bell will be our new brand ambassador.
One of my most gratifying and challenging experiences was creating our business in China. It combined many of the things that I love, from immersing myself in a new culture to driving change to getting outside my comfort zone. In March 2012, together with our Chinese partner KUKA, we launched a La-Z-Boy store concept and product line at a furniture show in Dongguan. Six years later we have hundreds of La-Z-Boy stores in mainland China, and we’re still growing quickly.
I strongly believe that curiosity is one of the most powerful characteristics an individual can have. Curiosity is the driver of so many valuable activities, including learning new things, challenging the status quo and innovating. My advice is to relentlessly ask why. One of the reasons I love being part of the Endeavor community is that entrepreneurs are some of the most insatiably curious people you’ll find. Their questioning of why things are the way they are and whether there’s a better way is the reason that entrepreneurs create so much of our economy’s
I played in a band in high school and college with a few far more talented band-mates, even momentarily considered pursuing it full-time had we won a battle-of-the-bands competition in Toronto in which we reached the finals. We didn’t and I luckily continued on my business path.
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