Recap From Industry Lunch with John Walker

Susan Powell and John Walker, 6-8-16

WFE’s Members-Only Manufacturing Industry Networking Group – June 8, 2016, featuring John Walker, former CFO of KidKraft

On June 8, 2016, members of WFE met at the offices of Whitley Penn LLP for a networking lunch and a presentation by John Walker.

John has over 20 years of business leadership experience in the areas of consumer products, manufacturing, distribution and globalization, with a focus on Europe and Asia. His most recent role was as CFO of KidKraft.

John gave pointers based on his own career experience as to how we, as service professionals, can best serve our clients in the manufacturing industry, particularly when those clients are globalized. He gave a bird’s eye view on how things are changing in China, Europe and the United States, and the bright spots and challenges faced by each of these economies, and in turn, their workers and business leaders.

His two biggest take-aways for service professionals and business leaders wanting to give the best quality services to globalized clients were as follows:

  • Don’t be a “seagull” (i.e. drop and leave). You have to invest time to get to know a company, its culture, and its day-to-day operations. A short site visit tacked onto the beginning or end of a different trip won’t be sufficient for you to understand your client’s needs and gain the trust of its workers.
  • Be an emperor with “low hills”. Put differently, “When the hills are high, the emperor is far.” You want to reduce the size of the barriers (whether real or perceived) between you and the workers on the ground. You want to remain visible to them while also giving yourself the most advantageous view of the proceedings.

Following John’s presentation, WFE members broke out into small networking groups to introduce themselves and discuss (1) their role at their organizations; (2) what type of introductions would be most useful to assist them in that role; and (3) a recent success they experienced.

WFE encourages all of its members to take advantage of the lunchtime Industry Networking Groups as a way to learn from the experts and get to know your fellow WFE members!

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