Hope Global has seen revenue grow significantly under the leadership of Cheryl Merchant. But as president and CEO of the 133-year-old company, Merchant doesn’t only provide solid management decisions and keep an eye on the bottom line. She also has a personal dedication to mentoring to help develop the next generation of leaders.
Providence Business News has chosen the winners for its 12th 40 Under Forty program. The women and men to be recognized in the 2016 edition of the competition were chosen from among 150 applicants, and they will be profiled in an upcoming special section of PBN.
General Motors has been steadily working over the past three years to recognize their third-party suppliers through the Supplier Quality Excellence Award.
“These suppliers have demonstrated their commitment to quality excellence and their outstanding performance is essential to GM’s efforts to provide its customers with the best products and services in the industry,” said Sheri Hickok, GM executive director Supplier Quality. Click here to learn more.
We’re excited that Leslie Taito, Hope Global’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Operations, has been honored with the Technical Services – Industry Leader award for 2016. The Providence Business News Business Women Awards recognizes our region’s most successful leaders and business owners, and this year the program will be combined with PBN’s Women’s Leadership Summit, making the event a momentous day for women in business.
It was during a leadership-training program at General Motors that Cheryl Merchant says she found her calling as a leader and mentor. She joined Hope Global’s predecessor in 1999 and has fostered a spirit centered on teamwork that has helped the company triple annual revenue. She was recognized earlier this year as the 2015 outstanding mentor among businesswomen by Providence Business News.
PBN PHOTO/STEPHANIE ALVAREZ EWENS
Posted: Saturday, December 5, 2015 12:05 am
Throughout my career I have always known the importance of mentorship. I had an amazing mentor early on that pushed me, challenged me and advised me on everything from how to dress to how to tackle complex problems. I can’t think of a day that has gone by where I have not used a lesson or drawn upon that wisdom imparted upon me. My mentor was and is such an influence upon my career. I still talk to him weekly, as I now call him a friend.
Mentorship is not just about sharing all the happy endings where everything worked out and you ended up winning one. It really is about sharing lessons learned. Mentorship is about taking your life experiences and breaking it down, the mistakes, the hard knocks, the “one you wish you could do over” and giving insight into what you learned and what you would have done differently. It really is about being vulnerable and open to examining the moments where we didn’t shine. It is in those moments where growth happens.
Beyond the professionals at Hope, I am currently mentoring three young professionals. We meet regularly and discuss issues, life’s questions, things that are important and how to make decisions. There is a truly remarkable thing that happens when you mentor. You will get as much back, if not more, than you give. At least, I do!
– Cheryl Mechant, CEO Hope Global
Mark Bates, is the Vice President of Supply Chain at Hope Global and an active member of APICS. He has over 12 years of experience in supply management, procurement, and business experience, involving both domestic and international activities. He has extensive experience in consulting, and training in supply management, procurement, reengineering the supply management process, the management of procurement function, sourcing of materials and services, reducing total cost of ownership, and negotiation of complex contracts.
One of Mark’s amazing strengths is his ability to value every single member of the team. He realizes the way people are wired and that some of the employees are more technical, some were more salesy, and some were more administrative. He makes sure that the employees are shifted according to their strengths. As a young supply chain professional I have been working under Mark for almost 9 months and we have accomplished many amazing things. But for me personally, having the opportunity to work for Mark is the one experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
He leads by example, accepts responsibility, is a fun person with a “can do” attitude and I enjoy working for him plus he likes to walk the walk and talk the talk. His door is open for employees to share their ideas on new approaches for resolving issues and tackling problems. No matter how well he’s doing, he doesn’t become complacent. He keeps up with the changes in the profession and industry. “Learning never ends” is one of his mottos and he supports training and pursuing professional certifications for his employees, he encouraged me to join APICS and get certified in CPIM and now TS training. Furthermore he likes promoting the spirit of learning from each other at work for a more productive team.
The best thing about him is that he takes the time to coach and provide guidance. “Lunch and Learn” is a simple but very effective way to start an informal mentoring program. He makes a point to identify and enhance his employees’ strengths and direct them to challenging projects while providing them with resources that will allow them to shine and get noticed. Moreover he is compassionate and use humor to put worries into perspective.
Strategic alignment is one element which he emphasizes on and is always evaluating the supply chains processes and the effectiveness relative to the industry. He has a propensity of creating and simplifying methodologies, and other highly structured best practices to create custom supply chain strategy recommendations.
He always says to me that growth requires a reassessment of the supply chain’s ability to meet ongoing and future business requirements hence we tend to focus on revising approaches involving supply chain cost models, and detailed process maps which in turn lead to a comprehensive opportunity map and create a competitive advantage.
But the best part about him is that he takes everyone’s insights and participation to develop a truly effective solution. Furthermore he focuses just as strongly on developing great relationships and trusting partnerships with our clients. Working for him has taught me how to think outside the box and capture maximum value but at the same time to trust, respect and enjoy what you do.
The Western-themed motif of the King Ranch stood out among a slew of new vehicles, including top luxury marques in the 2015 Ward’s 10 Best Interiors competition, and deservedly snagged one of the coveted awards.
The overall execution of the interior is unlike some high-end pickups, which seem to have luxury trappings added on rather than flawlessly integrated.
Particularly pleasing are the plush brown leather seats with vibrant orange stitching also found on the Hope Global shift knob and boot and center console. The same stitching is used for the King Ranch logo, which is emblazoned on the seatbacks and the thick floor mats.
Along the door panels the brown color leather is broken up by a metallic door grab and Khaya wood inserts lined with chrome.
Much thought went into the interior, made obvious by little touches such as the F-150 logo placed above a defroster vent.
The cabin features plenty of storage space, including the cavernous middle console that easily could swallow up a laptop, iPad or purse.
The MyFord Touch infotainment system also has been upgraded and now performs as intended, with quick responses from the large vibrant touchscreen. There are a number of redundant switches and knobs, including for the climate control and audio systems, for those who don’t want to navigate through the touchscreen.
Other high-end convenience features include heated rear seats and steering wheel, adaptive cruise control and an automated parking feature.
The impressive interior garnered high praise from judges, who marveled at the level of detail and luxuriousness in a pickup, a segment typically known for utility.
“Last year, we had the Rolls-Royce Wraith,” one judge wrote on his scoresheet. “This year we have a truck worthy of that customer, who also has a rugged side.”
Hope Global has been on the banks of the Blackstone River since 1883.
It is thriving, having adapted to the demands of the automobile industry, as well as making material for the military.
But, after floods in 2005 and 2010 halted work at the company and forced huge clean-ups, business owner Cheryl Merchant looked at her options. She decided the only smart thing was to move out of state.
“It was on the books,” Merchant said. “We were moving.”
That’s all in the past now. Hundreds of jobs have been saved thanks to grant funds, as the federal congressional delegation came through on Friday with a $1.5 million community block grant for disaster relief.
That means Merchant will be able to outfit her machinery to be raised off the floor during the next flood. All her company’s office computers will be moved to the second floor.
“We have taken all of our corporate it and massive amounts of servers and they’ve been raised upstairs,” Merchant said.
The change will make her company safe, and preserve the 250 jobs in Cumberland.
Rep. David Cicilline said the company is expected to grow.
“We want to make sure they do it right here in Rhode Island,” he said.