2019 Top 50 Distributors: InnerWorkings Global CEO Rich Stoddart On the Importance of Talent
In business, the thinking has long been, “If you build it, they will come.” But mindsets are shifting as executives learn the proverbial “they” don’t come automatically. For those lucky enough to spark consumer interest with a new product release or technology investment, the work doesn’t stop there. The truth is, if you constantly innovate, remain authentic and hire the right team, “they” will stay.
Just ask the firms that comprise Print+Promo’s Top 50 Distributors list. They’ve made this a part of their process, and it shows. Collectively, the class of 2019 generated $3.83 billion in revenue, a 7.1 percent increase over the 2018 tally. We reached out to five of our highest earners to learn more about their strategies. Here is what Rich Stoddart, global president and CEO of InnerWorkings, had to say about his recent accomplishments, greatest obstacles and plans to remove them.
What was your company’s biggest accomplishment over the last year?
Rich Stoddart: We’ve built an incredibly strong team who is transforming our business, and they’ve enabled us to sign an annual run rate of $135 million in new contract awards through our second quarter—a record for us through Q2!
How is your company positioning itself to continue to stand out in 2020? How do you maintain a long-term vision and focus for the company in the face of constant change?
RS: We know that by constantly innovating, we create value for our customers. And, we know that if we position our talent, processes and technology to support this, everyone wins.
Why do you love the print or promotional products industry?
RS: Human interaction with a brand is so powerful and tactile. It really is a moment of truth that brings the brand to life and drives purchase.
What do you see as your greatest challenge as the company’s leader both today and moving forward? How do you intend to overcome these obstacles?
RS: [I’d say it’s] leading through the constant change we face and, at the same time, building and nurturing a culture for the long-term. I think the key to this is clarity of values and behaviors, and consistency in how we role model and apply them.
Knowing what you do today about leading in this industry, what advice would you give to your past self?
RS: Get the people right and the rest will follow. People make it happen.
What is something that people may be surprised to learn about your company?
RS: Our customers are world-class marketers, spanning every category, geography and service.
How do you decompress after a stressful time at work?
RS: A good run solves pretty much everything.
Is there anything you would like to add to give our readers a better sense of your business approach and the industry at the large?
RS: At InnerWorkings, what sets us apart is being brilliant problem-solvers. We love to take a tough challenge and bring back a new way of doing things that creates massive value and turns the status quo on its head.