Vision Magazine - October/November 2023


got started developing an idea for a culture — I visited all our offices, presented my vision for our culture and sought feedback. Together, we shaped our organizational culture with everybody in mind, published it and then worked towards embracing it. How do you go about embedding that culture? It’s interesting. We have clear determinants for the culture to be infused with an entrepreneurial spirit, and key to this vision is our group called the “Champions of Change.” They aren’t the top leaders of the company; instead, they come from every sector, be it IT, accounting, transporta- tion or sales, and they represent all company locations. Each year, around 20 of these champions gather to provide feedback on our culture, company operations and indus- try practices. Their insights contribute to our strategic planning process, giving us a clear picture of everyone’s perspectives. We also do external surveys through independent consultants. We bring the Champions of Change together in Vancouver to review the survey results before I even have a chance to look at them. They then present the main themes and their recommendations, expanding our insights beyond the survey. This method has been hugely successful, sometimes yielding as many as 85 to 90 pages of feedback about what’s going on in the organization. What’s unique about our strategic planning process is that by the end, each of our staff members can pinpoint how their input was integrated. This approach promotes genu- ine engagement and greatly reinforces our culture. Under your leadership, Oppy has seen tremendous growth. Could you share one or two pivotal moments or decisions that were key turning points in the company’s trajectory? Two things come to mind, both of which took place around the 90s. One would be the development of a fully inte- grated IT system tailored for the produce industry. As we began operating from various locations around the world, this system allowed for seamless integration. It gave users the ability to monitor the product quality from the mo- ment it was loaded onto a transport vehicle, throughout its journey and the subsequent delivery of a singular invoice at the end. This was a game-changer. Another important moment was when we realized the need for diversification — not only in our company culture but also in our product range, clientele and sourcing loca-

organization is, and so you have to make sure you sup- port those people, give them the tools they need to ensure everything goes smoothly from the ground up to the final consumer. If it doesn’t run smoothly, you’re not going to be successful. Oppy has consistently been recognized over the years as a top employer and for its outstanding corporate culture. How crucial do you think a company’s culture is to its overall success? It plays a critical role. I began thinking about this way back in the early 1990s when corporate culture wasn’t really a subject. As I traveled around the world, expanding from one office to the next, I wanted each new location to em - body the same values as our original one. It wasn’t about replicating individuals, but having the same concept. So I

Vision Magazine 49

October/November 2023

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