S7:E3 Leading to Amplify with Drew Garretson
The 7th Field Points series is focused on leadership. Throughout the series, our host Morgan Seger will be joined by co-host Laurel Mann and the Sr. Leadership team from Ceres Solutions to discuss the 2023 Strategic Initiatives. In the second episode of the series Drew Garretson comes on the show to talk about the “Amplify” initiative.
Who is Drew Garretson?
Drew Garretson is the Chief Marketing Officer at Ceres Solutions. A Pendleton, Indiana native now calling southwestern Indiana home, Drew began his career with Ceres Solutions as graduate of Purdue University, working in agronomy sales and managing the Vincennes agronomy branch. He then spent 9 years with Land O' Lakes, growing his career in ag technology before eventually taking on a role as U.S. E-Business Field Team Lead, onboarding Land O' Lakes owners to the company's digital marketing, e-commerce and strategic digital programs.
Drew has been back at Ceres since September 2020, and now leads the Ceres Solutions ag tech and marketing teams, along with providing strategic direction in stewardship and digital solutions that brings valuable technologies to better serve customers and amplify the Ceres Solutions story.
Drew is active in a number of community organizations and agricultural groups, including the Purdue College of Agriculture Alumni board, Knox County Economic Development board and is past chairman of the Agribusiness Council of Indiana, to name a few.
Drew and his family reside in Knox County and enjoy spending time together exploring the outdoors, cheering for Purdue sports, and learning more about the rich history of Indiana and the United States.
What is Amplify?
Amplify is one of the four strategic initiatives at Ceres Solutions for 2023. For Drew and the marketing team he leads, it focuses on telling the story of Ceres Solutions in ways that helps our employees, farmer-owners, customers, and community members understand the value of doing business with a farmer-owned cooperative.
How is “Amplify” in Action?
Employees and customers have likely felt a shift in the past several years, as Ceres takes a more proactive and intentional approach to amplifying the stories of our employees, showcasing the products and services we have to offer, and encouraging participation in this amplification from our employees and farmer-owners as we chart the future of the organization.
"A thread that we have across the business, across all of the enterprises, is that we wake up every day excited about how we're going to serve our customers. And there's a lot of different ways that you can do it," Drew said.
Finding creative and interesting ways to share that excitement and enthusiasm is what the Amplify initiative is all about.
TranscriptionDrew Garretson (00:01):
A thread that we have across the business, across all of the enterprises is that we wake up every day excited about how we're going to serve our customers. And there's a lot of different ways that you can do it.
Morgan Seger (00:14):
Every day we rely on food, fuel, and fiber. But how much do you know about these industries we depend on? In this podcast, we dive deep into the production and processes of these everyday essentials. This is Field Points, an original podcast production from Siri Solutions. Welcome to Field Points. I'm your host, Morgan Seger. I am excited to bring you another episode on our Leading with Intention series. In each episode, we are focusing on a strategic initiative that Siri Solutions has for 2023. First, we had Doug Brunt on to talk through Elevate. In our last episode, we were joined by the chief financial officer, Scott Osborne, who walked us through Grow. And today we're going to be working through the Amplify Initiative with Chief Marketing Officer Drew Garretson. If you are a regular field points listener, drew will be a familiar voice for you. He sits next to me in each of the trailers we've aired so far and he was a co-host back in our marketing and branding series that we rolled out in January of 2023. So if you haven't listened to that one yet, I encourage you to check it out. My co-host throughout this conversation is Laurel Mann and she helps me dive deep into what amplified means, not only for the Siri Solutions organization and employees, but what it means for the customers and how employees and customers can come along with us on this mission of telling the story of agriculture. So now let's meet Drew Garretson
Drew Garretson (01:39):
Morgan. Thanks for having me. I'm super excited to be on the podcast. And Laurel, I'm excited for you to be a co-host in this edition. My name is Drew Garretson, I'm the Chief marketing Officer for SIR Solutions. I've spent 16 years now in the cooperative system. I actually worked at Siri Solutions for about four or five years being a local branch manager down at our for the South location in s Indiana, working with customers, farmers, helping them be successful in agronomy and then had the opportunity to go to work for Land O'Lakes where I met Morgan actually oddly enough. And we worked together for about 10 years and the goal there was to really help onboard ag co-ops and retailers onto technology solutions that Land O'Lakes and Winfield United were bringing to the market. So we did a lot of training and that was a really exciting time to be in ag technology and that's really one of the foundations of my career was understanding how technology can help farmers be more successful.
So I had the opportunity to do that for about 10 years before Sir said, Hey, we need help with digital and technology. Would you be willing to come back and help us define our strategy? So I had the opportunity to come back in September of 2020. It's been a fun experience since I got back and working with some fantastic people. One of the things that I think about when that opportunity came about was will you really enjoy the people that you're going to be working with? And there was a resounding yes, I knew a lot of the folks that were on the Ceres team and was excited to be here. So my job is chief marketing officer. I lead marketing communications and I get to work with a lot of the folks on that are in the room here in the podcast studio today. I also am responsible for our ag technology strategy. I lead our sustainability and stewardship effort and responsible for our longer term digital strategy. Thanks for having me. Morgan
Laurel Mann (03:25):
Drew, you joined the Ceres team at a really fortuitous time. I think because of the passion you have for digitizing the experience and that happened to have been one of our strategic initiatives that Doug Brun, who is our chief operating officer, he talked about that being so important and I think that your passion for it and the explosion of interest in and among our customers and then also our employees expectations, what Drew's been able to do is just harness what we're going to do, how we're going to do it, and then start executing on some of those really big rocks. We call 'em big projects. And I think that that's really taken Ceres to the next level. So it's been great to have you on our staff.
Morgan Seger (04:01):
Having worked with Drew for several years, I can attest he brings a lot of energy to every project that he's on and what he's bringing to Siri solutions is no exception. Next, I asked Drew to describe his leadership philosophy.
Drew Garretson (04:15):
I would say that it's always a good testament of your style when you asked somebody else that question, but I reflected on this and started thinking if I was to define my leadership style, I would say it's very much a consensus building style of leadership. I love to get everybody's way in. I want to work through opportunities and problems and challenges and a team. So I like teamwork, I like collaboration. I feel like I'm fairly consider or empathetic of other people's perspectives, but I also like to get in and get my hands dirty on things too. So tend to be a leader by actually doing it. As I've grown in my career, I have got better at leading by never have done the job before, but early in your career it's like it's always good if you've had some experience in doing those things. But yeah, collaboration, building consensus tends to be probably my style of leadership. And
Laurel Mann (05:08):
I would say Drew, when you came to Sirius as well, even though you knew a lot of the people, I remember a lot of listening and touring and getting to know what people are doing in the trenches, for lack of a better phrase, but people who are customer facing and their real problems. So that I think helped you have a little authenticity. Yeah, when you were coming back with solutions, you had been
Drew Garretson (05:27):
Listening. Yeah. I tend to ask a lot of questions. You got two ears and one mouth and it's something I've had certainly had to learn. I always usually have an opinion and a lot to say about it, but I've got better at actually listening and understanding kind of everybody's perspective. Reflecting back on your own leadership style, whether or not you're leading a farm operation or a trucking business or you are a branch manager at Ceres, what are the ways in which you are engaging with the things that are important to you and how are you leading your team and what legacy are you providing? Because I think that was a good question to reflect on. Cause I hadn't spent a lot of time thinking about, well what's my style? I mean you don't inherently think about your style, you just do your style. So you can reflect on that a little bit and understand well these are the things that I think that I'm really good at. Maybe I'm just really good at. I understand how to operate a business. I'm really good at ownership or I'm really good at communicating or talking to people. I think spending some time reflecting on your own values that you bring to your situation, whether it's your family or your business or the team that you work with, I think can be insightful and meaningful if you take a little bit of time to think, okay, how do I motivate and lead people?
Morgan Seger (06:46):
One common thing has shown up in all of our leadership conversations and that has been that they spend a lot of time and energy in thinking about and preparing for the future. Drew shares how he prioritizes this effort and how it has become part of his leadership journey.
Drew Garretson (07:04):
I think it's so important that we spend, so spend an ample amount of time doing vision casting and we think about where do we want to be, where do we want to go, what do we envision success looking like down the road a little bit predicting the weather. And I think it's really important from a leader perspective that you spend time pulling on the threads of getting people's opinion and thinking through what we want to be. To me that's part of the leadership journey is the empowerment of other people, helping them understand where we want to go and what we want to do and what our mission is. And that really motivates people if we're after something. And so I think we spend a fair amount of time thinking about that. It's easy to get tactical. I mean we can get tactical really fast and get those things done and certainly we certainly do those things from a business perspective.
But I think one of the things that I think is the most important is spending time thinking about where we want to go and what we want to do. The first experience I had of really doing the long-term vision was actually in Ohio Morgan and somebody asked me to come talk about farming in 2040. That was the topic that you wanted to talk on. And this happened, it was like in 2019, but I think the presentation was in January or February of 2020. It happened to be one of the last things I went and did before the pandemic and there was 450 farmers in the audience. And I got to really think through what the vision of agriculture and farming would look like in the year 2040. I mean it was super fun because you couldn't really be wrong. It's predicting the weather a little bit.
Let's just have fun with it and let's think through it. And probably half of what you know think about now will be true then cause it's hard to think out that far. But that was the first experience I had to really sit down and think about 2040 and what that's going to look like. And then I was like, man, this was a valuable exercise and how can we apply this maybe not in 15 year or 20 year chunks, but maybe how we can do it in five year chunks or something. So one of the things that Doug does really well with us as a team, we get the opportunity to weigh in on the strategic initiatives going into the next year for the field team, for the leadership team, for managers. They get an opportunity to kind of weigh in on what we think is important.
That's a good exercise. That's more like one year out, 12 months out in time that we think about. The longer term game is typically with our board of directors. We go on a retreat every February in which we spend time kind of locked in a room together thinking about what the next year's going to look like or the next five years going to look like. In the last two years we've spent a lot of time talking about 2030 as a target and the things that we need to do to get to where we want to go in the future. So that's probably the cadence that we use. I tend to be a little faster with my team as making sure that we're still aligned to what the mission is and that we're seeing where we want to go.
Laurel Mann (09:50):
So in one of those meetings, drew, and it was probably with the board somewhere, the concept of amplify becoming one of our strategic imperatives or initiatives bubbled to the surface. So help me understand why is amplify one of Siri's key imperatives or initiatives?
Drew Garretson (10:03):
Well this is maybe the second year that we've had that as one of the strategic initiatives, which gets a lot of focus and attention from the organization in order to execute against it. What we started to see from the field team and the board saying, we have an awesome story to tell. We just have to continue to figure out how to tell it. I'm not scared to try stuff. So I threw some wild things out, Adam, right, of ways that we could start to do some of those things. You've seen our listeners have probably seen our centered on use strategy. It's been launched just about a year that we're telling the story of our owners. It really came from the field level. I'm going to call it from the trenches of the business of saying, Hey, we're a reverse on co-op, we have a cool story. How do we tell it better? And more often
Laurel Mann (10:49):
The centered on you strategy that we've created is really telling the customers stories, the emotional connection that customers have with their operations and their land. When you tell that kind of a story, it seems to have really resonated and that's what amplifying is all about. It's raising your voice.
Drew Garretson (11:05):
And I want to back up a little bit and let's talk through the ideation of that. Okay. We started to think through, well how can we start to do this through some high quality digitized platforms? And so these storylines started to pop up and the videos started to pop up. But I remember Morgan calling me and I remember exactly where I was when these conversations happened. She goes, okay Drew, I got a wild idea for you. What if in these stories that instead of making them about the Ceres brand and Ceres being the hero in the story, why don't you flip it and let the customer be the hero? And I was like, that's the ticket. This is why the team works well together. Because that has been the magic in my opinion, that's made those things so meaningful is that we took a step back. It's not about us as an organization and the story that we have of us, it's about our customer. And that was a turning point in that whole building of that strategy was they let, what about the customer being the hero in the story that we tell? So
Laurel Mann (12:02):
Right. And that's a very serious thing because they are the hero. It's not like you're making it up. It's like that's the reason as if farmer own cooperative, rev reverse own just the phrase you often use is that's why we're
Drew Garretson (12:14):
Here and we have awesome owners, we have awesome customers, we have so many stories to tell.
Laurel Mann (12:21):
And so the Center Dun You Campaign, which it involves short stories, little almost like blog posts about businesses, customers in our trade area, then it also involves longer videos that have been released on social media and gotten really great traction. The families have appreciated being a part of it. And then also I think people who don't have a background in farming have found it fascinating because it's such an emotional tie that we all have to the land and food production. We've had a really blessed opportunity to be able to help people tell their story and give an example of what other people could do
Morgan Seger (12:53):
In addition to the centered on you campaign efforts that you may have seen on social media or at Centered on you dot co-op. The team has been working on several other projects including things like this podcast,
Laurel Mann (13:05):
This what we're doing today is a different way to raise our voice and amplify information for customers.
Drew Garretson (13:11):
Yeah, and I'm excited that we were just lucky to have Morgan News's professional in my mind of a podcast host to kind of say, well, this is how you do it if you want to try it. So here we are in the Ceres Solutions podcast studio recording the Field points podcast, another tool in the toolbox to help us tell our story, interview our people, ask questions around who we are and what we do. It's a fun way to interact. It's just another way for us to get a percentage of the mind share of our employees and our customers and help them understand some of the behind the scenes things that are happening here. Maybe there's a relevant topic that we can just address and we can use this as the platform to do it. So this is fun and I originally wanted to call the Field Points podcast, the Ceres series and I thought that just was great. But Laurel and her Infinite Wisdom in many years of expertise said, are you sure you want to call it theCeres Series? It was
Morgan Seger (14:09):
Exactly. Are you sure you won't get tired
Laurel Mann (14:12):
Of calling it this series? Series?
Drew Garretson (14:14):
So glad we changed the name of it in that laurel's Words of wisdom came through. Oh, thank you for us. All
Laurel Mann (14:22):
I was asking is are you sure?
Drew Garretson (14:24):
But I just wanted so bad to use the Ceres name and play on the words.
Laurel Mann (14:30):
Another thing that you've done or really put a spotlight on is emphasized our social media presence and the platforms that we're on and using new tools to amplify that. And that's something every single person listening can do a job to tell their story. They can tackle that social media angle.
Drew Garretson (14:46):
I had the opportunity to sit on a panel about three weeks ago at Atlanta Lakes annual meeting and that was the very question, well, how do we get started? Some of these smaller organizations that maybe don't have the resources to deploy towards these things, but Tony, a young person with social media in their hand can do amazing things if you give them the creative freedom to go do it and talk to people and help amplify your story, but more your brand, right? It's hard to tell the story of your brand and those things are free. They're not hard to do. And we're lucky we have an awesome team that keeps us moving on that. But the goal with that was to just turn the volume up literally on digital marketing opportunities. We believe that the future of marketing and branding is in the hands of digital opportunities, whether it be web or social, some video storytelling, podcasting, less like paper and billboards and radio will be things that we think are going to be less important, not completely go away, but less important. So the digital things, that's the reason I stuck my nose into it is because I have an affinity for the digital. And so this worked out.
Morgan Seger (15:58):
Branding and marketing and amplifying your story makes a lot of sense from a company's perspective. Next, I asked Drew, why does this matter to the Siri Solutions customers?
Drew Garretson (16:11):
I think it comes back to the fact that our owners of the cooperative system started this thing almost a hundred years ago because they believe there was a reason why we should exist. And I think over time we've, we've been so humble about why we're here and what we do and just get to work that we often then fast forward the clock. You find yourself here. We are not sure that everybody understands, right? We have new owners, new customers that understand who we are as a series brand but maybe don't understand why we exist. They don't understand how the reverse ownership model works and why a farmer owned cooperative should be an option in the marketplace and this is how it's governed and this is how it operates. And so there's the opportunity of why, because we have decreasing number of customers, but an increasing amount of volume of dollars that they spend with their co-op and they needed to understand why we're here and what we do and
Laurel Mann (17:15):
We're really in it for the long game. The Sirius has been almost a hundred years a local presence in local communities, obviously not under the same brand and name as we are today, but through those predecessor that were started by great grandparents, probably some in your in-laws family Drew. I think that that's so important to look long-term essential that consumers and farmers have choice and we're one of the more logical choices I think because they're owners of this business that is serving them. The more competitors in the industry, the healthier it is. And we are a very strong business. I think we have great leadership, great opportunities to offer customers. We're a great employer in the communities that we serve.
Drew Garretson (17:54):
The amplification piece, we're focused on our tagline, which is centered on you as the first step in Amplify, amplify 1.0 if you will. And I think what I love about that is it allows us to pull people together. I believe that although this is not our brand purpose statement, it has acted as that externally for both our customers, for our owners, for our internal team, the centered on you tagline and partnered that with our centered on you strategy G around this pillar videos and these mini features of our customers that pulls the people together. So I think that elevates our community. It tells the story of our customers and there's a lot that the employees are proud of as a result of those things. So I think to me, I think they all kind of get pulled together through through the strategy. The fun part is, which we just got done doing is like, okay, well then what's the next step in that?
How do we continue to tell that story of my co-op, right? The next evolution of the brand and what it means to our internal people and our owners. We think about our four strategic initiatives. They certainly all kind of lay what I call is a strong foundation to the rest of the things that are important to the business. We're talking about amplification of our story, but it there's crossover that happens in these strategic initiatives and think about elevating the customer experience. We also talk about the elevating the employee's experience too and what it means to come to an organization that will give you the tools that you need in order to be successful with the customer of today and the customer of tomorrow. I hope in our amplification side of that, that we're kind of leading here in marketing communications. No, that we're given our field team the same type of tools to help our customer up tomorrow and our employee of tomorrow understand who we are and a sense of ownership of the organization and where we're going and what we're doing and a clear vision of the future at Ceres.
I think the one thing that you will see is that we tend to be very passionate about the fact that we are driven by our reverse own model. You said customer centric Morgan, that I think that is very much a thread that we have across the business, across all of the enterprises and is that we wake up every day excited about how we're going to serve our customers and there's a lot of different ways that you can do it. And my fun story was I got an opportunity to ride with one of our fuel drivers for the day and I watched him take how he was serving his customers. It was pretty entertaining actually. So he had a list that was on the clipboard that was handwritten of the things, the 10 places that he needed to get to today. And I was like, all right, I'm coming along with you.
I'm just going to help. I'll put my gloves on. And like, no, he didn't let me do much. I even tried to take a picture and he ran the other way out of the picture. I don't want to be in this, but he's like, okay, so here's the 10 customers that we got to go see or fill their tanks up. So we did that. He also would receive phone calls from the office for, Hey, it's Bob just called in and needs his tank filled. Or he would receive a text message that said, Hey, I need this filled up at the field or whatever. He received phone calls from customers and he also received a Snapchat from a customer with a picture of the tank saying that they needed to fill this tank. So I mean he woke up that morning with a game plan, but he was also answering that those customer's needs throughout the day, it didn't matter how late that needed that was going to go on when we're in the middle of a harvest season. He was there to serve the customer and meet the needs. And I think that is just a really good representation of everybody that is focused on the customer at Ceres and what's important, and that's at the end of the day is making sure that our customers and our owners are successful
Laurel Mann (21:50):
Using technology to serve better, but still keep that personal connection where a guy can Snapchat you the view of his gage and Oh, I know who that is and I know what I need to do. I just think that's the personal connections that you keep with people is what makes us Ceres
Drew Garretson (22:06):
Absolutely. The board has a very good understanding of how we operate as a reverse owned. They're exposed to all the nitty gritty that it takes to be a reverse owned. I mean, they're bought in because they're a board member. They say things like, this is my co-op, but they feel like that sense of ownership isn't shared by the rest of the owners as much as what they would like it to be. So I think that they would probably look at Amplify as being one of the most important as we move into the future because they think there is a need for reverse own model to exist in the market and they want to see Ceres be successful in the long run. So they think part of that is not just growing and changing, but just the storytelling of your brand too.
Morgan Seger (22:54):
Now Drew is going to spend some time walking us through what he sees as the biggest challenges when it comes to amplifying your story.
Drew Garretson (23:02):
Yeah, I think this one for me is pretty easy. It's easier to say, harder to do, but at the end of the day, don't sell. Don't sell who you are. Use the storyline to bring people awareness. So it's easy just today we got this product or the service or this service that we want to sell or promote or talk about, and here's the campaign that we're going to do to execute against that. That's easy to do, but what's better is the storytelling aspect of it. How do we actually tell the story of the expertise of what Ceres can offer to our owners through the eyes of a customer, for example? So those are the fun ones to think through. So my advice for the challenge you might say is like, oh, don't sell. Let's tell. You always want to pressure yourself back to making sure that we're not selling
Laurel Mann (23:51):
Over the years, the Ceres employee group, they aren't really focused on transactional relationships. They're focused on deeper relationships in the communities that they serve. So they've really come alongside and liked this process because it's more reflective of who they are. They're more authentically interested in the customer's experience and the stories and the families that we feature. It bubbles up from people telling us who's doing something awesome, and that's how we know who to feature and who to go interview. Well,
Drew Garretson (24:20):
I was having a conversation with another co-op about two weeks ago. They were asking how to get started with some of these things and I said, well, one of the ways that we did was we just went to our field team and asked them, right, hey, if you have a compelling story of your customer, send it in. How many did we get?
Laurel Mann (24:35):
I don't know. But everybody loves their customers, so they wanted them feature
Drew Garretson (24:39):
And she was just, I mean, I don't know if it was 60 or so stories, we can't do them all probably at the end of the day, but the fact that our field team is that connected to their customer, they understand them and they're wanting to nominate 'em to be part of that storyline, I think tells a lot about our people. And we have awesome customers, we have awesome owners, and I think that's one easy way to get started. Just start, go ask authenticity wins a lot. Also being somewhat vulnerable around maybe some of the things that don't always go perfectly. The fun part about our business model is the fact that when our owners are successful, Siri solutions is successful. And at the end of the day, that's what allows me to sleep at night is that we report back to some of the most humble salt of the earth people, which is the American farmer. And that's, to me, that's what makes the amplification of the series story so impactful and powerful is cause we have great people to talk about.
Laurel Mann (25:33):
What I've heard you say Drew, is don't lose out to a lesser story. Better told. Yeah. Yeah. And I think that that's really important. That's what raising your voice helps you do is you tell your story. Don't let someone else tell a lesser story and grab an opportunity that is rightfully yours. Yeah.
Drew Garretson (25:49):
Well I think that kind of ties back to when we start talking about leadership. Part of the leadership journey is the empowering of other people on your team to have a voice and let it be known of how they want to go and what they want to do. And I think certainly I hope it comes through to my team that they have a voice and that giving them the tools to be successful. But I'd say that's true of all the leaders that I get to interact with on a daily basis is that they're doing everything we can to empower the people on our team to have a voice and to come up with ideas and be creative and solve some of the problems. So it's a fun place to be when you're in that type of culture. Part of it is just around resources. Like we had limited people resources to do the amplification.
That's the reason that we've had to expand this team is because we wanted to turn the volume up amplification of our story and our brand was something that we were strategically aligned to do and we were overloading the cart you might say with Ask because we were really moving that thing forward. So you got to resource these things appropriately when you roll them out. The other thing is you got to provide a platform for people to be comfortable with. You got to provide them some structure and some places to be vocal. And I think that we've created those communities or those opportunities. The other challenges is that a lot of, I don't know if this fits under the Amplify one as much, but change is hard. Change management is hard or changing one's process can be really challenging and I think we're all learning through that, but it's something that if we evolve and we want to continue to grow, we got to be willing to face the challenges and be willing to change where we're going and what we're doing and how we do things. Certainly a challenge that I see as an organization,
Morgan Seger (27:41):
Marketing specifically digital marketing is tricky because it's constantly changing at a faster and faster rate. The algorithms that helped you reach your customers or audiences today might not work tomorrow. So I asked you how do you get buy-in about an idea where the place you're planning to land may not even exist yet?
Drew Garretson (28:00):
I think you have to be a student of the game. You have to go out of your way to understand what the future looks like and you got to be invested in a meaningful way to follow along with what's happening in the industry, be a sponge for those opportunities. So I think once you expose yourself to what you know you can get out of the day-to-day stuff that happens right in front of your face and start to think about here the big rocks that we talk about, in order to do that, you got to make it an effort to go do those things. Doug does that exceptionally well. He can retain stuff that he heard somebody say at a conference three years ago. He just kind of pulls pieces and parts of those things to summarize in an exceptionally good way. I tended to do it more pieces and parts where I pick up things here and there that I collect over time, but I think you got to be exposed to what's going to be happening in our industry. You got to be exposed to people that are really good at casting a future vision then that allow you to take some time to be like, okay, let's step away from the stuff that's right in front of our face that are the tactical things and start to think through if this really does happen, what does that mean to us and how do we react in best interest of the owners of Sir
Laurel Mann (29:12):
And Drew? I've seen that in your example, maybe asked to do something and you won't say no because of what you might learn there and you network frequently on behalf of sir, but then also on behalf of your community. And I think that saying yes to things and just trying things, just getting out there and getting in the game, like you say, being a student of the game has made a difference for Sirius because you're bringing opportunities that you didn't go there for that opportunity. Opportunities come out,
Drew Garretson (29:39):
You have to be involved in the conversation. I think a brand allows you to have exposure to those things and exposure to those opportunities. But also I think just being a person who's willing to raise their hand and say, yes, I talk to my kids about that all the time when somebody asks you to do something. Yeah, I mean as long as it's not hurting somebody or to something that's not supposed to be done, you don't know where that's going to lead you and say yes to those opportunities. There's no doubt about
Laurel Mann (30:05):
It and you can't always wait till you're perfectly qualified to have some sort of an experience. Sometimes you just got to get in there and start smoking.
Drew Garretson (30:11):
Well, and you mentioned the other thing is that volunteering for things that are happening, whether it be in your state or your community or your region, selfishly, I look at those as opportunities for me to learn something as much as it is for me to give to what's ever going on there. And I think that if you go in with that type of attitude, you typically can pull something out of there that you ultimately are a better board member because you're like, well, I have this level of expertise that I can deliver, but I can, I'm also getting something out of it. If would, I think if you would pull our entire customer base, they would be a reflection they of that volunteer firefighters and community foundation board members and the list goes on of church members that are doing this. I mean they're an impressive group. They're just a cross section and representation of the greater the farmer or our customers on the energy side that are volunteering their time in their communities. It's just part of the value of sir. I mean it's just right whether if it's our internal team or our customers, that's just who we are. Yeah, that's how we show up next.
Morgan Seger (31:12):
Drew's going to share how you can participate in the Amplify Initiative.
Drew Garretson (31:16):
You can look at our digital presence on social media and I hope that both our internal team and external people take a minute to appreciate the volume of the turn of the dial that we've done as it relates to digital efforts, digital campaigns and connections with customers. Think sharing the stories or any in interacting and engaging with the Siri solutions content. Also, don't be afraid to tag series as you're telling your story of what you do. It's an exciting thing. We have identified a group of users or people that are interested in learning more about how to build their own digital brand and we're hopefully helping them do that, but we want you to do that for yourself and just bring us along for the journey. You might say use hashtag grow a series. That would be a cool way for our employees to get engaged. That way we can search for those things and track it and start to build upon that. It hasn't gone viral yet, but it probably will
Laurel Mann (32:14):
And it's a fun conversation to be a part of. And when you see what some of our employees out at different locations are doing and then they see what each other are doing it, it just makes your enjoyment of your work. And I think it really creates community.
Drew Garretson (32:26):
It's amazing how many of our customers now actually have their own brand that they've started to develop and socialize in a meaningful way. And if we can help you in any way tell your story, you just have to be the one that's proactive around reaching out to series and if it's aligned to our values, we're going to help you tell that story. And I think that's the value of being customer centric. That's the value of being reverse owned is the ability for us to help our owners through that journey or themselves and then we want their successes makes us successful. So if we can help them be successful in that journey and we can amplify and tell their story and engage in the things that they're doing, we'll do the best that we can to do that. But don't hesitate to reach out and don't hesitate to send us a DM or talk to one of our team members around how we could help you because I think we're kind of in this thing together. We have rural communities to support together. We have ag. I always say one of the next things I think that we will start to hear as it relates to the agriculture specifically is that food security is really important for national security and that'll be a thing that'll be a rallying point for agriculture in the next five years, in my opinion. I think that if we kind of can stick together, help the consumer understand that we're providing a safe and affordable food supply chain, I think that we can do a lot of things.
Laurel Mann (33:51):
Amplify means raising your voice, but it also means becoming greater or becoming more powerful. And I think when you relate it to food security is a component of national security. I think there's a very powerful message and for our customers and people who haven't yet kind of established or amplified their own voices, we're going to need every voice at the table and speaking up so that we can protect the great industry that we work in.
Drew Garretson (34:15):
You talk about brand purpose, you talk about a rallying point or a surely strong why there's one
Morgan Seger (34:20):
Next. I asked Drew, how will he know if the team was successful with the Amplify Initiative?
Drew Garretson (34:27):
At the end of the day, we'll measure ourselves against how did we amplify our brand and our story. There's so many metrics and things that you help us with Morgan in terms of tracking how we're doing against these things, and we have more metrics than probably we know what to do with, to be completely honest with you. But at the end of the day, we've got these, I always call 'em the big rocks, the things that we're focused on, centered on you field points, helping our customers tell the story, and I think we'll evaluate those every year to determine whether or not we were successful. Quite honestly, when a strategic initiative rolls off of the four, it's kind of like, Hey, we're on the right path with it. We're moving it forward. So we'll see. I still feel like we have room to grow in the amplification of our story and our brand. I feel like we've had a lot of success. We've tried a lot of things and I feel like we're applying resources to the problem and we'll continue to try new things and we'll see where
Laurel Mann (35:27):
We're at. And I think in the three years that Drew has been here, it's just raising your voice, amplifying your voice, having a voice has become an expectation.
Morgan Seger (35:35):
Yeah. Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Field Points. We are so grateful that you choose to spend this time with us, and thank you to Drew and Laurel for sharing what they know about the Amplify Initiative and how they are seeing it come to life. Like Drew is mentioning, there's a lot of ways that you can participate in this initiative. One thing we would really appreciate is if you could give us a rating and review on our podcast ratings and reviews, help other listeners find our story. In our last episode of this series, we will be joined by Jeff Choki, C E O of SIR Solutions, and he will walk us through the Invest Strategic Initiative. I am so excited to bring this conversation to you and it will drop next Tuesday, May 23rd. The show notes for this episode will be available at series dot c e r e s dot c o o p. If you enjoyed this deeper dive, be sure to subscribe and leave us a review. Your review and feedback will help other listeners like you find our podcast, and we are so thankful for that.