Clovis Chamber Holds Leadership Summit

The Clovis Chamber of Commerce Leadership Summit was held at the Mercedes Edward Theater. (Adam Ricardo Solis/Clovis Roundup)

The Clovis Chamber of Commerce held their Clovis Leadership Summit Wednesday, July 13. Guest speakers Sheriff Margret Mims, Kuppa Joy owner Zack Follet, and Doug Lipp, former Head of Training at Walt Disney.

Held at the Mercedes Edwards Theater, the Clovis Chamber of Commerce focused on the importance of leadership and customer service in the Clovis area. 

Former Detroit Lions player and Clovis native Zack Follet, owner of Kuppa Joy shared his journey of being an entrepreneur and how to engage in positive business practices that can impact the community. 

Follet’s approach of prioritizing customer service and employee treatment over finances is a mindset that he said proved successful for his coffee business. 

Follet shared that following a neck injury that cut his football career short, he decided to root himself in his Christian faith and open a coffee shop that allowed him to demonstrate a unique type of leadership style in his business with his employees and community.

Service leadership, Follet said, is a practice that allows him to run a business and be a man of integrity. 

A message that Follet hopes that local business owners in attendance take away from the summit is that they reflect on how they contribute to their community in a time of need. 

“When you do that, your life is fulfilled,” Follet said.

After an introduction from Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig, Sheriff Margret Mims opened with a message to Clovis business owners and said knowing what vision a leader has for their business helps a business succeed. 

Mims said she is often asked if she receives a lot of after hours calls, and as a leader she promotes the people that are responsible to carry out tasks to ensure everyone knows what their role is. 

Mims continued by saying a functioning team works similarly to how the team in the movie Top Gun: Maverick functioned. Each member knew their role and responsibility because of that.

“There is no substitute for good old fashioned hard work,” Mims said.

Mims said to the crowd of business owners in attendance that developing good coping skills will allow individuals success in stressful situations. 

Knowing the difference between a problem and an inconvenience is an essential part of leadership, Mims continued. 

Making the decision to retire was a decision that Mims said she was able to make because of her work of creating an environment where those around her knew their role and responsibilities and helped her feel comfortable with her decision to leave.

Following Mims was Doug Lipp, former Head of Training at Walt Disney and international keynote speaker shared his experience using the “Disney way” and leading training teams.

Lipp said regardless of what the organization is, everyone makes mistakes but knowing when to provide a personal touch is what makes a business unique. 

Lipp reflected on his time working for the Disney company and how Walt Disney would know when to manage his business with an iron fist and know when to “slip a velvet glove” on for sensitive situations.

Knowing when to listen to the good, the bad, and the ugly is essential for situational leadership according to Lipp. 

“Where there is trust, there is the opportunity to overcome great adversity,” Lipp said.

Moving forward within any business, Lipp said that owners should consider putting their employees first, then customers. In doing so, businesses will help create an environment where an owner’s investment in their team will pay dividends. 

Disney’s ability to hire cast members that provide an experience for the audience stems from the idea of “hiring right.”

Lipp said the next step is to keep employees that provide a unique experience for customers, so to train and treat your employees right. 

Knowing your organizational culture, Lipp stated, will differentiate the best business from a mundane one.

Lipp closed the summit with a message for business owners in attendance with a final thought on how to succeed in a world that is constantly changing.

Lipp continued by saying moving forward, businesses should have the ability to change and adapt or face the consequence of perishing as a business. 

“Be comfortable with discomfort otherwise you can’t take risks.” Lipp said.

Adam Ricardo Solis has written for The Collegian as a staff reporter covering a variety of topics and transferred from Fresno City College to Fresno State where he majored in agriculture business. He is excited to incorporate what he has learned about the agriculture industry in the Central Valley into future articles while also covering a variety of other community matters.