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The Power of Human Centered Innovation with Michele Carroll

Updated: Dec 5, 2022

Michele Carroll

Michele Carroll is the Founder & President of Carrollco Marketing Services, a company that focuses on helping people launch and grow their businesses in the US and around the globe. Since founding the company in 1994, she has helped over 500 companies launch, gain traction, fund, and accelerate business growth.

Michele is the current Executive Director of the International Society of Service Innovation Professionals (ISSIP) and has been the face of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) for decades.

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Michele holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Political Science from Furman University and a master’s in international business from the University of South Carolina.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Michele Carroll shares how her involvement in CSCMP led to Carrollco

  • Important lessons Michele learned by attending events and national conferences

  • The role of service innovation professionals and how they overlap with supply chain management professionals

  • What companies will benefit from Carrollco?

  • Emergence of the “digital twin”

  • Managing mindsets before implementing technological changes

  • What’s next for ISSIP?

  • Michele’s favorite tools and software

In this episode…

Since the tech boom began in the 1990s, the software and tools we’ve created have become more complex and intelligent. Some argue that AI is capable of replacing humans in some service-oriented tasks.

According to Michele Carroll, service innovation should remain people-centered. While technology is beneficial to the marketplace, human connection is what drives business and society. AI and other advanced technologies are tools meant to help humans be more efficient in their personal and professional life — they will never replace genuine human connection.

In this episode of The Tao of Pizza Podcast, Mark Hiddleson sits down with Michele Carroll, Founder & President of Carrollco Marketing Services, to discuss people-centered innovation. Michele talks about what service innovation professionals do and how they overlap with supply chain management professionals, the benefit of incorporating technology into business to boost human efficiency, and how to manage people’s mindsets before implementing technological change.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode...

This episode is brought to you by Specialized Storage Solutions Inc.


I have been in the logistics and storage industry for several decades. I know I don’t look that old, but it's true.

We provide industry-leading warehouse storage solutions nationwide.

So basically, if you have a warehouse that needs Rack, Shelving, Carts, Conveyors, or Mezzanines, we help engineering, installations, inspections, and repairs to help clients optimize their logistics operations.

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We take a holistic look at your entire business supply chain ecosystem to develop the resources for continually improving your operation.

To learn more, visit or give us a call at (707) 732-3892. One of the best ways to learn more about our products and services is to follow us on Instagram. And there’s a link on our website to do that.

I will even give you my personal email address for podcast listeners, so email me at if you’re ready to take your warehouse storage and retrieval systems to the next level.

Episode Transcript:

Intro 0:01

Welcome to The Tao of Pizza Podcast where we feature top logistics leaders, entrepreneurs and supply chain innovators and share their inspiring stories with a holistic twist.

Mark Hiddleson 0:17

Mark Hiddleson here host of The Tao of Pizza Podcast where I talk with top industry innovators in the warehousing logistics and supply chain business with a holistic twist. Before I introduce Michele Carroll. This episode is brought to you by specialized Storage Solutions, Inc. Listen, I've been in the logistics and storage industry for several decades. And I know I don't look that old, but it's true. We provide industry leading warehouse storage solutions nationwide. So basically, if you have a warehouse that needs rack, shelving carts, conveyors, or mezzanines, we help with the design engineering installation inspections and repairs to help clients optimize their logistics operations. And a lot of people don't even realize that we can actually help with permit acquisition services as well. So to learn more, visit Or give us a call 707-732-3892. And I can give about my personal email address for podcast listeners. So email me at Today we have Michele Carroll. Michele has been a leader. And for most of us in the San Francisco Bay Area Silicon Valley. She has been the face of CSCMP for decades, which is the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. Michele Carroll is President and Founder of Carrollco Marketing Services. And now the Executive Director of ISSIP, which is the International Society of Service Innovation Professionals. For company Carrollco Marketing Services celebrates 30 years in 2023. She has been a leader at CSCMP Since 1993, and just completed her first six months as executive director with ISSIP. Her and her business are both evolution stories fueled by growth change and continuous improvement. Everyone knows Michele's leader of CSCMP. And now ISSIP, and she does all of that. Well actually running a business that's grown, evolved and helps the logistics companies we've all respect. Michele, welcome to The Tao of Pizza.

Michele Carroll 2:20

Thank you, Mark. Good to see ya.

Mark Hiddleson 2:22

It's great to see you. I love your background looks awesome. He's got a great view there from where yourself?

Michele Carroll 2:29

Yes. Yes. He's walking by Ken. Yeah,

Mark Hiddleson 2:35

we met through you know, we both are kind of serving industry councils. Starting in the in the I was the late 90s, even since the 90s. And I wanted to mention Michael Makiko. He is somebody who was he was a president of work at the time, which was the organization I was service near them with cscmp Women in logistics. And so you can check out the the Michael Mikitka episode, and he's the executive vice president for the material handling Institute's Knowledge Center. And he runs the work division, which is now part of MHI. So how did you get started in but you must be young to look younger than me. And when I say on the on the commercials like I don't like that all like how, how did you get involved in a CSCMP? And what used to be CLM, which they made it complicated? At some point. Yeah. How did that and kind of Carrollco how do those two things kind of come about?

Michele Carroll 3:37

It was it was CLM when I heard it first and I come from and yes, I did start this all in kindergarten. I was I'm from a trucking family, right. Intermodal trucking. So came from that space logistics never intended to be in it right as most of us weren't. But I had like, in retrospect looks like a short career of like 11 years that was this corporate from the intermodal trucking family. I was in sales with Sealand maritime there for eight years. Went to Idaho rail, so we real car leasing, and then Emery worldwide. So air freight. And in most of those it was acquisition lead departures. And I found the caracal in 93. Left Emory. It found my own company. And it was as I was leaving, I had been booked as Emory to go to the big CLM thing and I had no idea what that was, you know, they booked me in and I left the company that all happened and I was working on starting a family and I went anyway to see what it was just in all right. It was a never been anything so big this is 93. And those were the days when the conference is Drew 7000. And I went and I met all these people and, and it was hundreds of sessions and you know, three days, it's, it's shrunk to a quarter of that, no, but um, I was just I was in on I checked it out there that there are round peoples, you know, around the world and everywhere and the concept was so good. And I got in when I got back, checked out CLM Council of Logistics Management then right, which made perfect sense for a person launching a marketing company in the logistics space. So it became central to the annual event, I always made sure that I was going to that and and start working with the roundtable, then I never stopped. I think I'm the longest single presence. Oh, yeah.

Mark Hiddleson 5:56

I remember, I thought it was gonna be me, I started. It was the late 90s. When I started attending work events, kind of like you, they actually they had one. And so those national events are great. The work ones are like 1000 people, the 1200, the CLM CSCMP, were always way bigger. But those national conferences, like the level of people you meet, like everybody there is like a manager owner of a company or, you know, Director by there was just a great place to learn. Yeah. And the roundtables. I just wanted to be around that energy. So there was one here in San Francisco. So I went to that. And then I thought, I'm never missing one of these things. And to be to serve, you really have to go to the National Conference, like a lot of people are members locally. And they choose not to go to the National Conference. And so I started in work, and it was probably about 10 years that I was actively serving on the board. So I commend you. After 10 years, I was like, I've been serving this board for 10 years, I want to and I still attend the events, I still support, I still go to your stuff. I mean, your events are really good. So what are some of the things you learn by by doing that?

Michele Carroll 7:11

I mean, actually, well, and if there was there were twice there were two spots where I did try to leave. And I did try to because there's there's beauty to succession planning and new energy taking over and then it should broaden and become different networks. Right. And we didn't want to squeeze mine dry. And yeah. And we did. Honestly, I started getting involved in the leadership. I was involved and just didn't I chaired the annual banquet. You remember when we had that? So apex and work and this was when it was Rick Merritt and Apex then we're thaw Golden Gate, right. Everybody would have their little booths at the what was that? The Basque Cultural Center, or

Mark Hiddleson 7:57

that one is? The Golden Gate Yacht Club is did some other events. Remember? They were always great. Yeah. Yeah. Then use the Saturday

Michele Carroll 8:05

started that one. But um, it was different people, though, that were involved with the roundtable versus the annual conference. And you really met. It was different kind of bigger roles, as you said at the annual Yeah. And yeah, what did I learn, honestly, for me, and we're talking, I probably got into leadership at the roundtables in the late night. Right? I was in government myth. Yeah, when I was with Eclipse group, and sell things blockchain consulting, we were building that practice and it was a focus. I wanted to get involved to be on leadership to help grow my consulting company, Eclipse group, right. It was it was mercenary, and, and help recruit and bring in the people that weren't just the service providers, right, bringing in those branded product companies that that veil that we wanted to serve and that they wanted to serve. And it was I mean, at the time, I remember there were headquarters did such a nice job of training leadership, right, where they bring in roundtable leaders, it's learnings that are serving me well now on how to speak how to, you know, and then these new entry level folks like myself at the time and 90s to get comfortable in front of a room if you weren't right and we want to nobody was you didn't want it. So you programs had to do that. And the VP of Marketing had to do this and you had your specific tasks and we'd say you've got introduced this person, right? So you have to look it up and see who they were and have your paragraph and be ready to get to the front of the room. That was so challenging to me then right and by the end. I love that I love being out there and chatting with the room. But I know everybody and we brought through so many people that came comfortable and, and it became that collegial atmosphere. And so biggest learning was just that getting comfortable and shifting from it being about, you know, my, my sales goals, to building something where other people would grow and develop and become the leaders and, and I did try to transition out I left, I kind of retired once. And then there was a point after Lisa Dole and Sir, after Lisa, there was Kate and Kate Mosley, and then after they serve, no one wanted to continue, and they called me back in, you know, and that was good.

Mark Hiddleson 10:42

Yeah, I'm glad you shared it that way. And, and I'm glad they pulled you back in, because your odds about it. And those that public speaking, I would put that at one of the top ones of my team and I was lucky to have with work, it was more of the senior people like you started out on the board, and you just succeeded the president, like you started out as an associate board member. And then he went, they had names for it all, like secretary treasurer or board member at large and then Vice President, President and past president. So I had mentors and Dennis and Ray were awesome at. They shared things with me that I didn't know what they were talking about. But it was kind of like you were saying it wasn't it's not about being salesy, and how many contacts you can make with your business card, and everything is really just about relationships, and then that other stuff will kind of take care of itself. And they were really good at training me about, like the meeting, the tour shouldn't be too pitchy. And even if you have somebody who's a speaker, from industry, like they're selling their product, but their speech should be more education based. And one good thing for me is an either rain or Dennis likes to do the introductions in in the speaker, every meeting is a welcome everybody. So they're always out as the new guy, they have me do it. I got really good at it got really good. It was one of the things and when I started out, you know, there's the local roundtables or we would host a tour. That'd be like, 40 or 50 people. In the beginning, I knew just four or five. And then but but you know, after five years, I there were 50 people that are probably mean 30. So it got easier and easier. And that's what

Michele Carroll 12:20

you guys you got tours work got tours to an art form that was I always saw collaborate CSCMP to collaborate with the others on what they're best at, you know, should be with Well, on that golf tournament should be with work on a tour, it should be with a fix on, you know, a certification kind of how to and why it's good. And, and CSCMP We tried to be branded as that kind of overall, right, bring in that executive with the with the broader perspective. You know, the other thing I learned, in addition to speaking, we, and the credit others, it was Sergio Reto, who came back wanted to energize it, it had fallen down again, right to you know, 3630 38 people were coming everything. And he recruited me, he said he'd come in and be president, if Alan Davis would be leaving programs, and I'd be VP marketing. And if we had if he had that, then we do it. And we did and that was so good started wasn't me. Yeah, bringing that in. And then and the first thing I as a marketing person wanted to do was survey. And we collaborate because our list was not good. Of what who the prospective contacts are in the Bay Area and Apex work, well collaborated with us shared lists so that we can survey and you know, I structured it and then shared the results with everybody. What would you come to what would make you want to come out? What are the key topics? What are the challenges you're facing? And, you know, we repeated that survey multiple times over the years never change. It was big companies, I bring in iconic companies, and let's hear about their, you know, kind of this best practice stories. What are they doing?

Mark Hiddleson 14:09

Yeah, the last, it reminds me the last in your events were always awesome, because they were cutting edge. I remember, you know, probably a year before the first drone delivery ever happened in real life. I watched the presentation at one of your events. It was somewhere in in the Silicon Valley, somewhere around 50. Remember that you had a speaker that was talking about the prospect of drone deliveries where everyone's gonna look? And I was like, oh, yeah, there's a super out of space. Thing talk. So that was, yeah, yeah. So that was one of the first talks I ever went to where you had a speaker and I can't remember where he was. He was talking about Yeah, like it's coming they're doing they isn't like in probably in all those six months down to the year, you know, now it's kinda People using drones for all kinds of stuff and robotics.

Michele Carroll 15:03

Fetch it was fetch robotics was fetch robotics CEO was able titles a Karl Guardino, those were amazing. The predictions events, right? Yeah. Yeah, they're little snippets that stand out is like what? Mark Buck was BioRad laboratories. Now he's over at UC Philetus, also running supply chain, but he was at BioRad. And came in and everybody's asking about 3d printing. And is that going to happen? He goes, Yeah, we've been using that for years. Yeah.

Mark Hiddleson 15:33

In some industries, yeah. And then it's just so it gets adopted in certain industries. And then the visionary people go, Well, they're using it in this industry, we can use it in our industry. So what this is a good, I think it's a good segue into, I think there's some overlap. So tell me a little bit more about what service innovation professionals do in how I think there's some overlap in that, you know, supply chain management professionals. And, and what you're doing now? Yeah, they

Michele Carroll 16:05

should, there shouldn't be more overlap. Um, I don't know if you remember Terry Griffin, who had spoken, one of the things I did with cscmp was start Chairing the annual innovation event. And she was one of my speakers. And I met her at a at a one of the annual conferences. I think she says it went sooner, and we know each other longer. Because definitely through CSCMP, um, she's the current president of iZotope. And she reached out to me earlier this year, but when I met and this was more than 10 years ago, probably more than 15 years ago, that she came out with a plugged in manager, and it was about integrating people technology process, and that those are going to be the organizations that thrive and it was just fresh her thinking then I'd heard you know, it was new and exciting to me. So she, when this executive directorship came open earlier this year, she reached out to ask if you know anybody. And I'm thinking and actually she said, if you know, but it's only part time, you know, I think of you but it's only part time and I'm like, well, part time is what I can do. And and my clients and Carollco right. But um, so yeah, we it was a no brainer. Talking with these. It's ISSIP ISSIP. So and you said and thank you, you've gotten all the alphabet soup, correct on the on all these things. But the International Society of service innovation professionals, I have never heard of it. And everyone I know from cscmp 100% of the people have also not yes, because Terry. But and that's amazing. To me. I think ISSIP has become super known for its annual, it's okay, the mission is to support and develop people centered data intensive innovation, that's of service to business, to society, and to innovation itself. Right. So, and they do annual, we do annual awards. That so I started in April, and it like inside my first week, you know, I understand this your first day on the job, but we have our 14 What here, you need to get reach out to these 14 companies and let them know that they won. And it's the big three and then there were 11 of the distinguished recognition for services. Really what these are, I mean, it's the most amazing thing. So it's the best initiatives on the planet underway, you know, for innovating service in some way that is of benefit to society that was won by ABB robotics and it's this robot, you know, I'm not gonna get into particulars, but there's an award for innovation itself one day Cisco, an innovation of, you know, service, merit to business or service innovation for the benefit of society. And that was the AP robotics and and then 11 one of the winners of the Belen House senior executive has just stepped up to lead the awards process for the coming year. Because our guy had retired and it's the energy you you mentioned that was perfect word about what had been excited about CSCMP exciting about it to me initially. The energy when you ask for help when you are looking for leaders is just phenomenal like this. Aruna booth is going to leave the awards process that a woman coming in to develop this service product that we're going to brand and log rolling out in the spring, I'm very excited about this, you know, collaboration initiatives with these institutional members I want to reach out to and start bringing in to partner with isaa. To do things in the world. So to help, you know, pilot or test or ask a question or survey or something, or just initiatives that are in service innovation of any type across industry, across sector, and you know, across function. And the the things that are coming up are just amazing. So, like cscmp, it has eyes of hosts, regular events, there's a weekly speaker series. So those award winners, for example, will talk about what the project was and what they were trying to do what they did, is it just a zoom call, you know, it's a little one hour, there have been 15 of those in the last couple of months. And then they do that deep dive in fall and in spring, and leading what so I had to shadow in spore one of the founders, he, himself pioneered what they call service science, right? It's a rigorous scientific discipline, looking at service itself, and how then to innovate it. So it's, you know, it's a field I was unaware of. And so he's now just such a pleasure to work with everyone, as I'm interviewing about whether to take this role or not, was just the opportunity to work with Jim is worth whatever it is, you've got to pay in time, you know. And we meet weekly, Zoom weekly to just touch base on initiatives afoot. You just wrote, okay, when exactly last month or September, it was published. One of the things he manages for ISSIP is help members who want to publish or CO publish with ISSIP, you know, if you want to write a book on service, innovation, whatever variety it is, you're up to, or your perspective on it, or research and publish results, he and Luke the murky and who works at Amazon. manage this partnership, Jim himself wrote, service in the AI era, right? That came out in September, it's like the definitive book, these become the textbooks for people learning AI or service science or innovation.

Mark Hiddleson 22:35

With AI, to me, like a lot of service goes down, you know, when you look at automated call centers, or whenever you want to get our chats or anything. So service is that service innovation is talking about using technology, but using it in a way where it engages the customer or customers, you know, when you give the survey later they go Yeah, that was a good experience, or is that a good example about what service innovation is like, we have technology or data or whatever we're using that that'd

Michele Carroll 23:07

be like in supply chain, that'd be like saying is a visibility tool, then a good example of supply chain, right? It's sort of that's one thing, right? The technology, but the idea of service innovation is that it'd be people centered, it's about the people. The whole thing is it can't be just AI, right? It needs to be aI paired with, like some some warehousing clients that are looking at automating warehouse operations and bringing in robotics to free people doing what people do. You know, it doesn't replace it. It What am I looking for? It expands,

Mark Hiddleson 23:43

expands? Yeah, exactly. And you can, you can enhance it actually enhances employee experience. If the robotics are involved, when you have the right approach, it can enhance things for everybody. And then I think also and so I want you to give me some examples of industry more Amala more examples of service. I mean, I consider myself a service innovation professional because nobody really goes about our business the way we do, you know, they're not asking the same questions are not doing the same homework or research. And I also see in our I started looking more into data, data data however, we want to save more because I'm seeing as companies start to use it, there's the IT people who really know where all the data is, you know, how it could be tied together in the cloud or things like that. But there's a lot of people who who knew they know what to do with it, if they knew where it was or anything that was the right questions to ask. And that's what I think you're when you say by people centered is like are you getting the people involved who are actually going to talk to each other who might not know anything about data, but they know hey, if I knew you know how many orders were coming every Friday by two o'clock

Michele Carroll 24:57

yes be a tool. It should be a tool toward An end, right that you're the people and, and technology tools are being used together to achieve something. That's the service, what you do in the end, right? IBM was International Business Machines. And it was about machinery. And they were selling hardware. That was a service innovation to become that consultative processing partner. Right? And all right, you've told me I need to arm myself and I do I need three good examples. So I'm new here.

Mark Hiddleson 25:34

I think it's a great I mean, because service innovation, I'm just so I think, a Salesforce and I don't know a lot about it, but a lot of theirs is like automated customer, customer relationship management, right? That's what I would call your service. And for me, even like, I don't want anything automated. And my do I want to be when I say that, when now I'm using automated calendar function I'm using

Michele Carroll 25:58

just gonna say, You were automated and how you scheduled and that is not it's not common in our industry. So

Mark Hiddleson 26:06

in so in, I'm available. So the thing is, you know, with me, I've been a woman, he probably was running a company running his ucsmp. And all you do is not like anyone can just call you anytime and you don't answer the phone. Right? If you're introducing the speaker at the podium for an hour, it's you're not going to be checking emails, you're not going to be text. So I wanted a way where people can schedule times with me, you know, have these times blocked out? And I was actually terrified of it to start with, it's like, no, I'm not I'm not putting my schedule online. Or, you know, there was yeah,

Michele Carroll 26:36

here. Yeah, put it in the buffers and keep your spots.

Mark Hiddleson 26:40

Yeah, I think you and I, we had to reschedule because I had a plane and there were time changes. And I thought I was going to be able to do it because I was gonna be able to do it. But I was gonna do with 1130 where I was, but then here it was, like 930. Morning, what was right where you were traveling? Yeah. So I was traveling for business, and thought, Oh, this is going to be great. Well, I'll just record it, you know, in the lobby or my hotel room, or I'll get a meeting room or something. So yeah, I think that's, it's a value to my clients. Sometime. If they need to schedule a call, I can send them a link like here, you know, book a 30 minute strategy meeting or book, you know, 15, like, wherever you need, and then they know it's there. Like, you don't have to call me on the phone, get a hold of me, leave me a message. I'll call you back. We were

Michele Carroll 27:27

great. And that takes us. So just imagine in whatever work it is you do applicable to absolutely anyone if you could think of the pieces that are repetitive, if you could think and if there was a digital twin for Mark Hiddleson. Right, if there was a digital twin, you could work 24 hours they could be getting done your digital twin. And this is this is not science. But this is happening. Right? This is this is like the drone delivery. It's already working for people now. Right? There are sorry, soon to be. But the digital twin conversations like the equivalent now in this service science field, right? They're talking about this, like we were talking to drone delivery a decade ago as like, maybe it'll happen. And some leaders were well, well on the way to that, right, this notion that it's not replacing you, it's not a frightening thing. There's privacy concerns there. It is a complicated thing. But it's but it's doable, and it will be a helpful thing. And it will free the actual human to do things that only a human can do. Yeah. And we're not using more than 10% of our brains, right, there's a

Mark Hiddleson 28:38

love. That's what that was what my book is about trying to use that extra 1%. So use 11% Is that when you say the digital replacement is happening right now, I'm laughing because that's what the podcast is. It's a digital, you know, it's not a replacement, these conversations, and that's what I want to give access to, you know, because now somebody asked me it was a service patient professional, I just had a conversation with the executive director of service and a patient and and it's, you know, I found it's, it's, it's not a it is a digital replacement. And one of the best advantages we're having with this is that my staff is watching this or my clients are seeing they're seeing things from other interviews that now they can ask me about so I don't have to actually have a conversation. somebody's interested in voice pick technology. I've interviewed a client who they did a voice pick. Installation. So he talked about, you know why we're excited advantages. So, for me,

Michele Carroll 29:44

go ahead. No, I just want to say it's just service making it better through using tools and working with people seeing both for all they can be and then innovating to make service of benefit to people, society, humanity, right? It's just, yeah, it doesn't have to be technology. Yeah. And actually, that's the opportunity of ice, if I see what's happened is a very technical focus. Like in supply chain management, there's been a very, you know, the visibility tools, the processes, the equipment, there's the physical, making the flow more efficient. But the people being unhappy, the people not wanting to be in the in, you know, that there can be remote work these notions of what's inspiring and motivating and retains people not doing well, anywhere, right, that's an that needs Incorporated. So that's what it is. So people centered, data intensive innovation, that that makes service more beneficial for people and business and society. That's a cool thing to be working on. I'm just very excited about and the cool thing is, you know, one thing you did say that I'm going to call you out on it's a CSCMP flaw. That's a beauty AC and ISSIP. It's truly international. Right? CSCMP big claim to fame is that it's supposed to be it is and the beauty of it. The vision is it's a global network, right? And in that directory, you could reach out to your colleagues and I do I did, it's a big benefit still of cscmp. But people will talk about the National Conference, the global conference. It's not Americans, with some people cut, right. It's Oh, very ethnocentric and to feel a difference when I our first board meeting. Everybody if you know, the Zoom calls, it was just what it seemed futuristic to me that, wow, this is a truly global board. They're in Asia and Europe and here, and it was just really, and across the states. Right. And that too, is different too. And, and really working together toward a shared goal. It isn't just about, you know, generating business and getting those leads. And it's about this real vision for making the world better. Not working less. It's just very exciting.

Mark Hiddleson 32:12

Yeah, and so I want to also want to kind of figure out what what kind of companies as Carrollco helped me do their marketing? Well, what's sort of your niche? Like, what's your ideal customer for Carrollco?

Michele Carroll 32:32

The ones we have Yeah. No, I'm not kidding. For just totally get to yes, there's a sweet spot. Um, I you know, it's changed so much. We, I had started out in logistics, helping the people I know, with projects, not knowing what I wanted to do. So project after project after project started snowballing into a business and was like, Okay, well, this is what I do size markets, help with PR write articles for you. And it was this kind of ad hoc thing for logistics people out of transportation and logistics that I knew. And then they'd start moving from company to company and bring me to different companies, and then you know, how we grew. And then I'd bring in people to help me and then project to project I got this amazing, amazing bench of people. And it was probably 10 years, I think five years is what I peg as when it started becoming a going concern where I wasn't, Oh, I'm finished with this project. What am I doing next month, right, when you ask that point, and have some ongoing business and referral business, and I've grown 100% by referral, and that first 10 years was logistics, transportation folk. And then they'd go to a high tech company, to Cisco or HP here. And these were, you know, some of the earlier work and wanted to select service providers. So we did this really cool work of managing RFQ process. And then I paired up with Eclipse group and did more of that. And then Jean

Mark Hiddleson 34:11

Michel, RFP processes Did you say, Yeah, helping

Michele Carroll 34:15

select a service provider, right. So you do the who's capable of what, which was a wonderful networking tool in itself, right, and you're the person managing the purse strings for some of these heavyweights and then I met just in the course of that helping some Silicon Valley big characters, selecting service providers and logistics providers, transportation providers, quantifying cross border traffic, you know, little research here and there. I met enterprise Ireland, and it was a woman Diane Roberts that and we just really hit it off and I started doing it's a completely different thing because I've been doing some research now. helping her with. They're the the biggest VC in Europe, enterprise Ireland, they're they helped Irish companies succeed in global markets. And over the course of that next decade, and you know, building on to the logistics work, we we help more than 600 Irish companies come into the United States market entry strategy and you know, and then there happened to always be a logistics network should you need it. market entry and the PR and building out the websites and most important turning that three hour Irish breakfast into the 32nd elevator pitch, right? What it what is it? Do? What's the value proposition? And who cares? Why. And, yeah, more than 600 and then that was the bulk of it. And it shifted from AD 20 logistics to some Irish business here and there to add 20 Irish, and then Italian and German and helping those governments and you know, we grew and then budgets kind of dried up in Europe, and third decade, you know, reach back out to, we've got capacity and, you know, back to logistics. So that's truly what happened. And we did more Northern Irish, Irish, still, in German still, but sporadic and now we have a really strong logistics and supply chain helping people service and technology providers in the logistics and supply chain management sector. That's our biggest practice area.

Mark Hiddleson 36:33

These clients so service providers, voters were some some people who do like route optimization or

Michele Carroll 36:44

warehouse Yeah, warehouse logistics we do. And I think I know I touched base with Jeremy and the biggest warehouse logistics provider not in Northern California. Is prism logistics and we've done help the family van Puffin for more than a decade. Yeah. With growth and and through them. And I think you should always credit the network content again. That goes back to cscmp. Yeah, but it was Emily nearness, I don't know if you remember her, Emily Rodriguez, she got to be the highest ranking woman with Fujitsu Corp was logistics. She introduced me to Jerry van Puffin back in 2001. Because it was right in September 911. Right. One, and there was cscmp conference and introduced me to Jerry there. It was years later before I actually did some work for him. But prism belongs to quite a few consortia. So that was the initial intro to quite a few entities that are marketing associations across the United States providing its regional warehouse logistics providers that serve their region and then together they're a national entity,

Mark Hiddleson 38:05

the network again, that which is a good way to Yeah, because you can deal with a lot of times a smaller companies, all of my friends are involved in that. Chris Murphy is one of my best friends, best clients. It's funny, I was reading I never, I've always said it's a good idea to mix business with pleasure. And I didn't realize what I meant by it was like going to events. And like we're number four I'm friends with a lot of my clients. And I saw this article was like, why it's a bad idea to mix business with pleasure. And I just realized that at the age of 52 that mixing business with pleasure, a lot of times it means like Office romance affair. Oh pleasure I'm like that's not Oh, yeah. Right. I agree. It should be fun but it's making fun like having you know friends with you know, people we do business with and we go to a lot of the same national events like Chris is involved in you know, American Frozen Foods Inc, which is another its logistics, but it's on the frozen side because there's a cold chain. But people like Jerry I met Jerry through work, and yeah, and the networking, the introductions.

Michele Carroll 39:22

And now Jeremy has taken it over. And you know, that's when but they introduced me years ago and I still handle the marketing for a theme DCA Distribution Centers of America, American chain of warehouses, Allied distribution, so those are all okay, regional companies. Some of them are national, but within those entities, they partner and it's starting

Mark Hiddleson 39:49

to say about Christmas company, they're there locally on company so they can give you like that service level, but they have the national network. So the projects nationwide is that we're done Jerry there

Michele Carroll 40:01

And then yeah, the van puffins would be the Northern California. Yeah. West. But yeah. And they're more regional players. I mean, there's been research on actually we did some years ago, research on Who do you prefer to choose? You know, the big boys, the big third party logistics companies that have national networks? Because they have that control. Right? Is that or regional and the way things are shifting to where you need instantaneous response and flexibility, you need those? Those guys have a real value proposition in flexibility in these local markets. Right, you know, yeah. Yeah. So they're fun. So I'm constantly changing, and then pandemic hit, right. And they are essential services. And people started appreciating them more throughout the country and off the nightmares that have been supply chain for the last two years. But my clients have been just a joy to work with getting things done, you know, and partnering with people. What was your question?

Mark Hiddleson 41:10

I was Where are we? Well, the question was what like, why was that a good idea them? And then the question was about what are some of the customers you serve? And I think we, we dragged it out at third party? Well, I was asking is, what's your 32nd? Elevator of not the three hour Irish? 32nd. What's the 32nd? Now? I won't I have, I have some more fun questions. So I know, your favorite events, conferences? What's the next really cool thing that ISSIP is going to do that people should check out? Or if he wanted to learn more about ISSIP, I checked out the website. It's really cool. The thing about the publishing the books? That was I looked at it because I'm publishing some book and probably a couple more. What are some of the other things for people to check out?

Michele Carroll 42:07

Well, we this is the fourth quarter where there's a strategy council for ISSIP that goes into, you know, plot mode, and they'll be coming out with what the topics will be for next year, like this year, and then we'll do a big spring Summit, a discovery Summit. So April, you know, we can put a tentative date out there. But I don't know if the topic yet can't really pitch it, but I'm actually a bit but the big thing I did, he's a little earlier is going to be this used to be we have institutional members and individual members, right. So corporations or entities, foundations, governments, as can be institutional members, or individuals, like yourself, could be a member, and that's right now, free, I would suggest joining now. Right now. But, um, but there's gonna be a service product in the spring. That's going to be Yeah, we just did say And it's i s s i p .org.

Mark Hiddleson 43:09

And I'll have a link to that in our show notes. And really anything we mentioned, I'll try to have a link to that in our show notes. And I wrote down some of the names like Emily and Luke and Jim sport wanna host all those I'm loving on host those on the on our podcast. But seriously, that's that's one of the the benefits, I guess the been, you've always admired you because because how long you did it because I did it for 10 years. And I know how much work it is that you've? It's all volunteer time. I mean, you're networking, and you're getting business and everything. But what's your what's your favorite? tools and software? So we were talking a little bit about technology. So what's something you like that? We just started using slack here at our company? I'd heard of it. But I didn't like the name. So I was like, No, we're not doing a really good thing. Like, actually, we

Michele Carroll 44:11

have a slack. ISSP works in Slack. We have a Slack channel, you when you sign up, you can come into Slack. And actually, I don't know if you've ever heard there's somebody Joanne right is the VP of enterprise and operations for IBM. She's massive, huge, amazing woman leader transformative leader. That's when the pandemic hit I think the blurb on her said that inside seven days she had 9000 People working remotely, you know, got it done, kept thinking. She's leading the digital transformation of IBM itself, right and has all the real estate around the world has. She's amazing. She's talking, giving her you know, profound, profound pearls of wisdom to the Group and the discovery summit and she mentioned that we're slackers. Yeah. Wait, I just want to make sure I can quote that. Joanne right, says IBM are slackers. That's um, that's a new one. To me. Honestly, in the last six months, I have become so much more efficient in everything I do, because of needing to work on Google Drive on on an in Slack and this constant communication. Actually the other thing, too, that's a great question mark. Question Mark, how funny. I'm in the last two year because of the pandemic, what Carollco does is changed so dramatically, because we were very tradeshow focused, right, your campaigns, yeah, with an anchor, right? You're going to be building attention, and then meeting people, and then you know, try to set up meetings, that kind of thing. So the meetings went away. So what are we doing, you know, the anchor. So we've just recently been digitizing the marketing effort, which caused us to move into teams. And the guy that's my digital strategist, he's amazing. Actually, he's marketing strategist, but he leads all the digital work for clients. Teams, works pretty darn well. And Google Drive and slack. Those are the big three tools that I'm using now. And I feel bad for having resisted those when many people have tried it.

Mark Hiddleson 46:28

I resisted email until like, 2005, I used to when I worked for another company. I used to have them print on my emails and put them in a it was like a regiment. And I would come to my office every day, I would look and like, oh, there's three angels in there. And they were printed out and be like, these guys, I'm gonna laugh when the email doesn't work. Especially bad. Yeah. So and I think, and my defense after 23 something years, I think email could be on its way out.

Michele Carroll 47:00

Honestly, Yeah, seriously, when you

Mark Hiddleson 47:03

because you have all these other tools and slack and you can text and you know, the way slack is for us, because we have a lot of communication, you just organize it in the project. So when you go back to look at something not to go look through the email string or a text string, like where was it was, it's in Slack, it's right there. And you go into that project, it's an order by date, and the documents and their pictures and everything

Michele Carroll 47:24

be out. But can we that's a mindset that's really hard to change. I took a visibility services client around for some years ago, one of my German clients and they have a tool. Now finally, they're growing. But it was so long, because it was a platform for monitoring visibility. Where's it at in the supply chain from sourcing of the materials through manufacturing, the warehousing and distribution and fulfillment, which are covered the whole thing? Ignore it just really impressive. And these major fashion, fast fashion and apparel manufacturers were so excited by what was possible? And then would say yeah, but No, not here because of turf wars because of because of the organizational silos. And now it's taken this is only probably a year seven. Yeah, that it's finally you know, my we talked about this so mindsets, and how you can change how do you manage real change? Right? So that's an example of where, you know, sometimes the market research just says you can't yet not here Not with that segment, right? They can't think that way. I, my, my daughter, I have millennial daughters, and I spent a great deal of time with much younger people. It's helps keep you younger, right? But then one time laughing. And I won't go down any more rabbit holes with you. I'm sorry. I laughed because she said something smart. And I said, Ah, that is so out of the box that is out of the box thinking and she turns into says Warbucks way perfect math that we laugh, and then move on. You know I've been I've reflected on that. And but that's the thing, we our lab says, there's a way to do this, there's a way to think about this. You are not in it, you don't get it. And I'm going to stay in my little silo my system of thinking about this. When that's the person you want thinking about this space that we're growing into and business. That's the kind of thinking that's what bringing in diversity, equity and inclusion will meet right that you get people who don't even know about the box and they don't need that there's no merit to teaching that. You know, just let's hear what they think.

Mark Hiddleson 49:54

And so what I hear you saying is and this is 100% Right on when we talk about people's center heard, we don't just mean like a feel good way. And we mean it in like, people centered, it's more effective because people are going to do it. We're going to be more open to innovation. Yeah, yeah. And even like, I've always considered myself like, I'm super open, open to change evolving. Like I love the year like growth, continuous improvement evolving. And I remember one time I worked for someone else, they wanted to change the way we were numbering our proposals to make it uniform. Am I like, freaked out? But I'm so open and to new ideas, but it is I think it's human nature. Right? It's like, I created this numbering system for my proposals with like, I want to keep it so

Michele Carroll 50:43

yeah. Let me keep some pieces of my comfort zone.

Mark Hiddleson 50:48

So, so this has been great. Michele, we're we're almost out of time. But we have with us, Michele, Caroll. Carollco. Marketing. ISSIP, it's, I'm excited. And we're gonna have links. I mean, I think, really, anybody who listens to this podcast could benefit from at least checking out the ISSIP website, and I guess you can you could sign up or you could stay in touch and hear about events. Is that right? As a total? Yeah. And then what's the best way for finding out about Carollco Marketing, Or what's the best way?

Michele Carroll 51:22

Ah, actually for either it's or

Mark Hiddleson 51:29

They'll send you an email and get a dialogue started. If people want to learn more. This has been awesome. Thank you so much, Michele. He says, it's always been very over the years and it has been, you know, seems like only about five years, but it's been longer, like 20 or 30. Thank you for for joining us on The Tao of Pizza.

Michele Carroll 51:49

Thank you for your decades of service and this innovation mark. My first podcast

Mark Hiddleson 51:55

also always applies when he said up to like, Michele, how's it listen? I was gonna ask you, what's your favorite podcast, but we all already know that.

Michele Carroll 52:04

Clients short, Chris, we don't want long hours. Yeah, no, you're opening my mind.

Mark Hiddleson 52:08

Awesome. Thank you so much.

Outro 52:11

Thanks for listening to The Tao of Pizza Podcast. We'll see you again next time and be sure to click Subscribe to get future episodes.


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