Link To Guest Website:

Title: “Taking On A New CFO Role Of A Food Company During Covid-19”
Guest: Kourtney Corcoran – Concord Foods
Interviewers: Evan Macedo – Sapers & Wallack / FEI Boston & Nathan Gobes – Radio Entrepreneurs

Click here to read the transcript

Nathan (1s):
Welcome back to Radio Entrepreneurs, I’m producer Nathan Gobes, filling in for Jeffrey Davis this morning. I want to thank all our listeners for joining. We’ve had over 8,000 guests and counting on the show and we’re excited for our next one today. But today is a segment sponsored by one of our great partners, FEI Boston – financial executives international, which means that my co-host for this segment is Evan Macedo, VP of finance and operations at Sapers & Wallack. Welcome Evan.

Evan (27s):
Hi Nathan. It’s a pleasure to be back on your show. I always have a lot of fun and I know we always have fantastic guests.

Nathan (36s):
Yes. And as you said, we’ve got another fantastic guests right here. We’ve got Kourtney Corcoran, CFO of Concord foods. Welcome Kourtney. So

Kourtney (44s):
Thank you Nathan, and it’s good to be here today.

Nathan (48s):
Yup. So a tell our listeners who are not familiar about Concord foods. I know you’ve been on the show before, but there was a little while ago. So to give us a little background on Concord foods and you know, some of the industry’s the segments that you guys are a in.

Kourtney (1m 2s):
Yeah, absolutely. So we are a food manufacturer located in Brockton, mass. We sell all over the United States and we’re really in three business segments. So we’re in retail, we’re in industrial and we are in food service. So if you, if you go in to retail, you would find us in the produce section. So banana bran, blueberry mix, apple Kratos, those all go with a certain produce that you would bake with. So, you know, you’ll say the banana brand with the bananas, the apple Chris’ with the Apple’s, the blueberry muffin mix with the blueberries.

Kourtney (1m 44s):
We also sell a lemon and lime juice in the produce section. And I multiple selection of different spices like guacamole, salsa, hollandaise sauce. So that’s where you can find us in retail. Find the, in the industrial segment, we provide Carmel mocha, pumpkin, all different flavorings and, and Carmel itself to M national chains again, across the country. And then food service. As we, we do distribute through some of the larger broadliners liners, like Sysco, us foods, Gordon food service.

Kourtney (2m 26s):
But we also, you know, we sell to the up and down the street, mom and pop ice cream shops. We sell flavorings and variegates, and then we also do breadings like clam fry mix or food service restaurants and hospitality.

1 (2m 45s):
Well, that’s a, that’s fantastic. I know you guys work really hard. Ah, and I know my favorite is the banana bread. I’m a big fan of that. I’ve had that many times and a, I always think of you now, every time I opened up a have it to make them, I want to ask you if you started your role last year in the middle of the pandemic, actually at the beginning of the pandemic, that must have been beyond that challenging. Probably not. Well, you were expecting a, what were, what was it like starting a new role as a CFO of a problem that a company and this area in, you know, what challenges did you have to kind of overcome to help lead your organization throughout the year?

1 (3m 29s):

Kourtney (3m 29s):
So really, you know, the biggest thing was getting up to speed as quickly as possible regarding the business while at the same time managing through the unknown. So, you know, it was an uncertain time, both globally and nationally. What I was coming up to speed on the business. There were so many things changing in the business at the same time. So our trends were changing. So folks hear that we’re, you know, seasoned leaders and the folks in the plant across our supply chain, you know, they were reacting to the COVID changes as well. So trying to help me get up to speed while also running the business in that chaotic time was, was challenging, but it was also a really fun,

1 (4m 20s):
I bet, in a, in a Nathan and I a I’ll let you go next.

Nathan (4m 26s):
Sure, sure. I mean, you must have some pretty extensive experience, a dealing with issues related to staffing your facilities and shipping the products across the country. Was there anything special you did, you had to do to make sure that your team stayed motivated throughout this year and you know, and ensured your, that the products arrived at their destinations on time.

Kourtney (4m 46s):
And you know what I would say the biggest thing was communication. It really was. He, you know, starting at the senior leadership level, keeping everybody updated as to what was happening in the supply chain, what was happening in manufacturing, what was happening on the sales side, so that then the leaders could communicate to their teams to make sure that we were all on the same page with, you know, what needed to get done so well, you know, what forecasts need to change? What needs to change from, you know, a buying raw materials standpoint, what lead time’s needed to change, but we’re really, you know, to me, it was all about communication.

Kourtney (5m 30s):
And I also think that that helped motivate people and keep people positive because we were talking about the changes in the business. We were talking about how COVID has impacted our business. And so they felt really comfortable that we were sharing that

1 (5m 48s):
Great. And I’m hoping for everybody to save that COVID will be a, just a time of the past, sooner rather than later I’m and, you know, looking forward to this next year, you know what we should be, hopefully be coming out of this pandemic restaurants should be opening up. We can all go out in a way, maybe have some sort of normal normalcy back in our lives from a, from your perspective, where are you looking to spend your time and your attention as you navigate your company over this next a, this next year. Thank you.

Kourtney (6m 23s):
So really with everything that’s happened, so many things have changed in the market since the onset of golden. So the really, we need to focus on continuing to drive sales and, and really, you know, take advantage of the upstream trends as the country starts to reopen. So, you know, you look back at ourselves from the last year, right? And, you know, industrial and food service really impacted while retail really Serge. But at the same time, you know, we need to make sure that there’s probably going to be a big piece of business, meaning incremental business, even over 2019 to take advantage of, as people start to go back to the restaurants were they haven’t been there for a year.

Kourtney (7m 15s):
The other thing really is focusing on labor. I think that’s another issue that’s come up with really, since COVID, there’s been a lot of changes, the labor market is really tight. So we’re really focusing on, you know, how do we best attract folks to work and our company, and then how do we onboard them? How do we keep them here? That’s, that’s really a, a large focus of ours. And then the other big thing is really managing costs as the supply chain Titans. So, you know, we’re, we’re amidst a transportation crisis right now and, you know, costs are going up they’re which increases costs on raw materials.

Kourtney (8m 5s):
And then, you know, when those things start to change, it does start to filter into your business. So we’re doing, you know, whatever we can to just continue to look at continuous cycles of improvement and really utilize that to impact to our cost structure.

1 (8m 25s):
Yeah, absolutely. And a to follow up with that too, you know, I wanted to hear a little bit about what, what is an ideal client for Concord foods look, look like for any of the listener’s that might be listening to this, ah, and hearing your interview?

Kourtney (8m 42s):
Well, what, what they look like is, you know, someone that wants to go into the retail supermarket, go in there and get our great product. So like Evan said, the banana bread was favorite. I like the apple crisp myself that I really like all of the things that we sell, including our Carmel wraps, we’re actually going to also be coming out of. We just came out with bringing back the rappels. So anyone that wants to go into the retail market I’m and by those things, there aren’t a client. We also, you know, we manufacturer, as I mentioned before, all sorts of, you know, Karmel mocha, pumpkin, ginger bread, all sorts of flavorings.

Kourtney (9m 31s):
So, you know, any, customer’s such as, you know, a honey do or a Duncan or a Starbucks or any of those big names, they would be folks that we would want to attract as well. And I’m also, you know, as these restaurants get you back up and running anybody that, you know, the ones that I can think of off the top of my head, where we’re going into the season, our folks that want to do, you know, clam fry or, you know, fish and chips or any kind of batters. So, so those were the folks that were really, you know, looking forward to as our customers.

1 (10m 10s):
Well, I a, I imagine you’re going to be plenty busy as soon as a, these restaurants start opening up, which will be good for a good for everybody. A I know a lot of people probably look up to you, ah, as a leader of your company in is probably a lot of people listening to this that also look up to you. And I wanted to ask as well as a leader of your company and somebody that has been in the business a for quite some time, do you have any experience for any of our listeners and how to navigate it, say you’re in a CFO position over the course of this next year?

Kourtney (10m 45s):
Absolutely. So first I would say a really important piece of that would be to develop the roadmap. So look in what are the critical few things that need to get done from now until the end of the year, then step back and really work with the team to figure out, you know, what are the M tactics or a strategic measures that need to take place to get those things done and then really communicate it. So make sure that everybody in the organization knows what their role is in how they’re going to contribute to reaching those goals for the balance of the year. The other thing that I think is just really important specifically for this year is to really stay on top of the changes in the market.

Kourtney (11m 31s):
So you mentioned before Labour, you know, this is probably not one person listening to this, that isn’t facing the tightening market one labor. And so I would say, just watch and see what other folks are doing. You know, the Amazon just came out with raising the wage to $17 an hour and giving a thousand signing bonuses and a triple D came out with something where they’re raising their hiring rate of $15 and hour. So I think people need to look at what some of the other leaders in the industry are doing to figure out what some of those strategies might be.

Nathan (12m 14s):
Well, thank you, Courtney. That’s great insight and advice for a, for our audience. This has been a wonderful conversation. I know I’m hungry just a after this whole, this whole chat, Evan and I are going to go out and pick up some, some apple crisp one banana bread. Mmm. But if a listeners or viewers want to get in touch with you or find out more about conquered foods, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Kourtney (12m 34s):
Yeah. So our website is Concord M I am available like K And I would welcome any questions or any networking from the skull.

Nathan (12m 50s):
Thank you. And a Evan is people want to get in touch with you, find out more about Cyprus and Wallach or FEI. What’s the best way for them to reach you.

1 (12m 57s):
Great. Well, a, if you want to get in touch with me, as Nathan said at the beginning, I’m the vice president of finance and operations for Sapeurs and Wallach, a boutique financial advisory firm in Newton mass. A you can go to our website, which is Sapeurs hyphen Ah, and we’d love to speak with you a additionally, this is an FBI segment show. So I want to just say, if you’re trying to get in touch with FEI FEI as a premier Sr financial executive networking group and Boston, they have over four to 500 members, a just in this area in their national, you can check them out at FEI,

Nathan (13m 38s):
Thank you, Evan. A it’s great to have you on the show. I know that we’ll be doing some more segments soon and Courtney, hopefully speak to you soon again. As 2020 continues to roll out and a, we bring you back for updates.

Kourtney (13m 49s):
Thank you both for having me on the show. Thank you.

Nathan (13m 53s):
And we’ll be back with more stories on Radio Entrepreneurs.

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