2023 is going to be a big year for this blog and our podcast, The bluEPrint. I have been given a mandate to grow these channels and make them something relevant and interesting both to our existing network of senior business executives and also to a wider audience who have some of the same business challenges and opportunities in their own working lives.

Many of you may have already noticed a lot more content is coming out a lot more regularly, and we are only picking up speed! I am proud to say we have already published almost as many blog posts in these past three months as last year’s total, and we are also already at two-thirds as many podcast episodes published in 2023 as we did in all of 2022, with a healthy forward schedule of new material that should keep us going with regular episodes every week in perpetuity now.

All of this is worth celebrating, and so today I would like to take a look back at some of my favorite conversations published in the first quarter of 2023.

Now, just as I said when we did our 2022 year in review post last December, I can’t possibly highlight everything. I need to pick and choose what I want to showcase, and I am doing so on arbitrary grounds. For today’s post my criteria will be a personal one: These are the episodes I’ve asked my wife and my parents to listen to, both to show them what I am working on, and also because you don’t need to have a technical background or work in any of these industries to follow the content being discussed. These are great conversations with interesting people about subject matter everyone can understand. That’s always worth highlighting, and it also makes them great examples to show the new direction we are going to take the podcast.

Here are a few recent episodes that are worth your time:

Bill Good of GE Appliances — New Ideas and Innovations from a Manufacturer Founded by Edison

We have recorded several interviews with members of the speaker faculty of NAMES23 in the run-up to that event, but if I had to pick one and say, “I want to have 20 different versions of this conversation with other speakers from all our events happening this year,” this would be my choice. Bill speaks with pride and satisfaction about his work at GE Appliances, and how his organization is navigating a changing business landscape while holding onto the values that have always made them great at what they do. Bill talks about some amazing ideas and initiatives relevant to the New Normal of Work, lets us see how Lean continues to inform and strengthen GE Appliances’ operations, and also talks about manufacturing in general as a career path for Americans from all walks of life. It’s a wide-ranging conversation, and at the end I felt like I could have talked to him all day. Give it a listen!

Suzanne Long of Albertsons Companies – Sustainability and the Fight to Eliminate Food Waste

Suzanne and I were going to speak onsite at NASRS23, but her flight was cancelled due to inclement weather. She ended up giving her presentation virtually to a packed conference room, and then she and I engaged in a wonderful conversation via Zoom where we talked about how one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States is working to eliminate all food waste going to landfills by 2030, as well as the power of ‘Systems Thinking’ to make the big things possible and make lasting impacts on how organizations think and act when it comes to their Environmental, Social, and Governance performance. Suzanne also offered insights into how Sustainability professionals engage and collaborate both among themselves and with other partners to drive shared success. Her input was a big part of the inspiration behind my column on building towards long-term goals in a quarterly report world. I really look forward to following Albertsons’ Sustainability journey in the years to come. If Sustainability is important to you —and it should be to everyone— then this interview is worth your time.

Monique Matheson of Nike — Talent Attraction, Development and Retention in Times of Shifting Employee Expectations

I have been interviewing people in Executive Platforms’ network in one way or another since 2016, but this was the first time I did so in-person sitting down with someone with a multi-camera setup, and it just so happened to be with the Chief Human Resources Officer of Nike. I do my best not to get starstruck, but Monique Matheson is a very impressive person doing an important job at a company I’ve known about all my life as an industry leader. She had just finished giving the opening keynote address at NAHRES22, and then she was generous enough to let me ask all the follow-up questions I know our audience wanted to hear if we could have set aside as much time for Q&A as we had given her to do her whole presentation. Nike has done some truly impressive and ground-breaking work to hold onto the Talent they have, attract the Talent they want, and develop the Talent they will need for their future. They have also really listened to their people and are actively shaping their strategy and culture to give their workforce what it needs in the New Normal of Work. This was a fascinating conversation. You should give it a listen!

The Future of Medicine Will Cost Less and Move Faster Than We Ever Imagined — A Conversation with Amrit Chaudhuri of SmartLabs

Something like five minutes into talking with Amrit Chaudhuri of SmartLabs I was overwhelmed by the feeling that I was speaking to someone who will have books written about him one day. What he and his team are doing may well one day be discussed in the same way we talk about Edison’s Menlo Park, General Electric’s Research Laboratory in the 50s and 60s, and Xerox PARC during the rise of Microsoft and Apple. Big, industry-inventing things are happening, and Amrit and SmartLabs are making that possible.

To give a little context, I would be hard-put to exaggerate just how big a deal is happening in the world of biopharmaceutical manufacturing right now. A whole new generation of medicine —a whole new industry as different and exciting and transformative as the development of biopharma out of traditional pharmaceutical manufacturing was a few decades ago— is on the cusp of commercialization. The R&D pipeline of new drugs and new therapies is so overwhelming right now that the biggest issue people are talking about at our annual Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing World Summit series is finding the capacity to do all that needs doing, and here we have SmartLabs creating modular enterprise-grade laboratories and related infrastructure that can be scaled and reconfigured as needed to fundamentally and dramatically change the price and timelines involved in developing the future of medicine. Rather than build new bespoke facilities from scratch, any company can get what it needs faster and at a fraction of the price. The capacity limit is being removed, and this is far from aspirational. The concept has already been proven to work and has assisted in the development of many of the first commercially approved Cell and Gene Therapies. This is not an episode you want to miss!

I could go on and do a lot more of these, of course, but I think four is a healthy place to stop when asking people to give some of my recent favorites a first or second listen. If this post proves popular, you can look forward to me doing this again in another three or four months. In the meantime, enjoy!

Geoff Micks
Head of Content & Research
Executive Platforms

Geoff joined the industry events business as a conference producer in 2010 after four years working in print media. He has researched, planned, organized, run, and contributed to more than a hundred events across North America and Europe for senior leaders, with special emphasis on the energy, mining, manufacturing, maintenance, supply chain, human resources, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, finance, and sustainability sectors. As part of his role as Head of Content & Research, Geoff hosts Executive Platforms’ bluEPrint Podcast series as well as a weekly blog focusing on issues relevant to Executive Platforms’ network of business leaders.

Geoff is the author of five works of historical fiction: Inca, Zulu, Beginning, Middle, and End. The New York Times and National Public Radio have interviewed him about his writing, and he wrote and narrated an animated short for Vice Media that appeared on HBO. He has a BA Honours with High Distinction from the University of Toronto specializing in Journalism with a Double Minor in History and Classical Studies, as well as Diploma in Journalism from Centennial College.