Keynotes

Managing Partner, Zingerman's Coffee Company

After growing up in Philadelphia, Steve has spent most of his adult life in Ann Arbor. He has held a number of positions in a variety of industries (from wholesale to retail), including holding a job as a Senior VP of operations for a furniture manufacturer, prior to coming to Zingerman’s. He has a range of interests and the uncanny ability to spend a ton of time on all of them at once. For example, Steve earned his MBA from Cleary University while working full time, raising his children, and also studying to become a Deacon in the Armenian Orthodox Church.

Steve wouldn’t have guessed that he would end up being a business owner in the coffee industry – when he had his first cup of coffee at age 19, he disliked it so much that he couldn’t swallow it. However, when Steve found his way to the Zingerman’s Coffee Company in 2006, filling the role as sales manager, his passion, knowledge and love for coffee grew. In this role, he quickly saw that the Coffee Company could grow by expanding its channels of distribution. During this period of building the business, Steve discovered that the culture, work environment, and values so closely aligned with his own that he decided to fulfill his dream of being an owner in 2008.

Steve is involved in every aspect of the business from sourcing to roasting to building the wholesale base of customers. He travels to origin regularly, building relationships with producers. In order to build the business, Steve travels to potential wholesale customers to evaluate sales opportunities and to provide training and support to existing customers. He also participates in a number of Zingerman’s Partner’s Group committees.

Steve compares the structure of our organization to a “shopping” experience, so to speak, for any number of “satisfiers/needs.” We can stroll down aisle one and pick up some personal satisfaction. Down aisle two is ample gain-share and opportunity for those that are driven. Aisle three carries healthy peer relationships, and on and on. Ultimately, when we “check out”, we have in our shopping cart all the ingredients of a satisfactory and fulfilling work experience. This applies to employees at all levels of the organization, as there is no limit to the opportunities to forge a fulfilling work experience.

So, the chance to create opportunities for staff to learn and grow was a big motivator for Steve in becoming a partner, as he strongly believes in servant leadership. The principle of which is that leaders must serve those who choose to follow, not the other way around, as is the case in many organizations. One trip to the Coffee Company, seeing Steve interact with his employees and guests, shows that he lives this.

Steve is also active in a range of activities in the community. He shares his business knowledge through his service with Nexecon Consulting, a UM business school student consulting group. He also serves on the Washtenaw Community College advisory board and participates in WCC’s School of Business, teaching Business Management for over 4 years.

Working ON your business instead of IN it

There is a point in the life of every business when the owners and leaders need to get out from working solely IN their businesses and get into working ON their businesses, In other words, to spend more time answering questions like - Who are we? and less time answering questions like - Who is working the afternoon shift? A point where it becomes imperative to figure out what values your business lives by, where your business is going in the next 10 years and the strategic plan that’s going to get you there.

In this genuinely passionate keynote, Steve Mangigian will tell the story of his journey to becoming Managing Partner at Zingerman’s Coffee Company. Although seemingly circuitous, the story of Steve’s journey will illustrate in the most compelling and straightforward manner how having a clear vision and articulating the values you are driven by is a surefire way to get the life and the business you want. Not only will you leave inspired to draft your vision and values, you’ll leave with a clear idea on how to get going!