Originally posted in Authority Magazine and written by Penny Bauder.
Be Persistent. A simple example is getting up each day and cleaning their own rooms. If they can’t clean their own room how are they going to clean the world?? All kidding aside, the simple act of cleaning their own room allows them to achieve a basic accomplishment and helps get them off on the right foot each day. But it also teaches them how to respect their own environment.
As part of my series about companies who are helping to battle climate change, I had the pleasure of interviewing CB Tuite.
As Chief Sales Officer for OrthoLite, CB Tuite leads the overall growth strategy. He also manages the marketing department and is directly responsible for growing brand partnerships while continually driving expansion into new sales channels across all regions. CB has more than 25 years of executive level sales strategy and execution experience within the footwear industry as well as other relevant businesses, offering an unparalleled track record to OrthoLite’s senior leadership team.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
There is an old saying that “ambition is the path to success, but persistence is the vehicle that will get you there.” I truly believe that, and I drive that vehicle every single day, and drive it as fast as I can.
Almost 30 years ago, I jumped right into the footwear industry directly out of college and have never looked back. Early on I learned that persistence was critical to any position you held, and that if you heard “no” that only meant you needed to do a better job presenting solutions that would eventually achieve a “yes” response. Simple but true.
I am also fortunate to have worked with many great mentors early on in my career, and their guidance helped shape both my business fundamentals as well as my strategic vision. From family-owned businesses, to publicly traded, VC funded, as well as Private Equity owned, my career path seemed to lead me right into OrthoLite. It was the best move I ever made.
A true story. I had accepted a Senior level position with one of the largest athletic brands in the world but in the 11th hour, I turned it down to join OrthoLite. Friends and family were shocked, but I knew it was the right move. A recruiter who had known me previously called randomly to tell me about OrthoLite and encouraged me to just meet the founder, Glenn Barrett, for lunch. After meeting Glenn, he and I had the same shared values around innovation and sustainability, and we shared the same passion for success. I knew OrthoLite was the right spot for me and the rest was history.
What is the mission of your company? What problems are you aiming to solve?
OrthoLite’s mission is to inspire brands and consumers through a relentless commitment to innovation and solutions that deliver unmatched comfort, performance, and sustainability.
A problem we aim to solve is to reduce waste in footwear manufacturing through both innovation and production efficiencies. We aim to achieve a target of zero waste by 2025. We are on the trajectory to meet this goal due to our recycling efforts and other initiatives that reduce and reuse post-production waste, through recent investments in automated die cutting and our auto-foaming processes.
Can you tell our readers about the initiatives that you or your company are taking to address climate change or sustainability? Can you give an example for each?
Sustainability and climate change are obviously interwoven, but it’s important to know that OrthoLite has pursued sustainable innovation from day one. Over 25 years ago, OrthoLite was the first branded OEM insole to introduce comfort technologies that utilized recycled materials. Today, we have the largest suite of eco-formulations that include the use of recycled materials as well as bio-oils that replace portions of the petroleum. OrthoLite recently opened our owned-operated recycling facilities to reuse post-production waste and our Head Chemist has developed new performance materials that effectively utilize waste. As a vertical supplier to the world’s leading footwear brands, this is part of our ongoing ‘zero waste’ initiative across all of our owned-operated production facilities.
We also we utilize solar power, we reuse our waste water, and we are working to eliminate the use of corrugate through our reusable Blue Box programs. We have new innovations in the pipeline that focus on end-of-life solutions that are biodegradable, marine degradable, and compostable. True game-changers!
How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or example?
Great question. We work collaboratively with our brand partners to understand their needs and also to address the leading trends. We deliver solutions. Period. And one of the most successful solutions has been addressing the needs of the brands to increase their recycled and/or eco-content across all components of the shoe. By delivering solutions, you deliver profits. For both your company and for those that partner with you.
We will continue to make investments in efficiencies and in automation and in recycling, because for us as an organization, not only is it the right thing to do environmentally, but it’s the right thing to do from a business standpoint because we’ve proven that making those investments will have a return
A great example is being the first to introduce insoles with recycled content and then effectively finding a way to elevate the eco-content without compromising the performance of the insoles.
Today we offer over 400 proprietary formulations across all price points with an eco-content ranging from 5% up to 98%. We are poised to have a record setting year, and our eco Hybrid and Recycled technologies are the key driver in these results.
The youth led climate strikes of September 2019 showed an impressive degree of activism and initiative by young people on behalf of climate change. This was great, and there is still plenty that needs to be done. In your opinion what are 5 things parents should do to inspire the next generation to become engaged in sustainability and the environmental movement? Please give a story or an example for each.
As a father of two young children, I would say the key things to inspire the next generation would be to always encourage kindness, empathy, compassion, perseverance, loyalty, and trust. But if you want to break this down into five basics, I would say:
1) Listen. Always give your children the opportunity to have a voice and to express themselves.
2) Lead by Example. Encourage and show them how to be more conscious of the world around them and as they get older, attend cause related events or fairs with them to give them exposure to these venues but to also help raise awareness to issues that are important to them.
3) Be Persistent. A simple example is getting up each day and cleaning their own rooms. If they can’t clean their own room how are they going to clean the world?? All kidding aside, the simple act of cleaning their own room allows them to achieve a basic accomplishment and helps get them off on the right foot each day. But it also teaches them how to respect their own environment.
4) Don’t back down. Always stand up for what is right. Even if it puts you at odds with those around you. Your core values will show these kids the right path to follow, and for this next generation to drive “change”.
5) Get off your ass. Sitting around playing video games won’t solve the world’s problems let alone their own. We need to encourage kids to get out, be engaged in the ‘present’, be part of their communities, and to always embrace diversity.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
I don’t have five things I wish someone told me before I started my career, but one thing is for certain, I wish someone told me to slow down. Success and persistence sometimes throw your work life balance out of whack. I know it is a cliché but I can’t believe how fast time has flown by. Nothing comes easy as we know, so I always tried to work both smarter and harder to beat out the competition. But a consequence has been less time with family and friends. I now try to pace myself better and to always make sure I give those around me the quality time we need together.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I would say my parents helped me achieve success along the way. My father in particular was a great mentor. He was a successful business owner and I was fortunate to spend some time working for him before I started my career in footwear. My father had the ‘gift of gab’ as they say and was an amazing salesperson — the best I have ever seen. But he didn’t “sell.” My dad built a successful career because he listened and he cared. He cared about his staff and his customers. I experienced it first hand and it shaped the way I work today.
My father was the first one to show me that you “sell with your ears and not with your lips.” Sure, he could light up a room with his jokes and stories, but I watched in amazement with how he would spend time talking about family, friends, sports, politics, and simply asking his customers questions about their business, etc. He was more consultative in his selling techniques, but he was really all about building relationships. Yes, he wanted to sell them products but he genuinely cared. But I also noticed something very quickly with how his questions would take things on a little journey. He would ask questions, sit back, and let the customer talk and talk about what was important to them or what they needed. It was simple and genius the way he did it and then how he would close the sale by simply saying “I can help. Here you go….” Or, “I have what you need.” He sold with his ears.
You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring the greatest amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Wow. That’s a deep one. If I could inspire a movement that would bring the greatest amount of good what would that be? If you can’t inspire locally at home, then you won’t inspire globally, so I look at this from a more personal and humbler standpoint. I am very grateful for the success achieved in business and the success I have enjoyed working together with my teams… But for me, it’s about my kids at this stage in my life. If I can inspire them to make positive change and inspire them to take on life’s challenges…then I think I have done a good job as their dad. To me, they are my world.
Do you have a favorite life lesson quote? Can you tell us how that was relevant to you in your own life?
My life lesson quote is “Win, Lose or Draw, let them know you are there.” To me this goes back to persistence and not giving up no matter how bad you lost. Always try. This quote came from my father and I learned a real-life lesson that day. In middle school I was beat up in a fight instigated by a bully. I was suspended from school for the fight and was terrified about what would happen when I got home. The fight wasn’t my fault and I got banged up pretty good with a bloody lip and face. To my surprise, the first thing my father said when learning of my suspension was “how did you do in the fight?” He knew the bully and knew the outcome. Obviously, I lost the fight, but then my dad said to me, “did you get in any good punches?” I told him yes, I got a couple good one’s in. He said, “well, I don’t like that you were in a fight and suspended, but I bet he’ll leave you alone now for not backing down.” And he was right. My dad then said to me: “Remember something — Win, Lose or Draw, let them know you are there” and this quote has stuck with me forever about not backing down, not giving up, and always trying your best. Win or Loss, show up, try your best and make your mark.
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