Success can be measured in many different ways.  My motivation is to make a positive impact on people and on organizations.  Here are a few examples of how I’ve done that. 


Discipline  Business Strategy: "Shifting Gears to Grow"

Challenge  In an attempt to diversify, the company had made a series of acquisitions into new categories.  The acquisitions brought changes in WD-40 Company's primary consumer, customers, sales strategy, and competitors.  Over time, it became apparent to me that these moves had stretched resources in ways that didn’t match competencies. 

Result  I worked across the company to help people understand the unintended consequences the acquisitions had on the organization and its performance. I then designed and led a collaborative strategic overhaul that brought a sharper focus in sales, marketing, innovation, and supply.  In five years following implementation of the new strategy, the annual sales growth rate was nearly 2X the prior rate and profit grew even faster than that. 

WD-40 specialist product family.png

Discipline:  Brand Strategy:  WD-40 

Challenge:  With brand awareness of more than 90%, usage of 80%, and presence in 8 of 10 American homes, WD-40 is an iconic and category-defining brand.  It is trusted at home and at work and is sold in more than 100 countries.  While the company saw opportunities to grow the brand in emerging markets, the mature countries were challenged by their own historical success and flat to declining consumption.  What could be done to grow revenue and reinforce the efficacy of brand?

Result:  I led a global, research-driven brand exploration that engaged insiders, agencies, consumers, and industry experts in defining the meaning of the WD-40 brand and the range of possible extension options.  Our work identified product category innovation opportunities and unleashed long term revenue levers for the brand. Outcomes included the launches the first ever extensions of the brand including WD-40 Specialist, WD-40 Motorbike, and WD-40 BIKE. These products are now selling in more than 30 countries and on their way to achieving the goal of $90 million in new brand revenue.


Discipline  Business Start Up:  "Creating WD-40 BIKE Company"

Challenge Established mass retail brands often struggle when entering enthusiast categories like cycling because business practices which serve them well in larger channels may not match needs in specialty retail.

Result  Through research, we knew that authenticity was a key factor in the receptivity of consumers and retailers to new brands in cycling.  As president/co-founder, I worked with the team to address authenticity in branding, product formulation, marketing, staffing, and business structure.  We set up WD-40 BIKE Company on its own, implemented a high-touch event strategy and went to market through specialist distributors.  In the two years following product launch, we got WD-40 BIKE into 3,000 stores in the US and served as a platform to launch the brand into 19 countries. 


Discipline  Marketing Strategy: "The Search for 2000 Uses"

Challenge  WD-40 is known for its versatility.  Its effectiveness for a variety of purposes has fueled a spirt of experimentation by consumers, many of whom try WD-40 on just about anything.  We wanted to engage consumers in creating the definitive list of ways that WD-40 could be used.

Result  As VP Marketing, I worked with our team and agencies to create the Search for 2000 Uses, a campaign to ask consumers to tell us how they used WD-40.  With a modest PR and ad budget, our campaign attracted 300,000 entries and built a large database of brand users.  The following year, we parlayed that database into The WD-40 Fan Club

Discipline  Organizational Development:  "Transforming the Financial Function of a Public Company"

Challenge  I took over as CFO shortly after the company had closed on its largest ever acquisition, borrowed long-term debt for the first time, was in the midst of integrating a new ERP system, and facing changes in SEC regulatory requirements.  Each of these would have been challenging alone. Undertaken at the same time, they were back breaking for the company’s global financial team.   

Result  I knew that we had talented, hardworking professionals on the finance team.  We simply didn’t have enough of them and the new demands were beyond their capacity and capability.  As a public company with statutory reporting deadlines, we were in crisis mode. To address the problem, we helped the team with clear priorities, eliminated work that wasn’t essential to reporting deadlines, revamped the closing process, involved other functional areas to alleviate workload, engaged short term assistance to raise capacity, and also refinanced the debt.  Over time, we reshaped the finance team to meet the new ongoing business needs.  I’m proud that we emerged with a more motivated team and didn't lose anyone.


Discipline  Sales Strategy:  "The Crusade for Customer Satisfaction"

Challenge  AutoZone is the largest automotive retailer in the US.  Despite many attempts to earn the business over a number of years, WD-40 wasn’t sold in AutoZone stores.

Result  Working with the marketing team and agencies, we focused the brand message on automotive applications with award-winning marketing.  From meetings at AutoZone HQ and visiting stores, I noticed that every person had a name tag that included their title followed by “customer satisfaction.”  That inspired me to create a campaign to invite consumers to ask for WD-40 at AutoZone stores.  Our “Crusade for Customer Satisfaction” generated thousands of consumer requests at AutoZone stores and helped WD-40 get on shelves in their 3,000 locations.  

Leadership Academy Template 1.jpg

Discipline  People Development:  "The Leadership Academy"

Challenge  Many organizations invest in training, much of which is aimed at managers.  While participating in a company-sponsored master’s program, I thought about how to take what I’d learned back to the company and share with people beyond my direct team. 

Result  I created a program called The Leadership Academy to engage people in learning and in teaching.  Through monthly lunchtime sessions covering skills that would be useful to people in their personal and professional lives, we hoped to broaden leadership development.  Topics such as finance, public speaking, goal-setting, and marketing were part of the schedule.  We tapped subject-matter experts within the company to teach the classes. The combination of teaching and learning earned rave reviews. Attendance was optional but more than 90% of employees chose to participate. 

Maniac Pledge.jpg

Discipline  Culture Change:  "The Maniac Pledge"

Challenge: Successful integration of acquisitions is hard logistically and culturally.  The company had made its largest acquisition and was grappling with how to integrate the two companies. 

Result  As the leader of the integration process, I was well aware of the difficulties in merging two disparate businesses with different systems, processes, customers, and people.  At the time, I had been writing about the merits of being a maniac and had titled that year’s marketing plan, The Maniac’s Handbook.  Late one night, I concluded that our solution was a combination of communication and personal responsibility. To help the employees embrace those qualities, I wrote the Maniac Pledge, a mutual commitment amongst employees companywide.  The Maniac Pledge has since become part of company lore.