John Foraker is one of the greatest leaders in the food industry, he has also been an incredible friend and ally for over a decade.
From Annie’s and General Mills to Once Upon a Farm, his experience transcends age groups and categories. He’s launched startups, taken companies public and led the execution one of the largest transactions ever seen in the organic and natural foods industry. He is also a dad of four.
Last week, Kevin Cleary and John Foraker had the opportunity to talk leadership at the annual Crestone Capital, LLC conference in Boulder.
Here is John’s core philosophy on the subject. Enjoy the read.
Thoughts on Leadership:
1. Lead with honesty, integrity, empathy, & transparency. Do the right thing always, especially when no one is looking.
2. High performance comes from clear direction, full support, and empowering the full potential of people through personal connection & inspiration. People are everything. Having the best ones, fully empowered, is the surest way to win.
3. Culture is the most important thing, and leadership sets the tone. Lead by example, and cultivate continuous improvement. Culture is a living breathing thing and needs to be constantly nurtured. Culture should mesh with strategy & the business model to drive material positive social impact focused on making the world a better place.
4. Lead with humility, willingness to admit failure, & embrace failures as a learning moments.
5. Getting things 80% right and moving fast is always better than perfection and moving slow.
6. “The truth will set you free” – only honest assessment of current reality frees leaders and organizations to do what needs to be done to
7. Life is short, work is hard, laugh, & have fun.
About John Foraker
John Foraker recently left his role as President of Annie’s, Inc. and is a co-founder and CEO of Once Upon a Farm. He is a leading authority in the organic and natural foods industry. With more than 20 years of business experience and a sharp focus on sustainability and social responsibility, Foraker’s vision for growing Annie’s has always relied on transparent leadership and an over-arching commitment to creativity, innovation and honesty. In addition to his role as President, Foraker also leads within the greater General Mills organization as an advisor for the company’s small business incubator 301, Inc., a new venture group that invests in small promising companies.
Prior to assuming his role as President in October 2014, Foraker led investors to place growth capital into Annie’s in 1999, earning his title as Chairman of the Board. Beginning in 2004, Foraker led as Annie’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), taking Annie’s public under the BNNY symbol in 2012, just prior to the company’s buyout by General Mills, Inc. in October 2014.