In this special Memorial Day edition of Leading the Way, we spoke to Tom Shull, CEO of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, the 47 th top retailer in the U.S. that provides tax-free shopping and services to an exclusive customer base of more than 18 million military members and their families.
Shull, an accomplished leader and retail business man, is responsible for doubling profitability since taking over in 2011 and says, “Being able to serve veterans who have the online shopping benefit to shop tax-free for the rest of their lives and securing that benefit for them has been a real honor to do.”
We discuss their unique customer experience, their passion for hiring “wounded warriors,” and their goal to employ 50,000 veterans by 2020. Tom shares great examples on how the Exchange collaborates with other major organizations such as AT&T and Disney to ultimately benefit the military community in combat and bring “home” to them. You’ll enjoy Tom’s historic stories and his contribution to the Vietnam Memorial during his experience at the White House.
This is a patriotic episode of Leading the Way that will make you want to stand tall and salute!
- Advice to young professionals – “Draw from your strengths, which are your principles, your integrity, your character. Nurture and inspire those you honor, love and serve. And whatever you are, be a good one. You have certain gifts, embrace those gifts, and pursue those with passion.”
- On talent acquisition – “We always look for talent who have a passion to serve, what makes us different is 85% of us are connected to military, and we take that ultimate step of customer service in making sure their needs are met when they leave the store or the facility. We look for people with that passion.”
- On talent development - “We train our talent well. We have a very, very strong corporate university that we help train them, hands-on training and we have a very strong learning program online. And then it’s self-paced. It’s an extremely good learning program for whatever their skillset is.”
- On customer experience – “Customers expect not only to get what they want, which we’re really good at, but then to make sure they receive it very quickly. And so we’re really aggressive. That’s where online retail is going.”
- On leadership - “Two words: Lead tank. As a leader, you always have to be up front, you have to be willing to go in harm’s way with them, to eat last, to serve others.”
About Leading the Way
Leading the Way is a weekly radio show and podcast series that highlights influential business leaders and leading people practices from i4cp. Co-hosted by Emmy award-winning television anchor and radio host, Scott Murray, and i4cp’s Angel Carlton, the show features interviews with respected business leaders from the world of business, sports, entertainment, healthcare and philanthropy.
The show airs live every Sunday at 4 pm CT on KLIF 570 in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, the global audience is invited to listen live on www.klif.com and the weekly podcast debuts on iTunes or Google Play and the i4cp website the following week.