Supply Solutions Enterprise Six Sigma Business Success Planning Meredith Reuben Show 046
Start up Round
We discussed supply solutions, Six Sigma and Business Success Planning with Meredith Reuben, CEO of EBP Supply.
A quick glimpse into the legacy of her family business helps reveal why Meredith’s pull to lead it was so strong. In 1918, her grandparents, Samuel and Sadye Baum, started EBP Supply Solutions as Easter Bag & Paper in Bridgeport, CT.
BP Supply Solutions is a leading distribution partner that provides a broad range of cleaning and foodservice supplies and services for businesses that rely on best-in-class insight, products & tools, and demand custom, transparent relationships. The company services organizations in the eastern United States across buildings, institutions (including government and education), healthcare, recreation, and food service markets. Headquartered in Milford, CT, it operates out of three distribution centers (Milford CT, Tewksbury, MA, and Cranbury, NJ) and achieves national distribution in partnership with Network® Distribution Services. EBP is fully-owned and operated by Meredith Reuben, CEO; is classified as a Women’s Business Enterprise; and holds WBENC National Certificate Number 243449. For more information, listenup to the interview.
Meredith Reuben left her job as a lawyer to lead the family business, EBP Supply Solutions into its third generation of ownership. During her tenure, EBP Supply has grown from a local distributorship servicing a small area in Connecticut to a regional supply solutions enterprise. Meredith reveals how natural curiosity, undeterred perseverance and focus can help you achieve whatever goals you wish to reach.
Meredith was in her late 20s when she walked away from her law career to join the family business. EBP Supply Solutions, which was known as Eastern Bag & Paper at the time.
EBP continues to grow by making smart acquisitions like Salem Paper in the Boston area.
These continued smarter acquisitions strengthened their ability to service the entire State of Connecticut.
As Meredith worked to grow the business, she was also growing her family. She admits that it was a challenging time as she balanced the demands of the business and the needs of her young children and hard working lawyer husband.
“As a mother, you are in operational mode when your kids are young,” she said, “It can be stressful. But early on, learned to set an annual priority list. That really helped me to allocate my time between career and family. Sure, I felt the guilt, I was there to drive them to school, and I made it a point to be home for dinner so I could hear about their day and do homework with them. Making that the priority and aligning the rest of my activities around that helped me tremendously.”
While she credits having a Supportive spouse, she also started a walking group with other women in the neighborhood. This sisterhood helped offer support as she worked to balance the challenges of career and family.
Meredith led her EBP Supply Company a new 166,00 square foot facility in Milford Connecticut just 12 miles north of Bridgeport. This enabled them to consolidate operations into a centralized warehouse. They also have two additional facilities each with 166,000 square feet.
Meredith represents the third generation of leadership in the family business and now how son represents the fourth generation.
Looking back, she recognizes the many challenges she overcame during that period, including the difficulties of identifying how she wanted to approach her management and leadership style.
“Whether or not you are inheriting the company from your mother or father, or succeeding in your position from a strong manager, one of the biggest challenges- particularly, if it is going from male to female- is what kind of persona or style should you assume?”
Her father and mother had great names in the industry and quickly learned that she did not have to copy their styles or strengths. What she needed was to be congruent to her own personality and utilize her strengths, and surround herself with people who supplemented areas where she wasn’t strong, contribute all of her efforts in her own unique way.
That effort proved to be ambitious- she led the Company through several subsequent acquisitions and along with her team, grew EBP to be a regional distributor which now serves enterprises in all of New England and the Middle Atlantic States,
The desire to help people grow and success had helped drive EBP’s strategic plan. Recognizing that an organization can only be its best when driven by a diverse group of stakeholders with different voices and backgrounds, she is working with the leadership of EBP to set goals around diversity,
Meredith works to empower women through mentorship programs within EBP, Locally and internationally. She does this through local family business groups, the ISSA Hygieia Network, and through WIN, which is a group within Network Distribution, an international buying and selling organization. She wants to see more women in leadership positions throughout the cleaning industry.
She has surrounded herself with a highly capable team of professionals who have brought skill sets to continuously improve the efficiency, productivity, Culture and operations in place. Her son Andrew is currently the Vice President of Marketing,:
One of her favorite poems, which she keeps on her desk to inspire her daily, is “if,” written by Rudyard Kipling
On the best advice, she’s received: “Understand the objectives and ignore all the
noise.” – Jerry Rueben, her father.
Meredith on leading: if you’re going to survive and thrive, you need to read, be Curious, and constantly have a learning and open mentality. She surrounds herself with people who share this same quality. It’s whom she hires.
Islands of Profit in the Sea of Red Ink by Jonathan Burne
Connected – Nicholas Christakis the Surprising Power of our Social Networks