The road to the middle market CEO corner office is paved with mile markers that guide in surprising, unpredictable, and some might even say “mysterious” ways! But how do you get such a widely coveted position? This is the question often heard during decades of ROI’s executive search interviews, conducted with top-level executives. ROI’s Into the Corner Office podcast is a new inspiration and answer platform which premieres visionary tales of adventure with great endings and highlights, from powerhouse CEOs driving the formidable success of the U.S. economy’s middle market sector. The CEOs behind this impressive growth reveal insights which equipped them to lead their organizations. Showcasing dynamic leadership stories, Into the Corner Office dives into the heart of what informed and formed these CEOs. Guests share their backgrounds, talk about their early years, and explore what shaped them before they were known for their successes in growing, developing, and leading extraordinary middle market companies and teams. Telling their own stories – straight up and right Into the Corner Office.
Markus Reinmund, Founder and CEO, Knocking
Markus Reinmund is the founder and CEO of Knocking, a content and commerce company for all media. Throughout his career, Markus has held senior executive positions within P&L management, corporate strategy, marketing and consumer analytics for several Fortune-500 companies.
Prior to founding Knocking, Markus worked for Aetna, a Fortune-100 healthcare company, as a full-time executive advisor reporting directly to the General Manager of the company’s $1 billion Consumer Business. In this role, Markus led the definition and implementation of Aetna’s customer experience governance and operations for the launch of Aetna’s B2C business.
Before Aetna, managed corporate strategy, consumer analytics and marketing functions at New York Life, a Fortune-100 insurance company, where he worked directly with senior leadership and the company board on key initiatives around business operations, investment management and corporate planning.
Markus has held roles at Medtronic (formerly Covidien), a Fortune-500 healthcare company, where he was responsible for the company’s $150 million bariatric surgery and trocar businesses, and Fonar Corporation, a NASDAQ-traded medical device company whose founder, Dr. Damadian, invented and first commercialized the MRI scanner in the 1970s. Reporting directly to Fonar’s CEO, Markus successfully restructured the company’s European sales and service operations, and was responsible for obtaining the company's first contract with the U.S. Department of Defense.
Markus grew up in Munich, Germany, and began his career as a financial analyst at Siemens AG, a German electrical engineering and electronics company. He holds a BA and MA in Economics from Cambridge University and an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Stanford Le, CEO & President, Snoqualmie Casino
Stanford Le is the CEO and president of Snoqualmie Casino.
Le joined the casino as chief marketing officer in June 2018 and helped shape the marketing and acquisition strategy for the record-setting year and 2019. During his tenure as interim CEO, Le led the casino team through the pandemic while retaining the company’s entire team member workforce of 1,100.
Le has more than 24 years of experience as a senior executive, leading companies including Fortune 500 casino companies, including Wynn Resorts, Sands China and Caesars Entertainment. During his tenure with those companies, he’s been part of the opening or pre-opening planning for five different integrated resort properties, which have grown significantly.
Le holds two post-graduate degrees, a master’s degree in management and a law degree he earned concurrently while attending Cornell University.
James Miller II, CEO, Vision Investment Group
James Miller, II is a Board Director and CEO who works in partnership and collaboration across diverse groups of people to set strategic direction, foster cross-functional consensus, enable transformation, and attain mission success. Merging extensive C-level leadership experience with a broad and diverse Board Director background, James guides companies and their leaders in achieving strategic growth.
James has served in numerous C-level roles, as well as mid- to senior-level positions, across diverse industries where he has garnered extensive experience in multi-unit management/ownership, strategic brand positioning, business growth/transformation, product development, M&As, and marketing in domestic and international markets. He has also served on 15 Boards of Directors as Chairman, President, Parliamentarian, Sergeant at Arms, Secretary-Treasurer, and multi-board liaison for private, public, and nonprofit sectors, both international and domestic, including Subway (Corporate and Franchisees), Westin Resorts, Vistana Signature Experiences, and Marriott. In all roles, James works in partnership with all board members and company leaders, creating and launching forward-thinking strategies that create highly competitive market leaders.
Beginning his career with Weaver Popcorn as Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Revenue Officer, James was selected right out of college from 1,200 applicants to spearhead a $20M division. In 1996, James was recruited by Nesco, a highly specialized utility equipment company in international telecom and fiber optic as their first Chief Marketing Officer of North America, adding the title of Chief Sales Officer of North America one year later. In these roles, James turned around the business, securing status as a Top 3 largest global supplier in the industry and positioned the company for successful acquisition, and was awarded Recipient of Award from CEO for the Highest Sales Transaction in Company History.
In 1998, James founded Vision Investment Group, where he served as a Chief Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer of Subway Multi-unit Franchising, where he initially acquired two Subway Franchises with 20 employees and led the company through startup to strategically position his Subway franchise business to grow to today’s “Top 25 largest franchisees globally” (50+ locations; 1,200 employees). He grew revenues from $250K to $20M+ by acquiring 38+ businesses and building 14 new locations from the ground up.
Within the Subway family, James is most proud of generating $3.8B in sales as Board Liaison working with Subway marketing team by creating and launching a $5 Footlong promotion in recessionary 2008. This campaign achieved a #1 Fast-Food Brand ranking in multiple categories worldwide and is recognized as the highest revenue-generating promotion in company history (recorded in Smithsonian’s Institute of Marketing). James has also received additional awards that include Franchisee of the Year, Best Advertising and Promotions of the Year (2X), Most Improved Operations, Highest Sales Growth (multiple), and Manager of Year (multiple), among others.
James Miller is a strategic, game-changing visionary who brings about the revolutionary and constructive change that positively impacts profitability. Leading from the front, he builds highly cohesive environments and teams. Throughout his career, he has forged and delivered numerous multimillion-dollar partner relationships with companies that include Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay, Subway, Sprint, NASCAR, NFL, Disney, Twitter, Google, Westin Hotels, and Resorts, American Heart Association, and Walmart, among others. James is recognized for merging an open mind, an engaging personality, and an out-of-the-box leadership style to uncover new opportunities, improve brand positioning, significantly enhance operational efficiencies, and quickly resolve business challenges.
An accomplished speaker, James has p
John Kett, CEO, IAA Inc.
John W. Kett is CEO and President of IAA, Inc., the leading multi-channel vehicle marketplace (NYSE: IAA).
John became CEO in May 2014, after serving in a variety of executive roles at IAA for more than fourteen years. In June 2019, he led IAA through the process of becoming an independent public company. In 2019, IAA generated $1.4 billion in revenue and sold more than 2.5 million vehicles through its platform. IAA is a global leader in technology innovation, analytics, and operational execution.
Formerly with IAA, John served as senior vice president of planning and business development, CFO, and president. He sits on the national board of directors for SkillsUSA and the Northern Illinois University Board of Executive Advisors. John is also an active member of the Economic Club of Chicago.
Prior to IAA, John held senior financial roles at Central Steel and Wire Co., and Safelite Glass Corporation, Newark Electronics, and Deloitte LLP. He received a master’s degree from Northwestern University and a B.S. from Northern Illinois University.
Kent Kramer, President & CEO, Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana
Kent A. Kramer joined Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana in 2002 as Vice President of Retail Operations, later serving as Chief Operating Officer. In 2015, he was named President and CEO. Kramer leads 4,200 employees (two-thirds of whom have a significant employment barrier) who educate more than 4,400 students in 16 high schools and provide direct services to more than 2,000 low-income families in central and southern Indiana.
A proud alumnus of Indiana State University, Kent holds a Bachelor of Science degree in management and serves on the university’s Alumni Association Board. He also holds an MBA from the Falls School of Business at Anderson University. Kramer is a 2010 graduate of the Goodwill Industries International Executive Development Program and serves on the School of Business and Information Technology Advisory Board for Purdue University Global. Kramer was elected to serve on the Goodwill International Board of Directors in 2019. Kent is an active member of the Rotary Club of Indianapolis.
Prior to joining Goodwill Kramer spent 13 years in multi-unit leadership positions with Sam’s Club and Kmart across several states.
Kramer resides in Pendleton, Indiana with his wife Jamei. They are the proud parents of four adult children and are active members of Madison Park Church of God, where Kramer serves as an Elder.
Re-Release: Stephanie Pugliese, President of the Americas, Under Armour
Stephanie Pugliese has been President of the Americas with Under Armour since June 2020. Prior to that, she served as President of North America from September 2019 to May 2020. Prior to joining Under Armour, Ms. Pugliese served as Chief Executive Officer and President of Duluth Trading Company from February 2015 to August 2019, and as President from February 2012 to August 2019.
Prior thereto, she served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Duluth Trading Company from February 2014 to February 2015, Senior Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer from July 2010 to February 2012, and as Vice President of Product Development from November 2008 to July 2010.
Ms. Pugliese also served in various leadership roles with Lands’ End, Inc. from 2005 to 2008 and at Ann Inc. from 2000 to 2003.
The host of the podcast highlights all aspects of ROI and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!
Inside the Mind of the CEO
This is a great show for people interested in understanding the backgrounds, journeys, and challenges of CEOs. If you are selling or marketing to the mid-market CEO, this is a must listen.
Listening to each person’s growth and journey adds to my leadership skills. The interviews are easy to listen to and show ceos in a genuine light.