As Vice Chairman and a Managing Shareholder of Rich Products Corporation, Mindy Rich shares responsibility for oversight, governance and the overall vision and strategic direction for Rich Products Corporation. Mindy joined the company in 1985 and has proceeded to work in various roles as part of the leadership team including executive vice president of innovation where she expanded the breadth and accelerated the pace of product development in support of Rich’s long-term growth strategies. She has also focused on the development and nurturing of Rich’s award-winning organizational culture and work/life programs.
Mindy serves on the corporate board of directors for Rich Products Corporation, and as chairperson for the Board’s Finance and Audit Committee and Compensation Committee. In addition, Mindy serves as President of Rich Entertainment Group, responsible for overseeing the organization’s baseball, theater, restaurant and travel interests.
Mindy is a member of the Culinary Institute of America’s Committee on Trusteeship and Trustee Emeriti; serves on the corporate board of directors for M&T Bank Corporation; and serves as a member of the Cleveland Clinic Board of Trustees. Mindy is also on the Board of Trustees and Member of the Executive Committee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum. She is active in a wide range of charitable activities, including being a founder of Western New York United Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse and fundraising for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
“I’ve always been a very curious person and that goes hand in hand with innovation. We need to regularly be asking: ‘Why not?’, ‘What can we do next?’ or ‘How do we make this better?’, but it can’t end there. Innovation isn’t just coming up with a new idea. Innovation takes work. How do you then take those great ideas and actually execute and operationalize them to be successful on the other end? That’s the challenge of bringing innovation to life.”
On an Early Start in the Food Business
“I was born into a family food business in the baking industry. So, I think my education really began around the dinner table. My father was the kind that brought his work home to us, and every night we waited for him to have dinner. It didn’t matter if it was 10:00 at night, we’d all sit around that table together. He’d talk about his day and we’d talk about ours, so I really grew up with this understanding of the food business—and business in general—in a way that was distinct from what I’d eventually learn in school.”
On Starting at Rich’s
“In school I combined business and psychology. Back then, there was no such thing as organizational development, but I always thought the combination would be helpful in my career. By my senior year, organizational behavior was starting to flourish, organizational development was just coming of age, and I decided I wanted to become an organizational development consultant. I worked in a variety of businesses with that thought in mind, but after Bob and I were married, it just made perfect sense to continue my career here. From day one at Rich’s, I thought I had found my ideal environment—I just loved the people, the culture and the whole dynamic of it from the very beginning.”
On Growth and Longevity
“I think the challenge of the future really is going to be about growth. How, when you get to be a certain size and scope, do you continue to grow and thrive? There are lots of opportunities, lots of ways to diversify, lots of directions to go in. I think intentional, strategic thinking about where we should grow and how we should grow are probably our biggest challenges and opportunities. I feel really good about where we are now. We have a lot of folks with longevity, institutional knowledge and belief in this business. And, a lot of young, smart and energized associates with new thoughts and ideas. That combination is crucial to keeping us on track so that we make good business decisions that drive can drive our growth.”