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All Systems Go! Tim Sobkowiak’s Journey to Success at Broad River

Tim Sobkowiak makes sure Broad River Retail runs smoothly by providing exceptional Retail Technology and ERP software management within the company.

In this conversation with Charlie, he talks about the personal growth he has experienced, from Customer Care, to Supply Chain, and now in the IT department. Tim puts emphasis on his team, the importance of being a facilitator, and having a sense of humor for any situation.

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We hope you enjoy this episode, and subscribe to our podcast for a new story each week.

Visit storiesfromtheriver.com for more episodes.

Stories from the River Podcast explores the personal journeys of Broad River Retail’s very own Memory Makers. Whether it’s interviews or standalone narratives, Stories from the River will bring you closer to what it’s like to thrive inside the company. This show will share personal experiences from stores, distribution centers, call centers, and corporate campuses, giving listeners a front row seat to what it’s really like to be a Memory Maker furnishing life’s best memories every day.

This show is brought to you by Broad River Retail. Visit www.BroadRiverRetail.com.

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FULL TRANSCRIPTION

Charlie:

December 2015, your first day. I know that everyone remembers your first day. Tell us about that day.

Tim:

Mine was very memorable. I rolled or pulled into the DC and I saw what I thought was about a couple of hundred people, inside and outside. And I realized that my first day was the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Fort Mill DC.

So, I was able to see a shiny brand new corporate office in DC and watch everybody celebrate that and then jump right into it, you getting to work and learning about the company.

Charlie:

Were you expecting that? 

Tim:

I was not expecting that, but I’m very glad that I showed up on my first day with my suit and tie and looked proper.

Intro

Welcome to Stories from the River, a podcast brought to you by Broad River Retail, where we’ll explore the personal journeys of our Memory Makers and share real stories from across the organization. And now for your host, president and CEO at the River, Charlie Malouf.

Charlie:

Hey, guys. This is episode six from Stories from the River. I’m here with Tim Sobkowiak, from our IT Department. We’re going to learn a lot about Tim and his stories. 

I’ll never forget your first day now that I know that it was the day that we opened up the Fort Mill, South Carolina Corporate Campus and Distribution Center. We still have a lot of videos from that day. Not everyone has a marching band on their first day. But you did.

Tim:

That’s right. Felt very special. 

Charlie:

It was. It was for you. All right. Heather Greenwood from the MMx, Ariel and Emelyne there should be a marching band for people’s first day. We’re going to take that idea. 

Tim:

I love it. 

Charlie:

Let’s roll. You ready? 

Tim:

Sure. 

Charlie:

Okay. Here we go. Tim, tell us a little bit about yourself before you came to the River, your background, where you’re from, what you did, that sort of thing?

Tim:

So, I’m originally from Buffalo, New York. Born and raised. But I’ve moved around the country a couple of times. Before moving to Charlotte I lived in Boston with my wife, for about five or six years. And we came down here because her family had migrated to this area as well. And we were looking for a place where we could, you know, raise a family and have some family support.

Charlie:

Are you a big fan of the cold? I mean, is that why are you in Boston? 

Tim:

I am a big fan of the cold. I love the winter. My wife does not. So, Charlotte is a great middle ground for that. Very little snow, the winters are not bad, but if you want to find it, you can find it not too far from here.

Charlie:

You know, I think we were talking earlier and before you moved, how many feet of snow did you have like every week or every day in Boston? 

Tim:

That year, the winter before we moved, every week we were getting hit with about two feet of snow for a solid four or five weeks. We ran out of places to put the snow there were pushing it the into the harbor.

Charlie:

Running out of places. So, hey, guys, if you’re in the Northeast, the Carolinas are great, four mild seasons. And they would love to have you come down. 

Tim:

Absolutely. 

Charlie:

You also said you spent some time when we were talking earlier in Arizona. Tell us about your time in Arizona?

Tim:

I moved to Arizona from Buffalo with the intention of starting my education and career in studio recording arts.

That did not work out, but that’s where I started to work, fall into the Call Center Business and more specifically with nonprofit consumer credit counseling. So, I started my work, my way up from a frontline person to a Supervisor in that business. 

And that helped me when we transitioned from Phoenix to Boston, because we moved in 2008, as the markets were crashing, we were driving across the country and seeing the gas prices rise. So, it was beneficial to have that idea of being able to find similar work moving across the country. 

Charlie:

Wow, that’s some great experience. So you’ve been to Buffalo, Boston, Arizona. I think we got you. you were referred to us by your brother in law.

Tim:

That’s right.

Charlie:

Yeah. Who I knew. And then so, you’ve been with us a little bit over six years and you started in Customer Care, right, as a Supervisor.

Tim:

That’s right. 

Charlie:

So tell us about your career progression with Broad River?

Tim:

Within the Customer Care team, I was tasked with supervising our service team, and our Order Management team, and I’ll actually never forget the first big responsibility I had came from you, which was, to learn about Order Management and report it back to you. So that was my first task, and that really helped set the stage for my development.

I just really focused on the supporting aspects within the Customer Care teams. And from there, we created a new position, Customer Care Support Manager, where I was able to still focus with Order Management, but also the relationship between customer care and other departments. Specifically, IT. 

Charlie:

Well, I knew we needed someone smart to understand Order Management, so that’s probably why we put you in that position to help us out.

Tim:

I appreciate it. 

Charlie:

You were the senior manager of ERP and Retail Technology. That sounds really fancy. What does that mean? What is that? 

Tim:

The easiest way to describe it is that, any technology that supports our business, our HFCs, any department flows through innovation, and through so Retail technology more specifically, ERP is just a fancy word for our all in one system of stores that helps us manage every aspect of the business.

Charlie:

Awesome. Let’s switch gears a little bit. Organizational purpose. Furnishing life’s best memories. That’s our purpose as a company. What have been some of your, like, best memories or most memorable, memorable memories at the River?

Tim:

It’s really been supporting our other teams and learning more about how each department interacts with others. Favorite memory would have to be taking The Order Management team and having multiple conversations with them about, we know we need to grow this part of the business.

We know Supply Chain is going to be integral. We’re going to do it, and then being able to pull them into an office and say: tomorrow we are the Supply Chain Department. And being able to see the excitement on their face of that realization of a goal. 

Charlie:

That’s really cool. Customer Care supervisor, Order management, Supply Chain, IT. You’ve worn a lot of hats. You’ve been in like every nook and cranny of the company thus far in just a few short years with us.

And we’re going to talk about some of those. You’ve been involved with a lot of enterprise wide projects of those that you can recall have been involved with so far. Do you have, like one, that you’re most proud of or an accomplishment or achievement that you’re most proud of this far?

Tim:

It would have to be the time that we took in building out that Supply Chain Department. Before we didn’t have a clear understanding of how things were interrelated between operations and Customer Care and Retail. That Supply Chain Department really centralized a lot of functions and allowed us to focus on getting our product in here, as quickly as possible and out to our customers. I think that that was a game changer for the company. 

Charlie:

That’s fantastic. And we know how important the supply chain is in this day and age. 

Tim:

Absolutely. 

Charlie:

We need, we definitely needed to plant the seeds then so that we could be more proficient at it today. 

Tim:

It was very, very smart of us to make that move, at that point.

Charlie:

Since you’ve been a Memory Maker here at the River, what does, what have you learned about yourself that surprised even you, that you’ve been able to accomplish or achieve? 

Tim:

I can be confident and outgoing. Outside of work, I am very much an introvert, and even in previous careers, I never really took the opportunities to expand my profile or just be more involved or even just do things like public speaking.

Here, I’ve been able to realize that the information that I’ve gained just from interacting with other departments is valuable and it’s important for me to share that. So, having that confidence to go on to a podcast and discuss my career, or go in front of Retail leaders and explain what STORIS is, that really has surprised me. It’s been great. 

Charlie:

I’ve been in several meetings that you’ve led and you’ve done a great job with that. So let’s switch gears now to IT. You’re in the IT Department now. What do you love about your job?

Tim:

The thing I love the most is being able to answer questions and solve problems. IT is, in my opinion, you know, one of the more critical aspects of any business, especially now. Data drives all of our decisions, and IT is where we can get that information and solve those problems. 

Charlie:

So, you are in the Supply Chain for a couple of years. And then we had an opening, you know, recently, in the IT department, prior to you making the move. And when you raised your hand, I certainly didn’t see that coming. But you raised your hand and so now you’ve been vital because you were vitally important to Supply Chain and we just had a new leader in Supply Chain coming in there to assist you, with leading the department.

And this, Brian Deckelnick we’ll talk about the Director of Supply Chain. And then Brian learns that, hey, you want to make the move to IT, another critical area of the business. Why did you want to make that move? 

Tim:

Working in Supply Chain, I realized that there was a huge opportunity to learn more about the store system, and how it interacts with our different departments and how those processes work with it.

We very quickly became the center of knowledge for most things related to STORIS. And so having an opportunity to basically take that knowledge and remove it from the silo of the Supply Chain and put it into IT with the opportunity to expand everybody’s understanding of the system. That was the, that was the big reason why I wanted to take on this role.

I would not have considered taking on this role, had I not been comfortable with the leadership. Brian, I’ve said this before. I’ll say it again, is the one of the smartest moves the company has made is to bring Brian on into the Supply Chain. His knowledge is paramount to all the decisions that we’ve made. And his ability to lead that team made me very comfortable in leaving something that I helped build and the people that I helped develop. I feel very comfortable that he would be able to, you know, continue to have them succeed. 

Charlie:

He is very insightful. You had a relationship with your Supply Chain fellow Memory Makers. You built that team and you want to make sure that it could survive and continue to thrive as you move to another role. And I think that’s great.

And yeah, we planted the seed to hire Brian back in 2015 probably before you started and took us a few years. But once we knew that we needed him, it was great for us to add them to add him to the company. 

Tim:

Absolutely. 

Charlie:

Okay. So would you say that the move to IT has been a good move, and good for your career?

Tim:

Absolutely. I have no regrets in moving to IT. It allows me to continue to be curious and ask questions and connect the dots and help other people connect the dots.

Charlie:

So how did your previous experience in Customer Care and Supply Chain, how has that helped you or supported this new role?

Tim:

That was really the foundation. Coming in here, knowing next to nothing about furniture and home delivery and be giving the task to learn about how these things interact with each other.

That all started in Customer Care and, understanding that STORIS was it was, you know, the lifeblood, the heart of the company and learning about what we do with it and what it can do for us. And just building that knowledge along the way, really just set the tone for the new role that I’m in now. 

Charlie:

So let’s switch gears a little bit. We’ve talked about ERP and STORIS. Let’s ask you a couple of questions on that topic. You helped oversee our ERP system STORIS which is an interesting word and name. It’s unique to the maybe to the home furnishings industry. What can you tell us about STORIS? 

Tim:

STORIS it does everything. You know, in many other companies, you have a lot of disparate systems that run, you know, finance or maybe your warehouse or your sales. ERP takes all of that into one umbrella.

And it allows us the opportunity to actually pull more data and answer more questions. Now, that everything’s under one umbrella and it interacts much easier than if you had, you know, five or six different main systems that we need to talk to each other. 

Charlie:

What do you love about it?

Tim:

I love the ability to ask questions and get answers. Everything is there. We just need to ask the right questions and answers, and STORIS are great partners, because if we are on unable to find those answers, they’re quick to help us or work with us to, you know, make further enhancements to their product so that it works better for us.

Charlie:

Yes. Great. We’re an enterprise wide customer of theirs. 

Tim:

Yes.

Charlie:

But it’s great to have everything under one umbrella, and one single source of truth, one silo of truth for information. 

Tim:

That’s right.

Charlie:

We’re in the information age and we’ve got bits of data crossing every single minute of the day, seemingly within our business. So we always have a roadmap, a IT roadmap.

What’s on our STORIS roadmap for 2022 and beyond? 

Tim:

The biggest part of the roadmap, in my opinion, is our “Mom portal”.

Charlie:

What is, say it one more time?

Tim:

Mom. Go ask Mom.

Charlie:

Go ask Mom. What is mom? 

Tim:

Mom stands for my order management. 

Charlie:

Okay. 

Tim:

What it is, is a customer facing website where our customers are able to login and see their historical orders as well as their open orders.

And it allows them also when those orders are ready to go to actually schedule it for themselves. So it provides them with answers to simple questions and gives them power over their orders as well, to schedule for a date that works themselves. 

The whole idea of this is not only give them more knowledge about their order, but help draw traffic, from simple questions from our CX team and our HFCs.

Charlie:

We’ve been working on this “Mom project” for a long time. I love the name Mom. Go ask Mom. The marketing team, thank you guys for coming up with that and or whoever was involved with that. But I think self-help is so important for the guest today, this day and age as a retailer to give them tools to get answers quicker themselves.

Of course, if they have questions and they want, our assistance will help them. But sometimes you just want to be able to go do it yourself. 

Tim:

Absolutely. 

Charlie:

That’s great. 

Switching gears to Customer experience and Supply Chain, because you had a lot many years of experience there, do you have, I’m sure you had a lot of guest facing experiences. Do you have a favorite or most memorable experience during your time in Customer Care or Supply Chain? 

Tim:

It’s not a specific experience, but more of a general idea of what happens, and it’s the ability to provide solutions to an escalated customer. We have them. We understand that, you know, from time to time we need to get things out faster or solve some problems.

So really being able to work within Supply Chain and approving an escalation and getting furniture out the next day to not only satisfy our customer, but empower our HFCs or our CX people to say we have a solution for you. That’s really been, you know, the most memorable thing.

Charlie:

And I’m sure you had a lot of those. What makes that satisfying and gratifying?

Isn’t it helping the guest or helping your fellow Memory Maker? 

Tim:

It’s hard for me to say which one would be better. The guest at the end of the day, and  their experience is the most important thing. But being able to empower our people to have confidence when they deal with our escalated customers say we can find a solution for you, and we have teams that are trained to find that answer.

Charlie:

That’s great. All right, Tim, we’ve been talking for a little bit. We’re getting to know each other. I’ve got a little bit of an icebreaker. Get to know Tim Sobkowiak icebreaker. You ready? 

Tim:

Sure. 

Charlie:

I want you to fast forward to sometime long in the future. You’ve hung up your IT cleats, you’re sitting on your porch, maybe a nice rocking chair and you’re reflecting back on your legacy or how you want to be remembered. You got the mental picture? 

Tim:

I do. 

Charlie:

Okay, great. What three words come to mind of that, you want to have described you, how you want to be remembered?

Tim:

I would say humble. I would like to be remembered as a facilitator and most importantly, funny. 

Charlie:

Funny. I didn’t see that one coming. Funny. What kind of humor, sense of humor is that?

Tim:

I have a broad sense of humor, but I think that it’s very important to try and find, you know, humor within all different aspects, even the more difficult situations. It helps. It really just helps you kind of carry on and find purpose.

Charlie:

 I love it. We all need a sense of humor from time to time, especially when things may not work exactly like we want and just to kind of have some levity to get through the day. 

Tim:

Absolutely. 

Charlie:

Those are great, humble, facilitator and funny. Got it.  Now, I think I know you a little bit better. Switching gears to unsung heroes. Who do you see as the unsung heroes in your world? 

Tim:

Our IT  help desk. I think at this point, if you’ve been into Four Oaks or to Fort Mill, you will see our IT people working tirelessly and just talking with James, their manager there you’re taking hundreds of calls and processing hundreds of tickets a week, actually.

And on top of that, they’re responsible for getting all of our hardware out. So these guys really work tirelessly to make sure that our skeleton, our IT infrastructure is out there working correctly.

Charlie:

That’s really cool that you’d give those guys a shout out. So for those who may not know it, IT helpdesk, are they working with our customers or are they working with our Memory Makers, like helpdesk for whom?

Tim:

It’s the helpdesk for our Memory Makers, everybody within the company. So if you haven’t already dealt with them, it’s, something’s wrong with my computer, or I need an upgrade or my store’s password is locked out. These are the people that we talk to to make sure that things get fixed, that we can assist our guests. 

Charlie:

Yeah, we’ve got nearly and we’ve really scaled as a company, you know, nearly a thousand employees, Memory Makers now. And there’s a lot of people to make sure that everything’s working right any given time.

Tim:

Absolutely. And they do it well. 

Charlie:

That’s awesome. I’m shifting gears again to  – advice. What is the best advice you’ve received?

Tim:

It would have to be a saying “five fingers make a fist”.

Charlie:

Okay, “five fingers make a fist”. I gotta fist. What does that mean? 

Tim:

You’re going to accomplish more when you have people around you that are working towards a common goal.

Charlie:

That’s great. Who gave you that advice? 

Tim:

That would have been my boss when I worked at a radio station in Buffalo as a Chief Engineer. We were at the time building a bunch of different radio stations and having more people involved towards a common goal, allowed us to actually achieve what we needed to do. 

Charlie:

Okay. Let’s go back to November 2015. You’re about to start with Broad River. Go back to a younger Tim Sobkowiak. If you go back to that guy and give him some advice about what life is going to be like at Broad River Retail. What advice would you give that guy? 

Tim:

I would say it’s fast paced. There’s opportunity everywhere, and you just need to be curious and ask your questions and you’ll find your path and your purpose within the company.

Charlie:

That’d be great advice. Would you, would you listen to that guy? 

Tim:

Probably. 

Charlie:

Okay. 

Tim:

He looks a little bit differently. Has a little bit more hair than I do right now. 

Charlie:

Oh, all right. Let’s switch gears to culture. We might be biased, admittedly so, but we believe our culture is unique and really special. With that being said, what is your favorite thing about the culture at Broad River and in your opinion what do you think makes our culture special? 

Tim:

I think what makes our culture the most special is our focus on developing our leaders. Specifically, over the past two, three years, we’ve had multiple different webinars and conferences about leadership development. And I think that it’s extremely important for us to pay attention to our leaders and focus on what they’re doing, because ultimately all of our goals flow through them, to our frontline people.

Charlie:

And sometimes the learning has gone virtual, right? Last year, we were doing Willoughby on demand. Willoughby’s a well known brand, and we were offering masterclasses for leaders on various topics. Did you have a favorite one that you attended last year? 

Tim:

The seminar, done by Marcus Buckingham, I felt was very insightful. He had a lot of out of the box thoughts on leadership, and he also provided a standout assessment. And in taking that, it really struck for me because I ended up being a facilitator, a person that flourishes when they’re able to connect people to information or to each other to achieve a common goal.

So that really struck with me. And it’s been kind of a focus going forward on how I manage my job. 

Charlie:

That is so good. The stand out assessment from Marcus Buckingham, we’ll put that in the show notes. Assessments are great, and they help us do some self-discovery and learn more about ourselves and where our strengths might be and making sure that we’re unlocking our potential by doing what gives us energy or what we’re best served and prepared to do. That’s awesome.

And I love the call out and just to focus on development and leadership development. Everything rises and falls with leadership, and we’ll go as far as our leaders will take us. So it’s really, really important to continue to invest in our people and our leaders. And so I’m glad to hear that you think that that’s what makes our culture so unique, one of your favorite things about our culture.

Shifting gears again. Perceptions and misperceptions. I’m a big perception guy. And sometimes, you might be on the outside looking in and have a certain perception but it might be wrong. It might be a misperception. What do you think people looking at Broad River Retail from the outside, looking in – what do you think would be one of the biggest misperceptions they might have about the company?

Tim:

I think that the biggest misperception that people would have is based on our, our success, which over the past few years has been outstanding in our growth. That they may believe that our focus as a company is only on those end goals of written and delivered sales. But it’s not. And I think what we were just talking about in terms of the development of our people is an equally important focus that we have.

Charlie:

I like to say: we will grow as far as our people will take us. 

Tim:

That’s right. 

Charlie:

We’ve got to grow our people.

Tim:

Absolutely.

Charlie:

Have to have growth minded people. It’s so, so important. Okay. What is something about you that would surprise your fellow Memory Makers other than this really dry witty sense of humor?

Tim:

I think that it would be the fact that I do most of my talking at work. Outside of work I am a much more quiet person and more introverted than what you would normally see, if you’ve been on any Teams call that I’m leading or any other meetings that I have.

Charlie:

I might be the exact same. You know, they say that the average person, I don’t know that I believe the stat, but I’ve read somewhere that the average person says 10,000 words a day. So, if you’re doing, I don’t know, 90% of you’re talking at work or do you have 9000 words at work and then you’re just a thousand or less at home? 

Tim:

Yeah. What I think this podcast is knocked off about 5000 or so. So..

Charlie:

And we’re only halfway done. 

Tim:

That’s right. 

Charlie:

So you’re going to get your full word allotment here before 10 am. You’re going to be good rest of the day. That’s pretty funny. 

If you’re the president and CEO of Broad River Retail, let’s say I’ve decided to retire. I’m hanging it up. I’m giving you the keys to the company. And I’ve appointed and promoted you because you’ve done such a phenomenal job in all these different roles. You’re the new president and CEO of the company, and today’s your first day, we’re going to have the marching band out for you just like we did it your first day with the company. What’s your first order of business? 

Tim:

My first order of business is to work with our Human Capital team and institute a policy of STO shadow time off. I feel like it would be important for us to allot 4 hours per semester for our Memory Makers to have the ability to go and sit with other departments and learn about their functions and what it is that they do and how they interact with guests or their internal or external customers.

I think it’s extremely important for all of us to understand how our different processes intertwine so that we can deliver that final product and satisfaction to the customer. 

Charlie:

That’s a great idea. Can I go ahead and take that? 

Tim:

Absolutely. 

Charlie:

Okay. You know, we love a good word of the year. We’ve had you know, they’ve served us well, they orient our focus for the year on what we’re really going to pursue and had be mentally about. This year our word of the year is THRIVE. We even have THRIVE and PURPOSE series. So what does it mean for you to thrive? And what advice would you give to a fellow Memory Maker to help him or her thrive?

Tim:

To me, personally, thrive means continued growth and development. So, finding more things within the company to learn about different aspects that I don’t know, understanding my place within the company, what my role does for everybody.

And once I have that understanding and I have an understanding of how my goals interact, then thrive means being able each day to move those goals forward, even if it’s just a little bit. 

Charlie:

I love it because when you’re growing, you can flourish and you can thrive and you just focus on getting 1% better than you or the day before. You don’t need to compete with anyone else other than yourself to be the best person that you can absolutely be. 

Tim:

That’s right. 

Charlie:

Fantastic advice. What do you think are or have been the secrets to your success?

Tim:

Curiosity. I think even from a very young age, I’ve been a curious person and I’ve really had a desire to learn more about how things work. So having the opportunity to come in here and actually the first task being from you, to learn order management and teach it back to you, just inspired that curiosity. So, not only what is my job do, but what does operations do or what does finance do and how do we all interact. So is that continuous asking the questions why, is really been a secret to my success.

Charlie:

That worked out well. I think I might have several more topics. I might have you learn and figure out and come teach them back to me. 

Tim:

I’m here for it. Absolutely. 

Charlie:

But talk to me like I’m a first grader. Okay. Great leaders have great habits. What are some, what are your best daily habits that serve you well?

Tim:

Wake up early. I know that you’ve mentioned this before, but I’m typically awake by 5 or 5:30 in the morning. And part of that is to get a clear understanding of what I want to accomplish in the day, maybe knock out some household chores, but also because my daughter will swiftly be up by 5:30 or quarter to six in the morning, and so we’ll get her ready for her day.

Charlie:

Yeah, it’s served me well. Once I’ve got a new routine and waking up early has served me well. And we had Cherelle Mannus on here last week on the podcast. She’s got a great routine of waking up early. And I think it’s so important, which also means you have to get a really good night’s sleep and go to bed early the night before, that’s the other part of it. 

Tim:

Yes, that’s right. Usually, usually try to get a good night’s sleep.

Charlie:

Usually, as best as you can. Mentorship. Mentorship is so important. Where from whom do you get your mentorship? 

Tim:

I’ve been lucky, lucky enough in my career to have bosses that have served as mentors in many different capacities. You know, Brian Deckelnick, for example, and his ability to to analyze different scenarios and find solutions.

Other mentors that have inspired my confidence and really just kind of show me the path of being more outgoing and how that’s going to lead me towards my career. So really, it’s been the people that I work for.

Charlie:

Now today that would be Harold Hamm. 

Tim:

That’s right. 

Charlie:

Straight out to you, Harold. 

Tim:

Absolutely, Harold. 

Charlie:

Okay. What about your inspiration and motivation?

Tim:

The things that inspire me the most are people who very selflessly go in and help others. I think that I’ve had, just as everybody has a lot of rough patches in their life or difficult times. And the thing that’s inspired me is the selflessness of people that just step up and support those that need it. And so within my personal life and very much so in my professional life, the inspiration I get is the ability to help other people reach their goals.

Charlie:

And do you see that helping other people when they’re, like, when times are good or when they’re going through a difficult time? 

Tim:

I think it’s both. But I think it’s most impactful when people are having a difficult time, or struggling. Because we all struggle at some point in our lives. And it’s important for us to understand that there are people out there, many people out there that are willing to help you, and you really just need to reach out and take advantage of that.

Charlie:

Yeah, it can reorient our perspective on when we’re going through adversity to know that there’s others that can help us and the goodness in people. So I love that. 

So, you talked a lot about innate curiosity and just being curious. And I know with that mindset in that aspect, you’ve got to be a learner. And so what do you do to sharpen your saw? How do you improve your skill set?

Tim:

I think right now I live within the store’s help file, which is just, you know, answering questions for other people allows me to learn more about how the system works, or what it can do or what it should be doing. So I sharpen my saw by really helping other people and answering their questions.

Charlie:

Okay, fantastic. What book are you currently reading? 

Tim:

“Creepy Pair of Underpants”. 

Charlie:

I wasn’t expecting that one. “Creepy pair of underpants:” Tell us about this book?

Tim:

“Creepy Pair of Underpants” is a children’s book. My daughter Nora is five and a half and has an insatiable desire to read. And we’re very lucky in the fact that my wife is a librarian for Charlotte-Mecklenburg. And so we’re able to bring home more and more children’s books. So my reading is all devoted towards children, but children’s books right now, a “Creepy pair of underpants”, if you haven’t read it before for your kids, I would strongly recommend it.

Charlie:

Good book recommendation. I love that your wife’s a librarian. I love that your daughter has an insatiable appetite for reading. Both my boys love reading, and I really think that’s going to serve them well and serve your daughter Nora well in the future.

Tim:

Absolutely.

Charlie:

Leaders are readers, is a good, good phrase to keep in mind. Do you listen to podcasts other than this one? 

Tim:

Yes, I do. 

Charlie:

So, other than this one, what would be one of your favorites or what’s in your feed?

Tim:

What’s in my feed right now is The Moth – Radio Hour. So, it’s a recording of stories that people basically just get up into the public at coffeehouses and tell different stories on different themes, as well as This American Life. It’s very similar. 

Charlie:

It’s great. I love it. I might have to add those two to my feed. When you go home for the day, or maybe you’re working remotely for the day, but you turn it off and you shut it down for the day.

What do you like to do for fun? What are some of your hobbies? 

Tim:

I love the outdoors. So, myself, personally, I like to go fishing and kayaking. My daughter loves the outdoors as much as reading so we’re members of the Springs Greenway in Fort Mill, and so that provides us with an opportunity to just go out and explore. They also have a horse barn.

My daughter is obsessed with horses at the moment, so we’re always able to go there and visit the horses and see the riders. 

Charlie:

I love it. Okay Tim, this has been great. Thank you so much for coming on on the podcast with  us. Final advice to someone who is not currently a Memory Maker but is contemplating joining the River. What advice would you offer to that person?

Tim:

Broad River is always growing. It’s a focus that we have as a company, and with that growth provides a lot of opportunity. So getting into Broad River at any level provides you the ability to grow and develop yourself, either within the company or even outside of it. I would definitely take the advantage or take the opportunity.

Charlie:

Well, we’re really only growing because we have people like you, who are great people, who are growing and are growing themselves, who ask questions, who look for the opportunities. And this has been a pure joy. Tim, I’ve enjoyed this conversation. 

Thanks for all that you do for all of our Memory Makers to support the company and take us through the next upgrade of stories and the roadmap. We’ll look for “Mom” and My Order Management.

Tim:

That’s right. 

Charlie:

And I hope you’ve enjoyed this experience.

Tim:

It’s been great. Thank you very much for having me on, Charlie.

Charlie:

Absolutely. Thanks for being willing to do it.  So that is Tim Sobkowiak, episode six of Stories from the River. 

Look for us on YouTube or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, Amazon, wherever you get your podcasts, we hope you’ll mash that subscribe button and look for us next week. We’ll see you soon. Thank you.

Welcome to Stories from the River, a podcast brought to you by Broad River Retail, where we’ll explore the personal journeys of our Memory Makers and share real stories from across the organization. And now for your host, president and CEO at the River, Charlie Malouf.

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