Ramon Ray caught up with Julian Love, the Chief Business Officer for St. HOPE at NetSuite’s SuiteConnect. St. HOPE is an organization, a family of nonprofits that focus on revitalizing Oak Park, Sacramento through public education and economic development. They run a K-12 charter school network, a real estate portfolio, and they invest in businesses and entrepreneurs.
Julian says he’s figured out at this point in his career, he doesn’t need to be running or sending the report. He says his role is to architect the report in partnership with someone else and let that other person run with it. He’s focusing more on empowering his folks to do their jobs and only bring things to him as needed. Julian says that while they’re not necessarily categorized as a small business, they operate like one. Individual contributors have to operate and move like a manager. “You have to take ownership in what you do,” he emphasizes. Julian says he’s focusing on leveraging human capital and empowering his people but this can be a transition for folks. Through his leadership style, he encourages his people to not just do what they’ve been told to do but to say
- I own this.
- How am I going to make this better?
- How am I going to take the next step?
- How can I run with this and not have to have the same conversation over and over?
Knowing the Numbers
Julian said that not only is he focusing on taking care of his people, but he’s thinking of innovative ways to take care of his bosses as well. One of the things he’s implemented is an executive summary of P&L reports. The executive summary includes the highlights so higher-ups don’t have to get into the weeds of the entire report as well as save them some time.
They’ve recently implemented PBCS, a planning and budgeting software. It’s an Oracle product that integrates with NetSuite. Julian says that without an effective reporting infrastructure in place, and if you’re not consistently looking at it, your business could be losing a ton of money and not even know it.
“If you don’t have the visibility, you don’t have anything, really.”
Julian says St. HOPE operates a bookstore, Underground Books, one of less than 50 black-owned bookstores in the United States. Right now, we’re looking at what’s driving top-line growth, but what’s driving the margins as well? Julian says you need to know where you’re making and losing money. It’s critical to use insights to be more strategic to drive impact and profits.
Focused on the Future
Julian proudly says that St. HOPE is seeing the tangible impact in the community. Their goal is to have one of the kids that go through their schools be the CEO of the company someday.
As a business, they’re also self-sustainable and don’t rely on any fundraising dollars to fund their operations. “That lets us call our own shots and control our own destiny. It’s freedom and it’s going to allow us to sustain and be around for a long time.” Julian says St. HOPE is pioneering a business model that he sees as the future--for-purpose entities. Julian says the world is changing and the nature of business is going to change right along with it.