Shelley Wishart

Shelley Wishart – Orchard International

shelley-wishart18 years ago, Shelley Wishart started what is now Orchard International to source private label bath, beauty and gift products in Asia. With plenty of work experience, but no real ‘CEO experience’, Shelley found herself looking for greater knowledge on running the business as the company grew.

I had no idea what it takes to be a CEO, and so my interactions in one on ones with my Group Leader have been really great. They’ve helped me to set standards for myself and have made everything buttoned down,” Shelley tells us. “It’s as simple as setting higher goals, and asking for more from your sales team. Boris was great about that, asking for more. It completely changed the way I interacted as the leader of this company.

Shelley’s business is a complex one. With suppliers and partners spread across Asia and North America, her sourcing efforts truly stretch across the globe, not to mention the broad range of products and services she offers her clients. “In the early days, we didn’t even go to China, we sent faxes and subscribed to trade magazines,” she says. “We were so lucky nothing went sideways, but we now have dedicated Quality Assurance and Sourcing people.

Those, and other steps to building a better business, have been important for Shelley, especially in a turbulent economy. “We’re in a bit of a dip in this economy, and our US business has been affected. Our customers are buying less for the holidays, but because we’re pushing for more with our sales team, business is still as good as ever.

Like any improvement process, change can be difficult. Shelley admits it was “uncomfortable at first to push. But now, I really feel like I’m accomplished.” Many CEOs at CEO Global Network share those same feelings when preparing for their first group meetings, but quickly realize the tremendous value in that level of accountability.

For the first time, I feel like I can actually steer this ship. Sometimes you don’t think about influencing outcome, you just think about going for it. If you step back, though, and build a vision, set goals, and then monitor your success, it’s really rewarding. I feel like I have control over the destiny of this company.

Now at the helm of Orchard International, Shelley is excited about doing big things with the support of her new perspective as CEO and the support of CEO Global Network. On her plate for next year? Collaborative goal setting, vision casting, strategic hiring, and of course, spending time with her two boys at home. “My Group Leader will keep me honest. I’ll be reporting back to him.” concludes Shelley.  

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