Interview by Sarah Shumick
With job offers in California, New York, and much of Ohio, Alex Anderson came to Columbus in 2017 because he “liked where Columbus was going,” taking a job at 889 Global Solutions, a strategic sourcing partner for East Asia supply chain management. Through a Columbus Business First event celebrating Corporate Citizenship in 2018, Anderson met Dan Newkirk and was introduced to Future Possibilities, an organization serving children in 3rd-5th grades here in Columbus. Anderson became a KidCoach, and credits the organization for making a direct impact on the future of our community stating, “It is extremely difficult to do this. I know I was not the most well-behaved kid growing up. Always challenging authorities and pushing boundaries. But every kid is impressionable.”
Give us a snapshot of your career path: Graduating from Miami University in December of 2015 with a major in International Studies (concentration in Southeast Asia) and a double-minor in Mandarin Chinese and Economics, my full professional focus has been Sino-American business relations. I have been to China twice visiting a combined twelve different cities (both rural and urban), as well as hosted two Chinese exchange students since graduation. Not to mention my youngest sister is adopted from China. This has led me to a total of five different positions at three different companies in the last three years.
Soon after graduation, I started working for a company in Canton, Ohio called International Resource Development as a Business Analyst. My boss at the time, Kim Kirkendall, taught me how to volunteer my time to organizations where I could see myself in the future. So, I joined and got involved with the Columbus Chinese Chamber of Commerce, NASBITE, as well as one of Kim’s other companies (China Resource Network). After networking relentlessly for about half a year, I had job offers in California, New York, and all over Ohio. Faced with a tough decision, I decided I liked where Columbus was going and to stay with my roots. I found my ideal company where I could gain experience with China business and be involved in multiple facets of the business. Since December 2017, I have been working at 889 Global Solutions here in Columbus, Ohio as a Market Analyst, Sales Associate, and now Industrial Business Development Specialist.
Today, I have hands-on experience in the bridge between Procurement and Sales & Marketing in the manufacturing industry. I have developed in to a leading professional in a niche industry, increasing sales by at least 163% and growing revenue by 20-30% each year by improving operational efficiencies.
What led you to become involved with Future Possibilities? How long have you been involved & what does the organization mean to you? 889 Global Solutions was a Small Business Finalist for the Columbus Business First Corporate Citizenship Awards in 2018. At this event, I met Dan Newkirk. Typically, I merely scan by booths at these types of events to see if there are any free giveaways. However, Dan enthusiastically engaged me in conversation. At the time, I was trying to find a way to improve 889’s brand with philanthropy efforts. Immediately Future Possibilities started to make total sense for our company as we also use the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting method. We also had a young team at 889 and were looking for ways to develop our employees as leaders. I could not think of a better way to do this than to coach kids in the Columbus community to reach their personal S.M.A.R.T. goals.
What do you want everyone to know about Future Possibilities? Future Possibilities is the perfect opportunity to have a direct impact on the future of Columbus. It is extremely difficult to do this. I know I was not the most well-behaved kid growing up. Always challenging authorities and pushing boundaries. But every kid is impressionable. Especially in the age group that FP targets (3rd – 5th grade). By having a 1-on-1 setting with these kids you can plant a seed in the community. Equipping these kids with goal setting tools, they not only are able to use this for themselves but are able to spread these tools to friends, teammates, classmates, etc.
What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek? My dog, literally.
Who inspires you? Professionally: Previous boss Kim Kirkendall. Current boss Judy Huang. My father Doug Anderson and his Transformation team at Worthington Industries. Personally: My grandmother “Thoodie”. My dog. Ron Swanson.
How is Future Possibilities making an impact in Columbus? How can people get involved with the organization? By continually growing through increased participation. They are always getting involved in networking events, fundraisers, and other various forms of outreach like this interview. Everybody involved is passionate and naturally spreads the word. Getting involved is easy. Just go to their website or talk to anybody involved. Everybody is very kind and helpful.
What’s the most exciting thing about Columbus right now? All the great local businesses, especially all the new brews and eats. Not to mention, we saved the Columbus Crew SC!
What are three things that you wish Columbus had? Another Buckeye football championship, a Stanley Cup, and more dog friendly patios.
If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them? A growing city that is keeping local causes at heart.