William Mahfood — The man who worked his way to the top

William Mahfood — The man who worked his way to the top

…started in the warehouse at the family company he now leads

Sunday, December 15, 2019

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Many would have thought that having been born in a privileged family, it would have been automatic for one to enjoy the perks and benefits that comes with status, but not this week's participant.

Having grown up in an extended family he learnt from early the value of hard work, discipline and dedication. From unloading trucks and warehouses, to working in sales and packing cups, he worked his way up the ranks.

Starting his career straight out of college at Wisynco Trading, he then moved to Wisynco Group where he served in the capacities of co-director, director and managing director also working at Walisa Marketing Limited for 11 years concurrently.

He has served on more than 10 boards in his very successful career, serving as president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and at Trade Wind Citrus Limited.

Having also pursued his educational ambitions, he holds a BSc in Industrial Engineering & Management Information Systems from Northeastern University in the United States, equipping him with not only practical but a full command of business skills, knowledge and expertise, which he shares from time to time in mentoring entrepreneurs.

Appointed chairman of the company in 2014, this man started his professional career as a warehouse supervisor; 31 years later, he now sits at the helm of the company playing an active role in guiding and spearheading the process of strategising the company's direction for continued growth in the manufacturing and distribution industry.

He is the committed husband of Frances, father of Joseph, Jamie, Mary-Jo and Mia.

This week Q10 kicks back with William Mahfood, chairman of the Wisynco Group of Companies.

Q10. What was it like growing up?

MAHFOOD: Growing up I was always surrounded by family. We all lived in Stony Hill and there was always my grandmother, uncles, aunts and cousins around; we even went to school every day with cousins.

Q10. What does family life look like?

MAHFOOD: My family is wide and extended and I have my own immediate family, I try to spend as much time with my children, as they are all starting their careers with my youngest [Mia] about to start college.

Q10. What's the best career decision you've ever made?

MAHFOOD: I think to have started working right out of college. Working in the warehouse gave me a real appreciation of the importance of the operations and how that impacts the service level given to our customers. I used service and relationship-building to ensure that we became the best customer service company in consumer goods in Jamaica. During the start-up period in the early 1990's, my cousin Andrew joined in the venture, and we teamed up to ensure that we created the right portfolio mix, controlled our finances and ramped up our service levels, while building the best team to do all of that.

Q10. Outside of work what other activities are you involved in?

MAHFOOD: I am focused on my service work with a number of organisations. I also try to mentor young people and entrepreneurs as much as possible in order to help them build capacity.

Q10. What is one common piece of business advice you would oppose?

MAHFOOD: I am not sure I would oppose any advice; I prefer to review each piece of advice and determine if it fits in with my needs.

Q10. What are some of the greatest challenges encountered in business?

MAHFOOD: The fire of May 2016 I think has been the most challenging ever. Our team members allowed us to endure in such a fine fashion that I believe sometimes, that we are invincible.

Q10. What do you feel most proud of?

MAHFOOD: I am most proud of my children's accomplishments, and a close second would be the heights that our team members have achieved with Wisynco.

Q10. If you could only speak one word today, what would that one word be?

MAHFOOD: Humility.

Q10. If you had a chance for a do-over in life, what would you do differently?

MAHFOOD: I have so much to give thanks for, that I cannot think I would want to do any of it over.

Q10. If you could keep only five possessions; what would they be and why?

MAHFOOD: My wife and four children would be the only answer, as there are no other material possessions that I would need.

— Compiled by Kellaray Miles

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