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CEO Next: ‘An immense value’

Jaque Lee CEO of Silva Screen Printing

CEO Next: ‘An immense value’

Silva Screen Printing CEO Jacque Lee oversees the production of a lot of shirts. Some days, 45,000 shirts are printed in the unassuming beige building located in Northeast Minneapolis.

It’s an exceptionally high-volume business with many moving parts, and it leaves Lee with precious little time to sit back and ponder the big challenges of running a business, let alone chit chat. When she saw CEO Next in her inbox, it sounded interesting, but it meant time away from the business.

“In this space, time is worth more to me than money. Wasting time was my fear going into it,” said Lee. “But I wish somebody would have just sat next to me and said, ‘Don't worry about it,’ because that time came back to me tenfold.”

Immediate impact

Ultimately, Lee joined CEO Next, a cohort-training opportunity from Elevate Hennepin, in hopes of tackling a few specific challenges.

One major headache had been technology adoption. She was searching for technology to boost efficiency at Silva Screen Printing, but the jargon was overwhelming.

“It's hard for me to make logical decisions about for this vendor or that vendor, this solution or that solution. They're all saying things that are completely foreign language,” said Lee. “I got the opportunity through this group of peers to invest in a solution. It’s had an immediate impact.”

She said her new collaborative peers from across industries helped her look at potential solutions, ask the right questions, and uncovered new opportunities she hadn’t thought of.

The impact: a 30 percent boost in productivity. Her business is not only more efficient, but her employees are less stressed—even on the busiest days.

“It's very calm,” said Lee. “We got chaos management. For manufacturing, what more do you want?”

Exceptional research

On top of a big change to her day-to-day chaos, she said deep research from CEO Next partner The Edward Lowe Foundation helped her find new markets and help the family-owned business navigate well into the future.

The foundation provides hours of customized research for CEO Next members. Everything from identifying gaps in the business, analyzing competition, strengthening financial management, and exploring new markets.

“I got a wealth of information that if I had to do myself, I wouldn't know where to start,” said Lee. “It’s a knowledge base that just really is going to propel us to the next generation.”

Her advice to other savvy business leaders: make the time and apply to CEO Next.

“Really, you don’t get the opportunity to sit down with a group of 12 people who have been in business for as long as they had anywhere else,” said Lee. “The knowledge and wealth of information that was given to us simply because of our location in the county is incredible. I can't thank Hennepin County enough.”

Curious how an Elevate Hennepin cohort opportunity could change your business? Check out the entire CEO Growth Series today. 

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