Name: Prashant Shah
Title: Chief Supply Chain Officer
1. Prashant Shah, who joined SwagUp in 2021 runs Supply Chain (Chief Supply Chain Officer), based in Piscataway, NJ. Prashant joins SwagUp with 17 years of senior level management experience in Supply Chain. He was born and raised in India and came to the USA in 2001. He started his studies in engineering but quickly found his way into the United States Marine Corps office a day after 9/11 to serve his country against terrorism. He served 8 years in the Marines and was medically discharge due to injuries in war in Afghanistan and Iraq. After the medical discharge from the Marines in 2009, he returned to NJ and started working in Target as an unloader in overnight shift while trying to finish his bachelor’s in criminal justice. In 2010, after graduating, he became a Sales-floor Executive at Target which led to his promotion to Sr. Logistic Executive in Jersey City, NJ Target location. Following from Target, he soon landed a role at the largest Macy’s Distribution Center and moved up the rank of Director of the Distribution Center in a unionized environment and successfully led 200+ members to the best engaged building in the country. This was when Prashant tasted the success of being a leader in distribution and logistic role and found his real passion in the supply chain world. From this moment, sky was the limit and he worked in Bed Bath and Beyond, Drive medical and Lasership as Head of Supply Chain. In his current role in SwagUp, his vision while it aligns with CEO and Founder of SwagUp, Michael Martocci, is to become a $1Billon company within 5 years.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Prashant's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
One of the most challenging aspects of leadership for me has been managing and motivating diverse teams in various organizations. People come from different backgrounds, with unique perspectives and expectations. Finding ways to align their interests and drive them towards common goals can be a complex task. Effective communication, empathy, and adaptability are crucial in addressing this challenge.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My journey into leadership began during my time in the United States Marine Corps. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, I felt a deep sense of duty and joined the Marines. During my eight years of service, I learned the values of discipline, teamwork, and resilience, which laid a strong foundation for leadership. After being medically discharged due to injuries sustained in Afghanistan and Iraq, I started from scratch, working at Target while finishing my bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Through hard work and dedication, I progressed from an overnight unloader to a Sales-floor Executive and eventually became a Senior Logistics Executive. This was the starting point of my leadership journey, which continued to evolve in roles at Macy's, Bed Bath and Beyond, Drive Medical, Lasership, and now as the Chief Supply Chain Officer at SwagUp.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I believe in starting my day early, usually waking up around 5:00 AM. The morning is my time for personal reflection and planning. I typically spend the first part of my day reviewing emails, setting priorities, and ensuring I have a clear agenda. Throughout the day, I allocate time for meetings, strategic thinking, and engaging with my team. I also dedicate time to mentoring and coaching, as I believe in empowering and developing others. In the evening, I try to wind down, spend time with family, and unwind. This structured approach helps me stay organized and focused.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
A recent leadership lesson I've been reminded of is the importance of adaptability. In a rapidly changing world, leaders must be flexible and willing to adjust their strategies and approaches. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for quick adaptation, and it reinforced that the ability to pivot and make decisions in the face of uncertainty is critical for a leader.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
One book that has had a profound impact on my leadership is "Leaders Eat Last" by Simon Sinek. This book reinforced the idea that leadership is not about personal gain but about serving and protecting one's team. It taught me the importance of creating a supportive and trusting environment for employees, which ultimately leads to a more engaged and motivated workforce. This book influenced my leadership philosophy and encouraged me to focus on the well-being of those I lead.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
I would advise a young leader to prioritize continuous learning and self-improvement. In today's dynamic and ever-changing business landscape, the ability to adapt, grow, and acquire new skills is essential. Seek out mentors, be open to feedback, and never stop learning, as personal growth is the foundation of effective leadership.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
One meaningful story that comes to mind is when I led a team at the Macy's Distribution Center. We faced significant challenges in a unionized environment with high turnover. Through open communication, empathy, and a focus on employee engagement, we turned this center into the best engaged building in the country. The story demonstrates that with the right leadership approach, even in challenging circumstances, it's possible to achieve remarkable results and create a positive work environment that benefits both the employees and the company.