Behind the Scenes with Mike Akin
Meet G|M's Chief Promise Officer, Mike Akin. Mike joined the G|M Team in 2013 and sat down to share his favorite aspect of his role and his favorite SD burrito!
1. Tell me a little bit about your experience with G|M.
I have been with G|M for 7+ years now, but I have known about G|M for a lot longer. In 2013, I was invited by Steve Easley to join G|M as the Vice President of Client Management. I had known Steve for years and admired G|M for being an outstanding organization led by an outstanding leader. When I first started at G|M, I oversaw the sales and marketing efforts in San Diego. Then, I moved into a Corporate Vice President role in 2018 and was blessed with the title of CPO or Chief Promise Officer. The focus of my role changed from sales and marketing to sales operations, project, and contract management.
2. What does a Chief Promise Officer do for someone who doesn't know?
I live and breathe the G|M Promise, ensuring that our entire company understands how G|M approaches client satisfaction. I am in constant contact with existing and new clients through project onboarding, kickoff meetings, and executive sponsorships.
3. What is the G|M Promise?
To provide our treasured clients a redefined, world-class, furniture-buying experience comprised of Elevating the Workplace, Industry Leading Technology, Price Value, Service, and Caring.
4. 7+ years is a long time. What keeps you coming back every day?
I truly feel that we make a difference in our clients’ lives, and it feels great to be a small part of that. It is not just about the furniture; it is about the dynamic changes we create for their workplaces. I also enjoy helping our younger generation of G|Mers in creating a unique experience for our treasured clients by being the best in class.
5. What does a typical day look like for you?
There is not a typical day, each day looks different (which is cool!). Some days are very heavy with phone calls, emails, and general correspondence while some days are busier with other tasks and meetings. But every day that I wake up, there is typically something that needs my attention. I get solicited a lot for solutions and assistance. The benefit of being the “vintage” guy in our company.
6. What is your background?
I have been in the furniture industry since 1987. When I was in college at SDSU (San Diego State University / Go Aztecs!), I worked at a grocery store. A former colleague of mine had recently left the grocery business to start an independent furniture installation company. I was working the night crew and he came in as I was leaving one morning and told me he thought I would be a good partner, so I joined his team. We started out with five employees and 10 years later, we had created a multi-million-dollar company. Eventually, I moved over to a Herman Miller Dealership called Office Pavilion San Diego (OPSD) where I was hired as the Service Business Manager. After 10 years at OPSD, I decided to move over to the manufacturing side with National Office Furniture where I was the West Division Manager, charged with handling 9 states. There was a lot of heavy travel between those 9 states ranging from Alaska to Colorado. I was blessed that Steve offered me a job with G|M (after a round of golf of course) and the rest is history.
7. What do you enjoy most about your role?
There are two things that keep me smiling: seeing our clients happy and seeing the evolution and excitement of the G|M teams when they create an awesome experience for our clients.
8. Who has impacted you the most professionally?
There are two people who really stand out: my Dad and Steve Easley. I came to G|M thinking I knew what passion for client services and customer satisfaction looked like, and Steve instilled a whole new level in me. The architecture he has put into place is top-notch and unsurpassed in our industry. I have learned how to up my game in that perspective. My Dad (a member of the Greatest Generation) is another great influencer in my life. He was a Korean War Fighter and later a Civil Servant working as a Director of Paroles for the State of California. Everyone who I ever encountered, who knew my Dad, always had incredible things to say about working with him. He treated people well and garnered a lot of respect. I have learned a lot from him.
9. What are some of the most important lessons your dad taught you?
To take care of your people. If you take care of them, they will take care of you. If you listen, support, and help them, they will do that for you and those they serve.
10. Do you have a favorite project?
We did the headquarters for one of our San Diego energy clients in 2015 and that one stands out. It was a monumental team effort to get that building occupied in a record amount of time. It was amazing seeing the synergy between the client and our teams.
11. Tell me about your family.
Well, I am an empty nester now. I have been married to my wife Dominique for 29 years and we live with our three crazy dogs Rico, Via, and Louie. I also have two kids. My daughter Riley is married and lives in Houston, Texas and she is about to make me a Grandpa, which is extremely exciting. My son Colton just graduated from UNLV and is still in Las Vegas.
12. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Spending time with my family and traveling. For the past 27 years, I have also been involved with SDSU football. Prior to my recent back surgery (thankfully on a path for full recovery), I also really enjoyed golfing and going to the gym and looking forward to returning to those soon!
13. What is your involvement with SDSU football?
I have provided them with various levels of operational support and logistics since 1993. Everything from ensuring that players' equipment makes it on the planes or transported back to the stadium to game time support, pulling the nets, and assisting on the sidelines. We are out of the picture for now due to COVID and the demolishing of the stadium but hope to be back in 2022. Incredibly sad.
14. Do you have a favorite travel destination?
It's close between Bora Bora and Hawaii. I like warm, tropical climates.
15. Which one word describes you best and why?
Patience. I am analytical in the way that I approach things and am patient in situations that may arise. I like to think that I am a cool-headed guy and do not get riled up easily. I like to stay consistent and I never let them see me sweat.
16. Do you have a favorite piece of Herman Miller furniture?
I love my 20-year-old Eames Lounge and Ottoman and Noguchi Table.
17. Favorite food?
Mexican! I love a great burrito.
18. Where is the best SD burrito?
The California Breakfast Burrito from Breakfast Republic - hold the potatoes.
19. Last question - coffee or tea?
Usually coffee, but I'm starting to get more into tea. I like a good orange/turmeric tea.