Culture is the key to business success, says Twinlab CEO

Culture is the key to business success, says Twinlab CEO

Twinlab CEO Tom Tolworthy discusses the three components of business success, working for the common good and another one of his passions: music.

Tom Tolworthy is the newly-named president and CEO of Twinlab Corporation. Tolworthy also spent six years at the helm of The Vitamin Shoppe, helping the supplement retailer expand from 80 stores to 500. The Vitamin Shoppe decided to become a major sponsor of the nonprofit Vitamin Angels during his tenure there.

Tom TolworthyFi: Twinlab has been through a lot of ups and downs over the past 10 years. How is company morale?

TT: That's one of the pieces of glue in this company. The morale is actually really good. There is a strong legacy of employees who believe in the brand. I think they're all excited that there is some new energy and possibly some additional vision they see for their business that I share with them.

Fi: Any changes you can talk about yet?

TT: I'm building a 100-day plan. Inside of that plan the three components I'm looking at are structure and organization and making sure we're properly aligned from a business channel perspective in how we bring Twinlab to market; the second component of that be would cost containment and efficiency; and the third component is that I'm working on recapitalization so that I can create some runway for Twinlab to grow.

Fi: Will Twinlab become more involved in industry organizations?

TT: Absolutely. Across most enthusiast-based businesses like health and wellness you have a glue that binds an organization together and part of that is the culture of health and wellness and having a foundation through which all of these folks can attach culturally both to the industry as well as to the company is a big part of feeling good about going to work. What I've seen so far inside Twinlab is that we want to be part of the greater good. We'll put together what would I call a culture committee and we'll elicit from people from all levels of the organization to say how do we connect Twinlab culturally to the industry we represent. What I've seen already is that people would be very excited about being part of a bigger purpose.

Fi: You are flying between corporate headquarters in New York, the manufacturing plant in Utah and the R&D center in Grand Rapids. You're racking up tons of frequent flyer miles. So what's your plan? After you work like a dog will you take your family to Tahiti?

TT: If I told you how many miles I have in the bank now it would be pretty obnoxious. Two and a half years ago I donated a million miles to the Ronald McDonald house that they use to fly in families whose children are getting cancer treatment in some of their facilities. The likelihood is that what I'll do with the majority of miles I get in the future.  I also use miles for flying my grandchildren here and there for their family vacations or for coming to see their grandpa.

Fi: What do you do to relax?

TT: I love music. If I'm anywhere overnight and there's somebody live I can go see I like that. I like to read. And I have a passion for antiques.

Fi: What are some of the best live shows you've seen?

TT: Eric Clapton and Elton John in Shea Stadium back in the middle '90s. Pink Floyd at Continental Airlines Arena twenty years ago. Rush at Red Rocks in Denver about 10 years ago.  I never wanted it to stop.  I'm a big fan of music in general. I have roughly 10,000 CDs digitized in my database. I have every conceivable iPod they've ever made. I carry tunes with me everywhere I go.

-Suzanne Shelton

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