Leadership Lessons: How to Position & Rally Your Organization for Growth

  • October 10, 2019
    5:00 pm - 7:25 pm

Lessons Learned from Inside 50 companies

“Everyone believes their business is unique, and in some ways, it is.  But it’s also a business.  Once you’ve crawled under the hood of companies in 27 different industries it becomes clear that 80% of the practices that will make or break your success are the same everywhere.”   –Alan Schinazi, Solution Nexus

Over a three-year period, Polaris MEP organized a team of process and product innovators to help 50+ local manufacturing and technical companies find paths to growth. This Manufacturing Innovation Challenge team conducted 360-degree assessments of each business and worked with them to create high-impact strategic business development plans. What this team discovered through the process is universally applicable and useful.


  • Growth doesn’t just happen; most successful organizations share key leadership behaviors. Most struggling firms share behaviors too.
  • Most small businesses focus on the day-to-day business. Strategize and planning are rarely prioritized.
  • We all have blind spots, and frequently our most pressing issues fester within them.
  • With a roadmap in place, the company was poised for action, and success followed. The project demonstrated a 14:1 ROI.

What to expect

Join us for a lively panel discussion featuring Polaris MEP’s Manufacturing Innovation Challenge team as they share growth-driving behaviors observed across 55 local companies. They’re master distillers in their own right, refining a strategic review process down to a handful of hours, while delivering multi-million dollar impacts for participating companies.

Enjoy a candid exploration of the take-aways and common patterns that hold companies back, and learn a methodology to hone your own strategic priorities for your business.

  • Self-assess your company across 8 key categories — just as venture capitalists would do
  • Discover tips for figuring out where to focus efforts
  • Learn why organizational “therapy” is critical to break through key areas of maturity

Who Should Attend

Founders, CEOs or leadership team members — whether you are feeling stuck or poised for dramatic growth and need to scale operations.

About the Manufacturing Innovation Challenge

Originally created as part of a U.S. Department of Defense-funded program in collaboration with the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and Polaris MEP, the Manufacturing Innovation Challenge consulting team developed a valuable process for local growth-minded businesses. Polaris MEP expanded the program beyond the defense supply chain when it proved to be cost-effective and have a high ROI. The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge assessment is a chance to experience your operations through fresh eyes, to identify blind spots of risk, and to receive actionable recommendations from product and process innovators.


Mary Johnson, Polaris MEP (Moderator) leads the Manufacturing Innovation Challenge and the Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network for Polaris MEP. Her mission is to help companies and the greater manufacturing community reach their potential by identifying organizational and systemic roadblocks, finding ways to clear them, and infusing fresh ideas to fuel growth.

Megan Boyaval, Bowstring Group is a content creator and digital marketer for organizations large and small, across the state and beyond. She brings a common-sense approach to building pragmatic and effective marketing programs, in the spirit of continuous test-and-learn. Her passions are helping early-stage companies find their market, and helping established companies activate their customers.

Alan Schinazi, Solution Nexus is a technical problem solver and innovation engine whose bliss is not only diagnosing the root cause of your most troublesome technical difficulties, but turning that former pain point into your competitive advantage. He’s delivered solutions to companies large and small ranging from a concealed device to trip amputees in a fall study, to a knowledge-based engineering system to automate the design and machining of hardware for personalized medicine. In other words, Alan operates at a unique convergence of strategy, design, code and engineering to enable your success.

Tom Stocker, Owner’s Edge, LLC, is a key advisor and mentor to owners who are not satisfied with their performance, are stuck where they are, or want to grow.  He provides a relentless focus on strategy and flawless execution to implement those strategies.  He works with small to mid-size companies across manufacturing and service sectors to address operational areas including production, finance and sales. Tom also facilitates a CEO peer group for those who understand the power of seeking and sharing experiences with other CEOs.  Tom’s involvement helps his clients reach a significantly higher level of performance.

Brian Trahan, CPL, Inc. learned in his years with a corporate telecom giant that effective communication drives success or failure in a company at any stage or size in its development. If a vision or mission statement if it is not communicated, understood and lived by leadership and the team. Brian works closely with leadership to create an environment of collaboration, worker engagement, and high performing teams, all of which leads to increased profit and employee retention. When Brian is not partnering to help develop companies he can be found running up mountains. (Yes, for fun!)


225 Dyer Street, Providence,, Rhode Island, 02903, United States