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Inspiration Speaker Series

To keep our associates engaged, enlightened and empowered, we launched an Inspiration Speaker Series at our St. Louis Headquarters. This year, five notable speakers joined us, each of them speaking to one of our five core values: (1) Stand Tall With Integrity (2) Smile Tall With Passion (3) Think Tall With Expertise (4) Live Tall With Performance (5) Create Tall With Innovation.

Meet the five speakers that are inspiring us from all corners of business:


Jeron Lanier Headshot

Jeron Lanier

This 21st century Renaissance man, American writer, computer scientist and composer of classical music has pioneered in the field of virtual reality, a term he's credited with popularizing. With such an accomplished résumé spanning various fields and talents, Lanier was nominated for the TIME 100 List Of ‘Most Influential People'. He currently works for Microsoft as a computer scientist, also travelling frequently as a professional speaker.

The Purina value he spoke to: Think Tall With Expertise

Thoughts he shared with Purina: Lanier carried us through the evolution of computers, diving into Apple, Google, the "Network Effect" and the intelligence behind brand advertising. His deep knowledge of technology, politics and business helped us to understand the first flash crash in 1978, the truth behind statistics and what it means to socialize risk and privatize profit.

"I believe the most important thing in cognition is attention, not intelligence."

- Jeron Lanier


John Mozeliak Headshot

John 'Mo' Mozeliak

Currently the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, John Mozeliak replaced Walt Jocketty in 2007 and, since then, has taken his team to four playoff appearances, won one World Series title and two National League pennants. Off the field, he's helped transform the team's culture to ‘The Cardinal Way' — a role model team in Major League Baseball.

The Purina value he spoke to: Live Tall With Performance

Thoughts he shared with Purina: Mozeliak offered us a better understanding of the baseball career path and industry culture, the way in which they make short term and long term business decisions and how important it is to understand the market in which they operate in. He emphasized the importance of making his people feel like they have some ‘skin in the game' — allowing them to make the decisions so they have the opportunity to become fully engaged and grow.

"If the shortview stinks, focus on the longview."

- John 'Mo' Mozeliak


Dr. Henry Chesbrough Headshot

Dr. Henry Chesbrough

Henry considers himself "overeducated" having earned a BA in Economics from Yale, an MBA from Stanford and a PhD from the University of California-Berkeley. He has 10 years of experience working in the field as the VP of Marketing and Business Development at Plus Development Corporation. Since parting from the company in 1995, he has returned to academia as an Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School and currently remains the Executive Director and Adjunct Professor of the Center for Open Innovation at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.

The Purina value he spoke to: Create Tall with Innovation

Thoughts he shared with Purina: Henry challenged our Purina audience to think, as a business, about whether it's new technology that you need or a new business model. Using various examples of businesses that have kept the same technology and changed their business model to accomplish bigger, better goals, Henry proved the importance of tweaking the way in which you look at your everyday processes. And after learning about how to develop a business model canvas and hearing of different case studies of companies who do it well, the biggest takeaway is that "a better business model often beats a better technology."

"I like studying innovation and technology for the same reason geneticists like to study fruit flies — you see a lot happen in a short period of time."

- Dr. Henry Chesbrough


Adam Grant Headshot

Adam Grant

Adam is Wharton's youngest tenured top-rated professor. His accolades are many — HR's most influential international thinkers, BusinessWeek's favorite professors, a 40 best business professor under 40, and a favorite writer deemed by Malcolm Gladwell himself. Adam has authored New York Times bestseller, "Give and Take", which has been named one of the best books in 2013 by Amazon, Apple, the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, simply to name a few. Outside of his successful career as a researcher, professor and public speaker, he speaks proudly of his retirement as a professional magician.

The Purina value he spoke to: Stand Tall With Integrity

Thoughts he shared with Purina: Adam spent his time with Purina explaining the intricate details behind three fundamental styles of reciprocity: Givers, Takers and Matchers. He is encouraging companies of all sizes and types to "build a culture of successful giving" by focusing on four concepts: (1) Get the right people on the bus and keep the wrong people off (2) Redefine giving (3) Change your reward system (4) Encourage help-seeking. He used his deep knowledge, research and passion for understanding people and personalities to dive deeper into what it means to give too much, take more than you should and the reverse. We walked away inspired to do more "5-minute favors" every week and to become more of a specialist and less of a generalist.

"You have to show that you can drive your own success, but that you can also help others succeed."

- Adam Grant


Jim Platzer Headshot

Jim Platzer (& Mica)

Previously the President & General Manager of a distribution facility for Genuine Parts Company (GPC), a Fortune 500 Company, Jim retired in 2003 due to retinitis pigmentosa, a degernative condition that led him to blindness. Since his retirement and struggle to find purpose in his life, Jim found LeaderDogs for the Blind in his own backyard in the Detroit, MI area. His first dog, Maddy, changed his life. Now with his second dog, Mica, Jim travels the country as a keynote inspirational speaker to other corporations to help others understand their most important sense; purpose. His "product" is emotional innovation that leverages an organization's greatest tactical asset, which he defines as relationship and perspective.

The Purina value he spoke to: Smile Tall With Passion

Thoughts he shared with Purina: Jim took us back nearly 20 years ago when his path to blindness truly became real. Jim conveyed a message of true inner struggle, followed by self-empowerment, which can be related to our everyday business lives. Jim explained "three types of listening": (1) Casual Listening (2) Intentional Listening (3) Proactive Listening — the latter two bringing you a worthwhile ROI — and for some — an ROL (Return on Life).

"Finding purpose, embracing change and adapting to achieve sustainable success has changed my life forever."

- Jim Platzer



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