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Headhunter Hints Presents: Ask a CEO with Nick Rinella

Gehl Search Partners asks CEOs across the nation to share their hiring and management insights. We feature C-Suite executives from the beverage, wine & spirits, and cannabis industries.

Nick Rinella is the CEO of OG Yields in Missouri. He oversees the company’s cannabis operations from seed to sale, including Hippos, their successful chain of dispensaries.


Headhunter Hints Presents: Ask a CEO with Nick Rinella


Our executive search firm aims to bring insight and transparency to the placement process. Our goal is to help our clients and candidates find a long term fit where they can enjoy the time spent with colleagues. Understanding what a CEO is seeking when looking to hire a C Suite executive or other member of their executive leadership team is an important aspect of finding the right fit.


Learn what top CEOs are looking for in our Headhunter Hints Presents: Ask a CEO series.


When interviewing a potential leader within your company, what are the three most important things you look for in candidates?


The three most important things that we look for when considering a potential leader for our team are ensuring they’re a good cultural fit, have a track record of performance, and are adaptable, open-minded and willing to “get their hands dirty.” Their willingness to dive in, wear multiple hats, and lead by example is a key to showing their commitment and ability to navigate the ever-changing dynamics of our industry.


What is the biggest challenge your company faces today?

Our company’s most significant challenge at present revolves around supply chain issues in Missouri and the continuous need to keep up with evolving regulations. Ensuring a seamless flow of equipment, packaging, and products within the supply chain has been a complex undertaking. Furthermore, staying abreast of regulatory changes and ensuring compliance demands constant vigilance and adaptability.


What is the most valuable skill a candidate can bring to the table to help overcome this challenge?


The most valuable skill a candidate can possess to help overcome industry supply chain and regulatory challenges is grit. The ability to persevere, remain determined, and adapt in the face of obstacles is essential. A candidate who possesses a strong work ethic, resilience, and resourcefulness will be better equipped to find innovative solutions, establish robust supplier networks, and navigate regulatory complexities successfully.


If you had to choose a music genre or particular song to describe your corporate culture, which would it be?


If I had to choose a particular song to describe our corporate culture it would be Hippies and Cowboys by Cody Jinks or Neighbors by J Cole.


In which ways are you looking to grow your company in 2023?

In 2023, we have several growth strategies in place. We aim to expand our product offerings through extensive product development initiatives. By identifying market gaps and consumer needs, we will introduce new and innovative offerings that cater to a wider customer base. Additionally, we are focused on customer acquisition at the dispensary level, ensuring our products reach more consumers and establishing strong partnerships with key distribution channels.


What was your biggest pain point during the pandemic: has it improved?

Our biggest pain point during the pandemic had to be the disruption in the supply chain, particularly in acquiring parts for equipment. This challenge significantly impacted our production and operational efficiency. However, as the global situation improved and restrictions eased, our supply chain has made tremendous progress. The availability of parts has increased, lead times have improved, and we have strengthened our supplier relationships. Overall, we have seen significant improvements in our supply chain management since the height of the pandemic.


When exit interviews are completed with top performers who leave your organization, do you review the results and reflect? Do you review those completed by all employees?


We have been incredibly fortunate to not have had any top performers exit. I work closely alongside our employees at every level, and ensure that I am accessible to my team at all times to ensure everyone is being heard. We believe in a culture of continuous improvement, and should the time come, reviewing the results of exit interviews will be an essential part of our process. By analyzing the feedback provided by departing employees, we gain valuable insights into areas where we can enhance our organization, strengthen retention strategies, and identify any potential systemic issues that may have contributed to their departure.


What is the most challenging position to fill in your organization typically, and why?


The most challenging position to fill in our organization typically falls under the role of Head of the Department. This position is highly demanding and requires a combination of extensive experience, specialized skills, and exceptional leadership qualities. The Head of the Department plays a critical role in driving strategic initiatives, managing teams, and ensuring the successful execution of departmental objectives. One of the primary reasons it is challenging to fill this position is the high level of experience and expertise required.


The Head of the Department needs to possess a deep understanding of our industry, specific domain knowledge, and a proven track record of successful leadership. Often, finding candidates with the necessary experience and talent within our industry can be difficult, as many prefer candidates with transferable skills and experience from outside industries like directors of cultivation, lab directors, CEOs and heads of marketing.


As a trusted leader in your industry, what do you think your greatest contribution has been to date?


As a trusted leader in our industry, our greatest contribution to date has been ensuring a low tax rate for the state of Missouri. By actively engaging with policymakers, industry associations, and relevant stakeholders, we have been able to advocate for fair and favorable tax policies. This has not only benefited our company but also the industry as a whole, creating a more conducive business environment for all stakeholders.


We also strongly believe in investing in the growth and development of individuals within cannabis. We’ve made ourselves accessible to those coming up in the industry, providing mentorship and guidance to young professionals. By sharing our knowledge, we’re contributing to the overall development and success of the industry.

Learn More about Hippos

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