My First Owner Outlook CEO Letter

Recently PFSbrands started sending out a quarterly Newsletter to all employee owners called Owner Outlook. This valuable newsletter is meant to help our employee owners tell their friends and family what is going on at PFSbrands – sometimes it’s hard to keep up! Below is the letter I wrote for our first edition!

Here’s to Greater Success!

It’s hard to believe that the first quarter has come and gone.  My parents used to tell me how much faster time passed as you get older.  I didn’t really understand this as a kid but I am definitely a believer now.

Congratulations to all of our new employee owner (EOs).  You all are great and I am extremely excited to see where we collectively take Pro Food Systems.  I can’t wait to release the first stock certificates this next month and I certainly can’t wait to see all of you create your own personal wealth in your ESOP accounts year over year.

I can’t tell you how proud I am to lead an organization that consists of highly engaged employee owners.  As I travel across the country, meet new people and attend various conferences, I am constantly reminded how good our team is.  However, as Jim Collins says: “good is the enemy of great”.  That is why so few people attain great lives, because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.

I have a confession to make.  I am obsessed with success.  I don’t believe I fully realized this until reading Grant’s Cardone’s book that is titled “Be Obsessed Or Be Average”.  I don’t necessarily align with Grant’s style and I don’t fully agree with all the statements in his books.  I’m confident that Grant could care less about what I think anyway.  However, the book helped to clarify a special drive that resides within successful people.  Those that achieve higher levels of success have a completely different mindset than others.

In my case, I’ve been able to live my life by combining what I am passionate about (growing businesses) with what drives the PFSbrands economic engine (helping others become more successful).  I believe with Jim Collins that it is difficult to have a great life unless it is meaningful.  It is difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work.  That’s why I am so excited about the opportunity everyone has with our ESOP.  Perhaps you might see that you’ve got the unique opportunity to have a hand in creating a company of rare excellence.  Perhaps you might see that you are playing a part in helping thousands of others become more successful.

I am always looking for new ideas to help myself and others become more successful.  If you think about it, our entire business model at PFSbrands has been built on the fact that we help others become more successful.  When I started the company, I hit the streets selling “success” to our retailers.  I was confident that I could help my customers grow their businesses more than any other ‘salesperson’ they could purchase products from.  Today my job revolves around helping our employee owners improve their lives at work and at home.

I have to be honest, I’ve felt a little bit different over the last 3 months.  After 18 years of owning and running a privately held company, leading a group of employee owners feels a little different and it presents some new regulatory challenges.  However, those that work closest to me realize that my commitment to PFSbrands, and my passion for success is stronger than ever.  I continue to devote a large portion of my life to work because I love the challenges and rewards.  I want to say a special “thank you” to Julie, Claudia, Payton, and Alison for continuing to understand my obsession and for allowing me the opportunity to do what I love.

At PFSbrands WE EXIST TO HELP OTHERS BECOME MORE SUCCESSFUL.  That dedication starts with our employee owners.  Every single individual at PFSbrands has the opportunity to excel.  We have numerous resources and a lot of people willing to help a team member.  If you want to become more successful in your work life and your personal life, you GOTTA WANNA!  Nearly every successful person will tell you that work ethic and GRIT has helped them to achieve greater success.  Seize the opportunity to read a book, reach out to a mentor, or use the other many resources available at PFSbrands to commit yourself to greater success.

2 thoughts on “Owner Outlook: Letter from the CEO”

  • Shawn you have given the PFS employee owners the ability to become as Successful as they want to be .You are the prototype to the Level of Success they should be Reaching for .Great Job!!!

    • Carl Christenson says:


      Jim Collins says… No matter how dramatic the end result, the good-to-great transformation never happened in one fell swoop. There was no single defining action, no grand program, no one killer innovation, no lucky break, now wrenching revolution. Good to great comes about by a cumulative process– step by step, action by action, decision by decision, turn by turn of the flywheel — that adds up to sustained and spectacular results.

      This what I see happening at PFSbrands… you have harnessed the flywheel. Your team of employee owners are all pushing in the same direction building break-through momentum. What a great story!

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