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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Monday, June 24, 2024
The Echo
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‘President Lindsay Live’ interview series begins

Potbelly President, CEO interviewed

President Michael Lindsay’s new series entitled “President Lindsay Live,” had its first event on April 6. 

Each event in the “President Lindsay Live” series will include Lindsay live-interviewing successful servant leaders from different fields and backgrounds. Lindsay’s interviews will include questions about faith, career and servant leadership and will teach students how they can put themselves in the best positions to have success in their careers. 

Audiences will also have a chance to submit questions to be asked during the interview. 

“I’m a sociologist by training and have spent a large part of my life interviewing leaders in different walks of life,” Lindsay said. “I’m excited for the chance to bring that part of my professional journey and background to bear in my work as Taylor’s president.” 

For the first event, Lindsay and Taylor University welcomed Bob Wright, the president and CEO of Potbelly Corporation, a Chicago-based sandwich chain that now has locations over the entire country. 

Wright is also a member of the Taylor Board of Visitors and father to current Taylor senior, Rebecca Wright. 

“(Bob Wright) has over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry,” the advertisement for the event read. “He has a strong record of business transformation throughout his career, where he has leveraged brand strengths to revitalize top-line sales and profit growth through marketing, system-wide service standardization, and quality initiatives.”

Wright has held a variety of positions in the food-service industry including at Domino’s, Wendy’s and Cafe Express.

He stepped into his current leadership role at Potbelly in 2020.

In the interview, Wright spoke about his early love for the restaurant business that developed while he worked at Domino’s in college.  

His passion for work, though, developed much earlier in his life. 

“I think the first entrepreneurial enterprise I had was in first grade and I collected rocks, and put them in my little red wagon and went door to door selling rocks and didn’t tell my parents,” Wright said. “I was either a really good salesman or they just thought ‘This kid was cute.’ So I sold out of rocks and thought, alright well if I can sell rocks I can sell anything.” 

As someone with a passion for work, Wright’s biggest piece of advice to students looking to get hired in the business world right out of college is to work hard in the roles they are in. 

“What I think serves the people that progress their career the most and the fastest are the ones that accept the role that they have and work like crazy to do the very best job that they can,” Wright said. “They find themselves getting tapped on the shoulder because someone saw potential in the delivery and the quality of the work that they did in the role they have today.” 

Now, as president of Potbelly, Wright’s average day consists of being part of many meetings. He said that as you get into leadership roles, you start to spend a lot of time with people. 

However, his time in corporate leadership has taught him to stay grounded in Scripture and make it a practice to spend time with his family. 

COO agreed with the suggested changes and had the new sandwich made on the spot. 

Lindsay hopes that the Taylor community can continue to learn from powerful leaders like Wright through these interviews.

“The thing I love about the interview format is that it gives folks in the community a chance not only to be inspired by example and their story and the recognition they’ve achieved in their life of leadership, but also for them to be approachable and accessible,” Lindsay said. “The interview format is a very conducive environment for folks to get to know one another in a more intimate environment, so I’m really excited about it.” 

The next “President Lindsay Live” is set to take place in chapel on April 25. Chris Holtmann, the head basketball coach at Ohio State University, will be interviewed.