The stakes are high. Francis Mathis knows he only has a 20% chance of making his high school basketball team. He’s competing with 75 boys for 15 spots. Many of them are older, faster, bigger, and stronger. But neither the odds, nor the pressure, intimidate him.
Life’s the Best Coach
Francis is the youngest of 7 brothers. “There was never a dull moment growing up,” he describes, “That’s where I learned the art of negotiation, real life.” Every day was filled with liveliness and competition. Francis learned to work hard and harmonize. He pays attention to people and gets along.
Add his jump shot and passion for basketball, and you better believe he earned a spot on that team. By his senior year, they finished an unforgettable season, 30-0. The impact of this life accomplishment cannot be understated. All teams long to go undefeated, but few have the talent, dedication, and luck required to do so. Once a champion, you strive to always be part of a winning team.
This is true for Francis. His upbringing coupled with his passion for sport steered him to seek out all the little and big adjustments that would make a team better—on and off the court. The higher the stakes, the more rewarding the accomplishment.
Why Kloeckner Metals?
The first promising sign for Francis that Kloeckner Metals was a team he wanted to be on was how employees past and present spoke about the company. Then, his interviews with Chief Financial Officer Andrea Moseley, confirmed that this was the team for him.
So, in July, Francis started as the Director of Credit Management for Kloeckner Metals, bringing his 20 years of experience reviewing financials and evaluating risks to the organization. His role requires tremendous flexibility and a delicate balance of analytic and interpersonal acumen. We’re grateful he’s up for the challenge.
How It’s Going
Though Francis has worked in credit and collections his entire career and can perform under pressure, this is his first position in the steel industry. He faces a steep learning curve.
Luckily, he’s always practiced seeing the positive, and all 13 of his direct reports have been with Kloeckner Metals longer than him—most by about 20 years. They have the industry-specific knowledge he needs.
Of course, every team faces the typical transition challenges. So, how is Francis handling it?
He focuses on empathy and good humor which, “helps everyone relax and breaks down barriers… and makes it easier to absorb and digest an information exchange.” Francis is also thrilled about his team’s engagement, “It’s so refreshing! I really respect them. They’re committed, and that’s commendable.” It’s always a good sign when your teammates want to win just as much as you do.
Sara Montijo is a writer for Kloeckner Metals. She graduated with honors from NYU and has previously facilitated multimedia programming and worked alongside renowned chefs. Her friends call her a time warp.