Vitamix executive blends well on Leadership Council
Michel Nouafo has a rich and diverse cultural and professional background. His sales experience began early on in his college career, and more than 30 years later, he has become a seasoned senior sales executive at Vitamix who shares his insights as a Leadership Council member at his alma mater.
Born and schooled in the West African country of Cameroon, Nouafo moved to France to begin his college education. As a student there, he worked in the Lyon region selling paintings door-to-door.
Nouafo later moved to the U.S. and enrolled at BGSU to finish his business education. One of his more memorable college experiences at BGSU is when he was a graduate assistant and worked on a conference which brought the renowned author of “Roots,” Alex Haley, to campus.
After graduating in 1987 with his MBA, specializing in International Business, he worked in Toledo as a business consultant with Stanley Jones & Associates, and as a personal financial planner with IDS/American Express. Nouafo then spent 20 years with Libbey Glass, beginning as an export sales manager, and was later promoted to various positions, ending with Vice President, International Markets.
The alumnus joined Vitamix, the worldwide leader of high-performance blenders and blending solutions, as Vice President, International Household Sales in 2011. Nouafo states, “I am in a very fortunate position of working for a company that gives me the opportunity to positively impact the lives of consumers and families around the world. But more than selling machines and solutions, we change lives.”
He adds, “Consumers that buy a Vitamix machine rave about how it changed their nutrition or well-being, and about the transformative effect that Vitamix has in their lives. That is what drives our success.”
When asked how the global economy has changed the field of sales and marketing, Nouafo responds - technology. “Thanks to technological advances (such as the internet), the growth of globalization has taken a decisive turn. First, products and services are available to a larger consumer base and at a much faster pace. Secondly, the life cycle of products and services is shorter and the need for constant innovation is higher. Finally, successful sales and marketing professionals understand the limitations of defining consumers based on geographies. Instead they identify and follow common consumer threads that cut across national borders.”
The senior sales executive describes his educational experience at BGSU as “enlightening” and credits the curriculum and professors for forcing him “to learn and explore beyond the strict course material and textbooks.” The professor that was the most influential in his college education was John F. Meier. “I took an International Business class from him as an undergraduate student. He clearly impacted me the most, as a professor and later when I joined Libbey Glass, where John worked in a number of executive positions, including CEO.”
Besides the academic learning, Nouafo also was active in extracurricular activities. “This involvement allowed me to sharpen my interpersonal, teamwork, and leadership skills. Through the interactions with foreign students, I also further developed my cultural IQ. The combination of all of those skills have been an integral part of my professional success.”
Through his career, the senior sales executive has traveled around the globe many times over, but he wanted to remain connected with his alma mater in Bowling Green. Nouafo serves on the College of Business Leadership Council, providing his feedback and cultural business insights to drive the College forward as well as staying connected to fellow alumni. “BGSU and the College of Business have significantly contributed to my education and professional success,” states Nouafo. “Working on the Leadership Council is a way for me to contribute back to the College of Business. It also allows me to interact with other successful alumni with whom I have a common interest.”
College of Business Dean Ray Braun has high praise for Nouafo’s service on the Leadership Council. “Michel has been a valuable member of our Leadership Council. His sales experience with consumer products has shaped his advice on our branding and recruiting strategies. We are fortunate to have such a talented executive on our Leadership Council!”