At Ingram Micro, we believe It’s the People that make this company great. Next in our “Five Questions with…” series, we talk with Sam Kamel, senior vice president corporate strategy for Ingram Micro. We hope this gives you a chance to get to know a little bit about the people that make Ingram Micro tick.
Meet & Greet: Five Questions with… Sam Kamel
Sam is senior vice president corporate strategy for Ingram Micro Inc. As a member of Ingram Micro’s worldwide executive team, Sam is responsible for planning, market analysis and business development with particular emphasis on emerging technologies and opportunities in higher margin markets adjacent to the company’s broadline business.
Q: What makes you most passionate about your job (or Ingram Micro)?
A: There are a few things:
Our Strategy Puzzle: The industries we serve are changing incredibly fast – which makes for a fun and enjoyable challenge of trying to learn and figure out our best path forward. Solving these strategic puzzles has me engaged with associates across Ingram Micro and numerous industries, companies and partners. I love being plugged into the global network of business and both sensing and thinking through how to make our winning moves.
Our People: We have a wealth of engaging, motivated, fun and smart associates from around the world working at Ingram Micro. I enjoy the opportunity to interact daily with individuals who bring different and fresh perspectives to my work and life. And I highly value being part of the company’s worldwide executive team. I thank my lucky stars that I get to be part of such a capable group, where I have the opportunity to continuously learn while doing my best to contribute to Ingram Micro’s success.
Focusing on Innovation: Innovation has always been a key focus for Ingram Micro; a critical ingredient for being able to deliver ever-greater value to our customers and vendors in ways that will keep us ahead of the game as the world of technology continues to rapidly evolve.
Our Brand and Role in Technology: Working with a company that is so highly respected by its partners and customers is a great reward. We may not be a household name, but when I mention Ingram Micro to people who know our company, I almost always get positive feedback. I am absolutely passionate about technology of all types – from software to smart devices to how key trends such as ecommerce and social networks are changing how we shop, communicate and live. I am thrilled to be working with a company at the heart of the IT world, partnered with all the great brands. We play an important role in bringing the power of technology to businesses and consumers around the world.
Q: Where will the IT distribution industry be in five years, and how will Ingram Micro look?
A: I see two key parts to this question: 1) How will IT be defined in five years and separately, 2) What role will distribution play in five years? Either way, I think it’s safe to bet that there will be change.
On the IT side of things, I envision a world far more mobile and cloud-driven, where current forces such as virtualization, ecommerce, broadband and mobility enable instant access to information anywhere, anytime and on any device.
I think Ingram Micro will be generating a greater share of our revenue and certainly our profits from our Mobility, Cloud and other service-based initiatives. I also think that Ingram Micro will be far more data and analytics driven. In this new world marked by massive disruption, everyone will need more insight to make better sense of what customers want or where they are going. We can provide that insight due to our unique place in the IT ecosystem. Ingram Micro is at the center of tremendous data flow, which, when coupled with smart analytics, will make us a critical link and vital provider of insight for vendors and partners to drive marketing, product design, sales and better supply chain management.
Q: What keeps you up at night, and what are you doing about it?
A: Managing multiple priorities. For anyone in a strategy and corporate development role, time and the ability to focus and add value is the key constraint to manage. Hence, I am constantly working to make the right trade-offs and focus on the areas of biggest value to our company.
Cloud – Strategically, we are ahead of the curve in the distribution space and I am excited to see our Cloud businesses taking shape across our regions. Moving quickly in the face of disruptive change is a tremendous challenge for any company.
Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of, and why?
A: A few weeks ago, I was walking with my boy, holding his hand after playing tennis with him. At one point he calls up and asks me to come down to his level. I stop, bend over and say “Yes Jamie, what’s on your mind?” He looks me in the eyes, cups my face in his little boy hands and says, “Papa, you are the best papa in the world… I just want you to know.”
That moment will ring true for me for a long, long time. It’s not just the positive feedback of my son to whom I am incredibly devoted, but representative of something fundamentally important to me: service leadership.
I’m proud that in leading my son — from his earliest newborn days through to his early boyhood — that I have been able to be the type of role model, coach and guide that has earned his trust and appreciation. In striving to serve his needs, helping him learn of the world and make sense of all there is in it, increasingly finding his own way and voice — that my “customer” feedback was so positive, generous and unrestrained in goodness — was quite literally my proudest moment.
I could look at my many other accomplishments in sports or academics or business or my military service and frankly, they all pale in the face of my own boy’s acknowledgement, his soft eyes looking into mine and his telling me that I’m doing pretty well in the pursuit of a mission to which I am completely dedicated.
Q: Who or what has had the greatest impact on your life, and why?
A: I know it’s old hat, but I have to admit my dad and mom have had the greatest impact on me. Both of my parents came to the United States to live the American dream — my dad from Egypt and my mom from France. In the early ‘60s they fell in love and with the U.S. and all it stands for.
They embraced the United States, leaving much behind to pursue their dreams and ambitions. They had little to no help and faced incredible difficulties and challenges, but I will always remember their optimism and determination. My dad taught himself English, then computing and then business. He had a great career in the U.S. Navy before starting and running his own business called “Computer Technology International” and he ultimately became a senior consultant with IBM Global Services before retiring. He has always been tremendously grateful for all that coming to the USA allowed him to achieve, for himself and his family.
I am sure the U.S. was a big factor, but it was (and still is) my dad’s boundless optimism, endless curiosity, good and steady nature and can-do attitude and absolute integrity that really had the greatest impact on me. He always played it straight and would never give up despite the odds. He never lost his sense of self and family and gratitude for the many good things that his natural gifts and hard work brought his way. I couldn’t think of a better role model than my dad who, to this day is always teaching me something new and motivating me by his own passion for life … and technology.