Q: What most notably stands out about your leadership style or what is an example of leadership success you can share with our readers?
When Troy Watkins and I started Conceptually Social in 2014, we wanted our culture and leadership styles to be reflected in our mission statement and principles. Showing Passion, Being Selfless, Bringing the Positivity, Never Negotiating Standards and Integrity Always are the principles which we ask all our leaders to maintain — and that starts at the top. Maintaining this example is a fundamental leadership goal, best summarized by our mission statement: We, with joy and gratitude, serve uncommonly delicious food & drink while building everlasting relationships with our team and community. Ultimately, the leadership style that I have gravitated toward focuses on garnering credibility, relationship building, exhibiting humility, empowering others and staying present with a passion-forward presence.
What impact has COVID-19 or the disruptions of the past 18 months had on you as a leader?
The impact of COVID-19 and the pandemic’s disruption to our industry tested our resolve as business owners and our commitment to lead the company through a very challenging time. We learned how it felt to truly have our “back against the wall” and, in full transparency, understand in a stronger way the responsibility of being a leader — whether we could help our team believe that we were all in it together and could make the most out of a challenging environment or simply adapt to our unwavering belief that Conceptually Social would come out of the thick of things as a stronger company. Hard choices needed to be made throughout the 18-plus months and it required myself and the other leaders to keep those choices or priorities hyperclear.
What do you feel we can be doing as a business community to empower economic growth here?
Phoenix is in an advantageous position when it comes to our economic grWe believe that a large part of the responsibility we bring as leaders through Conceptually Social is continually investing in our team. We focus on how we can build an environment and company culture in learning, pushing through difficult times, reinforcing accountability and, most importantly, providing the tools and training our team can use toward personal growth and success. Our hope is that this focus can help develop highly skilled professionals who take pride in their efforts and continue to grow themselves with Conceptually Social or another organization.
What is new and notable for your company’s near future that will impact our economy?
We are excited to not only continue the significant investment in resources and bringing on high-level, experienced leadership into Conceptually Social Catering, but to as well announce a second Kaizen Sushi location. We will also be continuing the development and growth of our concept Konbini Sushi and its partnership within AirGuitar in Epicenter / Gilbert. We also hope to announce soon possible new projects in Tempe and in the Biltmore area. Both locations are reflective of the significant opportunity that has been created in this “post pandemic” economy and workplace. We believe that a new view and appreciation of food-and-beverage retail within office space and development has been realized. We also believe a strong F&B operator can bring value to business development projects and/or an office building as a true amenity service and offering; we believe in a true partnership with developers and commercial real estate as a workplace solution.
Name of Leader: Kyu Utsunomiya
Position of Leader: Partner & Co-Founder
Organization Name: Conceptually Social
No. of Years with Organization: 8
Main Local Office Address: 515 E. Grant St., Suite 100, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone: (480) 225-4900
Number of offices in Greater Phoenix: 4
Year Established Locally: 2014
City Nationally Headquartered: Phoenix
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