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April 16, 2024 32 mins
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iHeartMedia presents CEOs you should know.Hi. I am John Dinkle, former
president and publisher of the Baltimore BusinessJournal and now founder and CEO of Dinkle
Business Development. This is iHeartRadio's CEOsyou should know, and I'm here today
with James Daily, the CEO ofAlliance Trade in Americas. Welcome James,
and thanks for being here. ThanksJohn, looking forward to it me as

well. Appreciate you taking the timetoday. So I thought we'd start off
by just getting to know you alittle bit in the organization. For those
who may not be familiar, Couldyou tell us a little bit about Alliance
Trade. Yeah, sure, So, Allion's Trade our specialty line of insurance
with inside the Alliance Group, whichis, if not the number one,

certainly very close to the number oneinsurance company in the world. And as
I say, we've been providing specialtysolutions in the United States for over one
hundred and thirty years. So wewhat we ensure in terms of specialty is
if you're a business selling on credit, so you know you're advancing your goods
before you've been paid, We're ensuringthat supply supply line. So if you

if you fail to get paid forany reason that the company goes into Chapter
eleven or they just they go outof business or they default, we will
come in and we will cover youryour losses. So in simple terms,
if you don't get paid, wepay, so we you know, that's
so when you look at the nametrade, we're ensuring the trade between business

to business in simple terms. God, I appreciate you explaining that. I
know that, you know when Ilook first look at your website, and
it took me a little while tokind of, you know, kind of
understand what you do. But Iappreciate you explaining that in layman's terms.
But so what's your mission? Yeah, so it's interesting when when they when
you look at that that term mission, I think it's it's a little bit

old fashion having vision and mission statementin today's so I think you and I
probably grew up when that was itwas a real popular topic. So but
really, you know, it's kindof for me is our purpose, you
know, our purpose is to protecthelp for businesses trade and to build trust

within that within that supply line,so a bit you know, giving companies
confidence to sell. So if youif you think as simple as I described
it earlier, if you if you'rea manufacturer and let's say you're making you
know, let's say you're making washingmachines in Baltimore and you need to and
you've got an order. Your salesguys come running through the door. Hey
boss, I've got an order forthe ten thousand washing machines. But the

buyers in in Chile is we've neverdone business with him, that that order
is looking super attractive. But you'reprobably thinking, you know what, I'm
not sure I want to send downten thousand washing machines Chile. What we
do is we come in, we'llknow that organization because on our database is
going to be you know, Ithink we've got around just under one hundred
million companies on our databay cope dataon our quarterly basis, and then we're

scoring that data and then we willwe will know that that company pretty well
so much so we'll say, youknow what, ship those ten thousand shop
washing machines, and if you don'tget paid, we'll we'll make it good
if you you know, and alwayssay don't ship those ten thousand washing machines,
which again because even with insurance,you know, we're covering the financial

loss. But you could have shippingcosts, you may have legal costs,
you may have collection costs of tryingto get your money back. All of
those things are you know, arisk of doing business outside of your normal
supply lines. So again what wedo is we come and help our clients
work in those spaces as well.So we will help you navigate those legal

systems, those court systems, thosecollection systems with our people because we have
people in fifty five trees around theworld in those countries do not type of
work. So, as I say, our purpose is to help customer help
companies have trust. This straight tradeit builds you know, builds organizations growth,

and we're happy to be part ofthat for our cons Great. Well,
yeah, I appreciate you sharing thatand great example. And actually kind
of curious, I knowed you mentionedmanufacturing, So who are like, are
there any or what are your kindof typical customers are you tending to work
with kind of the middle to largekind of enterprise market? Is that you
know, do you tend to domore manufacturing as a post professional services?

Like give us a little bit ofa picture of you know, kind of
your your customer base, and Iknow it's sure, it's why you're doing,
you know, business all across theworld. But you know, for
our readers and in the America's space, what's what's a typical customer base look
like? Yeah, so you've alreadystruck on it. I wouldn't say there's

I mean a typical custom because asyou're alrightly identified, we're dealing with anyone
pretty much from you know, asmall organization to the large corporates, multinational
corporates in the space. So youname those big American companies on the West
coast of the United States, we'reyou know, and and we're we're dealing
with you know, with with foodmanufacturing and you know, and to show

goods and services in Baltimore who maybe doing you know, less than a
hundred million dollars or sales. Soyou know, there is I wouldn't say
there's a typical type of care ofcustomer, but we if you try to
try inter be on that question,if I did a pie chart of you
know, what, you know,the size of customer, I would say,
we're most appealing to that mid Americanorganization that needs to grow, wants

to you know, it has theambition to grow and what we do is
provide the tools to enable that growth. Because when you start to grow and
rapidly within it, within an organization, the specialty, all those specialty competencies
that you have in your organization,which which have delivered your success, aren't
necessarily what we can do for you, right And you need information, you

need data, you need you know, let's say maybe language skills and court
skills, et cetera. We haveall of that component. So you're effectively
outsourcing that to us. So whenyou look at mid sized America, that's
probably a sweet spot for US andmid sized corporations in America and looking to
export goods for the first time,it's something is going to be appealed by

what we have to offer. Gotcha, that's great, Thank you.
I appreciate you you going over that. That gives me a little bet of
a bigger better picture of here're tryingto target. So has the has inflation
or the econ you have any impacton your business over the past year,
year and a half. Yeah,so we're completely thanks John Web for that
question, and we are completely interwovento the economic cycles. Yeah, so

what what fundamentally what we what theevent that occurs in our insurance. The
loss, you know, is whenwhen a company fails and they failed,
or for some reason maybe they've notfailed, they just serve to pack up
and go away. But that eventis you know, creates the inability for

you to as what our customers getpaid. And of course that accelerates and
you start you're already starting to seethat in the year's economy when the when
the economy gets cut, particularly whenlending conditions get more more difficult. So
all organizations need working capital. Whenthat becomes when the liquidity drives up,

then to that working capital starts toyou know, put companies into a precarious
situation. And that's primarily what yousee in a recession, you know,
is the access to liquidity disappears andcredit crunches arrive and people got out of
business. And that's you know,when you see that in the classic economic

cycle. So when a recession thatstarts, when you see growth go out
of a system and you know,the economy, a recession or looming recession
is when we start to see moreclaims come into our organization. But that's
that's what we're there for, youknow, we you know, the economic
cycles are thankfully they're not too closetogether. But normally the standard economic cycle

is around ten years, but inbetween those ten years, you're going to
see events. They also create losses, so you'll see some of you know,
you know recently, you know,the trade constraints around the world,
some of the political conflicts will allcall great constriction on supply chain, and

when you have constriction on supply chain, you've got some precarious situations. So
yeah, we are completely linked tothe economic cycle, and we're starting to
see that so clearly. If welook at the last event, which was
a big event, which was COVID, you know, moved in through this
sort of bumpy not into complete recessioneconomic cycle slowing down, and you've got

some resilience in the US economy,but we're starting to see that deterioration slowly
coming through. And that's been drivenby the Fed's monetary policy of putting the
interest rates up over the last yearor so, and that's creating a access
to liquidity term challenging for a lotof organizations, or they can't meet those

debt obligations. So they already hadbecause the interest rates are much higher than
the margins that they were achieving inthe better times. So yeah, thank
you for sharing that. Yeah,it's interesting as I'm out there talking to
CEOs and mid level market too,that they're experiencing that sales uh uh,

deals are just taking a little bitlonger now. People are a little bit
more cautious, you know, stillthere's still you know, things are still
happening, and they're still you know, doing okay. But like I just
keep hearing this over and over thatjust deals are taking a little bit longer
right now, by by a fewmonths. So that's always an interesting kind

of sign to me that people arebeing a little bit you know, cautiously
optimistic and see things are still happening, but it's just taking a little more
time for to happen. Yeah,well, we're a bell weather for that
because we actually see the event.Well you actually hit the full full on
recession. Because one of the oneof the opplications of our customers with with

our with our product is that whenthey have a late payment, so they
haven't been paid on the due date, they have to report that to us.
So that doesn't mean the organizations youknow, has gone out of business.
It's giving us an indication they've gota cash flow, and we get
all of that data coming in fromall of them, you know, all

over the world, as I saidearlier on just under one hundred million companies
that we monitor, So we seethat precursor to a deeper, deeper economic
slowdown recession way before it happens.And that's part of our duties because we
then tell our customers to, hey, slow down yourself. Make sure you

don't overseell into these because even thoughwe've got you covered, you know,
that unwinding, that the mess orall the administration that goes in that once
you have a loss, even withinsurances, still costly to you as an
organization. So if you can startto ease back or look for new opportunities,
then that's that's why we're helping people. Well, yeah, if you

come in as a trusted advisor knowingthat data and then you're able to you
know, tell the the or CEOor CEO whoever you're you know you're working
with about that data and to givethem advice around theirs, that's that's huge.
I'm sure that's a huge value addfor your clients. So you recently

opened up your kind of New America'sregional headquarters in Harbor East and Baltimore.
What what made you decide on thecity. But we've always been we've always
been a baltimorean organization for many manyminutes, years and years ago. I
think we've been around for one hundredand thirty years. We were in Saint

Louis and that's where the railroads crossedin those days, north south east west,
So that was an obvious place toset up a solution for trade.
And you know, after the FirstWorld War, you know, where the
Europe was being reindustrialized, America wasproviding a lot of the goods of that.

So baltim More was the main portfor the trade. So we relocated
them, you know, over onehundred years ago. So we were downtown
many many many years ago, andthen you know, as patterns changed,
we moved out to the suburbs andwe were in Owings Mills, Baltimore for

many, over twenty years. Butthat that, you know, COVID created
this new working model for many ofthat and the footprint we had out in
Eings Mills was just was just waytoo big for us, you know.
It was we had two floors inyou know, a classic business park space,

and we probably only needed the footyou know, one of the floors
with the new working models. Sowe decided to take the opportunity with the
least coming up to look at options. And we looked at some of the
new space down in Harbor East aswell, where you know, where t
Row are building their building. Welooked at going up there, but you

know, it's like hotcakes in thebakery. That space was going pretty soon.
You thought about it, and itwas it was gone. And to
be honest, some of the ourneighbors and you know, some of the
other organizations moving in there should makeBaltimore proud that they're picking these these these
new spaces. So we we hadto you know, we were kind of

thinking it was going to be,you know, we could relax, take
our time, you know, abuyer's market. But it was actually the
opposite. So when the when thespace became available in one hundred International Drive,
which is the everyone will remember itis the old leg Mason building.
Yeah, right next to the fourSeasons, a floor became available in that

and we snapped it up and basicallyit's it's like half the space and but
about the same budget we had forfor our for accommodation. So so we're
upgrade. And you know what,like any organization that got you know,
of the people weren't happy, thatthe people were super happy. That the

people weren't bothered. And now we'redown there, I think we've got complete
subscription. I think everyone's really pleased. And when you look out that window
and see Baltimore, the view ofthe city, I'm a big fan of
the city. I know it's gota hard press. I'm doing all to

promote it as a place to dobusiness as well as to relax and live.
So you know, it wasn't adifficult decision for me. But some
of the you know, the heelsthat were digging in have become buck and
I think everyone's super happy. AndHarbor East is a great neighborhood. Yeah,

it's a great location. And andto your point, I think having
you know, COVID changed a lotof things, especially around hybrid work king
and stuff or so for I thinka lot of companies that decided to move
to the city from the suburbs.And even though suburbs are great and they
have their benefits too, that thecity has a lot to offer. And
now with the you know, kindof this hybrid working environment, you know,

it really makes it even you know, I'm kind of a nicer choice
sometimes would be in the city becausethere's so much to do down there.
So that's pretty cool. I appreciateyou sharing that. So you recently celebrated
twenty years with Orleance Trade, soit reflecting back, you know, what
do you feel is kind of madethe biggest impact on you in your time

there. Yeah, so you mayhave may have picked up from my twang,
you know, natural Baltimorean I'm tryingto try to try to naturalize over
it. But twenty years ago Ijoined the organization, you know, a
London business and then you know,during that over the years, then moved

to what we call on Northern Europeanregions are looking and in that region,
Northern European was a misnomer, butit ran from sort of Dublin to bloody
Vostov, you know, nine timezones, and I got to see you
know a lot of the know,a lot of our organization in different cultures,
different you know, different you know, different setups completely to what type

was experiencing in London. And thenmoved to our headquarters which is in Paris
for a couple of years and thenfinally did the right thing and came to
Baltimore. When you say so inthose years, I think, you know
what I've to Two major events happenedto the world, and particularly to the

world that we were managing for ourclients. Was in two o eight two
o nine, we had the globalfinancial crisis, and I was in London
at the time, one of theepic centers of the crisis. And indeed
we're in we're in the financial We'rebased in the Financial center in in in

in London, and the next tous was Layman Brothers and the building next
well Merrill Lynch and the building wehad Barkley's, H S, b C.
And City, every every bank youcan name, European, American,
and and we will looking out ofthe window and you can see people going
out of the Layman's Brothers building likeEve in the An Hill with you know,

with all of their their boxes,their keyboards, and oh my gosh.
It was kind of wow, what'shappening to the world. So that
was a big moment, and itwas and then you know, trying to
help people and lead an organization throughthat uncertainty was was definitely what what's provided

me with some some huge experiences thathave lent on in my in my time
over the you know, the followingthat event, you know, the next
big event we then had was wasCOVID, and there were similar in two
respects. Is because that the financialcrisis. We didn't know what was going

to happen tomorrow until the government's intervened, and and that period uncertainty was was
you know, it was basically noone knew what was going to happen.
There was no answers bringing off thehooks. Our staff didn't know whether you
know, you know, their ownmoney in their own bank account was safe.

So, you know, just gettingtrying to normalize that, trying to
great patterns and routines veryone to connectto attach to in those days, in
the early days of that crisis,was was vital to to to building the
experiences that happened during COVID, becausethen COVID happened, if you remember,
that happened pretty rapidly, I meangoing on, we held a huge event

in Miami. We had the oldorderalization down in Miami. We're doing conference
and they were talking about this thisvirus out in you know, out in
the Far East. And then youknow, in March April we had that
we had the lockdown, So ithappened pretty rapidly, and again it was
it moved from a you know,had in an organizational sense. We went

through a very it was very personalbecause people were worried about their families,
their own personal safety. Yet thesame time, you know, the secondary
piece was how do I organize mymy my business at global business, how
do we keep going, how dowe keep you know, people reassured,
how do we create an environment wherepeople can connect to and I think you

know, some of the lessons thatwe learned into into eight or nine,
we were helpful. Although the governmentcame in pretty quick and in and create
the intervention that able just to normalizepretty pretty rapidly in COVID that that lockdown,
you know, I was it wasfull you know for a good six

seven months before we'd kind of reallyleadership was key and helping people you know,
feel safe was the number one thing. And then having purpose every day,
you know, and we went structurethrough you know, just communicating very
clearly, very transparently, more sothan we would doing you know, in

a normal world, and I thinkthat's helped us come through the other side
of COVID in a very different wayas well, which enables the world we
see today, this remote working.You know, if you talked about that,
you know, five six years ago, people just thought you crazy.
Yeah, yeah, no. AndI think eventually that was going to happen
anyway, but COVID just sped itup by by like a decade, you

know. I think we were startingto work towards that a little bit,
and especially with the you know,the current generation, you know, and
their kind of work philosophy and solike, yeah, I think COVID kind
of sped that up by maybe fiveten years, you know, which which
not a bad thing. I mean, you know, sometimes change could be

really good and allow you to makesure you have the right people in the
right positions and being able to hirein other locations around the country, and
you know, there's all kinds ofbenefits to that. But you know,
I think you were talking about andyou mentioned communication, which is a huge
one. I think a lot ofcompanies still struggle with how to communicate and

build culture and collaboration among their teams. But I can't imagine what the organization,
your size, what what that mustbe like, because that's got to
be a challenge every day too.Yeah, well it's they was, I
mean those early days, I meanit was you know, and you were
moving in to this unmapped world withoutpable to be honest, we were running
as I personally was running a sixteenour day, yeah quotes, just wanted

to know what was going on atthe beginning of the day in the end
of the day around the world.So we were having these dollings would work
for you know, universality, workfor you know, our folk in Hong
Kong, folk in Australia, folkingin Baltimore. And we were dialing into
those calls and we were going throughyou know, you know, like you
know, like it was like amilitary debrief and up brief and and then

in the afternoon we would do thesimilar sort of a thing and then you
would then cascade that down. SoI would then do that in the region
I'm responsible for, which is theAmericas, and how that morning and afternoon
and then you know, in theearly days, that was intense, you
know, and it was you know, it was understanding how the you know,
how the art it infrastructure is goingto accommodate everything, and you know,

the the resourcefulness of our organization,I'm sure it's the same big or
small, was just incredible. Imean, we'll just kicking meant that,
you know, we always give ita kicking the you know, the shins
because they are but they really deliveredoutstanding technology and you know, I think

but you know, I would saywithin you know, a month, we
normalized and we didn't have we needto have maybe you know, a bi
weekly check in, and we movedthe morning call to just a morning call
with the with the region and nowhelped to me that became a weekly call
and just people got back to doingdoing business normally. So yeah, it

was it was. It was definitelyquite a time, that's for sure.
That's for sure. And I knowwe've been kind of talking about leadership for
the past a few minutes. Iappreciate that. I love talking about this
kind of stuff on the show.How would you describe your leadership style?
Well, it's yeah, I would. I mean, when when you look

at my leadership style, it's Ialways I mean I kind of feed from
my background, so you know,I you know, I came up,
I came up from a world Imean I was I was playing semi professional
sport as a young man. Sohe's I can't understand that, you know
how how you know leadership works insome you know, in a in a

you know, a sporting context.And I don't some of those analogies that
threw me through life. But youknow, I think when you when you
when you want to be a successfulleader, you're you're leading, and thank
you fundamentally you're leading with a purpose. What is your what is your tea
as we talk to our own beginning? What is the vision mission of this
organization? And most so, Iyou know, most people come to don't

come to an organization just to turnup, you know, So first of
all, you've got to articulate apurpose what you know, as the leader,
what are we? You know,what is this organization about? What
are we? What is our plan? And how are we going to deliver
that plan? And then creating thatenvironment as you say, how how do
you collaborate within within that within thatplan and how? And then rather than

me just being the you know,the ultimate leader, I've got to in
how my my team and they've gotto empower their teams just like you would.
I mean my sport was rugby.You need many leaders all over all
over the park making decisions in thatmoment. And you know that was kind
of the mancha. You know,you see the ball, you make the

decision. You don't wait for someoneelse to take the decisions. But as
a team, you know what theplan is, you know what the vision
is, you know, and soeveryone is is is working to the common
goal and everyone, as I say, has is empowered enabled to make those
decisions. And if it goes wrong, hey we tried. Yeah yeah,

And I love it. Thank youfor sharing that. I love what they
have to say about like the purpose, because I think that's such a huge
thing. One of my kind offavorite business books is Drive by Daniel Pink
and you know, the kinds ofthree big things with him is, you
know, when you're thinking about leadershipand your employees is first of all,
giving them the resources they need todo their job technically, let them do

their job. That let them doit their way, you know, giving
them resources and the coaching and allthat, but let them do it their
way and they use their skill sets. And then dirtly is just give them
on purpose I mean, that's sucha huge thing. I mean, so
yeah, I appreciate you bringing thatup. It's such a important topic.
And I think you know you're deadall that it's really important to me.

I mean, because listen, Itry. So if you go if you're
if you're on a medical staff inthe hospital and you go into work every
morning and you know what your purposeis, it's pretty you working in silent
military organization, you're you're in theater. You know what your purpose is.
You know, it's there. Whatwe do insurance and many industries, we

sell a promise, you know.So we're selling a promise which is,
in the event of this happening,this is the way we're going to behave
So we we we're not we're notWe're not Tesla, We're not we're not
making a dream car, We're notmaking a fantastic iPhone. We're selling this
promise, which is you know,it's it's in the ether. So so

creating purpose, creating connection to thatis vital. So so when people come
to an organization like ours but there'snothing physical, you've got to create that
purpose and you've got to create attachmentto you know, what is you know,
even when you're you know, doingsome of the you know, the
entry level roles in our baty.Yeah. Yeah, critical to explain to
people this is what you do,this is why you do it, and

why it's how it's connected, howit's attached to the old jective. Yeah,
organization. I love it. Andthen people see their pathway and that
to me, so you see purpose. But then you see a pathway.
How do I succeed? How doI how does my succeed? Success recognized
and people see that all around ourorgans. I've got I've got a little
operation down in Brazil. It's aboutseventy folks, and ten years ago I

went down down everyone's you know thatthe wonderful people that they're all well educated,
they're all budding or they're all smart, but you know they they were.
There are a team in Brazil.Now if you look, I've got
five those folk working in Baltimore.I got two in London, and I've
got two or three in Paris andheadquarters and not just you know great,
you know I gave that team,you know, an identity. You're part

of the alley Once trade world andthis is how the world connects, and
this is your role in that worldand consequently, you know, many of
those folk have explored those opportunities andbeing successful. So it's purpose is I
can't you know, you know,I can't express it anymore. How yeah,

I agree with you. I appreciateyou sharing all that because that it
is a really important message for forall of our listeners to hear, because
you know, right down from ifyou're whether you're in a starting position or
all the way up to you know, the C suite, having that purpose
and know where you sit in theorganization and what you do is makes an
impact on everybody else in the organization. It's is hugely important. So I

yeah, I appreciate you bringing thatup. Man, I could talk about
this stuff or hour, but justthe wrappings up. I mean, is
there anything else you'd like to youknow, I would like our listeners to
know about you and Alliance Trade.Yeah, I mean, if I mean,
like you, I can talk aboutAlliance Trade as we say, but

I think it's it's we often feellike evangelists when we talk about our solution
because we are still you know,relatively unknown and as a as a solution.
But when people discover what we have, you know, they're a customer
for for you know, for whenour attention rate, the renewal rate of
our clients is up in the midninety percent. Once you once you,

once you come into too, whatwe understand, what we have to offer.
It really is something that's going tostick with you. So, you
know, opportunities like this to talkabout what we do and how we how
we can help organizations grow their businesses. It's really useful for me. So
I really appreciate the time and ohmy gosh, yeah, I really appreciate

it too. Where can our audiencefind more information about alianstrad Well, you
know, Google is always a goodstart. If you go on the type
in any as trade, you'll findus there under Anionstrade dot dot com.
If you click onund the under thethe the Americas, you'll find the Canadian
linked and US link links to ourSouth American businesses. So you can find

all the information there. It's afull resource of information. Even if you're
not a not a client. Youcan get informations on industry sectors. So
if you're working in let's say you'reworking in car manufacturing, or you're manufacturing,
if you're in shipping, or ifyou're in IT services. You can
go in and click in. We'vegot resources and reference data for you.

Those all current an economic basis that'sfree to anyone to come in and access,
so you know it's a great resourcelibrary, even if you're not a
customer. So please you let findsfeel you just go and explore and if
you feel you need to do moreexploring this pick up the phone and all
the numbers are there. Awesome.Well, thank you so much, James.

It was really really great talking withyou. Like I said, I
could talk to you another hour aboutthe leadership stuff, but we really appreciate
your time today and thank you somuch. I hope to talk to you
son. Thanks, Sean, appreciateit. Dix has been iHeartMedia's CEOs.
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