5 minutes with…

Charles Forman is an Executive Vice President at Independent Stationers.


Describe what you do in about 20 words. 

Bring sales and profit opportunities to the independent dealer channel and manufacturers within the office products, office furniture and related industries.

If you weren’t doing your present job, what job would you like to be doing? 

Something of a humanitarian nature, perhaps something that assisted people with acquiring fresh drinking water. There are so many people in other parts of the world who have little or no access to clean water.

The best moment in your career? 

There have been many, but buying and running an independent dealership is high on the list. The experience of working with independent dealers and manufacturers over the past 12 years while fulfilling various roles at Independent Stationers is up there as well.

Your best piece of advice to someone who has just joined the OP industry? 

Settle in and become a student of the industry, as many people who enter the industry stay in it for a career. Also, read business books and industry publications, as so much business writing today applies to the OP industry.

What do you think will be the biggest single issue affecting the OP industry over the next five years? 

A willingness to adapt to a changing environment. This change could be in terms of business model(s), a re-think of product offering and/or of the way you are looking at succession planning.  

What business book would you recommend as essential reading? 

There are so many, but the one that I recently read that applies to the world economic stage is The Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton, Chairman of Gallup. This book should be essential reading for all who lead in business, government and education, because it points to how so many current leaders are focused on the wrong things. It is packed with data supporting his case, with a historic framework validating what can be done.

Your greatest strength? 

Persistence and perseverance. 

What do you like best about the OP industry? 

It is a great industry with so much opportunity! Sure, there are many challenges currently facing the industry, but it is a great place to be if you are willing to work hard and face those challenges head-on.

Your ideal night out? 

Anywhere with my wife, Holly!

If you could invite two famous people for dinner, who would they be and why? 

Thomas Jefferson, because of his undeniable wisdom and foresight; and Ben Franklin, because of his innovativeness and entrepreneurialism. 

Your favourite holiday destination? 

The Hawaiian Islands are a lot of fun and are a breathtaking combination of beauty, relaxation and cultural history.

Things you don’t like spending money on? 

Unnecessary fees with no ROI.

Any pets?   

Two dogs that are Labrador retrievers (one black and one yellow),two birds (a cockatiel and a parakeet) and one cat that is rarely seen.