About Ben Martinez
How I went from Corporate “Office Jock” to...
Helping CEOs and Executives build and lead the teams and businesses they need to win in the struggle for talent.
Before there was Sumato Coffee Co. Before there was my Human Capital Consulting agency, Secret Tech Sauce Talent...There was a corporate "Office Jock."
Eager to win, but just an armchair quarterback.
Desperate to do more, but as with many corporate environments stuck doing work outside of my control. Spreadsheets, PowerPoint charts I had no interest in. I was making over $200K per year to work on version 9 of a spreadsheet for lackluster board meetings. Desperate to use my imagination but stuck being an armchair quarterback.
Scared to go out on my own so I strived for bigger corporate jobs. VP of People & Culture for almost five years at a fast growing startup tech company. I thought jobs like these would allow me to do the work aligned with my purpose of helping people win. Wrong.
I've spent almost 20 years across America and Mexico in entry level to senior leadership roles at big companies, like Pepsi, Honeywell and Energizer to VC backed start-ups like HireVue, and now running two companies, Secret Tech Sauce Talent and Sumato Coffee Co. I have been a good boss and a bad boss. I work with other leaders because there are many good people at work, like you or me, that become bad bosses and cause dysfunction at work. I hope to use my experiences to help others grow and hire talented people.
PS - I am not judging the people in corporate jobs. The corporate lifestyle did not work for me during that phase of my life. Life is about growing and I did not feel like I was growing.
Grow a Beard & cup some coffee
From armchair to starter - Enter Sumato Coffee Co.
by choice, I launched into entrepreneurship. Me and a cup of coffee. Pun intended.
While my "high powered" executive days saw me speaking for big conferences across the US, like LinkedIn Talent Connect, SXSW, HireVue events, DisruptHR, SHRM events etc, and flexing my human resource and technology muscles to rub shoulders with various executives, (evidenced but meeting Gary Vee at SXSW in Austin back in 2013 but had no idea who he was) or tech celebs like Shaquille O'Neal or Ashton Kutcher.
I dreamed up Sumato Coffee Co. one day while sitting at a Utah conference with terrible coffee and mediocre content listening to another round of Utah executives talk about how they want people to come to Utah and not think we are weird. The first move, I thought is to fix our bad coffee at work problem and having lived and worked across America, I know many companies have lackluster coffee at work. Instead of complaining about the problem, I took action to help improve Utah and America's coffee at work problem. Enter Sumato Coffee Co…
The shift into entrepreneurship and being “the boss” was anything but easy. Sumato Coffee Co. does well because we care deeply about coffee and focus on making our online experience with our customers simple and straight forward - subscribe to our coffee program and we roast and ship your freshly roasted coffee beans. The work involved with running an e-commerce company is hard but rewarding.
Like any good start-up. Sumato Coffee went through challenges with selecting and retaining talent. I could only blame one person…
Once I accepted ownership with everything in my life and business I begin to see work and life from a different spot. I was the starting player and I needed to act like it. I needed to be more disciplined than anyone I work with. No more armchair corporate life and ticket punching career ladder jobs. I own everything. The successes and the skeletons. I own them. If I need to get up at 4AM to get the work done and my workout in, then I own it. I am free.
My job is to bring in revenue.
My real job title is CEO of Martinez Family Inc. My job is to bring in revenue and control costs for my family (lovely wife and 3 kids). Do whatever it takes to bring in revenue. Launch a new product, start a second business, a third business, work as a lifeguard.
From an intentional struggle of starting my own company, I grew and learned about leading, owning, entrepreneurship and working hard than any corporate job or school can teach me. Sure, you can sit someone down and teach them the principles of entrepreneurship but entrepreneurship comes from experience and doing it yourself.
Whatever it takes. Own it.
Enter Secret Tech Sauce Talent Co.
I launched Secret Tech Sauce Talent after realizing that I am running a company already, Sumato Coffee Co. AND building my own dream business was not at odds with helping others achieve theirs. With Secret Tech Sauce Talent I can help people achieve their dreams.
Sumato Coffee Co. and Secret Tech Sauce Talent are in the same cup but run differently (pun intended again). I love both businesses. I doubled down on both businesses, aligned with people who could help me and learned how to scale both businesses. In short, I got after it. After all, whatever I do, I am doing it to learn and teach others how to become better and caring about people and just getting after it in general. My work usually leads me to CEO, Owners, Executives, Entrepreneurs and talented people.
I'm not over 70 but i grew up in a house with coal heat.
Random Fact About Me.
How to build a profitable e-Commerce brand from scratch with Sumato Coffee Co. No corporate job will teach me that.
How to leverage my skills in recruiting, talent management, employment branding and technology to launch Secret Tech Sauce Talent with clients, and help companies and leaders become more successful with the part of their business that matters most, Human Capital.
How to create programs and help business leaders find their secret sauce and grow themselves and their teams into their wildest dreams. I have 20 years in the corporate life at places like Pepsi, Honeywell, Energizer and HireVue. I understand the political watch-outs and pressures a team is under.
From my coal heat days as a kid - I learned that you need to work hard to heat your house. Every night, I had to shovel coal in a furnace for heat. Translate that into my work now - You have to work hard at something every day to keep things going and the fire flaming. Other people depend on your work, just like my family depended on me to fill the furnace with coal so we could have heat.
I run 2 companies because that is what I have learned to do well. I can look myself in the mirror and know that my work aligns with my purpose of providing for my family, helping leaders and providing people healthier and freshly roasted coffee but I also know that I am not my job. I can work hard and go home with my family, then play the guitar when I can muster the energy.
Best of all, I can feel good about taking action. Looking back to when I was 18, I want to always be proud of what I am doing years later. My actions give me the honor to help executives and entrepreneurs like you run around, through or over the barriers in your way. Once you are in control of your work, you are in the driver's seat.