Justin Freed

Justin Freed
Episode 115

Join host Japhet De Oliveira for a delightful conversation with Justin Freed, the vice president of supply chain for Adventist Health, as they discuss Justin's work in supply chain management, the challenges he faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of effective leadership, and the value of sincerity, transparency, and being present in the moment.
Libsyn Podcast
"I think my parents have built a solid work ethic in me. You want to be successful, you want to be productive and earn it every day. It's not just being successful, it's being a good dad, and having depth into how you engage with your children and your wife."


Narrator: Welcome, friends, to another episode of The Story and Experience Podcast. Join your host, Japhet De Oliveira, with his guest today and discover the moments that shape us, our families and communities.

Japhet De Oliveira: Welcome, friends, to another episode of The Story and Experience Podcast. I'm delighted with the guest today, because what they're wearing is rather spectacular. They're looking at me with a bit of surprise, but I think they understand it is rather spectacular. We will hopefully reveal that as the time goes on.

If you're brand new to the podcast, we have 100 questions. They progressively become more open the closer you get to 100. They're about stories and experiences that shape this person into the leader that they are today.

I'm going to being straight away and I'll ask you the first one. Could you tell us your name? Does anybody ever mispronounce it or misspell it?

Justin Freed: No. My name is Justin Freed. I've done a fair amount of traveling internationally, so when that does happen, some people call me Mr. Fred, but it is Freed.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, all right.

Justin Freed: That's about the biggest mispronouncement that I've experienced.

Japhet De Oliveira: Brilliant. Describe for us what you're wearing, the jacket in particular. Yeah.

Justin Freed: It's a, let me look at the brand here, I don't know. It's something from Nordstrom's my wife picked out.

Japhet De Oliveira: She did well, she did well.

Justin Freed: She's got an eye for that and I'm very thankful for that, because you don't know what I would probably pick is something boring and drab.

Japhet De Oliveira: We'd be really worried about you, Justin. That's good, that's good. Well done for following. Tell us what you do for work.

Justin Freed: I'm the vice president of supply chain for Adventist Health, which is a 26-hospital system based in Sacramento, Roseville, California. The long and short of it is my team is responsible for procuring, supplying, negotiating and controlling our supply expense, in addition to creating capital standards and ensuring we have capital replacement for all the equipment we use in the hospital.

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow.

Justin Freed: It extends from as simple as a cotton ball or a Bandaid, all the way to a stint, to an MRI or CT. The whole spectrum of supplies that the organization spends is on my team's responsibility to manage and procure.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's pretty easy, considering what we want through with COVID.

Justin Freed: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: When it was an absolute nightmare around the world.

Justin Freed: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow, okay. You got to have epic stories about supply issues.

Justin Freed: Yeah, it was ... I joined the organization four months before the pandemic hit.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, all right.

Justin Freed: I was brand new.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: I came from Providence Health and Services, and moved up here. This is my hometown, so it was fun to come back home. Yeah, four months into the gig, all hell broke loose with the pandemic.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: The spotlight was shone very brightly on the supply chain, to make sure we got the PPE and all the supplies to protect our clinicians and our associates, to protect themselves from the COVID pandemic. I felt we did a pretty good job at that, we never ran out of supply. We got close, we had to share.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: We had to get really creative with how to get product. That was an interesting couple years.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, no kidding. Well, well done for pulling us through that.

Justin Freed: Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really difficult time. All right. Tell us, in the morning when you get up, first drink of the day, what do you have? Tea, coffee, liquid green smoothy?

Justin Freed: I'm a coffee guy.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah?

Justin Freed: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: How do you have your coffee

Justin Freed: Actually, more espresso.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, yeah?

Justin Freed: It's a tall black as they call it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah.

Justin Freed: It's espresso beans, and then fill it up. I try to not put much creamer in, and just enjoy the flavor.

Japhet De Oliveira: Good.

Justin Freed: That's my first drink of the day.

Japhet De Oliveira: Do you have a particular bean you like?

Justin Freed: No.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, okay.

Justin Freed: I should, but I don't.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Justin Freed: I'm evolving, I'm trying to get there.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, all right.

Justin Freed: Ask me in six months.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, all right. Good stuff. Now, Justin, where were you born?

Justin Freed: I was born here, in Carmichael, California.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Justin Freed: So just down the road, at Mercy San Juan Medical Center.

Japhet De Oliveira: Ah, that's great. Then, when you were a kid growing up, did you grow up here?

Justin Freed: Yeah, born and raised.

Japhet De Oliveira: When you grew up here as a kid, what did you imagine you were going to be? Was supply chain high on your list?

Justin Freed: No. I had no idea what that was. I didn't even know that in college. No, it's funny. I grew up in the medical field. My dad's a retired physician, mom was a respiratory therapist, brother, siblings, all in the medical field. I grew up around it. I thought I was going to be an anesthesiologist.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah?

Justin Freed: My dad, at the time growing up, he was like, "Don't go into medicine." I didn't do that, I went to college and had a business degree, but I was pre-dentistry. Then, I realized I didn't want to look in someone's mouth the rest of my life, in the middle of organic chemistry.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Justin Freed: Then, honestly, God opened some doors and it seemed like healthcare management was the doors that opened for me. There was a sequence of events that happened over a course of a number of months and years that really led me to getting into healthcare, and then eventually into supply chain, which I've been in for about 12 or 13 years now.

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow. That's fantastic, man. Well, glad for you, glad for us as well. If people were to describe your personality, would they say you were an extrovert or an introvert, and would you agree with them?

Justin Freed: Yeah, definitely an extrovert. I inherited that from my mother. Not that my dad's an introvert, but definitely my mom's more personable. Both my parents were very sarcastic. I would agree with the extrovert categorization.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. Hey, that's good. Then, are you an early riser or a late night owl?

Justin Freed: It's funny. I used to be a late night owl until I married my wife, who goes to bed at a very good time and that's influenced me.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, sure.

Justin Freed: We've got two little kids, eight and five, so we're wrapping up bed, 9:30, 10:00.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Justin Freed: It's nice, because we get a good, good sleep. Getting up around 6:15, 6:30.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good, that's good. When you woke up this morning, first thought that went through your mind?

Justin Freed: Oh, man.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, dear.

Justin Freed: It was about work.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah? Yeah.

Justin Freed: It was a work related situation.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: I'm not going to get into great detail.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's okay.

Justin Freed: It woke me up. I actually had to do ... We have our leadership meetings every Wednesday.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah.

Justin Freed: I had to do a reflection. That was one thing, I was like, "I've got to get a reflection going."

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah.

Justin Freed: I searched for that online, before the sun came up, and found a good one, and presented that today.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, good. Well, well done, well done. That's fantastic. All right, then. Leadership question. Last one and then I'm going to hand it over to you. Are you a backseat driver?

Justin Freed: Backseat driver? I'd have to understand what backseat driver means, but maybe I'll describe the type of leader I appreciate and that I strive to be. I like to empower those to drive. If that's a backseat driver, then yes. But at times, you need to take the wheel.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Justin Freed: Not just to take control, but to show and lead.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: I really like the servant leadership, so being willing to do what it takes, roll up the sleeves, and not asking others to do you wouldn't be able to do yourself.

Japhet De Oliveira: Good principle.

Justin Freed: But also, empowering others to be their best, and giving them the rope and the leash to run. To me, if that's a backseat passenger, then that's what I want to do.

Japhet De Oliveira: I'm good.

Justin Freed: That's how I try to lead.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's actually all good. All right, floor is open, Justin. Where would you like to go from 11 to 100 now?

Justin Freed: Oh, man. Let's start with 15.

Japhet De Oliveira: 15? Okay, here we go. What is the one thing you always misplace?

Justin Freed: I'm pretty good at this.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, really? All right.

Justin Freed: I keep my keys and my phone ... It's probably what my wife misplaces, I'm always searching for her phone. She puts it randomly. I have to say, I'm pretty good at not misplacing things. I have places ... I'm not a Type A, but-

Japhet De Oliveira: Pretty close to it.

Justin Freed: A little. I dabble. I can't really say there's things I really misplace.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's all right.

Justin Freed: Maybe my ski pass in the wintertime.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah.

Justin Freed: And make sure I know where that's at.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, all right. Well, that was 15. Where next, up or down?

Justin Freed: Let's do 18.

Japhet De Oliveira: 18, all right. If you had to eat just one meal for a month, what would you choose?

Justin Freed: Now, are there ramifications to this, meaning I'll just explode if I like mac and cheese?

Japhet De Oliveira: Sure, sure.

Justin Freed: Or, steak.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: What that does. I would have to say, I love Cobb salad without the bacon. I would probably do that because it's somewhat healthy and it's really good.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. For an entire month. I may challenge you for this, just make me do it.

Justin Freed: Yeah, do it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, all right. That's good. That's pretty good. All right, that was 18. Where next?

Justin Freed: Let's up it up, 25.

Japhet De Oliveira: 25. Oh, share the most beautiful thing you've ever seen.

Justin Freed: Well, there's probably two things. I would say my wife being one of them, who I adore and is my better half. I've been fortunate to travel around the world a lot and experience a lot of beautiful scenery. I lived in Micronesia for a year, teaching high school.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, really?

Justin Freed: The sunsets-

Japhet De Oliveira: Which island?

Justin Freed: Pohnpei.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, all right.

Justin Freed: There was incredible sunsets out there, a few that really stand out, that were just awe-inspiring. Then, landscapes, I had a chance to go down to Patagonia and do the W Hike in Chile, and see Torres del Paine.

Japhet De Oliveira: Nice.

Justin Freed: Probably the most breathtaking views I've seen of mountain terrain.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. That's fantastic. Beautiful. All right, where next now?

Justin Freed: Let's do 30.

Japhet De Oliveira: 30? All right. Oh, tell us about something that you're really looking forward to.

Justin Freed: You know, it's funny. I'm trying to better in the moment with my children. I really enjoy seeing them grow up and the different phases of life. That is something that is just humbling to experience, especially when you look back at pictures and see two or three years ago.

Japhet De Oliveira: Isn't it incredible?

Justin Freed: They were this big and now, wow, that happened right in front of you.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: You don't want to miss those moments. I look forward to just seeing my kids grow, and their personalities thrive. That's what I love.

Japhet De Oliveira: Are you seeing qualities from you and your wife inside them?

Justin Freed: Oh, yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: All the time?

Justin Freed: Hands down.

Japhet De Oliveira: Isn't it crazy?

Justin Freed: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Justin Freed: It's neat.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, that's fantastic. All right, that was 30. Where next?

Justin Freed: Now, it doesn't have to just keep going up, does it?

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, no. You can go up or down.

Justin Freed: All right. I'll keep going up, and then I might bring it back down a little bit.

Japhet De Oliveira: Sure. Yeah, yeah. You've got flex, it's anywhere between 11 and 100.

Justin Freed: We'll do 38.

Japhet De Oliveira: 38, all right. If you needed encouragement, who would you call?

Justin Freed: I would probably talk to my parents.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah?

Justin Freed: Both dad and mom.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: I extremely value their insights, their experience in life. I didn't as a teenager. I remember going off to college at Newbold, and getting in a relationship with a girlfriend, and telling them about some of the dynamics of that. They had some really good insights. I was like, "Wow, these people know a lot about this. I should actually listen to them more."

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: I'm being slightly sarcastic.

Japhet De Oliveira: No, no, I know.

Justin Freed: No, I think when I need encouragement, definitely my parents have always been there. And my wife as well. Those are my core.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. That's really good. Not everybody has that.

Justin Freed: Yeah, that's true.

Japhet De Oliveira: What would you say is the secret ... This is bonus question. What would you say is the secret that you have such a great relationship with your parents and value them?

Justin Freed: I think it's understanding. I'm a big fan of history, but also I like stories. Knowing the challenges my parents went through when they were younger, or my age or experiences, and that perspective they have on life, I think you have to appreciate that. They come with a lot of wisdom. I think they tell stories of their parents and what guided them. I think that lineage, that history, and again, they want you to succeed more than anybody.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: Combining their knowledge, their background and their love for you, and desire for you to succeed, it's-

Japhet De Oliveira: It's kind of magical.

Justin Freed: It's awesome. Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Beautiful. All right, that was 38.

Justin Freed: I could see how things are progressing.

Japhet De Oliveira: Can you?

Justin Freed: It's fun.

Japhet De Oliveira: Can you?

Justin Freed: It's fun.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, that's good.

Justin Freed: I'm still wanting to go up higher, so let's do 42.

Japhet De Oliveira: 42? All right. Oh, think about your phone. Tell us a story behind the background photo on your phone. Okay.

Justin Freed: This is good.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right.

Justin Freed: I have a photo ... I haven't changed it for eight-and-a-half years.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, nice.

Justin Freed: It's got a bunch of apps, but this is my eight-and-a-half year old now.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right.

Justin Freed: As probably a five or six month old.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. I like the little outfit with the tie, the red tie, the check shirt.

Justin Freed: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Looking rather dapper.

Justin Freed: He was. It's my wife, again, it's influence. This was a Saturday morning, we were living in Redondo Beach at the time. I was working for Providence. We were going to the Redondo Beach Church, and just getting ready. It was the cutest picture of him. I've never wanted to change my picture on my phone and it's always been there.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good, that's good. Love that.

Justin Freed: That's a fun question.

Japhet De Oliveira: It is. That was 42, so where now?

Justin Freed: Yeah. Let's keep it up.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Justin Freed: 48.

Japhet De Oliveira: 48? All right. Oh. Tell us about your best personality trait.

Justin Freed: That I think or that other people think?

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, oh. We should try both. Let's do both, that's a bonus. Yeah, tell us what people think is your best personality trait, because I have some opinions about that. Then, tell us about ...

Justin Freed: I think it's two of the same, honestly. I believe and I have a sincerity that has always served me well in my career, but also with relationships.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: We all have egos, it's a matter of how we manage those egos.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: To me, I try to ... It's something I talk to my son about, as he's getting older, is pay attention to perceptions because they do matter, how others perceive you. I think that's something my parents instilled in me because you can be selfish, and have your ego grow. You got to keep it in check. Respecting how others perceive you, not to a point where you're always worried, but having that understanding.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: To me, that and being, what did I say, transparent, candid, it's something I ... I don't want to say I pride myself, that's almost an oxymoron.

Japhet De Oliveira: No. But you value it.

Justin Freed: It's sincerity.

Japhet De Oliveira: You value it. I would have said genuine kindness. I've heard that from other people about you, and I've felt it as well in our conversations. I think that that's a great personality trait.

Justin Freed: Yeah. It's not something I take for granted.

Japhet De Oliveira: No.

Justin Freed: It's something that you got to work at.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: I'm not always that way.

Japhet De Oliveira: No, it's good though. It's good.

Justin Freed: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, that was 48. Where next?

Justin Freed: Let's keep it up, let's go to 52.

Japhet De Oliveira: 52. Oh, share what motivates you.

Justin Freed: My family.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah.

Justin Freed: My kids, my wife. I think my parents have built a solid work ethic in me. You want to be successful, you want to be productive and earn it every day. It's not just being successful, it's being a good dad, and having depth into how you engage with your children and your wife. Again, I'm not saying I'm perfect at it, there's a lot I still need to work at. My family motivates me, it really does.

Being a person of faith, people look at you. You're a Christian, you need to act like a Christian and behave like that. You don't know how you influence others. God works in mysterious ways.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, it does.

Justin Freed: You can represent that and let people know that who you represent is important. That does motivate me.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. Fantastic. All right, where next? That was 52.

Justin Freed: Yeah. Let's bring it down to, have we done 23?

Japhet De Oliveira: No, I don't think so. Let me go there real quick. Oh, tell us about the most outdated piece of technology that you still use on a regular basis and can't let go of, and why?

Justin Freed: Oh, boy. Technology. I have a lot of old clothing. It's not technology, but I've got a leisure suit from my grandpa that I wear.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really? You mean like shell suit?

Justin Freed: Leisure. It's an old suit that's flared out.

Japhet De Oliveira: Made out of what?

Justin Freed: Powder blue.

Japhet De Oliveira: Powder blue? Nice.

Justin Freed: Yeah. It's fun during-

Japhet De Oliveira: An odd day?

Justin Freed: Yeah, odd day or a Halloween thing, if you're doing an activity. But, that's clothing.

Technology? That's a tough one.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: I'm sorry.

Japhet De Oliveira: You're up-to-date, all the time?

Justin Freed: I try to be.

Japhet De Oliveira: You try to be? Yeah.

Justin Freed: But I'm also not overly tech-savvy.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Sevvy and savvy.

Justin Freed: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: It would work well in Australia.

Justin Freed: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's good. All right, what next?

Justin Freed: 37.

Japhet De Oliveira: 37? Oh, this was made for you. What do you like most about your family? Oh, yeah.

Justin Freed: Both my parents had prior marriages. This is funny. My dad had a son and two daughters. My mom had a son. Then, they-

Japhet De Oliveira: They got together, yeah.

Justin Freed: They got divorced, they got together and had me. I have two brothers named John.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, do you?

Justin Freed: But, they're all between 10 and 15 years older than me. There was always a bit of a gap, growing up. When I was in elementary school, they were in college. When I'm in high school, they're either in grad school or getting married.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: I've got nieces and nephews that are in their mid-20s and have kids. I was always that younger uncle. It's neat. I look at them as full-fledged siblings, not halves. My parents were always very good about that. Especially, as you've gotten older and the age gap doesn't close, but the commonalities-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, absolutely.

Justin Freed: The experiences in life get a lot closer. That's what's been fun. There was probably more gaps when I was younger, but now we're still very integrated. I'm very thankful. I'm fortunate to have the family I have.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's wonderful. Love that. All right, where next?

Justin Freed: Let's go back up, let's do 60.

Japhet De Oliveira: 60? Oh. When in your life have you felt most alone?

Justin Freed: Well, a couple times. I spent a summer in Southeast Asia in college. I flew out there by myself and worked at a hospital, volunteer. This is 2001.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Justin Freed: The summer and I flew, and spent most of my time in Thailand, went to Malaysia.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: I traveled around Cambodia and Hong Kong. It was quite an experience. But two months by yourself-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Justin Freed: In a very foreign place when you're 21 years old, there was some lonely times. That's where I started talking to myself a lot, to keep me comfort. No. Just being alone.

I think there was moments at any time in your career, even working for Adventist, where you're making some bold decisions that are difficult and challenging, that sometimes you do feel alone. They're fleeting, luckily.

But no, I think that time twenty-some years ago is probably when I felt alone, because I was. That was before mobile phones were as big as they were.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, no.

Justin Freed: There was no FaceTiming. You'd call and talk.

Japhet De Oliveira: Not the same.

Justin Freed: It got lonely.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, it can be. It can be. That's actually hard.

Justin Freed: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. What was the strongest way to actually handle that? There are people who are lonely today, not even having to travel far, but they're living in that state.

Justin Freed: Yeah. Oh, no. That's the worst part.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah.

Justin Freed: When you're around your every day life.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: At least I had an excuse of being 5000 miles away.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. What would you say to them?

Justin Freed: I think you have to find purpose. Luckily, I have a relationship with Jesus and God, that you always rely on.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: That's not to say it doesn't fluctuate and you don't feel alone, even with that. You've got to find purpose. I've seen individuals, and I think I've found myself at times, when you feel sorry for yourself, you're focused internally. If you focus on others, and helping others, and trying to give, it can get you out of that, I feel.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. It's good, good counsel. All right, where next? That was 60.

Justin Freed: Okay. Let's do 70.

Japhet De Oliveira: 70? Tell us about one thing that you are determined to accomplish.

Justin Freed: This is a good question. Determined to accomplish? Because I'm at work, I default to that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah. Sure.

Justin Freed: I think coming to this organization just over four years ago, honestly I was na├»ve. I didn't know, I would say, the state of supply chain the way it was. Then, you add a pandemic onto that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Exactly. Pressure point.

Justin Freed: But what I'm most proud of ... What was the question?

Japhet De Oliveira: What are you determined to accomplish? Yeah. One thing, one thing.

Justin Freed: Determined is creating a group of leaders within my organization, supply chain and accounts payable, that have the same values, determination, wherewithal, and just purpose to continue to strive for greater things within what we can control. To me, my most important thing I can do as a leader is empower good leaders and put leaders in the right position. If there are poor leadership, manage them up or out.

Japhet De Oliveira: Sure.

Justin Freed: Versus trying to reshuffle the cards and expecting different results. We've had a significant amount of turnover since I joined. I think we've had 50% turnover for supply chain leaders at the hospital level.

Japhet De Oliveira: Many people have experienced that, yeah.

Justin Freed: And 80% turnover of my direct reports. Now, some of that was organic. Some of it was we had to make reductions. But at the same time, when you harness those together, we've got a kick you-know-what leadership team now and we're able to do a lot of exciting things in a very short amount of time. It's just continuing that flywheel. I'm determined to keep that flywheel moving for continual excellence. You've got to have the right people in place to make that move. You can't do it on your own. You've got to have that same synergy and compliment your talents. I don't want to hire a bunch of Justins, I want to hire people that are different from me, that we compliment each other and we're getting to that point.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's great. Good for you and good for the team. That was 70.

Justin Freed: How much time do we have?

Japhet De Oliveira: I'll let you know when you get close.

Justin Freed: Okay. That's right, that right. Two more.

Japhet De Oliveira: We have some time.

Justin Freed: Let's do 75.

Japhet De Oliveira: 75? Right. Do you remember the very first thing you bought ... This is actually great for you. The first thing you bought from a supplier? No. The first thing you bought with your own money? If so, what was it and why did you buy it?

Justin Freed: I don't know if it's the first thing, but it's got to be one of the first things. I remember when I was probably seven, or eight, or nine, I got into baseball cards.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, yeah? Yeah.

Justin Freed: You're buying a pack of cards for two or three bucks, or whatever.

Japhet De Oliveira: Big deal.

Justin Freed: In the '80s. I remember, there was a span in time, we went to card shows. Baseball was my passion, when I was young. Kirby Puckett for the Minnesota Twins was my favorite player, because he was short and fat. I was a little chubby, too. I was inspired by him. Yeah, I was probably buying baseball cards, back in the day.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's awesome. That's awesome. I love ... That's why I like baseball, okay. All right, where next?

Justin Freed: Let's do 80.

Japhet De Oliveira: 80, oh. How would you like to change in the future?

Justin Freed: Oh, boy. I'm glad I didn't start out with these. How would I like to change in the future?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: I'll be honest, I think we all ... I'm not trying to generalize, but technology is amazing, but also can take you away from special moments. To me, how I want to change is be more present in the moment with my children, with my wife.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: It's not like, "Oh, dad's on his phone."

Japhet De Oliveira: Sure.

Justin Freed: "He's not paying attention." I want to be right there. I've got to do a better job at that. It's something I'm aware of, I'm trying to do better. It's just being present with the technology that's made it so easy to get distracted.

Japhet De Oliveira: Sure.

Justin Freed: Or get focused on things that take you away from your family.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Yeah. No, that's fair enough. Right. We have time for two more.

Justin Freed: Okay, let's do 90.

Japhet De Oliveira: 90? All right. All right, 90 it is. Tell us about how you overcame something that seemed insurmountable and yet, you overcame it.

Justin Freed: Insurmountable?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: It's hard. I don't know if I've felt ever anything's insurmountable.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's interesting.

Justin Freed: I don't mean that in a very, "Oh, there's nothing I can't overcome."

Japhet De Oliveira: You can take on anything. Yeah, no. You don't look at anything like that.

Justin Freed: I like to think I'm pretty resilient. I think there are moments of the pandemic, when you've got the CMO and CFO saying, "We need masks."

Japhet De Oliveira: N95 masks.

Justin Freed: And gowns. I don't know where to find them, because your main suppliers were gone. I would say there was moments that almost felt insurmountable. But you've got take take breaths, you've got to chip away. Then, you get some wins.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Justin Freed: You keep that going. I would say that the pandemic was probably the closest to where I felt there are certain things that were insurmountable.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Justin Freed: But even then, there was always hope. I had a good team, and I still have a great team around me.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic.

Justin Freed: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Brilliant, man. All right, last one. What's your number?

Justin Freed: Let's do 98.

Japhet De Oliveira: 98.

Justin Freed: The year I graduated high school.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. Oh, okay. What is one great thing that you're capable of achieving?

Justin Freed: One great thing I'm capable ... I like to believe I'm a good judge of character. I can read people well and like to think I can so them for-

Japhet De Oliveira: Who they are.

Justin Freed: Their intention. I use that in, to me, how I build my team. I try to build people that have the sincerity that we talked about earlier. That want to do the right thing and strive for greatness. I think I'm pretty good at identifying talent, but also identifying not talent.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah. Sure.

Justin Freed: The ones you need to be cautious of, for various reasons.

Japhet De Oliveira: Sure.

Justin Freed: Maybe they're not bad people, but they don't have the it factor that I'm looking for.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. That's fantastic. Justin, it has been a pleasure to be able to talk to you. Thank you for taking the time to share.

Justin Freed: Oh, this has been a pleasure and a lot of fun.

Japhet De Oliveira: No, it's great. I want to encourage everybody whose listening to do the same thing. Sit with a friend, ask them good questions, listen. I really do believe that not only are they changed, but we're changed as well in the conversation. Maybe have a cup of tea as you're doing it, which would be even better, more relaxed and fantastic. But, absolutely fantastic. Thank you so much for your time.

Justin Freed: No, it's my pleasure.

Japhet De Oliveira: For everybody else, we will connect on another episode. God bless.

Narrator: Thank you for joining us for The Story and Experience Podcast. We invite you to read, watch and submit your story and experience at adventisthealth.org/story. The Story and Experience Podcast was brought to you by Adventist Health for the Office of Culture.