Here at CII, we really want to know our members. Sure, we could get along fine with just the basic networking events, community interactions, etc… But, we strive to be better than “fine”; we want to be a great community! To get to know each other better, we’re introducing CI Profiles. These member highlights will help us all get better acquainted, and allow us a peek into the lives of our CII members.

Joining us today is Donna Spencer, Director of Quality and Continuous Improvement at Lee Supply Company, LLC.

Donna, tell me about yourself! Where are you from? How did you end up there?

I’m from Louisville, KY and transplanted to Tulsa, OK via my dad’s career with the railroad.  However, I’ve lived in AR, TX and IN and now back to OK because of career changes by me or my husband, David.

All the CI skills I have today I learned as a young child such as listening, questioning, problem solving, negotiating, communicating change and defining processes. I am the oldest of five children; all born within 8 years.  We are very close and their happiness has always been my main focus. I do occasionally get a raised eyebrow from my siblings when they think I’m using one of those “CI things” on them. 

Hopefully the spread of COVID will be contained and I can get back to hugging my family and friends. I really miss the hugs.

When you have free time, how do you like to spend it? 

Running (anywhere and early in the morning), distance walking (Camino), and hiking (national parks) are my favorite things, and I love to share that time with my family and friends.

What is something that no one expects about you?

There is always a conversation going on in my head.

Tell me a little about your company and the role you have there. What do you like best? What are some things you would like to be different? 

I am the Director of Quality and Continuous Improvement for Lee Supply, a privately held third generation company, distributor offering a full range of carbon, stainless and alloy pipe, flanges and weld fittings. I started as a consultant to define business processes and create standard work. The goal was to be ISO 9001:2015 compliant which we achieved and once ownership saw the potential for improvement and costs savings, they asked me to join the company to help achieve the business goals and build for the future.

What I like best is the trust amongst the teams and ownership and ease of doing our work. Trust – you can’t buy it and it doesn’t happen overnight. Trust is hard to find in today’s economic climate but it is abundant at Lee Supply. It’s easy to determine solutions, make changes and we are always looking for ways to improve. 

What I would like to be different is probably what everyone is hoping. Stop the spread of COVID and get our world back to work.

What is one personal and one professional win you’ve had in the past year?

We started an incentive performance program focused on reducing errors, improving our on-time delivery and increasing our customer satisfaction. The program had a monthly payout and goals were set (very high) based on the individual and their team’s results. We celebrated each month by passing out incentive checks and recognizing each person that qualified. It was a smashing success. That’s not the win!  The incentive program was only for a year and there were concerns that the results would decline when the payouts stopped; but the great monthly performance continues. I feel that pride of work and personal achievement to get it “right the first time” is now engrained in our culture and we keep pushing to be best in class.

What are you most looking forward to in the next year? 

Hopefully the spread of COVID will be contained and I can get back to hugging my family and friends. I really miss the hugs.

What is something interesting that you have been involved with, personally or professionally? Why is it important to you, or what sparked your interest in it? 

For several years I have been searching for ways to engage with other professionals beyond just attending conferences, seminars and training classes. The typical societies and leadership networking groups just weren’t meeting my needs. I feel CII can provide that connection to other professionals, offer fresh ideas and be a best in class resource. Lucky for me the founder is just a coffee shop away.

Thank you so much, Donna, for allowing us the opportunity to learn more about you and grow a little closer. Watch the short video Q&A to hear some more interesting things about Donna and enjoy some of the fun questions we asked her!

Author: Allison Greco

Author: Allison Greco

Founder, CII

I created my foundation with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and MBA from the University of Oklahoma. Over the past decade, I have held Continuous and Process Improvement roles for Black Hills Energy, Williams, the US Air Force and BNSF Railway. I’ve started new CI programs and reinvigorated stale ones. Along the way I earned a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and became a licensed Professional Engineer.