Stephen Graves

Chief Operations Officer

Stephen deftly oversees the operation of Advantage|ForbesBooks, as well as our myriad business units. He has adopted a professional mantra that captures the essence of his role: “Right people, right place, right job, right tools.” Upon joining the Advantage family, he took the initiative to meet with every Team Member individually, to obtain a nuanced understanding of their role and place within the company. He is continually seeking out new ways to improve the cross-functional interaction of each department, shatter silos, and create an increasingly agile and lean operation.

In collaboration with the finance department, Stephen carefully monitors the flow of revenue and expenses. Collecting all data available to him, he determines the operational viability of business acquisitions, office building expansions, new business systems, and all things related to the logistical prosperity of Advantage|ForbesBooks. As a leader, he places a premium on approachability, taking a warm and even-handed approach to team management. All the while, he remains incredibly regimented. The final hour of each work day is spent drafting a detailed outline for the following day.

In the early leg of his career, Stephen soared through the ranks of Harris Teeter, from associate to assistant manager, to manager, to store manager and trainer at large, managing every logistical step of store function. Eager to test his skills in multi-unit management, Stephen departed Harris Teeter for Krispy Kreme, initially serving as Market Manager of 12 South Carolina locations. Once again, he climbed the ranks, ascending to VP of Operations where he oversaw all US locations. His 15 years with Krispy Kreme afforded him tremendous insight into “people, place, process, and strategic planning.” When prompted with the question “What is your favorite aspect of what you do?” Stephen’s response is immediate: “People.” He cites Zig Zigler as his favorite author.

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