BYU, A Dream Come True

PROVO, Utah – Apr 02, 2019 – Simon Greathead, a native of Lancaster, England, who comes from a working-class background, is the first to say he was unlikely to become a professor. However, thanks to his parents’ hard work and his motivation, Greathead feels he is now living his dream as a global supply chain professor at the BYU Marriott School of Business. 

Greathead comes from a family who never had the opportunity to take advantage of a college education. He is the first among his ancestors to have attended a university. As converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Greathead’s parents felt the “keen sense of importance placed on education” by the church and decided to impress that value upon their sons. Greathead is thankful that his mother took the time to encourage his pursuit of education, because it wasn’t a natural path for him. “I'm not naturally an educator, but I grew to love the process of learning and bouncing ideas off the bright minds around me,” he says. 

From a young age, Greathead received a top-notch education through both school and life experiences, beginning at the Lancaster Royal Grammar School for Boys, which was established almost eight hundred years ago in 1246. “I was surrounded by brilliant boys whose parents had accomplished a lot in life,” he says. “Their parents were lawyers, doctors, professors, barristers, and solicitors. Seeing that drove me to pursue these academic challenges.” Greathead continued to push himself and went on to study at the University of Central Lancashire, before transferring to BYU Marriott after completing his church mission.

Greathead graduated from BYU Marriott in 2003, having studied a variety of business topics, and received three enticing job offers. Greathead and his wife, Brooke, prayed about their decision and ultimately decided to move to Idaho to work for Melaleuca, a company that sells a variety of environmentally friendly products. While there were other offers on the table with higher salaries, working for Melaleuca felt like the right decision.

Shortly after arriving at their new home, the Greatheads decided to start a family but struggled with infertility. “My wife had a condition that would make it difficult for her to get pregnant unless doctors used in vitro fertilization (IVF),” he says. “We looked into the IVF procedure, but the cost was around $32,000, which was my annual salary at the time.” Having a family on their own seemed to be an impossibility for the Greatheads. In spite of the challenges he and his wife faced, Greathead decided to make the most of his time at Melaleuca and threw himself into his work, unaware that the company would ultimately open the door to growing his family. 

Greathead enjoyed working with marketing and finance internally at Melaleuca but also loved working with suppliers from all over the world. “It was fun to figure out what the company should buy and then go to suppliers and negotiate,” he says. “I loved the job.” Within ten months of joining the company, Melaleuca gave Greathead and his wife the opportunity to relocate back to England in Manchester, and they took it. 

Upon settling down in Manchester, the Greatheads discovered they lived just a few miles from St. Mary’s Hospital, where the first IVF baby in the world was born. As a result of socialized healthcare, the Greatheads qualified for the IVF procedure and were able to have three children without “paying a penny,” and later had a fourth child naturally. Greathead attributes their ability to have children to accepting that first job at Melaleuca. "Though taking the job with Melaleuca wasn’t my first choice, it ended up being the right choice,” he says. “I could see the Lord’s hand directing our path.” 

Melaleuca not only helped Greathead grow his family, but also launched his career in global supply chain. Greathead was promoted to manager and rubbed shoulders with leaders in the organization, which gave him expansive insight into what customers and employees experience in the direct sales industry. “Managers have the power to impact the lives of their workers significantly,” he says. “When my employees go home, I ask myself, ‘What have I done to help them be a better mother, father, brother, sister, parent, child, or whatever they may be?’” As Greathead applied his philosophy to his career in global supply chain, he realized the people he wanted to help the most were students. 

“My wife and I hopped on a plane back to Utah and trusted the rest would work out,” he says. Soon after arriving, he decided to begin teaching as an adjunct faculty professor at BYU Marriott on a trial basis and quickly fell in love with the role. “Teaching sort of gets into your blood,” he says. “I loved when students would come back after finishing my class and say, ‘I’ve applied a principle you taught, and it worked well for me,’ At that point, I knew I was hooked. I felt this yearning to be here.” 

Teaching global supply chain at BYU Marriott has been a seamless transition for Greathead. He spent his career solving problems and maximizing efficiency for his clients. These skills translated well to teaching. “I realized my love of teaching went all the way back to my mission for the church, where I saw people learn and apply new principles and become happier,” he says. 

Greathead received continuing faculty status in 2018 and says teaching at BYU Marriott has been a dream come true. “For a boy from a working-class background who probably shouldn’t have become a professor, I pinch myself every day that I can be here at BYU Marriott among such wonderful faculty and students,” he says. “If people were to say to me, ‘Simon, what’s your dream job?’ I could honestly say I am living it today.”  

Simon and Brooke Greathead with their four children.
Simon and Brooke Greathead with their four children.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Katie Harris