Born: Statesville, N.C.
Education: Bachelor of arts, psychology, Wake Forest University; MBA, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
What is the best business lesson you’ve learned?
One is genuinely care for your people, but equally as important is learning, not so much from the good things that have been qualities of people I have worked for, but learning from some of their less-than-desirable qualities and ensuring that you don’t incorporate those into your work style.
What skills or traits are essential for a business leader?
The ability to juggle a lot of balls. The ability to communicate from the most senior ranks to the lower levels of the organization. The ability to realize that you don’t put your pants on any differently than anyone else in your organization. You have to have a certain business acumen and financial understanding. You have to have a really awesome customer service expectation or incorporation, so you’re doing everything possible to take care of your people and customers.
What are several universal truths you’ve learned about leading a business?
Lead by example. Do as I do, not as I say. You have to be prepared. You can’t be flippant and a hip-shooter, you have to be organized and prepared and respectful. And you have to be willing to hear and share bad news. When sharing bad news, it’s about having integrity and being approachable, about not shooting the messenger and learning how to respond to getting bad news.
What is your definition of success?
For me, it’s having a well-balanced life where I’m working hard and having an enjoyable career, spending quality time with family and friends, and having adequate time to enjoy a few hobbies and having some sort of spiritual commitment. Success to me is less driven by did you hit the numbers for the last quarter and more driven by creating an environment where people are meeting their objectives and goals and having fun doing it.