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Professional growth may sound like accumulating notches on a belt – bigger title, more money, more responsibility, maybe even your own business. But professional growth is so much more than a resume check list of accomplishments. Successfully moving from a contributor role to a leadership role requires new ways of thinking and new ways of doing things. Brian Alvo, Founder of NextGen Center is preparing aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs for the next step on their career ladder by showing them how to successfully navigate their professional growth.
What You’ll Discover About Professional Growth (highlights & transcript):
- What the key difference is between a manager and a leader.
- The biggest leadership challenge for entrepreneurs
- Why there is no silver bullet solution to business leadership.
- The professional growth necessary for managers to transition into leadership.
- The professional growth challenges of a family business.
- How to accelerate professional growth and business success.
- And MUCH more.
Hanna Hasl-Kelchner: [00:00:00] Professional growth might sound like accumulating notches on a belt, a bigger title, more money, more responsibility, maybe even your own business. But professional growth is so much more than a resume. A checklist of accomplishments successfully moving from a contributor role to a leadership role requires new ways of thinking and new ways of doing things. And when we come back, my next guest will give us the inside scoop on how smart leaders successfully navigate their professional growth.
Announcer: [00:00:35] This is Business Confidential Now with Hanna Hasl-Kelchner giving you the inside scoop on how to ignite more business success by doing the right things in the right way.
Hanna: [00:00:52] Welcome to Business Confidential Now. I’m your host, Hanna Hasl-Kelchner, and today’s guest is Brian Alvo, the founder of NexGen Center, an organization that fosters growth, development and transformational experiences for the next generation of leaders so that they are better prepared to navigate their leadership challenges and guide those they work with. Now, Brian has a really interesting background. His career path began as a civilian analyst for the United States Marine Corps and then he spanned multiple industries. As a director of corporate development at LabCorp., for example, Brian led a strategic team to realign and grow divisional business into national programs. Then, as vice president of business development and strategic accounts at one of the fastest growing technology companies in Durham, North Carolina, he helped grow the company from 14 to more than 50+ team members in less than two years. Although he managed to earn a Duke MBA along the way as he navigated these impressive career moves, Brian found that the transitions from contributor to manager to leader were often harder than they needed to be. He recognized a critical need for organizations to better support and invest in their emerging leaders. And that realization planted the seed for the mission and vision for his NextGen Center.
Hanna: [00:02:17] I can’t wait to learn more about this immensely important phase of professional growth. It’s a privilege to have him here. Welcome to Business Confidential Now, Brian.
Brian Alvo: [00:02:28] Thanks for having me, Hanna.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP
Hanna: [00:02:29] Oh, it’s great to have you. You know, I really want to talk about this process of transforming from manager to leader. And better yet, let’s talk about the differences between managers and leaders. That’s if there is one. I know people use it interchangeably, but how would you describe the difference if there’s one?
Brian: [00:02:47] I know it’s a great question and it really depends on who you talk to. But technically, there are differences. If I were to take this to a literal sense then management, frankly, Hanna, is really about coping with complex things, operational excellence, effectiveness, efficiency. Some people think about control. Large organizations need to do this, right? As they have a lot of employees, a lot of teams, a lot of people, they grow much bigger. They need things to ensure and management to ensure that things are moving along the right track.
Brian: [00:03:22] So even a term like project management, just think about that from its literal term. It’s really about making sure projects get done effectively in alignment with guidelines on time to make sure everybody is rowing in the same direction in that sense.
Brian: [00:03:37] Now, leadership, on the other hand, distinctively is really about coping with change. I really think leadership is about change. We’re talking about things like setting direction, aligning teams, people to ensure they’re moving in that direction. Then, of course, the idea of motivating and inspiring people at their core, tuning into their emotions and things to get them driving and motivated to succeed. So when we think about it that way, leadership is about adapting to change and a fast-moving world. And so we have to cope with futures, uncertainty — and leadership is incredibly helpful and effective for those reasons.
Hanna: [00:04:15] Well, that is really a tall order for leadership, and when somebody is transitioning, say they’re really great a contributor. They’re a terrific accountant. Let’s say they really know the tax code. They know the ins and outs. They just they have it down cold. But let’s say now they’re managing their own accounting firm or they’re leading a department in a large corporate accounting section. What . . . where do I even start? What three things do you wish they knew up front?
KNOW UP FRONT
Brian: [00:04:46] Yeah. Again, it’s a good question. What I’ll do with all of our questions is take the leadership lens on this, because that’s the area that I spent a lot of time in. And what I would say, especially for people who are, I guess, moving from an individual or functional type role into something that’s a little bit bigger and requires a lot of vision type thinking and future thinking is this.
Brian: [00:05:09] The first thing is that they have to remember it’s not about them. When taking on a leadership role it’s really not about you. It’s about helping other people be effective and succeed in their roles so that the team and the company will ultimately win. I think that’s what people have to realize when they get into these types of situations.
Brian: [00:05:30] And what I say is that if we’re talking about an accounting firm, whatever it might be, or an entrepreneur in general, they’re moving into a role and they are the business. They are everything. And so it’s very new for a lot of people. I think one of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs face, or even accounts face if they start their own firm, is that as their teams grow, they really have a challenge of letting go sometimes. So they have to realize it’s not about them. It’s about making sure their team and everybody’s winning together. And even though it might be their baby, this idea of letting go is supercritical. That’s certainly one thing that a lot of first-time leaders, I would say, struggle with.
Brian: [00:06:10] Another thing that I would really highlight for people who are into leadership roles, are doing things for the first time, starting their own company, whatever it might be, is that there really are no silver bullet solutions for leadership, meaning that there’s no silver bullet solution that’s going to help you do that job more effectively except intent, change, and hard work in practice. So people and context, as an example are always, always different for leaders, meaning that even though someone that encountered a challenge early on in their career or encountered a challenge even tomorrow, the idea that this is going to be the same in every encounter is just misunderstood.
Brian: [00:06:51] Leaders are really having to adapt to change and adapt to new situations and people that are involved in those situations all the time. And again, that requires a level of awareness, level intent, a level of practice that people have to really stay committed to. So one of the things I like to say and of course, feel free to jump in here and challenge me a little bit, is that people will come to me and they’ll say things like, hey, Brian, I am struggling with something like giving feedback or I’m struggling with something like decision making or I’m struggling with holding people accountable. And I think one of the other things to highlight here is that often times these are personal challenges that are manifesting in a business environment. And I think until people are aware that’s what’s going to happen to them as they lead other people and build teams, it’s hard to understand that those are really powerful statements.
LET GO TO GROW
Hanna: [00:07:48] And I’d like to circle back to one of the first things that you mentioned about letting go, because if somebody is responsible for a team, a division, a whole business, they’re responsible for some bottom line. And if they don’t deliver, then it’s on them. Now understood, there’s a team. I get that. But they feel personally the pressure that it’s on them. And so when they see things starting to go off the rails a little bit, you can understand why they want to jump in and maybe micromanage a little bit. Not that I’m saying that’s a good thing. But you can understand that kind of tension, that push and pull like, oh, my gosh, I know how to fix this. I can do it better and faster. And the end of the quarter is coming. We got accountability. We got numbers. We can make this go. And of course, they put more on themselves. But how would you advise them to let go?
Brian: [00:08:49] Yeah, it’s always a good question when you feel like you may have this temptation to meet numbers or short-term results and quote unquote, rescue things from situations. And I think. . .
Hanna: [00:08:59] Yeah.
Brian: [00:08:59] I think it really goes back to what the long-term goals and direction of the company and team is. So it’s called micromanagement for a reason. Right. If we’re talking about leadership and we’re really trying to get people to ultimately and sustainably get towards results, what we need to do is understand, first of all, what’s coming up for us in those situations and what our tendencies might be. And I’m not saying just to ignore things. I don’t think that’s what I mean by letting go. But if at the very least we are going to jump in, we need to at least understand why we’re doing it, what’s happening at that time, and then work towards either not doing it again or developing a new way forward so that we feel like everybody is able to operate competently and to meet their goals and objectives. So in some way, the advice on how I would evaluate this with someone is really to examine what options and strategies are available to ensure that we can perform as well as possible, but also grow into what we want to become.
Hanna: [00:10:04] All right. So part of this performance is going to be having to give some people some maybe not so nice feedback because they’re not performing up to the level that the leader is envisioning and they’re not being able to move all in the same direction at the same time to move the organization forward. So let’s talk about this feedback component. How do you counsel people to develop a stronger spine?
Brian: [00:10:33] Well, that takes a lot of growth and commitment, frankly. And so in terms of a stronger spine, I think a lot of it boils down to beginning with the mindset and the approach that you take, meaning that if you enter into a leadership role or you’re responsible for starting a company or building a team, there has to be an element and a mindset of growth associated with that. And what that means is that it doesn’t make things easy, Hanna, things are still going to be very challenging. But the idea that you’re going in with the mindset of I know this is going to be challenging, I know I have a lot to learn and feedback is a part of that process for learning and growth. That’s how it has to start as a leader. You can’t just tell people to create a thick skin, right, or grow a spine.
PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY AND TRUST
Brian: [00:11:26] It also requires an environment and atmosphere where there is some safety for people. So trust, there’s a lot of loaded terms when it comes to leadership. Trust is certainly one of them, its psychological safety. And so the idea that one of your roles as the leader is to create an environment of trust and psychological safety so that feedback is readily exchanged.
Brian: [00:11:48] And even though it might be harsh, sometimes the idea is always in the spirit and commitment of growth. So if we’re doing that, setting the table, then actually feedback conversations over time are kind of like a muscle that gets built, it gets flexed and over time it gets more sustainable and enduring, just like anything else that we practice.
Hanna: [00:12:05] Ok, so we’ve got to pump some iron and just keep at it. And it may not be perfect and it may hurt a little bit, but over time we will get stronger and it gets better. Does that sound right?
Brian: [00:12:15] Like everything else in life and it’s always a struggle to get to where you want to go. Nothing comes easy. So absolutely right. Growth is not easy necessarily. In fact, it’s usually pretty hard.
Hanna: [00:12:26] Well, it seems to me that some of the business leaders I’ve encountered don’t necessarily embrace that mindset of that they have some growth to do or that, with their teams, the growth is joint. That it’s a joint problem solving. That it’s learning from each other. Some seem to take this approach that because of their positional power, they’ve got all the answers. So where do we go from there?
WHEN GROWTH MINDSET IS MISSING
Brian: [00:12:52] Well, it depends what the goal is, right. So, again, it goes back to intent. If you are working for someone who tends to display those tendencies, as you mentioned, there’s a couple of things that can be done. One is you can engage with that person in a skillful way and try to help them help other people as well as yourself. You can also assess if that’s the right place for you. Frankly, what I would say about if you are a leader or an entrepreneur, someone who oversee the company, your team, and that’s the way that you’re behaving, it’s pretty hard. This is why we have professional development. This is why we have 360 reviews.
Brian: [00:13:31] This is why we have performance reviews as well. It’s all the idea of growth and development, getting feedback. And if there’s a culture where that kind of behavior is tolerated, even though it’s not effective, then there’s really not a strategy to set people up for success and reach their potential in the long term.
Hanna: [00:13:51] That’s a very fair assessment. Now, let me give you another situation. Let’s say you’re at a company or let’s say you join a new company in a leadership role. Basically, you’ve got pretty much a clean slate to work with in terms of establishing relationships with employees. They don’t know you. You don’t know them. Everybody’s kind of doing a little bit of a circle dance. What’s this person like? Can I talk to them? But what about the employee who is promoted within a company and is now supervising their friends? What advice do you have for them?
Brian: [00:14:23] It’s a good question and it’s one that comes up often. I’ll try to answer it in a couple of ways so it can maybe hit home for someone who might be listening. If you are moving from a position of the same status to one of their higher status, if you will, within a company and you end up managing a friend. I think what’s really important, especially with your friends, is to understand upfront what it is you expect them and what they can expect with you. So it really comes down to setting expectations, and I think that goes across the board for any other people that you are starting to lead, even if you move from the same type of level to a higher hierarchical level. One of the things that you also have to establish with friends is what’s your M.O. together? Right? Are you friends first? What’s your mantra? And you can actually have conversations of how you want to interact with that person and really set boundaries for what applies to your friendship versus what applies to your work. And so if you’re picking up on my theme here, it’s really about communication and about expectations to ensure you’re aligned.
Brian: [00:15:29] Now, what I’ll say is that I’ve been through this personally with the last company I worked at, actually came to work with a friend of mine from business school. And we always said, friends first. Now, I’m not saying we were batting a thousand all the time, but the bottom line is that we knew where we stood as friends and it made things a lot easier to interact and work together.
LEADING IN A FAMILY BUSINESS
Brian: [00:15:49] I also work and coach a number of companies who have family members, and that’s a whole different dynamic. Right? So you have a whole different dynamic there and family dynamics from childhood are entering into the workplace. And so one of the things I advise people on in those situations is to become aware of again, it comes down to awareness, is which might you be wearing at a given time throughout the day? Are you wearing the CEO hat right now or are you wearing the child hat because you’re in a father-son or a mother-daughter type relationship in the workplace? If you have brothers, which hat are you wearing, are you my brother right now? Are you my CFO? And so using language and labels again and setting expectations, creating a structure where you can actually operate, that’s how you can navigate this pretty skillfully.
Brian: [00:16:46] One other thing I will add in terms of the skillful piece, Hanna, is that any time you’re entering a new role, where you’re leading people for the first time, or you getting promoted upwards and you’re having to manage or lead a team of people that you were once before on the same playing field as, the skills around listening, questioning and actually building rapport that’s where all that comes into play – even though you might know these people. And in a lot of ways you have to be even more intentional about how you deploy these skills so you can be not only authentic, but effective as you make that transition.
Hanna: [00:17:24] I love what you’re saying about communication, and if I’m hearing you correctly, it sounds like taking the time to invest in a conversation to say how are we going to do this? And being really crystal clear about what the goal is that we’re trying to accomplish can go a long way to smoothing out the bumps in the road here in transitions of leadership, but also in maintaining the leadership role, the mantle.
Brian: [00:17:54] Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s like any other relationship that you have to tend to. Right? If you think about your partner or a family member, you know, having consent around how we show up for these people is really, really critical. And it’s especially critical as our roles change in the workplace and our expectations are different for one another.
CRITICAL IMPORTANCE OF SELF-AWARENESS
Hanna: [00:18:15] Now, I know you’ve worked with a lot of large organizations and you’re running your own business at this point. Do you have some advice for other entrepreneurs as they start to grow their business and hire outside help how they can prepare to be a good manager?
Brian: [00:18:32] Well, inevitably, that’s going to happen. And so, again, it really depends on what the goal is. But if the goal is to lead a company and a team to reach its full potential, then there’s certainly some practices and things I would strongly encourage. The first is really under the umbrella for most of the things I’ve talked about so far. It’s this idea of building self-awareness.
Brian: [00:18:57] Self-awareness is cited as the most important capability for a leader to develop. It’s critical. And what I mean by that is, if you’re going to bring someone else into your organization, arguably this person may have a lot more experience than you have, it’s really important to understand who you are, what you stand for. And this is where concepts like values or purpose or other types of strengths, talent is all these things come into play. And what these things do is as you discover them for yourselves, you’re really caught up on what’s important to your codifying what’s important to your organization. And again, this goes back to setting expectations if you’re more clear on what you stand for and who you are. Then that’s going to help set expectations for how you choose to interact with other people, and when these people come into the organization, they’re also more clear on who you are, assuming, Hanna, that you actually behave in accordance with what you say is important to you and in accordance with the expectations you set if you do that and do the work on yourself. There’s no doubt that it will be a smoother transition, not just for the first person you hire, but the other people you hire into your organization. So that’s my biggest piece of advice, is do the work on yourself, get clear about who you are so that when you hire other people, there’s expectations set and we don’t have to fiddle through it and continue to stumble, frankly, about why someone might be making you feel a certain way or what. How is this so different from what I expected? You can do that work out front. It’s not going to be perfect again, but it will certainly set the right guardrails and benchmarks in motion.
Hanna: [00:20:45] So setting boundaries, really understanding yourself. It sounds easy, but I think in practice that may be difficult because there’s the aspirational part like – “Gee, I want to be.” Well, everybody thinks they’re a good person, no question about it. Right? And I think deep down inside we all are. But sometimes there can be other pressures where their actions or their words don’t come out so good. I mean, every organization I’ve ever encountered, you know, their mission statements, we treat people with dignity and respect. And then you talk to some employees and it’s like that is not dignity and respect. It’s just there’s a disconnect. So is there a way, because it’s hard to do this all by yourself, are there any exercises or recommendations you have for somebody who really wants to dig a little deeper and says, “I know that maybe sometimes I fly off the handle, what can I do?” I’m not portraying my best self. I want to be a better person. I need to understand why people reacting to me in a certain way. I mean, there’s just so many little nooks and crannies to this as to how relationships kind of start going sideways and when it’s an employer-employee relationship, well, then the company suffers and actually the whole culture can suffer. So how would somebody do a reality check?
Brian: [00:22:15] Yeah, this goes back to what I was saying before about the growth mindset. Right? So if you come into this with the expectation that you know everything and you’re not interested in learning, and that’s going to be what it is, there’s not a whole lot of growth there until you can build awareness and consciousness of that and make some, you know, intentional change. If you are really — just depends on where you are — if you are by yourself as an example, you’re an entrepreneur, the only person in the company, believe it or not, even though you’re not directly leading a team of people at that moment, there’s a lot of other people who are in your life who can also give you feedback, because the whole idea here is to understand what it is you’re working towards, who you want to be, how you want to show up, and then setting those qualities, whether it’s formal or informal. And then you want to create a feedback loop for yourself and understand how you can make progress to become the person who you think you want to become. Now, if it’s totally aspirational and you basically you say as a very clear example here, hey, I want to be an ethical person, yet I’m going to cheat and steal and get my way to the next place. There’s a complete violation of behavior there in accordance with what you said is important to you. So it can’t be so aspirational that your behavior directly offset anything that you say. But there is a notion of, hey, I deem that these qualities are effective for leaders to grow and build their teams. You can actually go and solicit direct feedback from people, could get a sense of how you are.
Brian: [00:23:49] Now, assuming this is not your first job ever, you’re going to have worked with a number of people who can probably give you that feedback you can ask for. And you can have some members. You can ask mentors; you can ask advisors. There’s a lot of people you can bring into your circle to already make improvement around your leadership. So it’s not just necessarily, you know, I haven’t done this before and there’s nobody else to help me. Even as a freelancer or an entrepreneur, there’s a way to get feedback and get feedback loop for your behavior and how that affects your leadership. I’m not sure that answers your question, but that’s kind of the abstract way of doing it. And I can also offer some more concrete tools and frameworks to do that. That might be helpful.
Hanna: [00:24:32] If there are any listeners who want to take you up on that, I would direct them to your Web site, which is on the episode page. But if you’d like to give your website, I would be happy to have you share it right now.
Brian: [00:24:45] Sure, it’s www.TheNextGen.com. I’d spell that out, but it’s a little bit clumsy.
Hanna: [00:24:53] That’s OK. And that’s why we put it on the website, because some people could be driving. They could be someplace where they don’t have anything to jot it down with. So that’s all good. But, you know, there’s just so much – oh I don’t know – aura about leadership. Are there some myths that you’d like to explode about leadership?
Brian: [00:25:12] Well, there’s a couple, I think, that really come to mind. The first is that let’s talk about, like, vision for a second, because that’s a big . . .
Hanna: [00:25:20] Yeah.
Brian: [00:25:20] . . . token or ticket item when it comes to leadership. And one of the things that I’ve noticed over time is, is people and emerging leaders tend to be pretty self-critical about their “ability to develop a vision.” There’s a big gap there. So we look to leaders to provide vision for us. And so when we’re an individual contributor, we actually don’t spend a lot of time thinking about vision and we need to be because it’s a skill that can be developed. So one of the myths, I would say, is that it requires some mystical power that to set direction and have ideas that nobody’s come up with before. That’s not really what happens when it comes to setting direction or vision. Often it’s about collecting enough information to make very informed and somewhat riskier strategic decision. So I think this idea that I am not an ideas person or I don’t have this vision component or characteristic that I might not be an effective leader. I think people need to really rethink that whole process.
Brian: [00:26:21] I think the other thing when it comes to leadership that’s really important to highlight is that this is not a stamp that you get on your passport, if you will. You don’t take a leadership class and say, hey, I’m done, I’m officially a leader. That’s not how it works. Like anything else, it requires continual growth, challenge, experimentation and commitment. And so leadership is a choice. Leadership is a choice. It’s also a skill set that can be built over time. And so if I want to share something with the listeners, it’s really that there’s a myth that like, hey, you’re in this role and therefore in formality makes you a leader. And it’s certainly not true. People have to work for that. People have to earn that. And it’s again, it’s a continual process that is never we’re never finished. Our context is always changing.
Hanna: [00:27:16] Sounds good. Now, this has been a lot of fun. Brian, I think I could talk to you for much longer than we have time for. But I’m always curious because guests such as yourself have such an interesting background, and it’s just fascinating to me. What influenced you along the way? Is there an influencer you could share with us before we close up here?
BEHIND THE SCENES
Brian: [00:27:36] There’s a lot of influencers and influences that have really shaped at least my mindset around this. I’ll just name a couple and then share an insight that really helped steer me in a direction with NextGen Center and all the training and programming that we do.
Brian: [00:27:50] The first is that I was a competitive tennis player and I cannot emphasize the impact that sports had on my mindset for continual improvement. I think that’s an influence that has to be mentioned because it’s a real breeding ground for thinking about the goals, vision, direction, and then working towards that the whole, you know, whole thing together. Then, of course, I read the book, I came across Carol Dweck’s work in the book Mindset back in 2012. And what was great about that, as it really placed a label on the stuff that I felt like I was thinking about and pondering for quite some time, and tennis, again, requires that growth mindset to keep going. So that research was quite groundbreaking. And I think all that really was a foray into how NextGen Center started.
Brian: [00:28:40] When I was in industry it got to a certain point where I was traveling so much and there was so much going on and we just had a young family and really I figured out for myself that there is a misalignment there. No judgment on it. Wasn’t good. Or bad. It was just a bit of a misalignment in that I want to spend more time with my family and my job required a lot of travel. And so I took a step back and actually entered into of a professional and business coaching program. And one of the biggest influences and the thing that happened to me in that program was I was actually practice or peer coaching with a group of people one day and one of the people who was observing me, this goes back to feedback, Hanna, one of the people who was observed me, she stopped me after our coaching practice was over and she said, “Brian, I felt like at this point you wanted to actually ask something, but you held back.” That’s what she said to me. And in that moment, in a flash, what I realized was not only was she right because she could pick up on that, she was super intuitive, but I’m like, not only are you right, but that’s exactly one of the same challenges I faced when I was leading a team of people.
Brian: [00:30:01] I sometimes I wanted to say something very directly, but I would maybe second guess it or think over it again just to ensure it would come out in the most effective way. And what that insight told me was that the personal challenge is going to manifest again in different situations it doesn’t really matter. That open the door for me to think about, wow, I’m a human. I’m me and me is going to show up in all these different situations. And so that’s the reason that influenced me so much, is that gave me the concept of, well, we’re all walking around with this. We all have our things to work on or grow into. So what if we more effectively intersected or immersed potential leaders in this type of work earlier, whatever that might be? Because the more we know ourselves the more we’re going to be able to effectively and skillfully navigate these new situations. So a bit of a long-winded answer, but it’s these influences are so important. These moments are so important because they really feed into the philosophy and mindset that I have what I do every single day to help other people and impact their careers.
Hanna: [00:31:15] Well, I appreciate all you do to help people become more effective leaders because it’s so important for helping others unlock their skills and potential. And there’s just so much potential out there that is misdirected. And it’s so nice to see that there is someone such as yourself and your organization that can help people refocus that and unlock it. So thanks for all you do, Brian. Appreciate it so much.
Brian: [00:31:47] Thanks for having me. And it’s my absolute pleasure.
Hanna: [00:31:50] That’s our show for today. Thank you for joining me. If you’d like to learn more about today’s guest, you can go to our website at BusinessConfidentialRadio.com. It’s got a lot of other powerful information and resources available to help your business grow. So be sure to check that out. The website again is BusinessConfidentialRadio.com.
Hanna: [00:32:12] I’m Hanna Hasl-Kelchner. And you’ve been listening to Business Confidential Now. Have a great rest of the day and an even better tomorrow.
Guest: Brian Alvo
Brian Alvo, the Founder of NextGen Center, an organization that fosters growth, development, and transformational experiences for the next generation of leaders, so that they are better prepared to navigate their professional and guide those they work with.
Brian’s own career path began as a civilian analyst with the United States Marine Corps, and then spanned multiple industries.
As a Director of Corporate Development at LabCorp, Brian led strategic teams to realign and grow divisional business into national programs. Then as Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Accounts at one of the fastest-growing technology companies in Durham, NC, he helped grow the company from 14 to 50+ team members in less than two years’ time.
Although he managed to earn a Duke MBA along the way as he navigated these impressive career moves, Brian found that the transitions from contributor to manager to leader were often harder than they needed to be. He recognized a critical need for organizations to better support and invest in their emerging leaders and that realization planted the seeds for the mission and vision of his NextGen Center.
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