January 3, 2011
What brought you to KS&R?
Prior to KS&R, I worked as a client-side researcher for a few different Fortune 500 Financial and Technology companies. I was always very "hands on" - editing surveys, writing reports, etc. - largely because I really enjoy that type of work. On the client side, you have the luxury of acutely understanding the business issue at hand so by staying close to all of the research execution and deliverable elements you can really produce significant value for the organization. I really enjoyed that.
I moved on to KS&R once I thought I had gained enough experience to leverage my management and research skills across a broader set of clients. I had always wanted to work with external clients in more of a consultative relationship while leveraging my core strengths and KS&R offered me a great opportunity to do just that. Looking back, it was definitely the right move at the right time for me.
Who do you most admire in the business world?
Right now it would probably be Steve Jobs. What inspires me most about him is his passion for innovation that fundamentally changes people's lives and how they go about their day-to-day routines. Can anyone imagine using a Walkman anymore! The other thing I love about Apple is their focus on product design - their products are great looking and fun to use. If you also consider how Apple has been able develop a highly profitable business around their innovations, it's hard not to be impressed.
If you could change one thing about KS&R, what would it be?
Celebrate our successes more. KS&R is a company full of achievers - we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves every day to do great things for our clients. The upside is we have quiet confidence in our ability to provide our clients with what they need. The downside is we usually move very quickly to the "next thing" rather than celebrate a job well done.
Having said that, I'm happy to report that in the past 12 months we have instituted various employee award and recognition programs that have forced all of us to slow down from time to time and enjoy our successes.
What is your idea of happiness?
Multiple things really contribute to this:
From a personal perspective, my family's health and happiness is the most significant contributor. In particular, watching my kids grow and develop their own capabilities and point-of-view about the world is a constant source of satisfaction and amazement.
From a work perspective - watching others in the firm grow, succeed and continuously gain confidence in their own ability to impact positive change and outcomes is unquestionably my biggest source of satisfaction. It literally "makes my day" when I see this! Anything that challenges and leverages my own skills is also very satisfying.
(I have to admit a round of golf or watching a ball game also constitutes a pretty good day for me!)
If you could be a superhero, what would you want your super powers to be?
To be able to fly - for no good reason other than it would be amazing to be able to do it.
What is your principle defect?
Patience - I've gotten better at it over the years but it will always be a work-in-progress.
What natural gift would you most like to possess that you do not?
To be a left-handed pitcher with a 95 mph fastball and "off the table" curveball. (I also wish I could sing better - my kids have forbid me from any singing whatsoever even when accompanied by a very large group of people).
You have the reputation for being a quintessential Type A personality. If you were less driven, what one thing would you like to do?
More leisure travel, reading, and golf would be at the top of the list (I couldn't select just one so lets call it a tie). I'm fortunate that I work from my home office most days so I actually get to see my family quite a bit despite working some fairly long hours - not having a long commute really saves me. That's one thing I try to be sensitive to as there are A LOT of very hard workers at KS&R that work out of our Syracuse offices.
Which two people would you most like to have dinner with?
John Adams, or any one of our Founding Fathers - it's humbling to think about what they were able to accomplish, the perseverance and hardships they had to endure to achieve them, and the number of people they have profoundly affected (and will continue to affect!).
Any one of the NY Yankee greats - Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, etc. My only hope would be that I'm not so awe struck that I don't get a chance to tell them that the Yankees have now won 27 championships, nearly 3x as many as the next closest major league ball club (10 - St. Louis Cardinals for any fellow baseball history buffs).
Hindsight is 20/20. What is it that you wish you knew now?
That's a tough one - probably to be a little more patient in my career. I realize now that some things just take time and you need to go through certain experiences to feel comfortable moving to the next stage of your career. Although some people I work with might be surprised to hear this, I'm actually a lot more relaxed than I used to be!