Executive-in-Residence with BNM since January 2017
I think good founders have a clear vision for success and the ability to “lead from behind.” To cultivate the best ideas, you have to give up some control… have humility and to be open to new ideas. If you lead from behind versus out in front, each individual’s potential is the driving force forward, not just the founders.
One of the most important things an entrepreneur has to do is to surround themselves with a talented team. My advice is to hire people who exhibit the most potential to learn and grow. This is not necessarily the smartest or best educated. Often, it’s people with street smarts who will work around any obstacle to achieve a goal and who aren’t afraid to fail. They are creative problem solvers with tremendous work ethic. And most importantly, they’re humble and willing to change course when something is not working.
I tend to find opportunity in things that others have overlooked as “too small” or “not worth the effort”– things that have fallen by the wayside. When I was leading marketing for whiskey at Diageo, for example, I looked at the overall category and realized the company was very under leveraged–only focusing on Crown Royal when it had a full roster of brands it could have been selling. I drove the business to promote more existing products and develop new brands to compete (and win) in the overall whiskey market. During my time there, I grew our share from 21% to 23% in a category that was growing overall at only 4% per year.
I’m excited to be working with the BNM team to build out a practice within the alcoholic beverage industry. I have a deep passion for the business, and love to discover and exploit new opportunities. I think the category has amazing potential for new players and innovation.