My high school sweetheart, Beth, was voted “Most Likely to Succeed.” I was voted “Class Clown.” As the most unserious student, I was more ringleader than leader. Rules were made to be broken. Friends called me “Trouble.”
After high school graduation, I left Southwest Virginia for a summer job in New Hampshire as a YMCA Camp Counselor and horseback instructor. Suddenly, I was responsible for other people - a cabin full of eleven-year-olds. Some were from affluent suburban families, others from impoverished urban neighborhoods. While our backgrounds and personalities were diverse (and still forming), I recognized the potential of each individual and discovered skills I didn't know I possessed. During that summer, I decided to pursue leadership as a vocation. Whether with a business, a church, or an army, I wanted to, literally or figuratively, lead troops into battle. The unserious student became a student of leadership.
Beth and I married while students at Virginia Tech. Children John and Emma arrived later, during our transient corporate years. Beth was a CPA. I held roles in sales, operations and general management with two Fortune 500 companies. My career took us to seven cities in four states before we settled in Richmond, Virginia. There, as COO of a large nonprofit, I led 500 associates through a time of rapid growth and change. In four years, we doubled revenue and overhauled our brand, strategy, and culture. Meanwhile, Beth co-founded an accounting firm. John studied music at VCU then went on to become a professional guitarist. Emma went to Virginia Tech and later joined Parallel Management Company.
Others talk of "Corporate America" as if it were a prison. I loved the opportunity to lead large teams of people, watching individuals grow and succeed. Each new leadership assignment was thrilling - evaluating the current situation, establishing a vision, building and aligning the team, and driving financial results.
But my small business roots were strong. I became a full-time entrepreneur in 2008, and never looked back. In 2015, we formed Parallel Management Company, dedicated to building championship business teams. We still tend to break the rules.
Todd Bradberry is an engaging speaker on topics such as Leadership, Strategy, Culture, and Personal Development. He is available for speaking engagements, keynotes, seminars, workshops, and meeting facilitation.
Todd guides business leaders to make positive, sustainable changes in their organizations and in themselves. He helps clients set clear goals and plans, and establish a rhythm of accountability and support. Would business coaching produce a positive ROI for you and your organization? Schedule a complimentary strategy review session.