Culture, Talent Management and Being a Leader

Hosted by Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2 – TalentTalk Radio features engaging conversation with CEOs, thought leaders and HR executives.  TalentTalk connects professionals who care about talent-related issues and having the cultural mindset to embrace the needed diversity of the workplace.

Today’s guests are Mark Villareal, Senior Vice President of 5 Point Enterprises and Mark Miller, Vice President of Marketing at Emergenetics International. To hear the entire show, click here.

On the show today, two experienced professionals talk about the importance of culture and how it ties into talent management and recruitment.

Mark Villarealleader

Mark Villareal has been managing people and teams for over 35 years. Currently he serves as the Senior Vice President at 5Point Enterprises, which is the largest franchise ownership group of New Horizons Computer Learning Centers in North America, with roughly 22 locations in 12 different states. He has been with 5Point Enterprises for six years and prior to 5Point he worked at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers for nearly 15 years. Given his tenure with the companies he’s observed over time that leadership really does make a difference and that the best leaders lead with a servant’s heart.

Personal and Professional Leadership

Villareal says that it is not taboo to talk about personal goals. In fact, it is very important for a leader to come across as a genuine individual and as someone who shows interest in a person. “When people see you as a genuine person they see more than just business. I believe great leaders want to understand individual people, personally and professionally because they realize that both the aspects are interconnected,” he explains. He feels that when a leader takes time to know someone personally from a genuine stand point it’s appreciated. The employees feel cared for and then it’s not just about the job or money for them. Villareal discusses not only professional development plans with his team members but also personal development plans. He often sends people for seminars that develop them personally and have nothing to do with their job. He also believes that great leaders are also good coaches and that they don’t think about themselves but also about their people. It is motivating for the entire team to have a leader who is genuine. 

Leadership Style

As the son of a sports coach, Villareal learned a lot about people development from his father. He realized early on that the best coaches focus on their team players and the game plan. They know that the success of their team ties back to their own success. With their vision of developing people, these coaches build a legacy for the team to succeed even years after they leave. He has always believed that it’s not about him but his people. This explains his insistence for a servant’s heart because he believes he is there to serve his people and get them to their goals. Through his experience he has seen that when he focused on the success of his people his success came naturally. This has led to a great company culture that has developed future leaders and promotions.


Villareal agrees with the popular statement that ‘culture is everything.’ He believes that it is not something that begins only from the top but has to be driven from bottom and should meet somewhere in the middle. It all begins with the values that the organization stands by. These values become guiding principles for everything in the company and every person should live by them. “The people you hire, the people you keep, the people you promote and the mission and vision you build should all tie back to your values,” he elaborates. He also says that he had the privilege of working with some great leaders who would constantly communicate the company’s vision. It’s not just a statement but something that is reiterated time and again. This helps people get a direction so that even if they face road blocks they know where they’re going. This creates a very positive culture in the company. He also believes in the concept of rewards and consequences. He says he’d rather work with rewards and get people to do things right and that makes people open to receiving feedback on things they need to improve upon. They appreciate it because you’re helping drive their success.

What Are You Reading?

Mark Villareal recently finished reading “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson. It’s a Christian-based book that teaches praying in a new way by drawing prayer circles around your dreams, family, problems and God’s promises. The other book he recently read is “Double Double” by Cameron Herold that talks about getting the most out of life as an entrepreneur.

How Can People Connect With You?

You can contact Mark via LinkedIn.

Mark Miller leader

Mark Miller is the Vice President of Marketing at Emergenetics International where he runs the global marketing strategy and operations. The company studies human thinking behavior at the workplace and works with organizations to use those insights about their people to change the way people work, the way teams are put together and the way the dynamics of these teams could be more effective, which ultimately drives the organizational culture. Through psychometric assessments that measure thinking, behavior, motivation and job fit, the company covers the entire employee life cycle from pre hire prospective to talent development prospective, to a team and leadership prospective. They base it around the innate understandings of what makes people tick and how they think. Miller comes from a marketing and advertising background but has been fully immersed into the world of talent management and talent planning in the last nine years that he has been with Emergenetics.

Building Trust Among Employees

Trust between the leadership and employees are very important, according to Miller. “When you talk about building an employer brand and using new technologies and approaches to build a talent recruitment pipeline, the leadership of the organization has to be fully committed to the strategy and should make it a point to explain it to their employees. The employees should know what the company is doing, why it’s doing it and why it’s going to work,” he explains. That way, the teams also become a little more accountable for getting more applicants through the door and have a better understanding of who they are reaching. At the end of the day, employees build the company’s brand. Today, even before starting a job, applicants do their due diligence on the company. With websites such as Glassdoor it’s easy find out what a company is going to be like as an employer and how the current and past employees feel about it. With social media employees are becoming much more open about what it’s like to work at their company. The companies with happy employees get instant word of mouth marketing from their own employees. “Companies that see a spike in their employee engagement also see a spike in the kind of employees they want to bring in,” sums up Miller.

Finding the Right Fit

Miller believes that company culture is steadily gaining importance. It is an important factor to consider while hiring employees because you need someone who fits in. He believes it is not necessarily possible to mold people into a culture. “You can build new skills and help them gain experience but if they are not a cultural fit, that is going to be very difficult to change,” he explains.

Cognitive Diversity

Cognitive diversity and how it really works from a high performing team perspective is the crux of what they do at Emergenetics. Their tool measures four distinct thinking patterns that exist in every human. These are analytical thinking, social thinking, structural thinking and conceptual thinking. The tool also measures three behaviors in the same profile – expressiveness, assertiveness and flexibility. They deliberately separate the thinking aspects from behavior aspects so that you get a perspective of not just how people are acting, what their behavior is and what you see about them but what’s really going on inside their head and that is what makes someone unique. These assessments help create a cognitively diverse team of people who are going to come up with innovative ideas and who are going to look at things differently. While working with its clients, Emergenetics provides an assessment of each person in the team or the company and gives them a unique perspective of who they are and what their thinking and what their behavioral patterns are. These assessments help employees find out how different people around them are. It makes them then actively seek opinions of others to get a unique perspective which is very different from them and, in certain situations, helps them gain an understanding of where the other person is coming from. It encourages them to collaborate using those differences.

How Can People Connect With You?

Find out more about Miller’s company by visiting the company website at or by following them on Twitter (@Emergenetics_). They’re also on LinkedIn and Facebook as Emergenetics.