Leadership and Authenticity: Steve Canal, Community Commerce and Partnerships, MillerCoors and Mike Kelly, Partner, Beacon Resources

Hosted by Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2 – Talent Talk Radio features engaging conversation with CEOs, thought leaders and HR executives.  Talent Talk connects professionals who care about talent-related issues and leadership. To hear the entire show, click here


Today’s guests are Steve Canal, Community Commerce and Partnerships, MillerCoors; and Mike Kelly, Partner, Beacon Resources.

Authenticity with internal and external partners is championed by both of today’s guests.  Leadership is enhanced through this type of authenticity.

STEVE CANAL Leadership

Steve Canal has been with MillerCoors for six years, commercializing the company’s community initiatives in tandem with partners such as the National Urban League and the United Way. Prior to that, Canal ran his own business delivering brand strategy for a range of clients.

The challenges in his role include consistently creating awareness and conversation with the MillerCoors audience in this “age of subscribers, fans  and followers.” He sees himself as carrying an entrepreneurial spirit within the larger organization by being authentic in his outreach. “I’m not just going to create this for us, I’m going to create this for the people…we need to engage with our consumers.”

Leaders Who Listen

When it comes to building the team, Canal looks for three key traits: transferable skills, CPG experience, and the skill to execute against a stated goal. Canal encourages job seekers to take the time to sit down, take a deep breath and think about all the things they have done and how they relate to where they want to go. He warns, however, that some key skills may not be the type of items found on a resume.

For leaders, he says: “The number one thing you can do as a leader is to listen” despite the constant noise around us. He is also a fan of building a development plan together with employees as opposed to dictating a plan to them.  This type of leadership helps to give employees ownership of the plan once it is established.

His own leadership philosophy came largely from working with the U.S. Army where he developed two key leadership traits:

  1. Discipline in things great and small, and
  2. Authenticity when it comes to seeing your words through and having real conversations with others.

What are You Reading?

Canal is reading several books including, Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson “on dealing with change”, David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell on “the art of battling the giant,” and Daymond John’s The Brand Within.”

How Can I Connect with You? Via his blog on www.stevecanal.com or via LinkedIn.

MIKE KELLY  Leadership

Mike Kelly started Beacon Resources about three years ago, and now employs a team of 12 core employees and 45 CPAs out in the field. He wasn’t always in recruiting. After spending five years in accounting with Ernst & Young while doing college recruiting for the company on the weekends, he eventually sought out another opportunity. During his search, a recruiter asked him if he considered joining the recruiting industry. After roles with firms like Robert Half, he started out on his own with a company that was eventually bought by Randstad. He left in the midst of the recession to start his second business, Beacon Resources, which Kelly describes as “a humbling experience.” Today, it is about “managing the momentum in a positive way.”

Kelly’s company provides key services such as technically-based accounting, SEC documentation and complicated revenue recognition, in addition to accounting recruiting. He and his team keep up-to-date on latest technical guidance and can provide solid advice.

Key talent traits they look for include being overly disciplined – critical to the function of accounting. Beacon Resources conducts thorough in-person interview processes before putting any talent in front of their clients. In fact, if under a certain manager level, talent goes through dozens of tests and a background check. Being a boutique, they are able to take that extra step to ensure the talent sticks. For instance, Beacon Resources will call an additional reference that the prospect didn’t provide. The result? Beacon’s fall-off ratio when it comes to talent they place is 1.5 percent versus the industry standard of 5 percent.

Do What You Say

One common mistake Kelly sees across companies is using money to make up for organizational issues. “People aren’t motivated by money…It’s their feeling of self-wroth within the company,” Kelly says. He also believes some companies don’t communicate effectively, but instead bury their heads in the sand, especially when problems arise. This does not bode well from a leadership perspective.  He recommends being transparent about issues and letting your employees know you need them to help execute against the response plan. 

When it comes to his leadership style, Kelly prefers to keep things simple. There is great value in clearly communicating to staff about how they can help you to achieve goals at hand, but also communicating what you are going to do and how you are going to help them get there – and then doing it. Kelly refers to the saying, “Do what you say and say what you do.”  The type of leadership that arises out of this philosophy is effective and motivating.

Kelly is also committed to meeting with the team members every month around very specific goals for that month. “We’re crazy about training…we’re constantly working on your skill set.”

What are You Reading?

Kelly is reading Duty by Robert Gates, the former secretary of war who has found success in multiple fields.

How Can I Connect with You? Via the company website on www.beacon-us.org or on LinkedIn.

Tune into the show next week, and remember, do what you love….and show the world how talented you can be, today.

Air Date: March 11, 2014