Talent Management: Brady Ballentine, EVP, Unified Dispatch and Albert Donahue, CEO, Payelp Global

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 talent management.


Talent management is an area of focus for companies of all shapes and sizes. Yet, certain workforces present added challenges to recruiting and retaining top talent. Today’s guests attack challenges such as employing top-tier technical talent and navigating global workforces with disparate language and cultural understandings.

Today’s guests are Brady Ballentine, EVP, Unified Dispatch; and Albert Donahue, CEO, Payelp Global.  To hear the entire show, click here.   

BRADY BALLENTINE Talent Management

As EVP of Unified Dispatch, a division of Veolia Transportation, Ballentine focuses on technology solutions. While the transportation industry may not seem to be a hot category, he encourages talent not to judge a book by its cover. “It’s a phenomenal time to focus on technology in our industry.”

Attract & Retain Tech Talent

To attract talent, Unified Dispatch maintains an active database of resumes, but recruiting is done primarily through relationships.

Acknowledging the unique challenging in retaining top technical talent, Ballentine offers three keys to talent development and talent management:

  • Give all developers broad exposure to projects, instead of pigeon-holing them,
  • Give them active roles, and
  • Create a culture where all strive for excellence but it is also OK to fail, so that employees have permission to dare to do great work.

To get the best ideas out of his team, Ballentine employs an approach learned from his days consulting with Arthur Andersen: throw out all the boundaries of what is acceptable, or reasonable or possible. Ballentine believes that our sense of what’s possible – and not – becomes more cemented as we grow, and inhibits of ability to brainstorm freely, so we need to actively combat this instinct and allow ideas to flow.

Panicking into Poor Decisions

Ballentine has adopted “Don’t panic” as his personal mantra, a lesson he learned from the CTO of his former employer, UNX. “Panic in leadership leads to poor decisions and tends to spread very quickly,” he cautions.

Other lessons he learned from his past experience include that there will always be more work for tomorrow. “Certainly there are times when excellent service demands burning the midnight oil,” he acknowledges. But too much time can lead to negative impacts on mental, physical and emotional well-being and to decreased productivity. “Work addiction is not viable long term,” he cautions.

Through his successes and missteps, he has also become less blindly trustworthy, and instead employs the management approach of “trust but verify.” He wants his team members to develop their own style but,  “while it’s great to trust, it’s also necessary to verify on a regular basis,” cautions Ballentine.

When it comes to the need to love what you do, Ballentine believes that passion is certainly helpful, but not critical. Where there is no passion, “at least you have to have clear objectives for your purpose when you arrive to the office every day.” That said, “It’s important for employees of the company to see leadership as deeply engaged in the work and excited about the work that’s being done,” asserts Ballentine.  This is a key to talent management.

What are You Reading?

Ballentine is reading Your Personal Paleo Code as a “plan to reshape [your] lifestyle for better health.”

How Can I Connect with You? Via www.unified-dispatch.com, via Twitter @bradyballentine or on LinkedIn.

ALBERT DONAHUE Talent Management

Payelp is a global e-commerce solution provider, which Donahue has led as CEO since 2012. When he first arrived at Payelp, he focused on optimizing the management structure and dealing with several different cultures across the global workforce.

CEO Challenges

The biggest challenge by far is ensuring quick and consistent communications across Payelp’s 14 offices around the globe. Despite cultural and language differences, Donahue remains laser-focused on the commonality between them: the strategy and goals of the company. Another key challenge is staying abreast of the fast-changing laws and regulations that govern e-commerce, not just in the U.S., but in all countries in which they operate.

When it comes to leadership, Donahue believes it’s difficult for any CEO to know every part of his business. That’s why he relies on top talent around him to help lead the company. For instance, not being technically savvy himself, Donahue knew he needed a strong CTO.  Talent management for Donahue is focused on relying on those around him to make the company the best it can be.

To help with talent management and to keep top talent engaged at Payelp, they have created a culture without rigidity of formal work hours. In addition to no formal 9-to-5 schedule, every person can work from wherever they choose as long as they are in constant communication.

Life Changers

Previously, Donahue was a financial underwriter. A friend and mentor changed his life when he encouraged Donahue to change career tracks completely and jumpstart the e-commerce business. Today, Payelp does more than 500,000 transactions per minute. The business has completely changed Donahue’s life and that of his family, for which he is eternally grateful for the push to pursue the Payelp path.

How Can I Connect with You? Via www.payelp.com or find him 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:  February 11, 2014