The pandemic proved that it is possible to grow sustainably and profitably during periods of economic struggle. What helps? The guidance of compelling and thoughtful leaders to navigate the way ahead. Exemplifying “Enduring Leadership” principles is essential to fostering successful businesses that stand the tests of time.
Alexander Group identified four tenets of enduring leadership, the attributes of great companies that enable their leaders to make decisions in the context of years, even decades, instead of just quarter to quarter: Talent, Mission, Culture and Operations.
To take a deeper dive into the first tenant, mission, Bonnie Kintzer, president and CEO of Trusted Media Brands (TMB), sat down with Alexander Group’s Quang Do to share her career path, leadership style and how she hires talent that will improve the company overall.
Starting out of college in a junior data entry role and then progressing to juggling business school and consulting, Bonnie quickly discovered the importance of quick learning, how to be a good listener and how to be a service provider. After appreciating the flexibility of consulting on her own, Bonnie worked up the consulting ladder to eventually run an $800 million division of Reader’s Digest. That role landed Bonnie her first CEO position at a small private company, but she ultimately ended up back at Readers Digest (now known as TMB) where she’s been for the last eight years.
“I always like to say this is my third job. One was fixing. Two was stabilizing. And three, now we’re in the high-growth area and it’s been an exciting time.”
TMB has been fortunate to see some recent success between their exceptional growth in digital and the 2021 acquisition of Jukin. Bonnie attributes how they’re able to continually evolve and grow in an industry that’s constantly under pressure by being committed to three key mandates:
Now, it’s one thing to acknowledge those mandates, but the success of each hinges on the backbone of effective leadership.
For Bonnie, leadership is important for everyone in every role, regardless of being an actual people manager. But it also has to be viewed as a part of who you are. Recognize that as a leader, you’re there to serve the organization and the people in it. And to be a successful leader, it’s critical to have the mindset and desire to always learn. Surround yourself with a team that’s smarter than you, and you will always be learning from someone.
If there’s one thing Bonnie would want to share with the future leaders of the industry, it’s to have clarity around what you want. Do you want to be CEO of TMB? Great; what do you need to learn and experience to be prepared to do that? Good management and good leaders should want you to succeed and will help you obtain your goals.