We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Fulton Breen, Founder & Chief People Officer, at TKXS. 15:00 was the time allotted, and also a reference to our Raleigh street address — 1500 Perimeter Park Drive.
Describe your role at TKXS. As “chief people officer,” my priority is defining our corporate values and creating a culture that reflects those values. For clarity and guidance, our ownership team will develop a clear and consistent set of responses to six basic questions, 1) Why do we exist? 2) How will we behave? 3) What do we do? 4) How will we be successful? 5) Who does what? and 6) What is important now?
I’ll spend a lot of time – with the help of others – to ensure that this message is consistently delivered throughout the company.
What drew you to this business? I attended – and graduated from – Clemson University by happenstance. I didn’t have the means to attend college. I only applied so I could say to my classmates that I’d applied to college. Then, when I was accepted, I worked three summer jobs – enough to pay for a single semester and a five-day meal pass. I figured that was that. By the time I arrived on campus, the course selection was limited. I signed up for an ag class –Entomology 101 and from that point, everything changed. My professor encouraged me to major in ag. He used his connections to help me get through school. He even helped me get my first job. And that’s how I ended up in ag. Providence at its best!
What would you want clients and prospects to know about TKXS? What would you want teammates to understand about TKXS? My answer to both of these questions has a similar element: I want you to know we are deeply committed to helping you be successful. My goal is to help you (and your business) be the best you can be – to identify your gifts and abilities and use them to reach your potential.
What about the merger has surprised you most? Two things. One, I’ve been surprised by the legal complexity and tax elements involved. The other surprising thing is the remarkable similarity of our people. It’s unusual to find two different companies whose people are so similar. We value the same things – caring, fun, and hard work. We even measured it, and it’s really cool to see how we all care about the same things.
If you could go back and start your career all over again, what advice would you give yourself? Focus on what you do best, and let someone else do the rest. When you start a company, you might think you have to be able to do everything – but you don’t. I remember coming to this realization in 2001 and it hit me like a ton of bricks – my job is to help others do and be the best they can be. It’s not my job to do things I’m ill-qualified to do. An orchestra leader, for example, doesn’t have to know how to play all the instruments perfectly – he or she just needs to know how to help those musicians play together and play the best they can. I wish I’d realized that earlier.
Where do you see TKXS five years from now? I see us having been very successful and growing significantly – maybe 50% or even 100%. I also see us listed in business publications as one of America’s “Fasting Growing Companies.”
If we had a billboard outside our offices, what would it say? Turn here. This is the home of the best marketing and data management company you’ll ever meet.