Answer: Nathan did not have a career plan in mind. What he did was make choices about what was important to him at the time he was looking for work. It all made sense because he was clear about his values. His instinct, judgment, and acuity were first rate and he didn’t second guess himself. He was straightforward, took responsibility for his actions, loyal and worked tirelessly. While the pattern is not precise, Nathan clearly enjoys tackling big challenges that typically take 5-years to accomplish. I would say he sees his future in 5-year segments.
He also took risks and made decisions at work, without the hesitation, that affected the most senior officers. He knew he could have made horrendous career-ending mistakes. The fact he was willing to do that and then stand by those decisions, earned him respect from the leaders he served time after time. Also, early in his career, he understood the synergy derived from integrating internal and external messaging and marketing communications. That has remained a core value throughout his career.
Nathan did not plan to become one of the most senior communications executives in transportation. He achieved success because he wanted to do what was most challenging and he enjoyed the work. He had the talent and potential to succeed. He did not see the move to Chief Marketing Officer as a major change in direction. Instead, it was a natural evolution to taking on bigger challenges for a company that needed his expertise. To an outsider, however, he achieved a major success and transition into a management role. What he has accomplished may seem natural to Nathan, however it is not anything to take for granted.
Now as he starts a new corporate chapter, with an industry leading company, his experience and viewpoint about integrating messaging and seeing problems holistically will be a tremendous asset. Each step in his career has added to his capability to succeed at the scale and scope required for this Chief Communications Officer role.