Brian Castle joined Thought Leader Select in January of 2010, as director of global marketing and client relations. Brian has 12 years of experience leading teams in business development, sales, marketing and customer services. He spent 11 years in the financial services industry, managing business units for several top banking institutions. Upon leaving the financial sector, Brian used his expertise in business development, communications and marketing to help business and non-profit clients develop and execute marketing, social media and branding strategies. In his new role at Thought Leader Select, Brian is helping the company expand its sales and marketing efforts and create a larger presence in the KOL identification and profiling marketplace.
The Thought Leader Select Blog sat down with Brian, the powerhouse behind Thought Leader Select’s social media strategy, to learn more about his role within the company, what drives him at work and the extracurricular passions that make him unique.
TLS Blog: Good morning, Brian. What made you sign on with Thought Leader Select?
Brian Castle: I spent most of my career working in the financial services industry. When the industry started experiencing its recent turmoil, I decided it was time to make a change. So I reached out to several business owners and started collaborating with them on a host of projects in marketing, business development, social media, and public relations. I enjoyed working with some really bright people across a variety of industries, ranging from professional services to fine arts, even large equipment manufacturing.
During my years in business development, I had the pleasure of working with some great companies – both large and small. I started making a short list of the companies I admired most and for which I most wanted to work. I had met and worked with the Thought Leader Select principals – Paul Meade, Lisa Smith and Kristen Smithwick – and was particularly struck by their approach to doing business and by the company’s core concept. I had witnessed on multiple occasions the leaders make short and long-term decisions with prudence, creativity and a real dedication to meeting customer and employee needs in a mindful way. Although I’d never worked for a company that conducted business research for the pharmaceutical industry, Thought Leader Select was at the top of my list of ‘most admired companies’.
After learning more about the company, I was even more convinced that this was the place for me and that I could contribute in a real way. My experience inside the company has reaffirmed my original views. At Thought Leader Select, I’m able to see the footprint—the real impact–of my involvement, and I have enjoyed stretching into new growth areas while continuing to do interesting work that utilizes my gifts and talents.
TLS Blog: How do your academic and/or professional backgrounds inform your work at Thought Leader Select?
Brian Castle: When I joined Thought Leader Select, the company was at a pivotal growth stage – it was time to do more outbound marketing and communication, building on the great work already started by the business development team. My previous work experience in business development and academic training in writing and communication are helping the company reach a wider audience and build a stronger brand identity. The work that I do at Thought Leader Select is extremely collaborative and cross-functional. Having built and run new teams within larger corporate settings helps me bring various work teams together to come up with new ideas for products and services and unique ways to present Thought Leader Select in the marketplace. I also really enjoy the creative process involved in building new ideas, products, services and teams. My academic training in writing and communication served as great preparation for my work in Thought Leader Select – developing and executing creative marketing, public relations and social media strategies as well as sparking ideas for new products and services.
TLS Blog: What do you enjoy most about your work at Thought Leader Select?
Brian Castle: It’s energizing to work for a company that is enjoying great success, especially after living through the turmoil in the financial services sector. Like some people say in the sports world, “Winning is fun.” The fun of doing well, though, is eclipsed by the joy of working with a team of people that challenge each other intellectually every day and that really enjoy each other and what they do. There’s a real ‘we’re in this together’ attitude that sparks the whole team to push harder to deliver great work for our clients and achieve goals. I enjoy coming to work every day knowing that we’re all going to work together to pursue excellence while pushing the limits of our creativity.
TLS Blog: Final question – how do you spend your down time?
Brian Castle: When I get into things, I really dive in, and I enjoy finding new passions. My wife could write you a book on all of the obsessions that have taken me over in the twelve years we’ve been together. For example, I’m a real trivia buff – I’m the guy you want on your trivia team. I love learning little facts about everything from pop culture to sports and politics. Right now, my favorite pastimes, however, include sports, music, the arts and nature. My latest love is hockey—especially my fanatical following of the Carolina Hurricanes. In addition to my new hockey obsession, I enjoy going to lots of concerts – especially indie rock – and art museums. I always wanted to be a rock star, but I don’t play any instruments and can’t sing that well. So, like any true hack, I’ve been getting into RockBand—making my friends and family suffer along in this particular obsession! Whoever came up with that game knew there were tons of untalented people like me out there, still dreaming, well into their late thirties, of being a rock star!