C-Suite: Nelson Peacock

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 495 views 

Class of 2019 C Suite Nelson Peacock President & CEO Northwest Arkansas Council

Achievements: Peacock has led one of the region’s most influential nonprofits since July 2017, most notably working to address infrastructure, healthcare and entrepreneurship improvements. He previously worked in the California Office of the President and led the legislative affairs office in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

If you had $1 million to give, what causes would you support? Programs that support children at an early age. These investments benefit individuals, and they pay off at the long-term societal level as well.

What is the best business advice you have received? My current role is to build consensus, and some of the best advice I received related to consensus building and negotiation came from Vice President Joe Biden, who I worked for in the U.S. Senate. The basic lesson he taught me was to never assume that a policy disagreement is based on ill-intent of those with whom you disagree. You should disagree with their position but not the motivation behind it. If both sides act in good faith, you can bridge many divides.

What is the best business advice you’ve given? Negotiation, whether in policy, legislative or in business, must create “wins” for all sides or nobody makes progress.

What keeps you up at night or worries you the most? This region — despite decades of progress — has deficiencies with respect to tech talent, data science and entrepreneurism. My biggest fear is that progress slows because we are unable to develop, attract and retain a world-class workforce to support the knowledge-based economy. Knowledge workers and entrepreneurs are critical to the growth of our largest corporations and to diversify and strengthen the economy through the establishment of young, knowledge-based firms, the key to future job growth.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Northwest Arkansas for a business lunch? So many great places, but meals are meant to be enjoyed, not to do business.

If you weren’t in your current profession, what would you be doing? I would likely still be in Washington, D.C., doing federal policy work. I still enjoy working in public policy and believe my prior experience has prepared me well for my current role.

What’s the first website/app you launch on your smartphone each day? Twitter. It has its downside, but it’s a great communication platform.

What is your “why?” Why do you get up in the morning, and what keeps you motivated? Family is my priority, and I moved back to NWA because of the great quality of life. I also moved back to contribute to something special and to use my talents to make a difference here. We have challenges ahead, but the future is bright for Northwest Arkansas, and I get to spend my days working to make things better. That’s motivating and exciting.

In one sentence, can you express the most important thing about being a leader? A leader establishes and communicates a vision, and drives it forward with a consistent, fair and equitable approach.

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