Meet Brad Shanklin, Executive Director, DallasHR! BeALifter Leadership Interview #8 with Bruce Waller…

BeALifter Leadership Interview Series #8 with Brad Shanklin.

10 Questions from Leaders that make a difference!

Jim Rohn once said, “Your success in the next 5 years will be determined by the books you read and the people you meet.”

This is a testimony to my personal leadership growth over the past 20 years. I continue to learn each day by connecting with some of the most talented people in business. In this series, I want to add value to your leadership growth by introducing you to leaders that make impact as they share challenges, successes, and perspectives on their journey as a business leader or in their personal life. So let’s get started…

Today, we are going to visit with Brad Shanklin, Executive Director for DallasHR, the local affiliate for the Society for Human Resource Management (“SHRM”) in Dallas, Texas. Brad joined DallasHR in March of 2016 to oversee operations of the organization’s 2,000-member association and its annual regional event, The HRSouthwest Conference. I have personally enjoyed getting to know Brad while serving with him on the Board of Trustees. I would describe Brad’s leadership style as authentic, creative, and he has a passion for developing volunteer leaders to help better the organization. You’re going to really enjoy getting to know him too.

Now let’s get started… brad-shanklin

1. Where did you grow up?

Houston, TX

2. How did you get started in business/career?

Started out in politics for (late) Senator John Tower (TX). That position lead to another political gig and contacts from those lead to others. It’s the connections we make in life that keep our career paths open.

3. Do you remember a challenge or life lesson that you had to overcome early in your career which made you a better leader?

I learned early on to move on when I no could no longer effect change.

4. What was that moment when you knew that you had found your lane, your purpose?

Early in my career when I realized how I can be successful by helping volunteers be successful. That was the key for me and an area I knew I wanted to pursue long-term. Volunteering is such a key to the success of so many organizations and helping those who serve is rewarding.

5. What is your most favorite achievement in your previous role?

I would say heading up a wet/dry election for Plano while CEO of the Plano Chamber of Commerce. Business members (grocery and convenience stores) of the chamber were penalized based on when they came into business and when the wet/dry laws came into effect years ago. We went to the voters and the wet/dry issue passed with more than a 2/3 majority. We had huge community support both financially and commercially and it was a great victory for business.

6. Is there any one person that inspired or mentored you along the way?

I wouldn’t say one person only. I have learned a great deal from many people. Both by what they do well and not so well.

7. Do you have a saying or mantra that you live by?

“Don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff.” Good words to live by as there is always something more dire and critical than what you are worrying about. Focus on what you can change and the rest will follow.

8. What book are you reading or audio to help grow your leadership right now?

Reading Colin Powell’s book, “It Worked for Me”. The book is full of great life experiences that helped Secretary Powell (and can help us all) achieve success in our careers.

9. Can you sharer any of your daily disciplines that help you stay focused as a leader?

Pay attention to those around you. Someone said to surround yourself with people smarter than you. I have found this to be very true in work as those teammates who live in their areas of expertise will bring true success to the company.

10. What advice would you give others to help them on their leadership journey?

Dr. Steven Covey said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing”. I’ve always liked this quote as it remind me that with so many distractions in work and life, you have to stay focused. Stick to what you think is right regardless of how others may try to detour you.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us, Brad. Some of the takeaways include: it’s okay to move on when you can’t effect change. Volunteering is a key to the success of so many organizations and helping those who serve is rewarding. Many people can teach you many things by what they do well and not so well. Also, don’t sweat the small stuff. Focus on what you can change and the rest will follow. Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you for true success. …and Lastly, the main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing. Great advise for all of us…

For questions about this leadership interview series, send email to To find out more information about DallasHR, check out their website

Bruce Waller, CRP, PHR, SHRM-CP is the Vice President of Armstrong Relocation and Companies in Dallas, Texas. You can visit his BLOG “A Relocation Minute with Bruce Waller” at for more information about this interview or for information about employee relocation resources, call 972-389-5673, or email You can follow @brucewaller on Twitter for information too!

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