At Brandon Hall Group, we have an incredible balance and diversity of talented people. We all come from different backgrounds and demographics.  We have been practitioners, leaders, managers, and some have owned their own businesses.

As with any group of people, we have different personalities, different views on risks, and varying ideas on the right way to do things. We don’t always agree, and our differences make us stronger because we are more likely to consider more options than if we were all cut from the same stone.

Building a balanced, diverse team is difficult. But you must cultivate two broad qualities in your team: true candor and capabilities you don’t have.  You are making a monumental mistake if you don’t hire people who are smarter and/or more qualified than you. You must also create an environment in which their opinions and ideas are heard and valued.

I want my team’s IQ to go up with every hire we make, not stay the same. If you or your managers are not hiring people who can expand the team’s abilities, aptitude and breadth of experience, then whatever progress your organization is making could stall, or worst of all, regress.

Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company's growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company's global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike's tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.