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Q&A with Beau Williamson: General Manager, Florida

As Slalom opens its doors in Florida, general manager Beau Williamson shares his vision for Slalom’s newest market and the key qualities of a great consultant.
 

How did you initially get into consulting?

When I got out of school, I didn’t know exactly what industry I wanted to work in, so the idea of working with many companies across many industries was compelling. I learned after a few years that I really loved helping companies with their toughest challenges and building teams that could make amazing things happen for clients. I’ve been doing it for 20 years now, working with senior leaders at organizations who are really creating the future, and I just love it.

What made you choose Slalom?

To be honest, I wasn’t looking to make a change when I first spoke with Slalom. But as we continued having conversations, I was impressed with the quality of the people. They are world-class. Combine that with the ability to build strong, long-term relationships with clients locally—and have a global team of experts backing us—is very attractive to me. I’m sure our model is going to be very attractive to companies in Florida as well.

What makes a great consultant?

A great consultant is extremely curious and an exceptional listener. You’ve got to ask the right questions and really listen to fully understand your client’s situation and challenges. And you’ve got to have the curiosity and desire to keep looking, analyzing, and pushing to create the best solution.

What makes the Florida business community unique?

The business community is incredible and very distinct between South Florida, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Orlando, and Jacksonville. South Florida is the cruise line capital of the world in addition to having several Fortune 500 companies spanning automotive, retail, utilities, and healthcare along with a rapidly growing set of mid-market companies. Additionally, South Florida is the gateway to Latin America, so we have many companies that serve and manage their central and South American customers and operations from here, which creates very exciting opportunities for us. The other major metros in Florida are very diversified with companies spanning casual dining, grocery, theme parks, transportation and logistics, and healthcare.

As you look ahead to the next five, ten years, what are your goals? What are you most excited about?

I want to be working with the best companies in Florida who are disrupting their industries—from hospitality and automotive, to logistics, energy, and healthcare. There are industry leaders here that are positioned to do transformative things, and that’s exciting to me.

My big-picture goals are simple: happy clients and an engaged team. I want to have long-term, trust-based relationships with many of the innovative companies in the market and for them to get a lot of value out of the work we do with them. I want to build a world-class Slalom team who deliver outstanding results for our clients and truly love what they get to do every day.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I love exploring Miami, and Florida in general, with my family. You’ve got to understand that I grew up on a farm in Ohio and moved to Miami 12 years ago when I met my wife, Liz. She was born and raised here in South Florida and is a professional ballet dancer and choreographer. So, she’s the artistic one in the family. She’s still able to introduce me to new places and experiences that blow me away. Some of our favorites are Wynwood, Little Havana, and Little Haiti, and the amazingly quiet beaches out on Key Biscayne. But I have to say that our favorite family beach is on Sanibel Island on the west coast of Florida. We have two young boys—Levi, 3.5, and Bodhi, just under 1—and they’re always along for the ride. 

How would you describe your leadership style?

I grew up playing football and basketball and learned a lot about leadership through these sports. Business is a team sport, and you succeed and win together. I believe that leadership is about really understanding your own strengths and the strengths of your team members and making sure everyone is in the right position to best leverage those strengths. And really pushing yourself and the team to achieve things that no one individual could do on their own.