Even though he hasn’t been involved in organized sports since his days as a player for the Saskatchewan Huskies basketball team more than two decades ago, Brent Allison says he is a professional team player.
“I’ve grown up with teams, and the desire to compete within a team concept is something special to me,” says the 39-year-old vice-president of marketing for Telus Partner Solutions.
Starting his career in the agriculture industry at DowElanco in 1993, Allison made the move to Nortel Networks in 1997 and has worked in the telecom industry ever since.
By the time he was offered a job at Telus in 2001, Allison was ready to apply his technology expertise and his already well-formed leadership skills to a management role. He now leads a team of more than 60 people who help market Telus to corporate partners and other telecom providers around the world.
“We take the best of what Telus has to offer and sell it across the globe,” Allison says. “I enjoy bringing people together seamlessly with our services, no matter where they are in the world, to solve some of our biggest global challenges.”
Allison’s department is now thriving — it has been one of the top-performing business units in Telus for four out of the last five years, and the unique marketing plan that his team created has been responsible for several hundred million dollars worth of business. However, this wasn’t the case when Allison arrived at Telus. In 2001, with the tech bubble burst, the market to sell to other service providers was in decline.
“When I first started with Telus, the high-tech bubble took many of our customers down and reduced the expansion aspirations of many more, so many service providers chose to stop selling to other service providers,” says Allison. He and his team recognized that this area could now be their niche, because, he says, “the customers that remained needed us more than ever before.”
Today, Allison and his team serve more than 700 corporate customers worldwide, are responsible for all of Telus’s global markets, and are always trying to anticipate the future.
“We are evolving to be four industries in one: communications, IT, security and entertainment,” he says. Allison also believes in cooperation amongst service providers worldwide, who he hopes to continue to collaborate with. “This will only enhance innovation,” he says.
Allison has the soft skills for teamwork, but he’s also a technology junkie. He has found ways to satisfy both in his career and his volunteer work. He is the vice-chair of the Alberta Science and Technology Leadership Foundation, which encourages and celebrates scientific and technological achievements in Alberta and sits on the board of WiTech Alberta, an industry association that supports advancement in the province’s wireless and telecom industries. “These groups are looking at furthering the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation in Alberta,” he says.
Allison volunteers on the selection committee of the Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation and advises students in the University of Calgary’s MBA mentorship program.
His ability to get the best out of himself and his team of employees has set Allison and his entire department apart from his competitors. “It is amazing what can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit,” he says, noting that the quote — by former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden — is his personal mantra.
Why he’s the top:
He has helped his team become one of the most successful and important business units in Telus, and contributes a significant amount of time and energy to community involvement, volunteering and mentoring.
The key to his success:
“When I look back to the successes in my career, I see them as directly linked to team members at the time,” Allison says.