Q&A with Clayton Connor
Clayton Connor, senior telecom consultant, ATC
Photo by Brian Ambs
LEAD Cincinnati sat down with Connor when he was honored as a 2015 Great Leader Under 40.
LEAD Cincinnati: What is the best advice you've received from a parent, mentor or influential person?
Clayton Connor: It’s hard to pick just one thing that changed my life. I think, with me it’s just my general lifestyle and how my parents chose to raise me. They taught me to be honest, trustworthy, responsible, to be someone with high integrity.
LC: What is a pivotal or defining moment in your work life?
CC: It would have to be when i came on board at Advanced Technology Consulting (ATC), which was about 11 years ago. It came along at a really good time for me. It was a small company, but it’s one that was on the rise, and that has proven to be the case ever since. So that was clearly a pivotal moment in my career.
LC: What three characteristics do successful leaders need to have, and of those three, what is the one with which you struggle the most?
CC: Firstly, I think it’s important for successful leaders to be good listeners. That is very important. Secondly, I would say successful leaders need to have some sort of contagious, charismatic personality or some enthusiasm that people can rally around. Lastly, I would say successful leaders need to have overall integrity. People want to follow someone whom they know is a person of real integrity. I think if you take those three things and are able to put them together, you’d be in pretty good shape.
As for me, I sometimes struggle with that charismatic personality. Sometimes I can be pretty low-key. But when you have to rally the troops, it’s definitely important to kick it up a notch.
LC: Where did you think you were headed when you graduated from college, and where would you like be 10 years from now?
CC: Maybe this is unusual, but I knew exactly where I was headed when I graduated from college. I graduated from Duke University in 1998, and I knew I was coming back home because I was engaged at the time to a girl from Batavia, and I was from Williamsburg, so we were coming back home to get married that summer.
As far as 10 years from now, being in our position at ATC, where we are really seeing a lot of growth, it is an exciting time to be a part of our company. I expect that I am still going to be there, but I expect that our business and company is going to look a lot different in 10 years. I also expect a bigger family – maybe not immediate family but cousins, grandkids... Who knows what will happen in 10 years!
LC: What is it like living in Cincinnati as a young professional?
CC: I enjoy being downtown for business events, I like the energy and the vibe. Just the energy and the feel of being downtown is great, it has a different sort of buzz about it than being in the suburbs. But I like the suburban life too. It’s a bit of a tricky question because I do see myself as more of a suburbanite.
Favorite burger in Cincinnati?
My wife’s homemade burgers
Favorite Graeter’s Ice Cream flavor?
Mocha chocolate chip
Favorite Cincinnati neighborhood?
Indian Hill (it’s fun to dream!)
Favorite gift to receive?
Clothes that I wouldn’t otherwise buy on my own.
Favorite thing to wear?
Jeans, tennis shoes and a comfortable hoody.
Favorite comic book or toy growing up?
Favorite vacation spot?
The beach…Myrtle Beach or Clearwater, not too picky
Favorite sporting event or concert you’ve been to?
Duke vs. North Carolina basketball game in Cameron Indoor Stadium
Favorite quote or mantra?
“Wisdom is knowing the right path to take. Integrity is taking it.”