Meet Craig. L. Collins.
Collins, an experienced telecommunications industry leader who has recently been appointed Senior Vice President, Commercial Sales and Operations for the West Region of Frontier Communications Corporation, is a leader in providing communications services to urban, suburban, and rural communities.
Collins’ career has been steadily climbing over the past 25 years, having held numerous executive positions at Time Warner Cable, Kaplan University, XO Communications, and Intermedia Communications.
BlackEnterprise.com wanted to know how Collins has done what’s he’s so successfully done, exactly what he’s doing now, and what he’s planning to do next. Catch his insight below:
BE: How did you end up in this position?
Collins: I would have to say, some of it has just been brute force and hard work. I have touched every rung on the ladder throughout my career. I’ve also had the experiences, purposely, in varying types of roles, in multiple companies ranging from sales, marketing, product development, product management, as well as running large and small operations. Throughout my career, I made sure I built a foundation to hit certain parts, so I could get a lens to how businesses work, run, and grow holistically. I’ve moved around a lot, so I’ve had the opportunity and ability to see a lot of different pieces of companies and figure out how to actually get them to perform well.
BE: What did you do to strategically position yourself for this opportunity?
Collins: A long time ago, I had three mentors. Each of them landed on, “Make sure you can outline where you want to be and where you want to end up, even if it’s a dream. Make sure you start there, and figure out a way to work yourself backwards to ultimately get there.”
When I was starting out, my goal was to be an officer at a company and to run a sales organization. I’m glad to say I surpassed those goals. It was the understanding and knowledge of setting goals for yourself, putting them down on a piece of paper, and positioning yourself to look at people or areas that are doing things you want to do, to understand how you need to accomplish your goals.
BE: Looking back on your career, is there anything that you would’ve done differently?
Collins: I would have spent more time making sure I was networking in areas that would help me build-out a portfolio of different opportunities to pursue. There is value in making sure that you’re not myopically focused, specifically in your industry.
BE: What do you think was the biggest deciding factor for your company in offering you this position?
- I think I’m a cultural fit for Frontier.
- Diversity; for any company to be successful, you need to mirror your markets, your customers, and what they’re after.
- The biggest one has been my background and my track record. I have been successful and built businesses everywhere I’ve gone throughout my career. I haven’t taken a role where I haven’t had very high achievement.
BE: What’s next? What does your professional dream look like?
Collins: If [I’m] not the CEO of a company, I would like to run the entire operations of a Fortune 500 business. I think I’m poising myself to be able to do that.
BE: What advice would you give to someone looking to someday fill your shoes?
Collins: Take advantage of your access to information and education. Become informed as much as you can, as best as you can. Surround yourself with the people that will help you guide your life in the direction that you want to go it.
Also, mentors; you need to be active in your career pursuits to identify people who are doing things you want to do, and see if you can understand what they’re doing to help you progress your career. If somehow a relationship gets struck, that’s 100% better.