Keith Turner was excited to transfer from Comcast Twin Cities to take on the role of Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Comcast California, the largest region in the company. Moreover, he couldn’t wait to meet his new team. But the pandemic had something else in mind. “It’s starting to improve,” Keith says, “but to this day, I’ve still only met a fraction of my team in person. I had one set of plans, but Covid had another!”
Keith’s leadership has yielded impressive results – consistent year-over-year growth and competitive momentum, are mainstays of Keith’s performance. More importantly, Keith is known for his passion for developing people. “It’s all about putting the team first. Helping people grow into and get what they want out of their career.”
He began his career with Comcast in 2006 as a customer service representative, where he gained a genuine appreciation for what it takes to connect with customers and provide excellent service. He went on to lead a variety of teams in different functions and levels. Throughout these experiences, he learned how to build relationships quickly and how to make an impact.
But when the global pandemic pushed us all into a new world of “remote and virtual everything,” Keith, like all of us, was challenged to learn a new set of leadership skills.
“Connecting with our people became even more important, not less,” he says. “Visibility is everything, and I had to be more intentional. Whether it was creating virtual interactions that would have naturally occurred in the office, or spending time in the field with our teams that never left. As leaders, we have to share that burden and experience with the team.”
As a leader with a successful, 15-year track record, Keith shares his Bold Moves in Leadership with us.
How would you describe your role?
I’m responsible for the growth of our Xfinity products and brand here in California. This means I have the honor of supporting our amazing salespeople and leading our marketing and competitive strategy for the region.
How has it been leading a new team during the pandemic?
It’s been different than any transition I’ve ever had. I certainly miss the face-to-face engagement with my home-based teammates but in some ways it’s no different. Getting away from the screen and visiting our retail teams or getting out to knock doors with our Xfinity Sales Professionals is still the most refreshing part of my job. I could not have felt more welcomed than I did by the entire California team. They’ve made my life easy, helping me adapt to California. Personally, and professionally, they’ve been fantastic.
What challenges have you faced when leading during the pandemic?
The business environment is different, particularly here in California. We’ve seen folks moving out of the cities and out of the state. We’ve had to play the game differently than we’ve had to in the past. And we’re not the only ones on the field, right? We’ve got competitors who are feeling the same pressures on their natural business rhythms. So, it’s caused them to become more aggressive. We love to compete, and I think our results showed that. We had one of our best growth years ever, despite the challenges.
I don’t think we can ever say this enough — our people have been fantastic. Whether it’s our tech ops teams, our field teams, everybody in our retail teams who had to do their jobs differently. We’ve got a record we can be proud of on employee safety and we get the job done at the same time.
What’s one bold move that paid off for you?
Relocating my family to pursue new opportunities was a bold move for all of us. One of the principles that has guided me professionally is prioritizing the pursuit of new skills, rather than titles or compensation. At times, staying true to that meant relocating for roles that were lateral in title, but rich in learning. Taking on the personal and professional risks associated with starting over in a new place should never be taken lightly but can pay off in big ways. Ultimately that’s what brought us to California, and we couldn’t be more grateful to be here.
You’ve been with Comcast since graduating from college. What is it about Comcast that caused you to want to build your career here?
Two things. One was an experience I had very early with the company. When I came to Comcast, my dad was terminally ill with cancer and I was two months into my call center role. Back in those days, we had a pretty serious perfect attendance expectation in the first 90 days. As my dad was in the last couple of weeks of his life, I missed some work. In keeping with the attendance policy, I fully expected to find a new job. But instead of needing to find a new job, I had flowers show up at my house with a note from the entire leadership team at the call center I worked in saying that they had my back.
That was an early moment where I realized the type of company this was, the type of people that this company was made of and the heart this company had. They treated me great even though I had only been there for a couple of months. I hadn’t contributed any significant value yet. They certainly didn’t owe me anything. That was a big defining moment for me. And since we’re talking about bold moves, that’s one I’d attribute to Comcast – it was bold of them to approach me that way, they took a risk…and it paid off for all of us.
The second is the fact that I’ve never felt constrained in my career by anything other than my own desires and capabilities. If my desire, my capability could meet the moment, I had access to whatever next opportunity there was. I still feel that way today. So, I would say those two things keep me with Comcast — the heart of our company, knowing I work for people who really care, and the ability to be challenged and grow.
You’ve worked for Comcast in various cities including Twin Cities and Denver. What attracted you to the role here in California?
It was a challenge to join the largest region in Comcast and arguably the most complex and the most dynamic environment to operate in. I was attracted to that.
What are some areas you hope to see Comcast grow?
We will need to continue to grow in the area of customer experience. We’ve grown a lot within the last five years, but we’ve still got a long way to go. All the data tells us that our image with consumers is so much better than it ever has been and that’s true. But we know we can bring greater ease to the customer experience and we will do that. We’re all working hard on that every day, and we will continue to do so. I have confidence in our company and our people that we can do that. Our folks are out there doing great work, making every interaction count, and we continue to challenge ourselves in terms of our processes, policies and how we operate.
We’re living in a time where corporations, including Comcast, are taking a stand on social issues more than ever. Why do you think it’s important that Comcast be involved in these conversations?
I’ve always said that it is our responsibility to grow our business in a way that our customers and employees can be proud of. This is part of that. Comcast has been leading in these spaces for quite some time. Our broadband adoption program for low-income families, Internet Essentials, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. We’re always looking for new ways to show where we stand. RISE is a great example; it started last year and provides tools and resources for small businesses owned by people of color. I’m so proud of our company’s record of being at the forefront of these conversations and more importantly, consistently taking action.
What are you passionate about outside of the workplace or outside of your role?
It’s all about the family. My wife Ashley and I have three kids 10, 9 and 2. We love to hike and to get outdoors. So being new here in California, it’s like a giant adventure for us. We go and see these new places that are stunning and just different than any other part of the country we’ve lived in, whether it’s the giant redwood forest or the coastline. I would say certainly spending time with the family, but it’s taken on a whole new flavor since moving here because now we all get to explore the beauty of California.
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