Leadership Lessons from John Imlay and Tom Noonan

November 18th, 2011
MMM Tech Perspectives


The Technology Executives Roundtable (TER) on November 15th celebrated the 2nd Annual John Imlay Leadership Award honoring Tom Noonan, co-founder of Internet Security Systems, CEO of Joulex and a pioneer in the Atlanta technology community.

Earlier in his career, Tom was a young executive at MSA, working under the tutelage of John Imlay. As the namesake for the leadership award, John Imlay led a fireside chat with Tom, and they shared the following leadership lessons.

1. People are the Key – Tom recollected the signature key lapel pin developed by John given to each MSA employee. The key signified that employees were the key asset of every successful company. As John remarked, “There’s no substitute for direct and personal interaction with employees – – Skype is nice but face-to-face interaction is imperative to building a strong culture.”

2. Creating the Culture – Tom highlighted the importance of hiring the right people as a critical element to creating and building a strong company culture. He noted the importance of asking each prospective employee a key question – – “Why do you want to come to work for our company? ”

3. Sales, Sales & Sales – Both tech leaders noted that sales was one of the most significant focal points for a successful company. Sales ability is such an important skill that everyone should develop it regardless of the role they otherwise play in a company. They also noted the importance of recognizing sales talent and nurturing it – – a good sales executive is coin operated!

4. Giving Back –Both men highlighted the importance of supporting the community, and John noted that he has helped to fund over 125 companies during his thirty years of service. The foundations established by both John and Tom have given much back to many communities around the world.

For more insights on John Imlay’s leadership lessons and the positive impact he has had on tech leaders you can read his book, Jungle Rules: How to be a Tiger in Business.

Below are pictures from the event:


Watch the MMM Tech Law interview with Tom Noonan by clicking  here.