We sat down with Bryan Nadeau exactly one year after he became Vice President of Conservation Attractions with the Johnny Morris Foundation to see how his experience at SeaWorld and Anheuser Busch has shaped his vision for the future of our local conservation giant.
On finding the perfect fit: “What I found was the passion for conservation and education, for the quality of experience, for presentation and the guest experience was perfectly aligned with what I’ve been working with for the past 22 years as part of the SeaWorld Parks family, so that made a very easy transition for me. I jokingly said to some that I traded Shamu and roller coasters for goliath groupers, horseback trails and Segways.”
On what keeps him up at night: “In leadership roles, it’s very important that you’re always thinking about, are you taking care of the people you’re in charge of or are working with and sharing the journey with so that they can in turn take care of all the guests. The people that you share the journey with are what’s important. The rest of it is just a building or a trail; it’s the people that make it, and I think that our obligation in a leadership role is to first take care of them, they’ll take care of the guests, and everything else will fall in place.”
On the best advice he’s received: “I had a leader who worked with me years ago who said, ‘You learn a lot more listening than you do talking,’ and I think that’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to sit back and listen to those people around you and then take what they’re saying to heart, and when you do that, you’re going to be successful and come out on the other side stronger.”
On fatherly advice: “My oldest son works for the theme parks in Florida now, and he’s in an entry-level leadership role, so we sometimes have some philosophical discussions on leadership. He doesn’t listen to me any more than I would have listened probably at that age. [My advice to him is] focus on what you can control and what outcomes you have. You can’t often worry about what the other guy is doing. I can’t change what the competition is doing, but I can control what is in my control for myself or for the organization that I’m leading. And if you focus on that you’re going to be successful. Anything else is a waste of your energy.”
On his office decor: “I have a desk in my office that is nothing but pictures of family. There’s one of my son and [me] fishing; there are a couple of me and Shamu, lots of pictures of my wife and kids, our friends, memories you collect along the way. It’s probably famously known that you won’t have a very long conversation with me without me pulling out my phone and showing you a picture of a kid or a dog.”