Congratulations to Kenan-Flagler alumnus Pete Canalichio (MBA ’90), who was appointed CEO of the Atlanta Dream in January 2012. The Atlanta Dream is part of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), the world’s longest-running women’s professional sports league.
Canalichio is also the founder of Licensing Brands, Inc. and previously held leadership roles at Newell Rubbermaid, Tula Communications and Coca-Cola, specializing in branding and sports marketing across the Olympics, MLB, NHL, NASCAR and the FIFA World Cup. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and was also an award-winning Naval aviator and instructor pilot.
In his new role, Canalichio is in charge of business operations for the Atlanta Dream and oversees the departments of finance, human resources, marketing and communications, sponsorship, and ticket sales and service.
“I feel like this is a bit of divine intervention and that I’ve been preparing my whole life for this job,” says Canalichio. “My goals are to drive a shared vision for our organization and remove roadblocks to enable the team to be successful,” says Canalichio. “We have a tremendous group of women and men who are highly skilled and motivated, and my job is just to be a good leader to them.”
“I have a special hook that brought me in and that’s my identical twin daughters, who are 13. I thought what a cool way for me as their father to help motivate them and give them the chance to be everything that they can be by looking at the incredible women who play on our team – all college graduates.”
“What I love about the WNBA is that it really mirrors the way that collegiate basketball is played with a lot of attention to the basics. It’s an ideal role for me, and I’m really privileged.”
Canalichio, a recipient of The Richard H. Jenrette Fellowship as a student here, says that Kenan-Flagler gave him the ultimate preparation for a career in business. “For a military officer, it was a transition to understand the basics of business. The experience gave me access to great leaders as well as the classmates that I learned so much from. Kenan-Flagler sets up the program in a way that enables you to learn as much from your classmates as you do from the professors, which is a phenomenal success story.”
Since graduating, he continues to stay involved with the school, recently hosting a Leadership Immersion class on an executive trek to Atlanta and participating on a panel of scholarship and fellowship recipients last fall. He has a couple of tips for recent graduates:
- “If you’re looking for a job, networking is absolutely the best way to get a job, and social media, such as LinkedIn, is a phenomenal way to reach people. I am a huge believer in supporting folks who are looking for a job. Use your social networks to make your connections and help you get that job.”
- “If you already have a job, my advice is to do your best to hit the ground running. Think about what a 30-60-90 day plan looks like. If you share the fact that you’ve thought about what you want to do in the first 30 days, your manager is going to see that you are thinking about your job and really want to be on the right track.”
“In my case, when anyone who works for me has a challenge, what I want to hear is ‘Here’s what I recommend, here’s why I recommend it and do I have your approval or not?’ That is so motivating for me because I know that they have thought about it, they own their responsibilities and now they are looking for guidance. I think that Kenan-Flagler does a phenomenal job in preparing graduates for that approach to business.”
Note: The Atlanta Dream tips off its fifth season on May 25 at Philips Arena, and Pete would love to hear from any Kenan-Flagler or UNC alum: “I look forward to hosting them at a WNBA game with the Dream this summer, and the first game is on me.” For more information, contact Pete at firstname.lastname@example.org.