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Powered by People | David Sluder Leadership Q & A

David Sluder

Chief Operations Officer

David Sluder serves as the Chief Operations Officer and is responsible for overseeing the daily administrative and operational functions that keep Optus running smoothly. With 33+ years of experience in the technology and telecommunication industries, David is a strategic asset in developing and delivering innovative business services and driving profitable revenue growth.

Though his title is officially COO, David wears many hats at Optus and is informally yet aptly referred to as our Chief Problem Solver. He leads many aspects of our corporate operations, including Accounting and Finance, HR, IT, Plant Operations, Purchasing, and Service Delivery. Prior to joining Optus in 2005, David served as Vice President of Technology Operations at Teleflora where he was responsible for networking and point-of-sale technologies as well as software implementation and support. David holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Arkansas State University.

Born in Dallas and raised in Illinois, David moved to Arkansas in 1979. He enjoys spending time with his wife and family, playing golf, hunting, and spending time on the lake. Also, thanks to time spent in the floral industry, he can make a mean flower arrangement.

Q & A

In your own words, describe what makes a great leader.

A great leader is someone who can communicate a vision, develop a plan, and lead and inspire people to deliver on it. A great leader is someone who values people and is committed to serving and developing them.

What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

I need to feel a sense of accomplishment. Whether it’s work or personal, I like the feeling of having a purpose and getting things done.  

Who is someone you admire as a mentor? 

I think as you go through life there are different people at different times in your life that you follow and try to emulate to some degree, whether it’s professional, personal, or spiritual. I admire anyone who is willing and able to spend time giving of themselves to help others.

How can a leader fail?

A leader fails if you lose your integrity or compromise your principles. A leader fails when his team fails. 

Describe your perfect team.

I tend to like cross-functional working teams—a group of individuals from across the organization coming together to solve a problem or institute a new product or process. These kinds of teams build relationships and understanding across the organization.

What is your greatest strength? Your greatest weakness?

I think one of my greatest strengths is good decision-making, which comes from asking the right questions and analyzing the data. While there are several weaknesses I could list, procrastination can creep in and cause me not to be as effective as I could be.  

What do you like to do when you aren’t leading the Optus team?  

Outside of Optus, I enjoy playing golf, spending time at the lake, and traveling. There are so many places in this country and the world to see; I want to experience as many as possible.

What’s a fun fact about yourself?

I am one of the least handy people at home to fix things. In all honesty, my wife fixes more things than I do!

What’s your favorite quote?

There are a couple I like right now:

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right! — Henry Ford

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. — Martin Luther King

What makes Optus different?

Well, it may be overused, but it’s the people. There is such a strong sense of people wanting to do a good job and taking pride in what they do. Many, many times, I have been so proud of something someone did to take care of a customer—something that was so over and above, it was amazing.