Executive managing director, Colliers International
A self-described “chameleon,” Ryan Vaught is accustomed to, as he puts it, “running parallel paths.” Growing up, his family moved often, and he attended 11 different schools. “Tampa is the ninth different city I’ve lived in,” he says.
That ability to adapt served him well when he decided to join the military, where people of all races, religions and socioeconomic backgrounds are thrown together and molded into a team with clearly defined goals.
“At 21 years old, I was in charge of 45 people,” he says. “Kids who are 18 and men in their late 30s, early 40s. You have leaders above you, but your feet are held to the fire at a very young age.”
Vaught left active duty around the same time his interest in business grew — though until recently he continued to serve in the National Guard as part of the U.S. Army’s 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, based in Pinellas Park. He satisfies his leadership and team-building itch via a long-running side gig as a youth soccer coach, a job to which he devotes as many as 20 hours per week.
“I've always held the belief that I'd much rather have two doors to choose to walk through than just one,” he says. “From a professional standpoint, I would deal with developers, bankers and lawyers most of the month, but then I'd go off and play soldier for three or four days, then I'd come back from being a soldier and put the coaching hat on.”
He adds, “I’ve been blessed by either creating or being a part of a lot of really talented teams.”