If you care to Google it, there are several versions of a quote about true leaders having a servant’s heart. This description fits neatly into David Canales’ profile. And the way he tells it, Canales discovered this part of his character early in his career. He is a man who truly enjoys helping people with their problems.
Canales finished his college degree in accounting while working full-time. During his studies he also picked up a minor in psychology. These right- and left-brained interests helped him to better understand and deal with people both in the workplace and outside of it.
Even then, he admits, he was far more interested in customer service than in accounting. “My career path sort of crept up on me,” he said. “I spent a lot of years working in taxes and accounting – burning the midnight oil and striving to meet deadlines – there was a lot of stress that went along with that. I was on the other end of what I’m doing now.”
For 30 years, Canales owned his own accounting firm which dealt with many tax-related issues. His clients included corporations, small businesses, and individuals – both residents and non-residents. This work made it necessary to talk with people about serious matters to learn about their financial troubles and how to best help them.
“When I met Sam Brotman, I felt he was approaching his business in a unique way, one that really resonated with me. I could relate to him and wanted to take part in his venture. I know how important it is to actively seek out the right clients,” Canales said.
Working again with business owners and individuals that have tax issues, he now assists people in a different manner. The background he acquired in his many years of accounting and tax work helps him to ascertain whether the people he talks to have come to the right place. “I know what they’re going through so I can be empathetic and ask the right questions. This way I can be of service as senior intake concierge to both our prospects and the firm.”
When asked what he considers to be his greatest professional accomplishment Canales smiled and said “I got myself through school while working for another company but after I finished my degree, I started my own business and was able to support my family for most of my career.”
Canales loves to take the bull by the horns and enjoys getting involved in projects from the bottom up. “As long as I know what you want, I’ll use whatever ‘MacGyver tool I have in my box to get the job done.”
Community-oriented, Canales is very active in his church. Literally from the ground up he helped to build the facility space from 250 to 3,000 seats. He also facilitates community groups, is a marriage counselor and works through the prison ministry – “cultivating encouraging relationships with men serving sentences in the Federal Correctional Centers through a letter writing program.” From all of these outside endeavors he derives a great deal of satisfaction.
In his free time, Canales and Becky, his wife of 42 years, enjoy a great deal of traveling. A favorite trip he recalled was to Germany. Once they arrived, they had nothing planned except to make the flight back to the States on time. He and Becky just lived in the moment, traveling from Munich to Vienna and Salzburg in Austria. They made friends, enjoyed Oktoberfest, saw many famous sights, and stayed in quaint, romantic places.
Who says the heart of a servant can’t be an adventurous one too?