Most recently, you worked for Keynote as President and CEO! Other than the role itself, what would you say was your biggest success in that position?
I think building an incredible and highly complimentary team that engenders culture of innovation was a great feat. It allowed us to perfect our customer focused initiatives. What makes this a success is that we started from a different place. So in a short time, we brought in new people with amazing talent to build one of the most incredibly talented teams and most fun teams I’ve ever worked with.
Thank you for supporting our efforts at Lady Pitch Night USA! We know you like to support organizations that help inspire women. Why is helping other women important to you?
It’s a gender diversity challenge we see in tech and in the corporate world in general. It’s significant and we are not progressing as fast as I would like. I am the mother of a daughter so naturally helping other women is a must. I believe you should try and give back to communities who have given so much to you. The many people who have cheered me on and supported me on becoming successful have been other women. It’s not just family, but also stay at home moms, connections at my kid’s school, etc. Those people inspired me to help others become successful.
The definition of success in every man is different. One thing I’m learning is that we have the tendency to want to measure success based on our own goals. This is wrong and I don’t do this anymore. Success should be measured based on that person’s own definition of success, so it’s important to first find out what that means–for them.
I’m surrounded by brilliant women who are doing lots of different things. Whether they are paving paths or maybe even doing things for the first time, if I can help them in any way, then I will and for me that is rewarding. I learn from that experience, just like they do. What keeps me innovative as a leader is being around people who see things differently, in another area of expertise. It offers perspective. There are huge benefits in spending time with bright women who want to make a difference. I just feel it is my responsibility to help others. I had wonderful mentors and support in every stage of my career.
Overall, I love doing it. I think it’s important.
Can you tell our audience what your topic is for our upcoming Lady Pitch Night SF event?
I’m still putting together my concepts but here is a sneak peek at what I’m looking at:
- Surrounding yourself with great partners. Business contacts and personal investors alike, choosing the right partnerships is important. Founders don’t think this through. You want to be around people who support you in being successful. You want people who not only help you make the hard decisions, but who you can also confide in with the decisions you are making.
- Bringing your true personality to work. What makes work fun for me is that I won’t spend time dong something if I am not having a good time. My will to keep things constructive speaks to the type of person I am. If I didn’t leverage that side of myself because I felt it didn’t fit the norm, I nor my team would not realize their own full potential.
- Make sure that as a founder and as you’re building your journey to find the right balance between storytelling and measurable fundamentals that make your business successful. Tracking to measurable targets (which is a good business practice) and telling a story is beautiful, brilliant, and smart. My advice is to find the right balance between storytelling and keeping the right metrics to use as a scorecard to improve performance and return value to different stakeholders.
With so many successful female entrepreneurs out there, we have a lot to be inspired by. What words of inspiration can you offer anyone who is climbing the entrepreneurial success ladder?
Strongly believe in what you’re doing and you’re in a position to be successful in leading. Be confident. Your confidence will engender others to confide in you. You have a responsibility to your team, your family, and your colleagues to believe in yourself.
While you can surround yourself with people who are supportive, you also have to feel inner strength. Your customers depend on you for it. You should still be transparent when challenges come up, but when you want to generate belief to others that will have a positive impact in your space, you have to emit that confidence.
- Don’t be afraid to do something you don’t know how to do. It costs me nothing to take a phone call from someone to mentor them. I can’t help someone with something they don’t ask me for.
- Enjoy the ride. Enjoying the hair raising, uncomfortable, dangerously and equally rewarding moments is important. Think about examples you are setting for those around you.
- Make sure you’re having fun. When I interview people, they have to pass my pug test. Would I spend a 14 hour day with this person, and STILL want a drink with them 4 hours later? Team chemistry is a tie breaker to success. Businesses fail because they choose smart people who look good on paper, but if you have no team chemistry it just won’t work.
Thanks so much Jennifer. You provided such great detailed insight today! See you at Lady Pitch Night SF.