We recently hosted the first of our W.I.T. Republic US Entrepreneur meetups: ‘Ladies Who Launch’, we were joined by two incredible women who are leaders within the Salesforce ecosystem; Sara Hale, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of CoastalCloud, and Deena Tearney, Founder and CEO of Pacific Point.
The event was a real success, with interesting insights shared between our two speakers and the attendees throughout their presentations and the networking session. Below are some key take-aways from the event as well as the full event video.
Breaking the Rules to Improve Business and Lives
Co-Founder and Managing Partner of CoastalCloud, Sara Hale, started the event by discussing how businesses can change the traditional workspace to encourage more diversity and retain women in tech.
Sara emphasised how changing the way companies measure and define success in their workplace performance can make all the difference. Increasing diversity in your organisation will ultimately make you more profitable and increase client success.
Sharing some research findings from LinkedIn, it was clear that more needs to be done to improve diversity and inclusion in the industry; 28% of software engineers are women, an increase of 3% in 15 years. Taking a historical look at the workplace, Sara highlighted how the media tend to also change the way they portray the workplace, and women in the workplace. The definition of the workplace is changing because the workforce is changing.
The 3 goals of Sara’s presentation were to discuss and offer strategies for:
- Diversity and Inclusion = employee satisfaction
- Client Success = customer retention
- Profitability = a sustainable business model
In order to create a workplace that values a balance between work and family Sara offers eight solutions. Solution 1: telecommuting. As the current pandemic has highlighted to many businesses, in some cases it doesn’t matter where your employees work as they can still get the job done thanks to the technology that is now available.
But there are debates about telecommuting. Working remotely has the potential to offer more distractions than in an office environment and it can be difficult to gage how productive employees are during the day. There’s the challenges of creating a team culture and developing rapport when not face-to-face, people may work to different schedules and it can be hard to ‘switch-off’ from the job. However, telecommuting might work for your organisation and lead to a better work-life balance for your employees reducing staff turnover.
The second solution Sara proposed was to create more flexibility. Flexibility can be your biggest tool for recruiting and retention; it’s ideal for people with children who need a schedule that fits around their life for now, or who are responsible for senior care, or have other responsibilities. Sara offered her top tips for creating a flexible workplace:
- Check-ins help to gage the workload
- Metrics can be created for some roles
- There should always be someone ‘holding down the fort’
- Need for an understanding among employees so they work as a team
The third solution: inclusive interviews. Can the talent that you are trying to hire see themselves working there? Do they feel that their priorities outside the workplace will be respected?
Solution four: use technology. Take advantage of the most modern technology to offer these flexible and telecommuting workplaces.
Solution five: recruit differently. Not all tech candidates went to tech schools. Consider looking in different places and for different criteria other than a degree. Perhaps look at aptitude and skills that are needed for the role.
The sixth solution is to track and highlight promotions. Sara indicates that women may not go after promotions as much, so it is important to track promotions and do it equally, even if it is not being asked for.
A must for imporving diveristy and inclusion within your oganisation is to get the help of your employees (solution seven). Advocate internally to recruit more diverse candidates.
The final solution Sara offers is to talk and promote the benefits your organisation offers for women as one size does not fit all. Instead of asking your candidate to adjust to your workplace, the workplace needs to adjust for the talented tech candidate.
Think Like a CEO
Deena Tearney, Founder and CEO of Pacific Point, focused her talk around a question she gets asked a lot: ‘How did you do it?’
The short answer is that Deena thinks like a CEO. Throughout her talk, Deena shares three mindset take-aways, in order to think like a CEO and links each mindset to her own journey as an entrepreneur:
- Cast a Vision
Having a vision is a part of your mindset, it allows you to look ahead and visualize how you see yourself. Vision drives your daily action. Deena emphasises how having a vision can help you to have hope in the day-to-day as you work towards becoming a CEO. Vision allows you to have perspective and can motivate you when going through those tough days. It can also help you to action what needs to be done to achieve your end goal.
Deena’s vision for Pacific Point was to become the leading CRM Salesforce consulting partner in the state of Hawaii. Four years after starting the business, Pacific Point transitioned from offering generalist IT services to the point where Salesforce consulting services represent over 90% of their revenue.
2. Control what you CAN control (put in the work)
This is what helps you to think like a CEO when you face challenges along the way. This is even more pertinent during the current pandemic where there is a sense of uncertainty. It is important to adapt to your surroundings. Deena highlights how companies are seeking fast solutions, they want to leverage her company differently than they have in years passed and they want more for less. Deena emphasises that what she can control in this situation is how she and her company respond to this change in client need.
Having this feeling of control is empowering and enables you to become a navigator in difficult circumstances.
3. Never give up
Deena mentions that this is perhaps the most difficult mindest of all three. For her company and herself personally, Deena highlights that there were a number of times where they were not taken seriously.
There are countless times when you feel the pressure and wonder if it is all worth it, but having a vision helps you to stay motivated and focused, controlling what you can helps you be empowered to move forward, and having the belief and strength of mind to never give up is how Deena did it, and how you can begin to think like a CEO.
During the networking session after the two presentations, both speakers spoke about what inspired them to take the leap into starting their own businesses.
Thank you to both of our speakes for their inspiring talks, as well as everyone who attended the event. This was a great way to start our W.I.T. Republic US Entrepreneur meetup series. Don’t forget to register on our meetup page to stay updated on upcoming events!