Interview Tag: Board Member

Thilo Semmelbauer; Board Member, COO & President

Thilo Semmelbauer; Board Member, COO & President

Video Highlights

00:32 -- Success

01:30 -- Knowing Where You're Going

03:34 -- Failures of Timing

05:50 -- The Proudest Moments

07:31 -- "Shutter-stocking it"

08:31 -- Leadership Starts With A Vision

11:42 -- Generational Workforce

13:54 -- What Is Valued Most

14:54 -- Mentors

16:46 -- The Driving Force

19:26 -- The World As Your Oyster

20:15 -- Being Remembered

Tweetables

Creating #global #jobs, #touching #peoples #lives #Insights @ThiloSemm [Click To Tweet]

#Leadership always #starts with: #vision #plan #clarity #Insights @ThiloSemm [Click To Tweet]

@Shutterstock #revenues 50 million to 350 #million #Insights @ThiloSemm [Click To Tweet]

#How to build the #right #team #Insights @ThiloSemm [Click To Tweet]

#Breaking #paradigm shifts with the #availability of #information @ThiloSemm [Click To Tweet]

Thilo Semmelbauer: Two experiences worth mentioning when I started Weight Watchers online business, there was no revenue. It grew to a peak of about 400 million in revenue with, probably more importantly, millions of users. Many of them satisfied and some of them having had significant life changes, which was very gratifying.

Thilo Semmelbauer: Shutterstock is probably one of the things I’m most proud of in my career and during my time there, it grew from 50 million to 350 million in revenue over the course of five years.

Dave Carvajal: Yeah, and there was an IPO in there as well.

Thilo Semmelbauer: There was an IPO, which was I think a great confirmation for this sort of staying power in the company and the impact that it has on the industry.

Thilo Semmelbauer: It starts with a plan. You have to know where you’re going. Whether you get there through sheer insight or analysis and strategic thinking, you have to have a plan.

Thilo Semmelbauer: And then secondly, you have to build a team around you who gets bought into the plan and shares that with you. And often, finding those people, selecting them, that’s hard and that’s a lot of fun. It’s a part of what I spend a lot of my time on.

Thilo Semmelbauer: Often, the best people for those jobs aren’t the ones who’ve done it before. It’s sometimes the people who really want that as a next step in their career and they have a lot to learn. So that process of building the team is super exciting and it’s, at the end of the day, the most important thing.

Thilo Semmelbauer: I think finally, when you have a plan and a team, it’s about being nimble on your feet. It’s about testing, learning, evolving, pivoting, and solving problems every day.

Thilo Semmelbauer: Well, failure is a long topic. I’ve had my fair share of those. I think one category of failures is such interesting to talk about, it happened a couple of times in my career.

Thilo Semmelbauer: Once at Motorola in the 90’s when I launched a product that worked technically but nobody bought it. There’s no market for it, pre-cursor of what came later as smartphones but way too early for its time.

Thilo Semmelbauer: Sometimes you could have a great plan and you can have great people and great execution and you still don’t get any sales.

Thilo Semmelbauer: It happened to me also in ’99 when I was working with Sotheby’s to launch their online auction business. Now, many years later, the stuff is largely working.  But at the time, again, the site, the capabilities were there, the dealers were lined up and the business just wasn’t there, It was timing.

Thilo Semmelbauer: So I think failures of timing are interesting failures. I think that they’re just to be expected. It’s something that I really look out for now and in my recent jobs.

Thilo Semmelbauer: I think we try to be more careful about selecting to be part of things that were the time is right because that’s an important element of success and hard to control, except to select or deselect.

Thilo Semmelbauer: I think other failures have come from external events. I mean, one of the best things that ever happened to Shutterstock was when hurricane Sandy hit. And we were at a downtown office, right by the stock exchange. The office was flooded as what’s most of downtown, everybody knows what happened. And we had to scramble and find other space in midtown and people had makeshift offices in Brooklyn, in New Jersey.

Thilo Semmelbauer: And it was a failure of lack of preparedness at the end of the day because we didn’t anticipate something like that and the tech team was scrambling to put services in the Cloud.

Thilo Semmelbauer: It all worked, we never missed a beat in terms of serving customers and having the website running and even moving our projects forward, but during something like that, you really learn about the people on the team and who gets creative and figures out a way through that hardship and who kind of checks out and doesn’t show up for work.

Thilo Semmelbauer: It’s a very interesting learning experience so I think crisis can actually be very helpful for a company.

Thilo Semmelbauer: I think another failure, kind of on a personal level, I think earlier in my career, I probably was too afraid of failure. I think what was drilled into me in school as an engineering-oriented person and analyst.

Thilo Semmelbauer: I’ve viewed my success as getting to the right answer and not making mistakes. And I think it took me a while in my career to get comfortable with, failures as a necessary part, hopefully, small failures as a necessary part of the creative and building process.

Dave Carvajal: Thilo, what is the impact of some of your greatest achievements? What are you most proud of?

Thilo Semmelbauer: Yeah, well I mean, I think at Weight Watchers, the whole brand is around helping people so that’s something I really connected with. I mean, helping people lead healthier lives, lose weight, make personal transformations.

Thilo Semmelbauer: Weight Watchers had been doing that for 40 years but we were trying to bring that into the online experience as well and I think one of the most exciting things that happened after we built and launched the product was seeing people purchase it online. I mean, watching the ticker that people were actually buying what we built.

Thilo Semmelbauer: But, I think that paled in comparison to hearing stories of people months later and over the years that had success with it, with either right in or…

Thilo Semmelbauer: I would meet users, after having millions of users, it was not so hard to people who would just come up to me and say, “Wow, you were involved with Weight Watchers online. It really helped me, I lost 30 pounds. I became healthier. This happened, that happened.” And to hear those stories that people’s lives changed in some way, that made me feel great.

Thilo Semmelbauer: It happened at Shutterstock as well, although in different ways. I mean, even before I got there, the concept behind the Shutterstock subscription offering was very appealing.

Thilo Semmelbauer: But once we blew it out and got a lot more users on the platform and made the product better and improved the content, one woman came up to me who’s a customer who said, “We used Shutterstock so much we’ve turned it into a verb. In office, when we have a creative problem we say, ‘Hey, let’s Shutterstock it.’

Thilo Semmelbauer: And they go on the site and they got lots of ideas. And I had never thought about Shutterstock that way but the fact that it was getting such heavy use and had such appeal for creative people. That was very powerful.

Thilo Semmelbauer: And I think Shutterstock, being a marketplace business, equally powerful where some of the stories on the contributor side. I mean, photographers, videographers all over the world.

Thilo Semmelbauer: One woman, I remember we invited her into the office, who worked from her home in a small town in Siberia halfway around the world selling her images and her illustrations to customers all over the world and she was making a living doing that.

Thilo Semmelbauer: And there’s probably no way she would be able to pursue that passion without Shutterstock, so again, maybe small ways but important ways of touching people’s lives. I mean, that’s exciting.

Thilo Semmelbauer: Well, I think leadership always starts with a vision, a plan, I think. It can come from great inspiration or it can come from hard analytical and strategic work but it always starts with clarity of vision.

Thilo Semmelbauer: And I think the second part is getting other people on board. And that ultimately, I think, great leaders have a way of getting to know the people around them and motivating them.

Thilo Semmelbauer: You can’t motivate people who are all motivated by different things unless you get to know them, which requires listening, learning, observing, communicating–all those things to really connect so you can’t do it by yourself.

Thilo Semmelbauer: So I think it’s that combination of knowing where you want to go and being able to, at the end of the day, get others to follow. I think that’s what leadership is all about.

Thilo Semmelbauer: There’s a deeper thing perhaps underlying leadership that I didn’t mention and you’re making me think about it now. I think it’s kind of at the basic level of caring. So what does that mean?

Thilo Semmelbauer: I mean, caring about people. The people are going to help you. The people, together, are going to make it happen. And if you don’t care about them, it’s not going to work as well. It’s only going to work for a short time period.

Thilo Semmelbauer: So there’s something I don’t know quite to how to put words around it. But the teams that I have built and the people I’ve worked with, it’s like a relationship. I care about them, I want them to succeed, they want me to succeed, and there’s a bond there, I think, that makes it special and sometimes makes it work and you can build magic together.

Dave Carvajal: And it’s amazing how that leadership, Thilo, has inspired so many people in their own leadership growth and how they choose to lead and the active decision that they make in understanding how to be a better leader, creating value in the world.

Thilo Semmelbauer: I hope so. There’s a lot of people that I’ve worked with over the years that I’m still in touch with that are in leadership positions and they call me and ask for advice and I give them what I can.

Thilo Semmelbauer: Most of it is within them and they maybe need some help bringing it out. And that’s very gratifying, to see people move on and do amazing things. That’s part of the fun for me.

Thilo Semmelbauer: Yeah, it’s building great products and having impact on people’s lives but it’s also the relationships with the people you work with that is very gratifying.

Thilo Semmelbauer: You know, there are stylistic differences and cultural differences across the generation but I think what makes good people in a workplace is largely, I think, has not changed significantly. I would argue, I will argue.

Thilo Semmelbauer: I think simple problems are easy problems in a company can be solved by one person. Hard problems require people to work together.

Thilo Semmelbauer: Well, if they’re going to work with each other successfully, they need to have an ability to respect each other, they need to communicate well and they have to have some shared goals.

Thilo Semmelbauer: I think that is evidently possible and I’ve seen it over and over again across generations. So I put the commonality across generations of people who are effective in a workplace. To me, that is the most important thing.

Thilo Semmelbauer: And yeah, of course, then you’re getting to some of the stylistic differences and it’s common today that you go into a meeting and everybody has some sort of a screen or device in front of them.

Thilo Semmelbauer: 15 years ago, that was considered bad behavior because you could be doing something else instead of paying attention. But today, it’s a way of paying attention. Maybe people are taking notes on their laptops, who knows.

Thilo Semmelbauer: So those things, I think, are more superficial. For me, on the precipice of my 50th birthday, I love working with young people. For me, it’s very energizing.

Thilo Semmelbauer: I remember there was a moment at Shutterstock, I won’t go into the whole story but suffice it to say that we needed to get a hold of some BitCoin. And all of the 40-year olds were looking around the table like, “Uh, I don’t know how to do this.” And of course, the 25-year old at the company wound up producing the account and knew exactly how to navigate that world.

Thilo Semmelbauer: That’s one plus one equals three when you have that diversity around you and you can tap into different generations.

Thilo Semmelbauer: At its core, I think value most the ability to get stuff done, the ability to have impact, sort of “talk is cheap so let’s see what you can do.” And I think that is the way I judge myself. I think ultimately, what’s most important in others is that impact potential.

Thilo Semmelbauer: In order to have impact, you have to work out with other people. So a lot of other things follow that, including an ability to listen, which I think is rare.

Thilo Semmelbauer: But when I find it in people, I tend to think it’s a good sign because it shows that somebody doesn’t know everything, if they’re going to interact well with others to figure out the problem and perhaps even evolve their thinking because wherever their starting point was, it may not be necessarily right.

Thilo Semmelbauer: So to me, the ability to listen is critical to thinking and doing in a group but it’s not very common. So I do look for that.

Thilo Semmelbauer: I’ve sought out mentors, I think, over the years. I think many of them were my bosses and for some strange reasons, early on my career, I had lots of bosses who were yellers so there were lots of screaming.

Thilo Semmelbauer: It started in Motorola, in a production environment, it was a lot of yelling and screaming. And my boss was often very vocal.

Thilo Semmelbauer: In a production environment, it’s one of these no-win jobs where you either didn’t produce enough or there were too many people working on the shift so it’s too expensive or quality wasn’t high. You never get everything right, so there’s always something to yell at.

Thilo Semmelbauer: And I don’t think that my boss would say that he mentored me at the time but in a strange way, I think it toughened me up. So that was an early on experience.

Thilo Semmelbauer: I think later, I always try to learn different things from the people that I work with. Whether they were board members or my bosses, I sought that.

Thilo Semmelbauer: I don’t know if it was ever really formalized, I wouldn’t say that I had this kind of regular monthly meeting with a mentor but I definitely thought about picking out learnings from other people around me and trying to get better at being a leader myself.

Dave Carvajal: What has been your driving purpose, your noble cause maybe?

Thilo Semmelbauer: That’s interesting. I think I like solving hard problems that can be solved. I think at my core, I am a problem solver.

Thilo Semmelbauer: I’ve been involved in an organization called Action Against Hunger, for almost ten years now, that is dedicated to ending world hunger. You will say, “Okay, is that a problem we can solve?”

Thilo Semmelbauer: Yes, it’s a problem we can solve. It turns out that if you go back 25 years, in 1990, there were roughly a billion undernourished people on the planet out of five billion, so one in five. Just in the last couple of years when the stats were taken again, it was 800 million out of seven billion people, so one out of nine.

Thilo Semmelbauer: So actually making a progress now, it’s a tragedy that 800 million people around the world are undernourished but we know how to solve this. It’s about money, will, distribution, education, and politics.

Thilo Semmelbauer: It’s not about food production. The world has the capacity to fulfil these basic needs.

Thilo Semmelbauer: So I’ve been involved in that organization in part because I think it’s a problem that we can solve. It’s going to take a lot of time, maybe beyond my lifetime but that is worth doing. It’s a basic need and everything follows from that.

Thilo Semmelbauer: You can’t have a career without basic nourishment. So I mean, it is one of those things that I believe in. I think in a way, every business that I’ve been part of, there is some fundamental big problem to solve and maybe it’s not as big as world hunger but I get fascinated by the problem and trying to solve it in some way.

Thilo Semmelbauer: I do believe and maybe I’m not an optimist in this, like Diamandis that there is a lot of exciting possibilities around the corner. I think maybe more near in, if I think about the entrepreneurs that I’ve worked with and the ones I hope to work with over the coming years, I think there’s never been as an exciting time as now to start a business.

Thilo Semmelbauer: If I look back in my own life, when I was going to school that’s called the 80’s, the goal was get a job at a great big company and have security in that career.

Thilo Semmelbauer: With the internet, with software, with technology, with the availability of capital, the availability of information at everyone’s fingertips, I think the world is your oyster if you’re an entrepreneur today.

Thilo Semmelbauer: And I only wish I had gotten the bug earlier in my career. It came a little bit later but I think that’s one of the things that makes me excited. Also, about changing the world’s problems is the fact that if you have a great idea, you can basically go and make it happen today.

Thilo Semmelbauer: I’m very confident that with all of the smart brains and driven people that are out there, we’re going to make lots of great things happen. So that’s exciting.

Thilo Semmelbauer: I would like to be remembered as somebody who helped the world, who helped people and helped in some small way, maybe in some big way to come, was a positive force.

Thilo Semmelbauer: Maybe my father was sort of in my head on this question because he passed away a number of years ago that he would never let us complain at home, one of the things that we weren’t allowed to do was complain.

Thilo Semmelbauer: Yeah, maybe had they told me about it but then, it was always about “Well, what are you going to do that will turn it around, being a positive force and not a negative force?”

Thilo Semmelbauer: It’s like long-winded answer but I hope to be remembered as somebody who was a positive force in the world.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale; Board Member, GM, CMO

Aditi Javeri Gokhale; Board Member, GM, CMO

Video Highlights

00:28 -- Biggest Success

02:22 -- Education in the US

04:45 -- First Year at MIT

06:21 -- Failures & Learning

07:40 -- Aspects of a Leader

11:06 -- Opportunities on the Board

12:59 -- Work/Life Balance

Tweetables

What it takes to a #trailblazing #leader with Aditi Javeri Gokhale #CMO #Insights [Click To Tweet]

#Eyes to the #sky feet to the ground how to be a #powerful grounded #CMO #Insights [Click To Tweet]

The #first #big aspect of a #leader is #trust and its #foundation #Insights [Click To Tweet]

#Creating #leadership #skills with #vision and #empathy #Insights [Click To Tweet]

The #key to #managing your #team and #driving #results [Click To Tweet]

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: If look back and I sort of think about my career journey very early on, the first challenge I was given was to run membership rewards which as you know is one of the best loyalty programs in our financial services space.  Developing that revenue model, cost models for membership rewards we actually grew the revenue double digit without knowing a whole lot around marketing and loyalty marketing. It was probably my first big success, I’m talking many, many years ago. So that was probably one of the first ones.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: The second one was building up the whole digital platform for NutriSystem from soup to nuts everything.  Really doing it in less than a year and as you know Weight Watchers it took about eight years for them to develop a product which was probably not as complicated as New Me I think was probably my biggest success.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: I think the first thing that I’m most proud of was getting to go to MIT. I was 16 at that point, didn’t quite know what I was signing up for- absolute risk taker, took my first flight to Boston so I hadn’t actually taken an international flight ever in my life. But the whole application process with MIT as you probably know you’re required to do an interview. Your grades have to be stellar of course, but the fact that I aimed high so to speak was the only Indian after five years to get admitted on a four year scholarship. I think that was one of the biggest achievements at that point.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: I came to this country with 200 bucks in my pocket and you know did my undergrad in three instead of four years I think was probably something that I’m really proud of so that was one.  My mom worked right beside the United States Education Foundation and my mom’s office used to have amazing food in the cafeteria. So anytime I had a holiday I would try to go to her office just to eat the free food, that’s what happened.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: As I was passing by I saw the U.S. flag and I saw this United States Education Foundation and I said, okay let me check what this is. I walk in and there’s a guidance counsellor there and I kept talking to her and I talked to her about what I’ve done, and what I want to do, and my grades. She said, “You know what you got a really good shot at some of the top universities.”

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: We looked at about five schools I asked for the application, I didn’t want my parents to spend because they didn’t know about it so I actually asked for a fee waiver so that my entire application was for free, and that’s how I applied to MIT.  A big thing in our family was about education so all the women in our family are highly educated.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: My grandma is the first woman in Asia to start an all women’s music institute so music and education were two major sort of themes in my family. All of the women are educated in our family, all of them have careers. So while growing up my mom always worked so while growing up I always saw women treated equally with men.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: I’m from one of those families, okay we were middle class family but education was pretty big so when I talked to dad about my MIT part of it, I was more concerned because again youngest in the family, boarding a flight and coming to the U.S., I didn’t know how dad was going to react. Amazingly his first reaction was why didn’t you just tell me about this upfront right. He’s like who am I to stop you and for him MIT was like the bible, it is where most engineers aspire to go.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: So his daughter getting into this full four year scholarship so my parents had to pay 500 bucks a year, that was it. It was pretty amazing for him. He’s been most encouraging and somebody that I look up to. His one mantra in life has always been to me, eye on the sky feet to the ground.  Be a humble person but always aim high.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: My first year at MIT was incredibly challenging. We’re talking about, I’m not going to age myself, but we’re talking about less than 20{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} of the class being female.  Now I think it’s much more evenly split and we’re talking about the top half percent of the nation in this. We’re talking about the smartest kids on the planet all in one class.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: It wasn’t just the work, it was the accent, it was the food, it was the winters in Boston. I lived in a tropical country where we basically spoke with an English accent because the British ruled with us for many years. It was even the style of education where it wasn’t written, you actually had to think and it was very applied which was very different for me.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: Interestingly MIT recognizes that, because a large percentage of the class is international so your first year is pass/fail. You don’t get any grades in your first year so I was glad that was the case because my first semester was really very tough on, very tough. I had plenty of moments where I called my dad and I said, this is not the place for me and I think I got to pack my bags and come back. Just missing family, not having family in the United States. It was incredibly challenging but as I think back now and as I talk to my son about this stuff, that was what gave me the basic foundation to say anything is possible.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: I’m a big believer of having failures in life all throughout your career journey. I think it’s a very humbling experience, I think it’s something that really helps you learn and push your thinking. I’ve had quite a few failures and I’m not going to lie about it. I’ve had failures around product launches but what you do is you learn, you test, you refine, you iterate.  That’s sort of what you go about it.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: But I think the one that comes to mind early on has been around talent and hiring the wrong talent.  Early on in my career especially when I was getting into the sort of GM roles which you know, they hired me to sort of turn businesses around and I was very impatient to hire people very quickly. That probably has been my biggest learning is to take your time, do the job yourself but hire the right talent because your team is what makes you successful.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: I think a few mis-hires have helped me sort of take a step back as I think about every role of mine and what my team needs to be.  That hiring the right talent makes a huge difference in the team success, and the business success, and your personal success.  I think when it comes to good leaders and I’m always constantly trying to make myself a better person in the same way, the first big aspect of a good leader is trust and building trust.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: When you have trust you allow your team to start thinking creatively, to start thinking out of the box, to start taking risks. Making sure your team feels like you have their back I think building that trust is a big thing.  I think a good leader articulates a vision, even if it’s the initial vision very clearly.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: So somebody who has a very good vision of where the business needs to be I think a good leader has great empathy, again you need empathy because it’s not just about business results and succeeding in steamrolling people- it’s about doing it as a team. I think empathy is a big deal that I look at in leaders.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: This fire in your belly to succeed, I think I’m looking for that in a leader and most good leaders have that. I see this as an incredible opportunity, if you think about four generations or if you think about how the world is getting to be much more global and so well connected just given the space that I’m in which is the digital space, I see this as an incredible time.  If you think about the kind of products that you want to develop or technology that you want to develop, the customer always comes first right.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: If you think about the workforce that has sort of four different perspectives, getting feedback from your employee base as a starting point and figuring out whether you’re doing the right thing is incredible right. I’ve had the opportunity to work across four different generations, the feedback you get, the experience you get, the insights you get I think is not a challenge it’s actually an opportunity to make sure that you succeed in whatever you do.  I don’t really see that as a challenge.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: Of course as a leader I think 80{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} of your job as a leader is to manage people and to make sure that you manage them well. To me that means with these different generational ideas and the diverse workforce that you have, motivations are very different now.  Certain people get motivated by money, the new generation may not necessarily get motivated by money they may get motivated by social causes.  You never know.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: Understanding what motivates your employee force, listening to them and making sure that you motivate them and inspire them, I think that’s a big aspect of being a good leader. As I think about technology and as I think about my expertise and the next 10, 15 years I feel that we’re in an incredible time.  I’m super excited about the future and here’s why. From a digital perspective I think that we’re seeing a complete paradigm shift going on.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: If you think about technology, and innovation and what’s going on I mean you and I  have spoken about this, 99{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} of my household runs digitally. I have very rarely gone to a bricks and mortar store, everything in my household. But if you think about the industries where there’s still tremendous opportunity, financial services just general banking, education, healthcare. I mean there’s so much to be done from a technology perspective that’s the part that excites me about the future.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: I’ve had the opportunity to be asked to be on really incredible boards for many years now, for two or three years at least.  I didn’t want to jump into being a board member until I felt like I had enough time coming back to the work life balance that I had, enough time to contribute as a board member to be a C level executive and then to be a mom. I felt like that was the time that happened about a year ago I got a call to be on the board of an incredible company called Churchill Downs.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: Churchill Downs is a publicly traded company, it’s about two and a half billion in market cap and they’re known for organizing the Kentucky Derby which is the second largest watched sports event after the Super Bowl. So when I was asked to be on the board my first reaction was, well I don’t know nothing about horse racing why me?  But that’s exactly why they wanted me to be on the board because Churchill Downs acquired a video and mobile gaming company called Big Fish for 800 million dollars. They were looking for a digital expert.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: Half of their customer base is female and they didn’t have any representation of a digital expert and a female on the board. To me that felt like a great combination because A, I have the customer perspective I bring to the table. I have the digital perspective and it’s one of those amazing 140 year institutions so I accepted the offer and it’s been fun.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: I think coming back to it needs to be right for you. You don’t want to just say you’re on the board, it needs to work for you based on what’s going on in your life and you want to make sure you’re contributing to it. I’m the youngest board member, I’m the only female board member and at least from what I’ve heard so far I bring a very unique perspective to how they want to sort of shift their business model and I think that’s great.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: I think it’s a constant sort of recognition that you’ve got two aspects to your life and this means not just for women but for men too, is that you got a family life and you’ve got a professional life. I’m not one of those women who, I love my job and I love working and I love succeeding but I want to be known as a mom and a wife.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: I think work-life balance is sort of what works for you the best. In most of my jobs the lines have been very blurry between my personal and professional life, but that’s just me as a person. As a leader I’m a very open person, I’m very transparent, everybody knows what’s going on in my life. My calendar, everybody has access to it. They know when I have to go to school, when I have a doctor’s appointment I have nothing to hide.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: That makes it easy on me because again I’m trying to juggle two things. It’s a constant recognition that you got to do well on both sides of the equation and balancing it out, and having great support. Having a wonderful husband who is extremely supportive of my travel schedule, or my board meetings, or what have you. And you build out a support system, having an incredible network of stay at home moms as my friends who recognize and are very supportive of it.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: I didn’t know this, there have been a few rules I’ve got similar feedback from my team members and I think I’m glad they said this. They say I’m extremely empathetic but I drive hard for results.  I have this passion to succeed but I sort of get the team together to go with me versus just doing it by myself so I think that’s good, I want to be remembered that way. On the personal front you know, just to be known as a wonderful mom, daughter and wife.

Balancing The Board Room, Operational Leadership & Family Life with Aditi Javeri Gokhale

Balancing The Board Room, Operational Leadership & Family Life with Aditi Javeri Gokhale

Video Highlights

00:33 -- Opportunities on the Board

02:26 -- Work & Life Balance

Tweetables

#Choosing the right #board based on your #leadership #experiences @ChurchillDowns [Click To Tweet]

#Balancing the #boardroom and #family #life [Click To Tweet]

The #key to #managing your #team and #driving #results [Click To Tweet]

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: I’ve had the opportunity to be asked to be on really incredible boards for many years now, for two or three years at least.  I didn’t want to jump into being a board member until I felt like I had enough time coming back to the work life balance that I had, enough time to contribute as a board member to be a C level executive and then to be a mom. I felt like that was the time that happened about a year ago I got a call to be on the board of an incredible company called Churchill Downs.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: Churchill Downs is a publicly traded company, it’s about two and a half billion in market cap and they’re known for organizing the Kentucky Derby which is the second largest watched sports event after the Super Bowl. So when I was asked to be on the board my first reaction was, well I don’t know nothing about horse racing why me?  But that’s exactly why they wanted me to be on the board because Churchill Downs acquired a video and mobile gaming company called Big Fish for 800 million dollars. They were looking for a digital expert.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: Half of their customer base is female and they didn’t have any representation of a digital expert and a female on the board. To me that felt like a great combination because A, I have the customer perspective I bring to the table. I have the digital perspective and it’s one of those amazing 140 year institutions so I accepted the offer and it’s been fun.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: I think coming back to it needs to be right for you. You don’t want to just say you’re on the board, it needs to work for you based on what’s going on in your life and you want to make sure you’re contributing to it. I’m the youngest board member, I’m the only female board member and at least from what I’ve heard so far I bring a very unique perspective to how they want to sort of shift their business model and I think that’s great.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: I think it’s a constant sort of recognition that you’ve got two aspects to your life and this means not just for women but for men too, is that you got a family life and you’ve got a professional life. I’m not one of those women who, I love my job and I love working and I love succeeding but I want to be known as a mom and a wife.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: I think work-life balance is sort of what works for you the best. In most of my jobs the lines have been very blurry between my personal and professional life, but that’s just me as a person. As a leader I’m a very open person, I’m very transparent, everybody knows what’s going on in my life. My calendar, everybody has access to it. They know when I have to go to school, when I have a doctor’s appointment I have nothing to hide.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: That makes it easy on me because again I’m trying to juggle two things. It’s a constant recognition that you got to do well on both sides of the equation and balancing it out, and having great support. Having a wonderful husband who is extremely supportive of my travel schedule, or my board meetings, or what have you. And you build out a support system, having an incredible network of stay at home moms as my friends who recognize and are very supportive of it.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: I didn’t know this, there have been a few rules I’ve got similar feedback from my team members and I think I’m glad they said this. They say I’m extremely empathetic but I drive hard for results.  I have this passion to succeed but I sort of get the team together to go with me versus just doing it by myself so I think that’s good, I want to be remembered that way. On the personal front you know, just to be known as a wonderful mom, daughter and wife.