Interview Tag: Family

Disruption, Impact & Global Scale with Steve Johnson

Disruption, Impact & Global Scale with Steve Johnson

Video Highlights

00:38 -- The 3 Important Aspects Of Leadership

02:03 -- The Importance Of Questions

Tweetables

#Making an #Impact on a #global #scale @steve1johnson [Click to Tweet]

#Giving #purpose with #Impact on a #globalscale @steve1johnson [Click to Tweet]

Being the right #Leader, be #humble and ask the #right #questions from your #team @steve1johnson @davegoldberg [Click to Tweet]

Steve Johnson: Besides the family, obviously I want to take care of my family and also give them an example. I really like three things personally. Am I making an impact? It’s something that I’m doing.

Steve Johnson: Well, I usually ask my team like, “What are you doing with your one beautiful and perfect life? You have a limited time, one run through this. Is it doing something where you are really making an impact? Are you learning? Are you having fun?”

Steve Johnson: The second is, for me personally, I like something that has global scope. I don’t know why but I think it’s just more interesting and makes me feel like I’m doing something with impact. And the third, sometimes it’s overused but I like something that’s disruptive where it’s something that’s really changing and doing something different.

Steve Johnson: Hootsuite, I thought was super fascinating because we were helping organizations all around the world manage social media which was blowing up. An organization simply could not keep up with it. They couldn’t do what they needed to do on social media without a solution like Hootsuite.

Steve Johnson: So that to me was disruptive. It’s changing. You’re moving from one communication media or type to another to do it. It’s driven by the customers. So those are the things that really give me real purpose and I want to make sure that what I’m doing is having an impact, as large of an impact as I possibly can have. Right or wrong, this is what motivates me.

Steve Johnson: I would be much more aware that you don’t have to know it all. And that is completely fine to ask lots and lots of questions and get advice early. I didn’t do that early enough.

Steve Johnson: Going back to the mentor question, I wish I had gotten mentors really earlier and I wish I’ve asked a lot more questions. And I felt that I was expected to know everything. I’m hired for this role. Act like you know it.

Steve Johnson: Well, the reality is most people don’t know exactly everything about that role. If I could go back in time tell my 10-year old self, I’m like, “Just constantly be looking.”

Steve Johnson: One of the things I tell my daughter, “The ABCs of life were ‘always be curious’. Just be curious. Ask questions. Learn and don’t act like you know it all because there’s no need for it.”

Steve Johnson: Some of the best people, I mentioned Dave Goldberg earlier, I mean, he was always asking questions. And some of the best execs that I have worked with and found are similar. They are the most humble of people and are always interested in finding out a different way; learning a different way and understanding how some things are changing; what’s going on. So that would be my advice.

Chris Mahl; COO, President, Revenue & Operations

Chris Mahl; COO, President, Revenue & Operations

Video Highlights

00:29 -- What Chris Is Most Proud Of

01:46 -- Early Milestones

04:02 -- Building A Vibrant Muscle

05:44 -- The Skill Of Developing People

06:26 -- Rolling Back to the Beginning

10:10 -- Marc Benioff

12:22 -- Meaning in the Mission

13:49 -- Hearing Each Voice

14:35 -- The Driving Force

16:15 -- The Future

19:16 -- Being Remembered

Tweetables

The #paradigm #shift from the #HDD to the #cloud @chrismahlny #Insights [Click To Tweet]

The #first #startup @informatica @chrismahlny #Insights [Click To Tweet]

How to #bridge #customer relations w/ behavior analysis @EMCcorp #JoeTucci w/ @chrismahlny [Click To Tweet]

How to be an attractive leader #culture of #attraction #leadership #development #mentor#Insights [Click To Tweet]

Is it a #meaningful problem, #asking the #right #questions #insights @chrismahlny [Click To Tweet]

Chris Mahl: I have to say that Informatica, for those of you who know, they were just acquired for about five billion dollars in private, which I joined in 1995 as one of 20 people. So there was minus nine customers, there was zero revenue and I have to say I’m going to share two perspectives on what I was most proud of.  


Chris Mahl: One is we grew that, we took that public profitably over the next five and a half years, built it from the ground up with great people, great passion, define the market, own that market. And so I’m certainly proud of all those achievements from a sales/marketing perspective, but what I’m really proud of is when the bubble bursts we were one of the only companies to actually truly grow during that nuclear time we grew the company 10{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} with no revenue.


Chris Mahl: If you take the whole software category and you look at real returns in that particular year which is roughest in the tech industry, that was a pretty amazing achievements. So it’s actually that, I love the IPO don’t get me wrong, but building it from a garage of 20 with Groap, Diaz and Mark Burton who’s now on the board of Mongodb and tremendous executives but it was actually sailing the ship through the tough storm that I’m most proud of. So I’d say that. 


Chris Mahl: I have to say that after that I went to Salesforce and I was there for just about four years leading a bulk of sales and strategic sales. I have to say the early milestones I’m most proud of was the teams who I worked with who closed the first 400 seed deal. At the time when I joined it was 50 and 40 and Kevin was there and the board was curious so that would have been AOL with a fellow named Greg Brown and his team in the southeast.  Wow we can do 400 and shortly thereafter there was the Sungard deal which was 1,000 seeds. 


Chris Mahl: Common at the Sales Force at that time, an on demand model trusting 1,000 people to put all my customer data in the cloud, not happening. And that was actually Eric Poley who actually works for me now, it runs outside sales now through JW Player so Eric they do a tremendous job and great work with Mark on that.  


Chris Mahl: The following year, the first 2,000 seed deal so these were 6 million dollar plus deals- unheard of. Nobody does this with on demand and SunGard was the big bag in the Southeast and the ADP. Teams are all part of my organization so these major milestones really made the industry say this is real.  Everything up until then wasn’t real so I have to say those.


Chris Mahl: Up to where I am now, certainly Right Media don’t get me wrong Right Media was a remarkable run, really brilliant. Guys like Mike Walrath had an amazing model going I just helped scale it before Yahoo purchased it. Seven months to a year there, did I play role definitely. Was the course set, clearly- these guys innovated on the exchange model and really understood how to create that and I loved being a part of that.  

Chris Mahl: But I have to say right now which is JWPlayer and the present folks on the commercialisation and scaling of the business. When I joined with some great founders, you know the company had done well, huge footprint but relatively small commercial presence. We doubled that business year over year with phenomenal innovation, recreating the market, recreating the value there.  If I look Informatica sort of the first you know I was at Oracle for over five and a half years, informatica was the first true start up.


Chris Mahl: The founders Gaurav and Diaz Nesamoney had really studied the problem they were solving and they had a unique answer, and it was a problem that the market wrestled with in weird ways.  This was the enterprise, analytics, data warehousing which was really nascent at that time. They solved a unique problem which gave us a lot of differentiation. 


Chris Mahl: That’s different than sort of the quarter to quarter building the business. There was actually a lesson I learned there that was handed to me and this was really from a guy named Dave Pidwell which he’s retired now, I think he owns half of Hawaii. Guys who used to work for him founded Ariba he’s a tremendous man but he taught us a way to organize ourselves as executives committed to each other and be real time about it, sort of week to week, month to month.


Chris Mahl: It was really simply, at the end of each week we’d share a brief communication to each other around key metrics and needs and asks of each other. So this executive dialogue that went from sales to marketing, product engineering, to finance, to CEO was a very vibrant muscle from the beginning and it’s the lasting lesson I still use.


Chris Mahl: The idea was we got something week to week, month to month so that was actually a lesson that I was taught and got the benefit from in Informatica. I will say that we all have personality types, well lesson learned is what’s your personality type. Ultimately folks have heard the sales background conflicts and everybody’s type but when you’re inside the walls of a company you can be the driver and it should be, you are the number. In a sense to the board, to the public market you’re a number so you want to organize people, and concepts and execution to achieve that number and ultimately making that happen.


Chris Mahl: At Informatica I got a nickname which was brought to me by the sales teams which was The Edge. It’s not because of my remarkable guitar skills, it’s because of the amount of pressure I would bring to people objectively with support. It was a joke they could make to me so that I was approachable but I learned from that a little bit.  


Chris Mahl: I used to think about it am I pushing them to the edge to be productive or over the edge where they become unproductive. There’s a real good lesson for everybody, I’d actually say in today’s world a lot of CEOs who have an idea and maybe not a lot of management background to be honest, developing people is a skill. It’s not natural maybe 10{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} of the time and acquired maybe 90{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} of the time in my experience.


Chris Mahl: I can encourage new CEOs, younger CEOs to think about that dynamic and get a mentor. I know we’ll talk about that who might be very good at that sort of really be able to reflect on that for you. We need people to hire to increase productivity, nirvana leading them there where they’re exciting and doing it themselves- brilliance. That’s not that easy at this scale. Being The Edge, have a driver personality, backing them up a little bit and bringing people up the productivity curve, definite valuable lesson.

Chris Mahl: I appreciate where we’re coming from in this video, my great career but it really is the function of the places I’ve been and the people I learned from, and the market opportunities those companies have had. But if I roll all the way back to a company no one knows about, there’s these two guys no one knows about, it’s my first job out of college. I went to work for a guy named Joe Tucci who happens to be CEO of EMC. I’m sure Joe might kind of remember my name now but at the time I used to really study him and learn from him.


Chris Mahl: There were two things that I could see day to day being on the eastern sales team of his which he ran then at Sperry, a company nobody knows. If you’re new to technology even in your computer courses about history, you may not know that company. But chat me I’ll tell you all about it. 


Chris Mahl: But he taught me about relationships, customer relationships and how to really be meaningful and how to be very intelligent about those relationships.  He was excellent at that and what was great about that was it wasn’t a lecture, it was a behaviour. You can see it and so as we worked in team meetings and he’d do a lot of reviews of deals you got those kind of senses and it became important. I really got that.


Chris Mahl: Shortly thereafter there’s another JoeJoe Walton, who has now been running worldwide consulting at EMC for the last umpteen years and really is a key member of the folks that integrate EMC’s acquisitions. He taught me how to out organize anybody. Same things about relationships and intelligence but how to be very organized, not just in the internal meetings but with your clients, with your partners, with your prospects. 


Chris Mahl: Not off the cuff only creative brainstorming brilliant, but how to bring a really structured, thought out process which was phenomenal. So how to out organize and out execute, they kind of go hand in hand. If you’re not organized then execution is no point.


Chris Mahl: What I have to say is when I think of Right Media you know there were two folks that I really got to watch and  learn from there, younger than me which is fine. Michael Walrath the fellow who started it and Brian O’Kelly the fellow who built it hand in hand. Michael really understands the strategy of markets, at that time it was very clear he had a vision for what could be built and he was passionate about it. He also understood the mechanics of it and business model of it, and it was very easy when I first met him before I joined to realize this guy has got an amazing grasp of this market. Which the world of online advertising at that time shifted, but he had a vision for scaling it which was phenomenal.

Chris Mahl: Brian O’Kelly, unbelievable technologist. Frankly of all the companies I’ve been at one of the most gifted for sure.  I’ve said that to him many times, I say that to everybody. He had sort of two monstrous skills, many, many more, one was the ability to really see which clients will give him the meaningful exercises to build something remarkable. So I’ve never seen a leader so, really when I say understand the times I’m not saying the business but process, technology, down to the details.  The second was this applied innovation, how can he see and sense something. 


Chris Mahl: He’s got a big vision, he’s got a real sense of the climate but I’m going to build it. At a speed that dumbfounded all of us. Innovation came out across Right Media around the clock so I could really see those two hand in hand. Then also today Dave OttenJeroen Wijering these two guys demonstrate what culture is about phenomenally. how do you build a culture of excellence, how do you care for people which is just an affirmation of something I’ve known but it’s phenomenal and a big part of why I’m at the company.


Chris Mahl: Big lesson learned is people matter the most- technology is brilliant, the idea is brilliant but it’s people that make it work in the market over time and enhance it. Around about 2002 I just finished about five and a half years of Informatica, at home here in New York but on the road a ton. I was helping my wife decorate an apartment, young child so it was really a time to focus on family. Sometimes these things can be crazy.


Chris Mahl: Somewhere around a month and a half into that brief sabbatical I get a brief email from somebody I had known in Oracle that he was building this great big company and he was looking for Oracle talented folks and that happened to be Marc Benioff and he was talking about the end of the first year of Salesforce and now it’s gone to the second year and he wants to build out the execution team. So I get that email.


Chris Mahl: Fast forward I ended up visiting Marc and joined to run the Eastern U.S. and Canada strategic sales and really build this next phase and development inside Sales Force at the time. So my experience in the next few years learning from Marc was phenomenal. The first thing that I got to see in Marc was vision, and how to articulate vision and bring the statement of vision down to customers and to partners, and to specific people in their lives.


Chris Mahl: I’ve never seen someone being able to take vision and personalize it to where they empower people. It was just an amazing gift he has, I think it’s the long history he has with technology, it’s also his persona. Vision was a huge part of what he taught.


Chris Mahl: Passion, and when I say passion my experience having been on the operating committee for a couple of years, the presence that he was. The company could go through reorganization overnight, the passion he had for the business down to the detail, left, right, up, down was remarkable and he lived it if you were within a near distance of him you knew what that meant.  So this whole idea of passion.


Chris Mahl: Then excellence, I want to turn out whether it’s an experience for the brand, an experience with the customers, an excellent experience for the customer and that sort of drives home the biggest thing he talked about and was dedicated to and that remains to this day so, it’s the customer. To him if the customer isn’t experiencing success, the rest of it is just talk. So how do you take an organization at that time a few hundred people, now tens of thousands and continue to have that relentless focus on that customer. A huge, blazing message I got from him.


Chris Mahl: I think the first both for the organization, and the customer, and the individuals is meaning. Do I have a meaning here in terms of this company’s mission, the products it delivers. Does it have a meaning, it has a broad definition it can be pure charitable so create a company that has meaning on that level. Sales Force taught us that for sure.


Chris Mahl: But also is what we’re doing in the world something that I can connect with as an employee or a board member that impacts the world. There are smaller solutions that are sort of specific to business and so as a leader having a sense of meaning and purpose and that being viable, and visceral to the people around you and the people you lead. But also in part to employees, folks that join a company want to know here’s our vision and this has meaning. This has purpose whether it’s changing an industry, changing a technology like we are doing something bigger than just being at a desk all day and be connected to that. So I have to say meaning is first.


Chris Mahl: I have to say the second thing is attraction. We really could be an attractive leader i.e. people want to learn from you, people want to work with you. I mean we’ve seen all kinds of leaders you know autocrats, drivers, people that are sort of short-term focused.  How is it that you create a culture of attraction, that people are really energized by it. Hear good things about it, people’s careers develop there, the company has impact.


Chris Mahl: The last thing that I would have to say that leaders have to be cognizant of is development. The ones that I’m most attracted to, to me the people that join me I’m interested in their career development. Regardless of where they are in the company, whats the pathing,  how does their voice get heard regardless of where they sit. How do I create a meritocracy which means that while I might have several hundred people or 1,000, or 5,000 someone with a smart idea can get to me.


Chris Mahl: I’m creating an environment with that brilliance because it can be anywhere in the company, it isn’t stifled five layers down. It’s a very old concept level five leadership which is how do I get behind you. I mean leading from the front which is important in terms of experience, but also standing behind people. Lifting up the folks who are working for you to success. They know that you’re behind them but really you’re empowering them, those would be the big success factors I’ve seen in leaders and have been able to experience myself.

 


Dave Carvajal: What would you say is your driving force behind the passion and fire in your belly?


Chris Mahl: Well family, my daughter number one. Really her, and her development and success in her life it got to be number one. You check with her, unlike a lot of dads she characterizes me as her best friend and that’s how we experience it all the time. Family is first, always will be. The health, the ambitions, the joy that people experience I’m there.

Chris Mahl: I have to say over the years I’ve been involved with multiple sclerosis through family members that have been really profoundly impacted by that and some research around that. And recently for those of you who are New Yorkers I’ve spent more time with the Wild Bird Fund which is here in New York so I’m going to share a little love their way. Which is the only fund and the only organization in New York City that deals with Wild Birds that are injured in New York City.  


Chris Mahl: Just last year there was over 4,000 of these birds of prey and significant birds we have the Hudson River over here and there’s cliffs and they do phenomenal work. Really the passion of the founder who just cared and kind of did it in their home and now it’s grown and it’s only three years old. The wildbirdfund.org check it out, it’s here in New York and you can not only volunteer there and obviously give of your money but your time as well. It’s really an amazing group of people.


Chris Mahl: We’ve got peregrines, and wild hawks, and eagles they are kind of close to extinction and very local to the New York region area, so super meaningful stuff they do and I’ve been enjoying a lot.


Dave Carvajal: What about the future for Chris that gets you most excited?


Chris Mahl: It’s the same, it’s been the same in technology since I started. It recreates itself so it recreates itself and I can mention companies that are tens of billions of dollars and people 20 years ago that are long gone. So the innovation speed with the advent of the SaaS model and the cloud development model, and cloud model kind of everybody is a tech innovator now. As we know there’s a big brain drain on the banking recruiting into tech because pretty much everyday can get into tech.


Chris Mahl: The chip remains the reason that everything changes because the power of the chip continues to double, it is then and it is right now. The speed of the networks that we have on the planet is opening up. The Wi-Fi access is opening up so an entire digital ecosystem exists like every 18 months. The brilliant developers, and innovators, I mean Uber eight years ago couldn’t do it. How much is that company worth now?


Chris Mahl: The networks weren’t there, it wasn’t available and the idea everybody would have loved to have had that eight years ago but the last couple of years- boom. Brilliant. The opportunity for innovation will not slow down and the models that have created big companies now will create new big companies a few years from now. So for me the future in terms of the industry I’m in keeps recreating itself.


Chris Mahl: Really if you draw a line through my good fortune it’s because I kind of pay attention to that and think about those innovations. When I find somebody who’s really at the nexus of those things, where they find me- I’m pretty fired up. So this industry never stops.


Chris Mahl: There are people that need to innovate as fast as the industry and if you’re passionate about it, it’s the most exciting thing on the planet.  One’s belief in the problem you’re solving, the vision that what I’m doing is meaningful and different.  I think back to presentations I saw from Bill Gates 15, 18 years ago, Larry Olsen and in both cases they talked about is it a meaningful problem?  Can we find people that care?


Chris Mahl: One is be brutally honest with yourself. Not enthusiastic, not idealistic but realistic. One is that problem. Two is you got to have passion about it. I mean it’s got through your toes, your ears, your nose- you’ve got to care because there are things that will constantly change about that problem market and you need to know about it. Three is put your big person pants on.


Chris Mahl: I’ll be politically incorrect, these are tough cycles. Building companies is not easy, they’re like having babies. I’ve had both, it truly needs that kind of attention, and care at the right time when it needs it. It’s not a 9 to 5 thing ever, it’s part of what I’m addicted to which is why I keep doing this. The whole idea that there’s this whole opportunity to grow something and because meaningful. I think those will be three things.Then I do this for the entrepreneurs, good for you.


Dave Carvajal: How would you like to be remembered?


Chris Mahl: Well I think I’ll give you two aspects. One is my philosophy of building organizations is really upside down. What I mean by that is if you look at plastic structure somebody is at the top and really it doesn’t matter who is at the top. It’s the people at the point of contact with building the product, partners, clients are not successful the top is irrelevant. That has a lot to do with my philosophy in building people up and empowering them.


Chris Mahl: The stronger they are, the most successful I am. In fact over the years I’ve been able to say pretty succinctly certainly around sales leaders and folks on the revenue side is they’ve always made more money working for me than they had prior. Pretty much that’s always true. That helps them.


Chris Mahl: I think the other one is just in the eyes of my daughter, pretty simple. being her best friend. Time stops when I hang out with her, it doesn’t matter. The other thing which is still true when she was little we laughed all the time. So much so that she became a chronic hiccuper and in fact we’d have to stop and do the eye thing and help her stop hiccupping. We’d be laughing two seconds later and the hiccups were back. It’s still true today, it’s bizarre.


Chris Mahl: We laugh non-stop and probably that’s the number one joy, that is and will be the number one joy of my life really.

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.

Level 5 Leadership, Family First, The Passion Around Meaningful Problems & Personal Causes with Chris Mahl

Level 5 Leadership, Family First, The Passion Around Meaningful Problems & Personal Causes with Chris Mahl

Video Highlights

00:33 -- Hearing Each Voice

00:56 -- The Driving Force

02:37 -- The Future

05:37 -- Being Remembered

Tweetables

Level 5 #leadership the #building #blocks of a company #empowering #insights @chrismahlny [Click To Tweet]

How #technology #recreates itself #repeathistory #insights @chrismahlny [Click To Tweet]

How the #cloud and the #SaaS #model #builds #speed to #tech #innovation #insights @chrismahlny [Click To Tweet]

A new #digital #ecosystem every 18 months #insights @chrismahlny [Click To Tweet]

Is it a #meaningful problem, #asking the #right #questions #insights @chrismahlny [Click To Tweet]

Chris Mahl: It’s a very old concept level five leadership which is how do I get behind you. I mean leading from the front which is important in terms of experience, but also standing behind people. Lifting up the folks who are working for you to success. They know that you’re behind them but really you’re empowering them, those would be the big success factors I’ve seen in leaders and have been able to experience myself.

Dave Carvajal: What would you say is your driving force behind the passion and fire in your belly?


Chris Mahl: Well family, my daughter number one. Really her, and her development and success in her life it got to be number one. You check with her, unlike a lot of dads she characterizes me as her best friend and that’s how we experience it all the time. Family is first, always will be. The health, the ambitions, the joy that people experience I’m there.


Chris Mahl: I have to say over the years I’ve been involved with multiple sclerosis through family members that have been really profoundly impacted by that and some research around that. And recently for those of you who are New Yorkers I’ve spent more time with the Wild Bird Fund which is here in New York so I’m going to share a little love their way. Which is the only fund and the only organization in New York City that deals with Wild Birds that are injured in New York City.  


Chris Mahl: Just last year there was over 4,000 of these birds of prey and significant birds we have the Hudson River over here and there’s cliffs and they do phenomenal work. Really the passion of the founder who just cared and kind of did it in their home and now it’s grown and it’s only three years old. The wildbirdfund.org check it out, it’s here in New York and you can not only volunteer there and obviously give of your money but your time as well. It’s really an amazing group of people.


Chris Mahl: We’ve got peregrines, and wild hawks, and eagles they are kind of close to extinction and very local to the New York region area, so super meaningful stuff they do and I’ve been enjoying a lot.


Dave Carvajal: What about the future for Chris that gets you most excited?


Chris Mahl: It’s the same, it’s been the same in technology since I started. It recreates itself so it recreates itself and I can mention companies that are tens of billions of dollars and people 20 years ago that are long gone. So the innovation speed with the advent of the SaaS model and the cloud development model, and cloud model kind of everybody is a tech innovator now. As we know there’s a big brain drain on the banking recruiting into tech because pretty much everyday can get into tech.


Chris Mahl: The chip remains the reason that everything changes because the power of the chip continues to double, it is then and it is right now. The speed of the networks that we have on the planet is opening up. The Wi-Fi access is opening up so an entire digital ecosystem exists like every 18 months. The brilliant developers, and innovators, I mean Uber eight years ago couldn’t do it. How much is that company worth now?


Chris Mahl: The networks weren’t there, it wasn’t available and the idea everybody would have loved to have had that eight years ago but the last couple of years- boom. Brilliant. The opportunity for innovation will not slow down and the models that have created big companies now will create new big companies a few years from now. So for me the future in terms of the industry I’m in keeps recreating itself.


Chris Mahl: Really if you draw a line through my good fortune it’s because I kind of pay attention to that and think about those innovations. When I find somebody who’s really at the nexus of those things, where they find me- I’m pretty fired up. So this industry never stops.


Chris Mahl: There are people that need to innovate as fast as the industry and if you’re passionate about it, it’s the most exciting thing on the planet.  One’s belief in the problem you’re solving, the vision that what I’m doing is meaningful and different.  I think back to presentations I saw from Bill Gates 15, 18 years ago, Larry Olsen and in both cases they talked about is it a meaningful problem?  Can we find people that care?


Chris Mahl: One is be brutally honest with yourself. Not enthusiastic, not idealistic but realistic. One is that problem. Two is you got to have passion about it. I mean it’s got through your toes, your ears, your nose- you’ve got to care because there are things that will constantly change about that problem market and you need to know about it. Three is put your big person pants on.


Chris Mahl: I’ll be politically incorrect, these are tough cycles. Building companies is not easy, they’re like having babies. I’ve had both, it truly needs that kind of attention, and care at the right time when it needs it. It’s not a 9 to 5 thing ever, it’s part of what I’m addicted to which is why I keep doing this. The whole idea that there’s this whole opportunity to grow something and because meaningful. I think those will be three things.Then I do this for the entrepreneurs, good for you.


Dave Carvajal: How would you like to be remembered?


Chris Mahl: Well I think I’ll give you two aspects. One is my philosophy of building organizations is really upside down. What I mean by that is if you look at plastic structure somebody is at the top and really it doesn’t matter who is at the top. It’s the people at the point of contact with building the product, partners, clients are not successful the top is irrelevant. That has a lot to do with my philosophy in building people up and empowering them.


Chris Mahl: The stronger they are, the most successful I am. In fact over the years I’ve been able to say pretty succinctly certainly around sales leaders and folks on the revenue side is they’ve always made more money working for me than they had prior.  Pretty much that’s always true.  That helps them.


Chris Mahl: I think the other one is just in the eyes of my daughter, pretty simple. being her best friend. Time stops when I hang out with her, it doesn’t matter. The other thing which is still true when she was little we laughed all the time. So much so that she became a chronic hiccuper and in fact we’d have to stop and do the eye thing and help her stop hiccupping. We’d be laughing two seconds later and the hiccups were back. It’s till true today, it’s bizarre.


Chris Mahl: We laugh non-stop and probably that’s the number one joy, that is and will be the number one joy of my life really.

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.