If you’re like me, you did not grow up telling people, “I want to be a CEO someday.”
Although I knew from an early age that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I had no clue what it meant to be a CEO. “What the heck does a CEO even do?” I might have even asked in my formative years.
Fast forward to today…
I’m on a personal journey to find out what it means to be a CEO, and a good one at that.
This is the main reason I chose to launch The Channel CEO—to learn and grow from others who embody the growth mindset and make being a CEO look pretty darn easy.
Emily is a wildly driven person, and someone who I think sets a great example of what it means to have a growth mindset and to be continually learning.
If you missed her on the livestream, you can catch the full interview here (or just click the image below!):
Throughout her extensive career, Emily experienced several company acquisitions—continuing to work for one acquired company for years after its handoff —and one organization’s successful funding round.
She’s worked in roles ranging from webmaster/graphic designer to product manager to product marketing manager to COO and, most recently, CEO of Syncro.
In short, she’s a great example of what it means to be continually challenging and growing your professional skill set.
When she was growing up in Montreal, Emily learned French, which she says has not only been helpful in her career, but also in giving her an appreciation for different ways of looking at things:
“You don’t have to be super great at the language,” she said, “but just having your brain be exposed at an early age to different concepts and different ways of thinking about things I think has really helped me later in life, especially as a leader.”
For some CEOs, and leaders in general, I think we can fall into the trap of thinking, ‘Okay, I made it to the top. Not much growth left for me now.’
But nothing could be further from the truth.
To be an effective leader, you need to be continually learning. Even as CEO, few things in business remain the same for long.
Fostering a spirit of ongoing professional growth will not only make you a more well-rounded CEO, but also help you adapt to new challenges as they arise.
But how do you keep growing once you’re at the top of the company hierarchy?
“I think feedback is really important,” Emily said. “If you’re trying to learn, it’s the necessary other piece, right? So you have to try something and then you have to reflect on it.”
“Oftentimes you need a mentor or someone who’s willing to dare to give you feedback in that process,” she said. “And the more you build your career, the harder I think it is to get that feedback from folks and to find people who really want to help you through that process.”
So, as CEO, Emily has found ways to make sure she’s getting the feedback she wants to keep growing.
“I’ve been lucky to have an [executive] coach since I joined Backupify,” Emily said, speaking about one of the positions she held a few years before becoming CEO of Syncro. “That’s something that the CEO there said: ‘Every exec gets a coach. Doesn’t mean you’re bad. Just like if you’re a basketball player you have a coach, you’re an exec, you have a coach. It’s just part of the job.’”
Since then, she’s requested an executive coach in every role she’s had (including CEO) to ensure she’s getting regular feedback from an objective source.
Continually growing is also easier if you remain interested in your work.
Speaking about her time as a product manager, Emily said:
“I was enamored with fixing technology and dealing with customers,” she said, “but the most complex problems seemed to be the humans and internally how we decided what to build and how to build it. And then, from the customer perspective, like, what did they actually need to help them do their jobs better?”
Now as a CEO, many of these same interests still bring Emily joy in her work.
With Syncro, she says the joy of working in the channel is knowing that the PSA & RMM software they build is helping MSPs run their businesses.
“We build the software, it runs people’s businesses, they make money off of it, they pay their bills. It’s a very practical, pragmatic software that grows and runs businesses,” she said. “I like coming to work every day to work on something that is valuable to folks and that they’re using every day.”
Of course, not every day is going to be filled with tons of passion and deep professional growth. Running a business is hard, and there will always be hard days.
But, if you can keep a growth mindset and continue doing the kind of work that built your passion for this industry in the first place, you can continue growing as a CEO and be more adaptable to whatever challenges come your way tomorrow.
Watch the full video above for even more insights from my talk with Emily and, if you’re a channel CEO, let me know if you want to be interviewed next!
Let’s do this.
And don’t forget to check out my recent posts to add my upcoming Channel CEO livestreams to your calendar!