We all play a vital role in shaping the future of technology. As leaders, we also have a major influence on upcoming generations of digital trailblazers. How can we best enable success and prepare them for what’s next? Insight’s Jonna Gage, Mike Morgan and Brooke Munier share their unique perspectives on mentoring young professionals and creating opportunities for growth and development.
Hello, everybody, and welcome to this special episode of Leading with Inside. If you notice, we're not in our home studios today. We are actually live from Mastery, our annual tech summit that we have here at INSIGHT. And we're excited to bring you three amazing leaders to talk about what it's like or how to mentor the next generation of tech leaders here in our industry.
And I can't wait to introduce them to you today. My name is Z, and I'm rich. Rich. It's my understanding this is your first mastery. It is. I'm excited to be here. So, again, Rich being the aspiring leader, which by the way, congratulations. You started aspiring leadership as a week ago. Thank you. Yes, it's going well. It's going really well.
With that today is you're going to be learning from a lot of you're going to interact with a lot of leaders in the tech industry. What's one of the most exciting things that you're looking forward to this week? Yeah, so I'm really looking forward to that, by the way. But also just to like absorb the knowledge and see what what kinds of nuggets I can take from this and, you know, just gather all the information that comes out of this.
Yeah, you're going to have a lot of great connections, great conversations. And I would say the biggest tip that I would give you in anybody joining any kind of summit or event like this really maximize their time and get to meet new people. Right. You're going to meet the folks that you talk to all the time. Your closest friends, your colleagues.
But here's the thing. You're going to also have an opportunity to meet new people that you haven't met before. So that's my challenge to you, Rich, is I want you to meet at least five people that you haven't met before, and we'll talk about that in our next episode. Does that sound like a plan challenge Accepted. All right.
Awesome. So with that, today's topic is how to mentor the next generation of I.T. leaders. And I said, we have three amazing guests today. So we're going to go ahead and introduce our first guests and a few. Who do we have in store today? Yes. So our first guest is John Gage, VP of Marketing of Solutions. Johnny, welcome.
Thank you. How are you? I'm good, thank you. Nice to be here. So, Johnny, first of all, as you local here in Arizona, where are you? Where are you coming from? I am not. In case you can't hear the accent, I'm a Southern girl from Charlotte, North Carolina. Oh, right on. Well, welcome to the heat. Yeah. You know, you always you always.
You're prepared by now because your first rodeo. Correct. So for the folks that are watching us, so this is open to everybody that wants to learn about leadership. The race topic is around leadership in the tech industry, the next generation. Tell our folks in our audience a little bit about what you do here at INSIGHT. So at INSIGHT, I have the pleasure of leading the solutions marketing organization.
So we work very closely with the sales and services teams to develop thought leadership materials that can engage with clients. We work closely with our most strategic partnerships and then also hand in hand with sales, working to identify the best opportunities where we can drive impact for our customers through demand gen and events engagement. Oh my gosh. So I would say you have your hands pretty full.
You have a lot on your plate. I have a great team that I get to work with. I love that. Yeah, it's all about that. I love the team aspect. So today's topic is the next generation of tech leaders. So I think the first question that I want to know is what are your philosophies around developing that next generation of leaders in the tech industry?
What are your recommendations or best practices? Okay. I like to think I model that from really great mentors early in my career that were super impactful that I still quote to today, many, many years later. And those are things like really imprinting their goodness into me. And that's what I think as leaders is part of our responsibility. It's thinking about the social skills as much as the technical skills.
It's helping people understand their own passions and develop those. And ultimately, it's not just about developing them and is as an individual contributor. It's it's truly having a vision towards developing the next generation of leaders in the business. Wow. That's awesome. Yeah, that's amazing. And you heard it here first, folks. I mean, we've mentioned it on a number a number of different episodes here.
Soft skills play such an important and big role into developing your, you know, your crew, your team. And it's a major, major asset in terms of being able to get that full well rounded team. So, yeah, it's always funny. I don't know why always when I hear soft skills, like I'm like, Oh, stop going to soft skills now.
Real life skills, skills that are going to make you amazing leader even in the tech industry, because a lot of times, you know, when you're in a highly technical industry, we tend to focus a lot of our energy in that type of training or development, which is important. You guys stay on top of the trends, but don't lose sight of those other skills.
And I love that you mentioned that a mentor, you know, again, kind of paved the way for you and learn from that. Now you're paying it forward with your team. Yeah. So this being, again, our tech summit right here, summit that our technicians come together, what are some of the most impactful things that let's say, a leader can do for the next generation here?
What are some of the things that you can do to help support the next generation here today? Yeah, that's a great question. For me, it's about being vulnerable, vulnerable and real. Sometimes I think there's this perception when you see a leader on stage or you see them taking a bigger, substantial role, people put you on a pedestal. We're all human beings.
So the ability to relate to be very vulnerable, to share where you've had failures versus successes. I learn a lot from failing, right? It's not a failure if you take a lesson away. And so I think that vulnerability, that realness, that sharing of experiences goes a long way. That's great. So and you mentioned I want to know a little bit more about this.
You mentioned honing those skills that that people have really imprinted on you. Can you explain a little bit more about some of those skills or any one in particular that really stands out to you? So the first gentleman I worked for played football for Vince Lombardi. Oh, wow. Right. And his father was a World War Two fighter pilot that led the Normandy D-Day invasion.
And so I've always connected to sports. Insight has a long history with working with military, with the more military concepts and leadership concepts that way. So it felt very full circle to me. So I think there's the fundamental things. It's things like getting to know your team, understanding your team that people are human beings. They need to understand the bigger picture and then how that translates down to their own actions.
Communication, right. To me, one of the single most important soft skills we get is I think that the ability to communicate and relate is highly important. It's such a skill. I don't take that for granted. Right. To go well, communicate all the time. I mean, I just talk to people, but it is a skill set and you have to hone in on it.
You have to really, again work on that ability. One of our one of our commitments is great clarity. Big part of it's communication, right? I mean, it's so important that you create that clarity for your team so they know the direction you're going. They can make their own decisions too, based on like, okay, this is our goal. And you know what?
I feel comfortable going this route. So I think you make a good point there. So I know I challenged Ritch before you joined us. I said, hey, talk to five people right? Get to know people you don't know. You said earlier as a leader, hey, be vulnerable. I think people are going to you know, they see you on stage.
They see maybe the title or what you've done for an inside. Be approachable, happy, vulnerable. Get to know me people. So what are some of the advice you can give somebody like Rich who wants to approach a leader and have a conversation with them? What do you think the best approach is to approach a leader? So I love your meet five people.
Yeah, approach. I think that's a great goal. Curiosity to me is one of the most important skills, like kind of soft skill sets. Ask someone a question. You become instantly more likable and relatable to someone when you ask them a simple question and then just curiosity in general. There's so much we don't know. Yeah, about this industry, about people.
So asking the question is where I start asking a question. So like I would say, what parent would it be fair to say? Hey, I'm curious to know a little bit about what you do here at INSIGHT or something like that, or even if they say they saw an article or they saw something, talk about it. Right. It's like, hey, I noticed that you did this this interview, you know, how was that?
Was this anything like that? Yeah, Yeah, that was a great pieces of advice. And I actually got a jumpstart on you. I met Gina right before you gave me stuff. I still have five more. That's fine. I could easily. You can say three right now in the interview. Yeah. Yeah. He's an overachiever. Yeah. Yeah. He likes to think outside the box because, like, he's not in the black, He's in the gray and basically live in the gray.
Now we'll continue to talk about best. So let's talk about you know, you talked about you learn from failure, right? If you can go back in time and tell your your younger self. Right. Which not that long ago was very, very similar. Your younger self, what advice would you give your younger self back if you could right now to, you know, advance your career in leadership?
So when I first started in I.T 20 from 25 years ago, right, there weren't as many females in the industry and it was very intimidating. The first company I worked for, I was the only female that was not in an administrative role and it took me 2 to 3 years to find my voice. I would go to meetings and that i was asked to participate in, and then I would send my boss an email after the fact and he would get so frustrated with me because he's that's the idea we needed.
So find your voice, be confident, be okay with something not being a bull's eye or a home run. That would be the single biggest impactful thing to me would have been to have done that a few years earlier. Wow, that's awesome. Well, you know, the cool thing about this, right, is that there is that next generation or somebody listening today that are probably already in that situation are starting to feel that.
Right. I don't want to say anything. I mean, it's got to be perfect, but it's not perfect or it doesn't make a big splash. I'm just going to hold back. And then, you know, So that's a great advice. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah. Anything from that? I know. I mean, I wish I would have brought my notepad to take down this.
Great. I got it. Maybe later. Yeah. Yeah. But again, those are now again, we're talking about some more, you know, around failure as well. Is there something in your in the past that you're like, you know what, that was a big mistake or I did something. But you know what? That was the best lesson learned ever. Yes, it's already in the head, right?
Yeah. So it was probably about 15 years ago. And the company I was with was owned by a private equity firm. And we were working on a project to drive client growth in a new offering. And I disagreed with the approach we were taking and I just knew it would not work. And I kept saying it and I just gave up like you, you only want to fight with your boss for so long, and it ended up being a big colossal failure.
And we started it. We started from scratch, but it was that I always wondered if I'd give up too soon. And again, going back to that younger and career, Me Hold your truth. Fight for what you believe a little more. That's that's a great lesson. You know how many times in history we've seen that right? When there's major failures, if somebody would have just said something or pushed a little harder, you were saying something, but it just just wasn't getting there.
Now, I guess the thing you don't want to do, though, right? I imagine you didn't do this. You didn't go see. I told you. No, I did not say that. That's like I told the rest of my kids. I was like, I told you, you should listened. But no, it's like, hopefully they learn from that. And maybe next time they're like, you know what?
What? I take what you say a little more serious next time. Yeah. It was a trust builder. Yeah, right. It was because we did essentially an after action review of what happened. What did we want to have happen? What should have happened? What's the lesson? So as long as again, if you're learning the lesson, growth is in discomfort, right?
Yeah, I love that little plug in for our leadership commitments there. Once again, we're going to continue talking about this. So when you hear these things, we're going to continue to bring them up and be like, hey, our tools. And actually, you know, what a great transition as we get to, you know, wrapping up with our final section, we had these leadership commitments here from the tools you mentioned after action review.
Never said that's fine, but if there's out of the tools that we have, which tool have you would you say is is the most impactful to as a leader to help develop the next generation, to help make a staple or make that impression with that next generation? That one so easy for me. Oh, okay. I love the concept of a leader's intent where we tell someone the what and the why but not the how.
Yeah, right. We can get in the stream with them and go back and forth on the how, but to give someone where we want to be and why and let them think about the how, that's really how you develop people. We're called to act before we're ever truly ready. Right. And that's a great way for people to build confidence, to learn about themselves.
So that empowerment of the house, right? Yeah. Okay. I'll I'll tell you where we want to go. I'll give you, you know, sample at the end and mine is. But that's so awesome. And I'm sure it's you know, it's one of those things that we see it on paper and we don't realize the impact it can make. And I imagine you have tons of stories.
That's my for another time. Yeah, a team is just rising to the occasion and really delivering after a solid leader's intent. The other thing I like about leader's intent, it's forces leaders to be very clear on what what does good look like because sometimes we're not very clear on that. So it's a it's a good gut check. Yeah.
Yeah. Did I give you a good leader's a ten about your five interviews you did. And you know this is all lining up nicely. We're bring it out, create clarity after action review. All of it's coming together now. It is. It is a real edition. We it again, this is not scripted. This is live on LinkedIn live here shortly right.
We're going to be there. So by the way, which is going to be on after this. And he's going to be answering questions if you do have any, that would be great. So with that, John, thank you for for joining us. This is this has been a pleasure getting to know you. Before you wrap up, what's your what are you looking forward to with this summit?
What do you want to get out of this this next few days? I think of our technical community as the heartbeat of the company. And so for me, it's always picking up something new, seeing a new opportunity, connecting to maybe disparate things together. So it just is always exciting. You feel a little smarter when you leave here, right?
I love that. Who doesn't want to be smarter? So again, thank you very much. Absolutely. Thank you. Thank you. I mean, we just learned a lot in 15 minutes. What was your biggest takeaway so far? Their biggest takeaway come to everything with curiosity, especially meeting people. That curiosity factor will help you. Who would have thought this would have been like riches, like lesson, like, hey, here's your challenge.
I know, here's your first. That's you're going to be curious. I love that. The aspiring leader. Yeah. All right. Well, let's continue our interviews and we're going to bring on our next guest. Here he is senior vice president of management in Ipac. We talked about him before and he he did have a cool story. I don't remember that story.
I said, hey, you want to continue your development as a leader? Don't ever stop learning, so be ready for that. So let's go to Mike Morgan, a senior vice president of APAC and management. Hello, Mike. Mike Enzi, good to see it. Good to see you, too. So Arizona is not your home. You're not you're not not local from here.
I am not as my accent probably betrays. No, I'm from Sydney, Australia. Sydney, Australia. Well, my thank you. Thank you for joining us. For the folks who are listening to us who are not from inside, can you tell them a little bit about what you do for insight and what do you do for us? Yeah, I have the great privilege of leading the Ipac region for insight, which for us is a direct presence in all of the major cities in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and mainland China.
Yeah. Wow, that's amazing stuff. So I mean, my understanding it's winter there now. It certainly is. Yes. It's a little different, a little different temperature wise than here at the moment. Well, welcome to Arizona. Yes. So Richard is our aspiring leader. And before you join, I invited him. Hey, while you're while you're in mastery, reach out to five people you haven't met before.
Okay. All right. So, Richard, you know, we talked about being curious. What questions do you have that you sparked that curiosity with? Mike? Yeah. So, Mike, I want to know a little bit more about your journey to becoming to where you got to where you are today. You know, how did that come to fruition? What did that look like?
And maybe share a little bit of the strategy behind, you know, how you propelled your career? Sure. Yeah, that's a great question. So I am a technologist by trade. I built my first computer when I was six years old and that was a hobby. And I never for a moment thought that that could become a career. So I moved in, became a programmer for a bank in Australia and did my training on the job there.
I skipped university to go foster in that option and considered myself a good technologist for probably the first 10 to 12 years of my career. But I always aspired to starting to look at leadership opportunities. And as with most people, I think you get your first leadership opportunity by proving yourself as a great individual contributor. So the first lesson that I learned when I moved into leadership is everything that got you there stops the day you start as a leader because you're starting your career at Ground Zero again.
And that was a really important lesson. I was lucky because the first leadership role I had was to run a practice in an area in business intelligence and data warehousing, which was not my technical background. So I was by force. I couldn't be the smartest guy in the room, and I had to really focus on hiring and enabling people who were very good at what they did.
And that philosophy I've carried through for the entirety of my my leadership journey and I think is probably the best lesson I learned. And it's one I keep telling people as they aspire to be leaders as well, that it's if you think that it's a a job about you as the leader, that's probably not the job for you.
It's very much a service industry and that servant leadership approach is very deep within inside me. As I say, I learned by force, but I've seen the benefits of watching other people grow beyond well beyond what I was capable of doing myself. So that's amazing. And yeah, the fact that, again, you know, as you start your career in technology, right, whatever path that is, because it's funny, you just said that you were not the smartest person in the room, even if you're a master in some aspect of technology, there's so much more that you don't know and let me ask you that question, right?
Like when it comes to future leaders that you're that you're looking at to join your organization or your departments, what are those those things that you look for, for that next generation that go, hey, they are definitely have that formula of the competencies or whatever you want to call it. Yeah, that really is prime to get them to that next level.
Yeah, there's, there's two mindsets that are non-negotiable for me. One is a growth mindset and the other one related is a learning mindset. I think that leaders, I think leaders are more important to the people they're leading than they realize themselves. At times, that can become quite an internal role. If you if you let it be become an internal role.
And when other people are looking at leaders, they're often looking to the leader to provide the answers and the direction. But counterintuitive, really, it's the it's the smart people in your team that have the answers. And the leaders job is to provide the space and the permission for those great ideas and innovations to come forth and in the technology space in particular, you know, my days of being technically capable, I'm still technically interested, yes.
But I am by far not the most capable person. So I love bringing young people into my team because we start to get stale. When we start to become a great team, we reinforce each other's views and create somewhat of an echo chamber. And when young people come in and they're not afraid to ask basic questions because they're not expected to know, they bring innovation that we couldn't possibly get as more senior leaders and I find that really exciting.
That's awesome. Yeah, that's great. And I just going back to the servant leadership and that mentality. Yeah, I am curious. So you mentioned that that switch going to from the technical side into leadership, what what made what sparked that change, that particular change? I know you were really great and you had a great passion for the technical side.
Yes. And then did it just translate over because you had that love for it and you wanted to teach others and lead others in that in that direction or what? Tell us a little bit of that was a couple of things. Apart from technology, I've always had a passion in what makes people tick. So psychology, if I wasn't doing technology, I'd probably be a psychologist because I really fascinated by human motivation and human behavior.
And leadership is almost the ultimate expression of that of that passion as well, because you really do need to understand what makes your people tick. And often it's not what makes you tick. And so that's a really good personal growth story. I'm also got to a point in my career where I wanted more than my individual contributor role, and I was one of the voices that was always quick to define the problem, but it was someone else's job to solve it.
And I sort of felt at one point a switch went off in my head and I thought, No, I want to be a part of that solution and I want to have a bigger voice to be able to make a difference more directly than simply being a voice that's complaining and and creating definitions of problems. And that was a motivation for me.
Oh, I see. I see the correlation there with that growth mindset as well, where instead of just saying because that's I mean, that's a thing, right? When somebody says we don't do that or we can't do that, in your mindset, say No, why aren't we doing that? Why can't we do that? Why are we looking into that any further?
You always had that combination really Well, it really was like a nice merge there, but definitely too. Yeah. One quick question on the whole growth mindset and learning mindset, right? So with those individuals that you feel have both, do you feel like they kind of go hand in hand with the individuals that you see? Because to me it kind of sounds similar.
They are similar, yeah, they're similar in a sense. Where they're different is that I think having a learning mindset is it's almost a sense of humility that I think the moment that you turn up to work and you feel like there's nothing left to learn, then you've probably proven yourself right. And that's a really dangerous place to be.
And then it's time to either reset or go and do something else. But I think there's always more to learn, and particularly in this industry, which I love. Yeah, just just when you think you've got it all understood, it's changed on you anyway. So yeah, if you don't have a learning mindset, you technically go backwards very, very quickly.
Yeah, I think the growth mindset is a more personal attribute and it's about wanting to continue to become bigger and richer and better as a leader. But it also translates directly to the people that you're responsible for because the growth mindset extends not just to you as an individual, but to making sure that you have a growth objective for everybody in your team.
From a selfish perspective, the best way that we keep attrition low in teams every whenever I look across the group, the teams that are the stickiest have the best leaders who are the most invested in their growth. And if people are growing, why would they leave? Yeah, and that's that seems to work pretty well. So, you know, our first episode, was it our first or second episode we talked about.
So Jan Bastian is my leader and she recently had an interview with you and she talked about development and leadership development specifically. What I loved about that is because there are times, you know, as you continue your career, you know, you never need to stop, never stop learning. We talked about that. We have internal programs, we have things that we offer.
But then it gets to a point where, like, you want more, right? Or you're like, Hey, I got this, but I want it to be challenged more. Take it to that next level. What made you pursue So tell us about your pursue for continuing your education. How did you find it and what did you get from that? Yeah, it was a fabulous experience and I was extremely grateful for the support of that.
I had from inside and from Joyce and the rest of the leadership team to sponsor me into that. We provide amazing leadership development opportunities and insight internally and from some of the best universities in the U.S. And so I'm all about trying to build diversity of thought and diversity of experience. So I decided that having received all of that education in the US, I was really keen to get something that wasn't in the US and that also wasn't in my home country of Australia to bring a different global perspective and and just again, to get out of the echo chamber, I think we're all we've got such great leadership training here that when leaders talk
to each other, we're talking in a common voice, then it's really powerful. So you have to almost step outside of it to bring a different perspective and a different challenge. So I chose to do the Advanced Management program at INSEAD, which is based in just outside of Paris, in France. Oh, wow. And their go to market for education is about being globally diverse.
And I was one of about 50 people from I think it was over 20 countries. I was very surprised to be in Paris and the largest cohort was Australians. Oh, I think there were five Australians, but that was the largest cohort. So as you can imagine, there's lots of people from different countries, different industries, totally different professions. And so I'm very comfortable talking leadership with other technology leaders, particularly in insight driven technology and industry leaders outside of insight.
But when you start talking about the challenges of a marketing director in a fast moving consumer goods company, it forces you to think without your assumptions. And that I found extremely beneficial and very powerful. It just teaches you to think better. Yeah. And now I have a global network which is pretty powerful as well, which is another plus to it for sure.
So one of the things that was impressive about that journey that you had to is that Jen mentioned that you actually they actually reached out to your leaders and your, you know, I guess, circle of partners or teammates that you work with to say, hey, you're going to be dedicated to this program. Like if you need anything, you know, just keep it to a minimum not to distract you or keep you away from focusing on the content.
Is that correct? And I know it was far stricter than that, actually. Okay. So Joyce had to sign a contract. Oh, to to provide a commitment. That insight would leave me alone for four weeks for the residential program. Wow. And that it's it's in order for insight to get the benefit and for me to get the benefit, I needed to be really rusted on.
They even extend that to family and ask that your family calls are done at night or in early in the morning, not during program time, and they enforce it extremely strictly. So they want you to be in this very immersive experience without distraction. And you know what I love about that person? Because again, running the programs that we have here and our leaders unfortunately end up dropping from the programs or saying this is too much right now for me.
You know, I have a lot on my plate, which is understandable. But if it continues or is this always there's always going to be something that's going to prevent us from that. So I just really spark with a spark, an idea for me, say we need to actually reach out to their leaders and their team and say, hey, like if you really want to, you know, focus on a development, You really believe in their development.
Give them the time and space during this time to focus on that. Definitely to really develop it. Is that is that an advice you would give as well? I would, yeah, I would. And the way that they position that and it's very, very upfront at the beginning of the program is they say one of the reasons that they asked for that exclusive use of your time is it's part of the leadership journey to empower your leaders to be able to cover for you and again, get yourself out of that.
I'm so important that the business can't run without me that it's quite an important concept to get your head around, that you're actually if you're running a good business and you're a good leader, the business should be able to operate without you for a period of time. It's good for their leadership development and growth, but it's also good for the sustainability of you not being a bottleneck in your business by being so independently important that the company can't do without you as a president.
Yeah, that's bracing, but good. And that's always a hesitation, right? A lot of us have or what have you. But again, also shows like, Hey, how comfortable are you in extending that trust to your team that they got this year? So what do you think about that trust? Something else that we talked about in previous episodes that's amazing.
I like the whole I like taking from different perspectives, grabbing that different pole of knowledge and just having that wider scope, I guess, if you will. Yeah. And just bringing those those different perspectives from different pieces of the globe that that's Yeah. Especially, you know, being been to a lot of companies, a lot of organizations are going global, right.
Yeah, I think it just adds more value not only to yourself but the organization you work for, right? That you are able to lead in that mindset and that is in that mindset. The other interesting thing is when you have we do a lot of very experiential program and when you're presenting something about your role in your company and the people who are asking the questions and being the challenges are from different countries, different companies in different industries, they ask questions that a technology and experience technology leader would never ask because they'd say, Well, that is an assumption.
That's a well, well accepted assumption that that wouldn't be possible. And so that challenge or approach of someone who has no context of your industry saying, Yeah, but I understand that, why not? It forces you to start to be a lot more bold and a lot more innovative and question the assumptions that you didn't realize that you had, that they're effectively unconscious biases from your own experience in your industry.
And that was very powerful. Yeah. So we're talking about the next generation of tech leaders. So from your experience, what wisdom or advice would you give that next generation going into tech, you know, leading in technology that you learn from that experience? What would you what what advice would you give them early to set them up for success?
Yeah, I think I covered quite a bit of it. So I think that not to lose the humility that can be like leadership can become a very ego driven objective if it's not kept in check. Yeah. And that the biggest lesson in leadership is that my career and my, my success personally has been so much richer and larger through the scalability of having smart people.
And with a group of people, you can go so much further. I think they often say on my own, I can go faster, but together we can go further. And I think that is the mantra of good leadership and the way that you need to think about it. But that switch, as I mentioned earlier, the the opportunity to become a leader is normally granted to you because you've been very good at an area that you are an expert in and that is fully within your control.
Yeah, and the most bracing leap of faith is to suddenly feel that you're out of control, which you need to give up control to be an effective and scalable leader. And that's part of that. That leap off the chasm. But if you're prepared to make that and then you've put all of that energy that you put into being great yourself, into empowering and accelerating others, it goes so much faster and it's so much more rewarding.
Wow, man, I don't know. I'm excited about this. That right there, because it does leave that potential to just, you know, continue to grow your team to to I mean, everything just comes to mind right now. Like it's a fine oiled machine, right. That everybody is doing. They're empowered. Oh, my gosh. What a way to close out this interview.
Any final questions or anything? I mean, I have a ton of final questions, but I'm going to go ahead and I know that I'm going to value Mike's time. No, this was this has been really amazing. I've learned so much just in this brief moment that we've spoken and thank you so much for. Yeah, thank you so much.
And again, hopefully you have a good time. Of course you're going to be amazing connections and again, learn and you have a growth mindset during this next few days. Most certainly. I'm really excited and thanks for having the opportunity. Thank you very much. Appreciate his insight. All right. Wow. So again, to two back to back thought leaders going from, you know, being curious to then going, hey, also being humble, being humility.
Right. Not now, but not coming in. I'm the smartest person because, I mean, when you when you're in a tech industry, when you're in an industry like this, you you know, you accumulated so much knowledge, right? You've done some amazing things. But if you don't come in going, but I'm not the smartest person in the room, there's others as well.
You can just add to that, you know, and enhance your learning, but then enrich somebody else's. Yes. And it's great that we're finding so many commonalities, so many of those strings that we've spoken about through previous episodes, you know, trust, you know, the whole growth mindset, learning, being humble, you know, things like that that really kind of wrap into just this one episode that we're talking about a number of with a number of different leaders.
Yeah, Yeah. So again, I mean, I don't know about you, but I'm excited. I'm excited for the connections you're going to make in our conversations for future episodes of like, who did you talk to? What were some of the things that you took away from this week? So we're down to our third and final guests and presenter Would you who do we have on Story?
Yes, so we have Brooke Munir. She is the director of Services Solutions and Operations. Wow. Hello, Oprah. Welcome. You see I'm. Hello, hello, hello, Hello. Okay. Hi, Brooke. I'm meeting you for the first time, Richard. Very nice to be Richard. Nice to meet you. So, Brooke, for folks who don't know who you are, again, this is going on.
This is going on across this is going international. Oh, boy. Tell us a little about what you do here at inside and what you what your what your primary objective is. Okay. All right. So first and foremost, I've been within sight for 20 years, came through the Caitlyn's acquisition and I've worked in a variety of different roles, but always right around the services and solutions business.
Right. And these days I've got our client success Team Z. You met some of them yesterday. Fabulous group of professionals here that really we put into our key accounts to just help create that solution integrator experience, bring all the solutions together, clean engagement for customer, really align well with the goals of the customers trying to achieve. And I also have a newer team, the services renewals organization.
And so they've done a really fabulous job with helping us get a visibility into our full renewable portfolio and drive really great, really great business and great, really great client experience in those in those interactions. So yeah, I know again, I met them, you know, in person. I here's a quick little backstory with Brooke and myself, right? She she's very dedicated to our team's development, you know, always trying to sharpen that score, keeping them sharpen their skills not only on, you know, they're the services or technical side or the expertise, but also themselves, right.
In their development to how to become better leaders themselves. So you reached out and said, hey, I have an idea or I want what do we have out there? Yeah. And the cool thing about Brooke in your conversation, but also other leaders as well, like reach out to your internal resources, find out what's what do we have internally that's available?
Oh, yeah. And if you have an amazing team like my team, if we don't, we can create something, right? Can come up with something like we really, like partner up with you and say, Hey, what is it that you're looking for specifically? What's the end in mind? And that's where, you know, we started working with your team around this executive presence and kind of taking that to that next level.
So that's the first step. You know, our first thing I saw with your team, second interaction that we're here yesterday and we did strength finders, but then also a team builder around how to actually put that into practice. So how was that experience? What what's the feedback you've gotten their oh my gosh, so much fun. I mean, so first and foremost, just to be able to step out a day today and come here and be together at this summit and and do something that's different from what we're usually doing, right?
They're usually working individually in the accounts they support. So they get together and just learn more about each other. Right. And figure out who's good at this and who's good at that. And then put that together for the scavenger hunt. It was so much fun. They had a great time. And then just, you know, you you forced us to, you know, do a level of of introspection, right, about areas that we where we're strong and maybe where we're not.
And so they just were really, really grateful to take the time to do that. Yeah, well, but a competition comes out or two. Oh, Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Perfect. Keep them on the toes. Great. So again, this has been, you know, we've been challenging. Hey, get to know, find new people, be curious. So this is opportunity to be a little bit curious with with Brooke.
Any questions for Bret? Yes, actually, Brooke. So I want to know, how can current tech leaders effectively mentor, you know, the up and coming the next generation of tech leaders? How what does that look like effectively? That's a great question. So everybody has something unique to offer that next that next generation. And I think you just have to get out there, make yourself as approachable as possible, make yourself as available as possible.
And I always think about it is how can I increase my shared surface area with other teams, with other people. Right. And make those connections. And really, you have to intentionally say, I got to get out of my sphere of influence. Right. Or expanded, I guess is another way to think about it, because you work, you know, naturally you work with a lot of the same people day to day, but there's so many great resources out there and so get out there, make yourself available, ask other leaders, Hey, is there anybody up and coming in your team that that is interested in mentoring or having a mentor?
And I think that's really important for us to do as part of giving back, right when you're in this stage of your career. Yeah, that's great. Are there any strategies that you would say that have worked well or maybe not so well that you can share with us? Yeah, I think for me it's it's getting finding a way once you connect to in a mentoring relationship, finding a way to get to that radical candor as quickly as possible so that you can figure out is this can we can we offer can I offer value to this teammates.
Right. Because I've had situations where maybe I was partnered up with somebody from our mentoring perspective and maybe I wasn't the best fit for them based on where they want to go or what they've done. And figuring that out quickly is really helpful and then connecting them with maybe somebody who's a better fit. But also that radical candor helps with like, you know, you got to create a safe space, right?
And so you have to say that out loud early on. Look, this is going to be uncomfortable, but I want you to know this is all about, you know, your growth and I'm here to help. And so let's just agree to get quickly to that candor so we can talk about, you know, the good, the bad and the ugly together.
And you have to be vulnerable as a leader and share some of those those failures you've had in your past and some of the mistakes you. That's that's where the learning really happened. So I just think creating that space and that sort of commitment to truth early on really helps. I love that's going back to dig in the vulnerability, being afraid, sharing your failures, being upfront and the candor.
I love that because, you know, I think we can all maybe maybe you have had some examples where, you know, you started a mentor relationship with somebody. You're starting to build that. But then you found out it just, you know, wasn't the right fit or what have you. Not in. There's nothing wrong. Nothing wrong. I love that you call that out because a lot of times we tend to write it out and be like, Hey, that time I kind of really connected with somebody that can help me accelerate growth.
And I think about mentorship. It's a give and take, though. To write isn't always like you're giving them, you're getting from them as well. What are the things that you look for or that they appreciate from a mentee, someone that you decide, Hey, we're going to start this relationship? What do you appreciate on their end? What do you look for?
What are some of the things that stand out to you when you have a solid mentee? That's a great question I mean, again, just honesty, right? I want I appreciate right out right away that they are putting the investment in in this book. And I say upfront yeah this is this is this is more you right This is more you you got to bring what do you want to work on?
What do you want to talk about. And so when they come in there prepared, it doesn't have to be formal, but they're prepared with some things they want to focus on. Right. And they're they're confident and they're committed to growing as a leader, as a teammate. But they're also that a little bit of humility. I appreciate that quite a bit.
Right. Hey, I'm really great here, but I'm not I'm not so great here. And I could use some help. I could use some resources. I've always appreciated that. Yeah. Let me add to that, too, because there's also that next level over the element of, let's say you, you know, they're going to work on something, right? Or you talk about something they're going to put into action, something that you discuss.
Okay, that's a great idea, Brooke. I'm going to go ahead and try that in my next meeting, in my next whatever. Yeah, but then they don't get it done or it doesn't go as planned. So I think that also goes goes to say, hey, you know what, I did not do this, but this is why or this is this is what happened or this is you know, it was an immature fear.
You know what? I was about to do that. Yeah. But we're going to that meeting and have that difficult conversation. And then I just backed out and this is why. So what are your thoughts around that? They still still share that. Don't just make it up, don't fake it or make it. Oh, yeah, I did it. It was fired by.
Be honest. Why is that impactful? Do you find that? Oh, yeah. And so I might misremember the title of this book, but I read a book a number of years ago called The Coaching Habit, and it's that seven question. It's really designed to say, Hey, don't give folks all the answers you're going to get. They're going to get so much more value and you are as well if you just ask the right questions.
So I've actually had that scenario you describe happen in a mentor relationship and I had to stop myself and just, you know, ask the question, what what do you think? What was the real challenge here? Right. And really start to dig in. And actually that turned over a whole new set of things that we were able to talk about and work on that were always going to be creating some friction for this teammate to move forward.
And so we had to go unpack all of those, but just asking those right questions and again, always coming from a place of empathy. Let's get real, right? A candor. Yeah, exactly right. Yeah, That's awesome. Yeah, I'm noticing the common theme curiosity, empathy. You know, all of these don't don't give them all the answers. Allow them the opportunity to bring those thoughts and those perspectives, those different perspectives to the table.
And I like how it opens up. The more up, you know, they actually open up the real root cause of them, you know, either hasn't hesitating or, you know, taking a step back because once you start once, not say soft, right. Because it's always a work in progress. But once you identify that now you can really work on the real stuff with them, right?
Absolutely. Absolutely. And it's always more impactful if they sort of discovered on their own. Yes. But again, that comes with trust and just asking the right questions in the right way. Yeah, sure. Right. So I know we're talking about, you know, learning from our failures and our mistakes. What are some of the things that you learned early on in your career that if you can, you know, to teach the next generation, hey, you know, this is what I learned.
I want to I want to tell you this now so that we can, like, prepare for it. Yes. And maybe they can It's going to happen. Right. But just like, you know, hey, it's okay. It's part of the process. Is there anything that comes to mind? Oh, so many things come to mind. And I'm still learning this even in the last week.
I've written some things down in my journal that have just crystallized more for me from a from a lesson perspective. I think one of the the biggest things I remind folks on my team and others that I mentor is context, context, context, context. So we can get really in our zone right of what we see and what we care about and what we're working on.
And when you're going out and interacting, whether you're talking to a client or a fellow teammate, somebody from another department, context matters and really try to zoom out and think about what is this person's view of this topic? Are they going to know what I'm talking about? Take the time upfront to align. You're either, Oh yeah, we've talked about this before.
I can jump right into the detail, but take the time to align. And if it's not there, take the time to set it. Let me just set the table on this topic. Make sure we're talking about that matters so much. It matters a lot. And the other thing that, you know, again, I've learned this lesson many times, I'll probably continue to learn it is slow down, slow down when when things are getting really amped up and noisy and there's a lot of maybe there's some emotion, a lot of people asking for for different things, an urgency, slow down and really take that pause.
And maybe it's just a pause with yourself to say, okay, what's the best path forward? Is this something I should spend my time on right now? Is this something that I should pull somebody else into? I could do it, but maybe this is an opportunity for somebody else. Maybe this is important to this person. But when I zoom out again, think about the context.
This is not a now, this is a next or a later thing. Right. And so that slowing down, we just get caught up with the pace of things. And sometimes we race to decisions and really slowing down and taking that pause, recentering with yourself and then with others in the team, Hey, are we on the right track here?
It matters so much. Yeah. Well, again, you know, one of the tools that we talk about a lot in our commitments, anything that I will continue to talk about is our strategic pause. And we think about big projects or big things. But honestly, it's even the smallest things and even. Oh, self. Yeah. In order to go fast, we need to go slow.
That's right. But that's right. Speaking of that, your team, did they win the scavenger that she came in? First? Second? Well, I have to say we all won because I was reflecting on this last night, and I remember the objective you had for us was to complete all of those activities within the time provided. And we did that and we connected and we learned and we really figured out everybody's strengths.
The team that I was on, we did not technically win. We were close. The other team won well-deserved. And it was it was a lot of fun. But I'm going to echo that. You did win. That was again, both teams did it won, got there a little bit faster. That's fine. That's right. But that's all I've asked people for.
Accomplish the mission. But at the same time, I think, you know, from the observer, from the outside looking in, you know, again, that's the thing, right? It's interesting. We talk about like we know this, I need a pause. I need to slow down a world where in the midst of craziness, oh, yeah, even in this exercise, which is fine.
Yeah, we start. If you think about it, how many times could we have taken a time out? And I'd be like, Hold on. What's priority? What's not? What's the priority? Why missing something? Are we getting a tunnel vision? I heard you say that a few times. Go. Wait a minute. What? Am I missing? Something here? I can't see.
So you are you? Good job. Yeah, I see that. Yeah. Any fun in last question before we wrap up? No, no questions, but I am going to take the slow down approach. I like that. I'm going to use that in my my home life. Your life? Yes. Take a pause. Very sad. Yeah, very, very strategic pause. If I could just add one more thing.
So I have a mentor a number of years ago, I've actually had a few leaders who've who've reinforced this point in different words. Perhaps as you are moving forward in your career, you kind of go from that doing the work to managing the work to leading the work or the people are the teams right? And so it becomes less about you kind of owning skills or metrics or whatever those things are, and more about growing and developing the leaders on your team.
And that means sometimes you have to slow down and hand something to somebody. Maybe they're not 100% prepared to take, but you got to do it right. That's that's the job. Yeah. And, and that's that's that's how you amplify the impact if you're growing. It's not, oh, we hit these facilities or we hit these metrics. Am I growing leaders at INSIGHT?
That's the amplification effect. And that's that's the most important part out. I mean, I don't think we could I ended in a better note there. I mean, I think that's really what the whole, you know, today's episode is all about, right? How do we then set up the next generation for success? And I think you just nailed it there.
Thank you, Brooke. It was nice seeing you. So welcome. Thank you. I hope you have a good time. The most out of this summit. Oh, yeah. With that again, will you? Don't be a stranger than oh, you will keep us busy for share with you. Oh, we will. Yes. Thank you so much. Thank you. Yes, thank you. Have a go.
All right. All right. Well, Rich, that wraps up our episode. We learned a lot, right? There was a lot of great takeaways, a lot of good things that we can take away. So as leaders, as aspiring leaders, as current leaders, as whatever level you're at, we just learned from three amazing thought leaders, great insight, took some great nuggets of wisdom.
My call to action to all of you is, Hey, what resonated with you? What were some of the things that you took away today that you're going to implement and you're going to put into practice in your next conversations? What those next teammates or teammates that you see have that opportunity. You have that ability, that you can see that potential.
I challenge you to start putting those into practice. I think it's cool. As we wrap up, I know we covered a lot. We said a lot. Rich, if you can unpack or summarize, what were the biggest takeaways from you the from today's episode? So biggest takeaways are that commonality, that common theme of what strategies can our our current tech leaders do and implement to develop our future next generation tech leaders all the way from any of the concepts that we've talked about in the prior episodes Trust, development, you know, just different perspectives, taking a strategic pause, things of that nature.
A lot of those things really jumped out. And you heard them here, folks. This was unscripted, so you got to hear firsthand how our leadership team works, how they manage their people and, you know, great, great, valuable information that we've learned a lot today. Yeah, That's what I love about these conversations in these interviews is that we just have a genuine conversation.
We provide them, Hey, this is our topic so we're going to talk about, but we just kind of go into it and be again, going back to speak, curious, dive into what we can learn and what you'll notice and it's no surprise that there's always going to be some connections and overlapping, right? Those things that that you've learned, that you've experienced along the way, that you learn from others, that you've actually seen in your personal experience, that all of a sudden just start to match.
And it's like, you know what? This is? I'm on the right track as a leader. And guess what? I now need to empower and educate and train and develop that next generation to continue that path. So for me, that was the biggest takeaway, and I hope you enjoyed today's episode again, don't forget to let us know if you have any questions.
Will be happy to answer those for you. We look forward to continuing this series and continue to do these special editions because they're so they're fun. This is this is fun and you have a good time. I had a blast and learned so much. Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. And well, yeah, they are so close up. No. Thank you for joining us today for our special edition.
We really appreciate it. And also for more special editions, be sure to subscribe and turn on your alerts so you catch all of our future episodes.
Z Tinoco is a diversity, leadership & organization development manager who believes in building teams, inspiring minds and creating authentic connections. He helps people reach their goals and find success through humor, leadership and a diverse mindset.
Richard is an experienced paid media specialist with a proven track record of creating and executing successful campaigns across various platforms. Richard has a passion for tackling new challenges, connecting with people and loves all things tech.