Pat Cullen: Leading Through Growth



Pat Cullen is the VP of Engineering at Carrot Fertility, the leading global fertility healthcare and family-forming benefits provider for employers and health plans. Pat oversees and directs Carrot’s information security, data, and engineering teams. He has more than a decade of experience as a technologist & thought-leader who builds effective teams by driving engineering best practices, empowering developer productivity, and promoting deliverable alignment. Pat discusses leading through growth, how his business background helped him, and his specific approaches to leading tech teams.

Highlights:

Q: Tell us about your background and how getting an MBA helped you in the field of software development.

Pat says he had an MBA planned from the start, from when he was a junior in high school. He describes how participating in team sports and activities helped him see how important it was to learn to learn more about leading teams. Having a business background helped him as a software developer know more about the big picture and as a manager better understand where other functional teams were coming from.

Q: What leadership challenges have you faced as Carrot grew from a startup to a midsize company?

Pat explains how having managed growing departments at larger companies gave him experience with growth. He also describes how he had to learn how to let go of control and how to help others become more comfortable with change and uncertainty. Pat brings in specific tech and business examples to illustrate his points.

Q: What is good about slime mold?

Pat describes how focusing on outcomes as opposed to outputs can lead to more innovative solutions and how slime mold does that organically. It’s a great story of letting your team overcome barriers, make mistakes, and generate powerful solutions.

Listen to the episode to also hear Pat talk about his experience in larger companies, dealing with layoffs, building feedback loops, and more.

Words of Wisdom:

Come to every situation prepared with two to three possible outcomes.

Stop the meeting five minutes early and rate the meeting around the room.

Give little “f” feedback not big “F” feedback.

Contact Pat Cullen:

Happy to chat with whoever whenever, here’s my Calendly: https://calendly.com/pat-carrot/coffee-chat

The simplest way to connect with me is LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/%F0%9F%A5%95-pat-cullen-b3295b29


Kristeen Barth: Creating a Healthy Relationship with Work



Joanie has a conversation with an IT-manager-turned-coach, Kristeen Barth. Kristeen works with people and teams to challenge their current thinking, and she is committed to their growth experience. Kristeen also has a nerdy background. She has worked in IT project and product management as well as cultural integration. Her current work focuses on team culture and individual growth. Kristeen Barth believes that a healthy relationship with your work is key to a healthy life. That’s what we talk about in this episode.

Highlights:

Q: How did you become interested in technology management and what roles did you have in IT?

Kristeen holds a BS in Technology Management and MBA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She worked in the telecom and toy industries as a business analyst, then moved into IT program management in the finance industry. It was in this role that she discovered the field of learning and development.

Q: What inspired you to transition from IT to learning & development?

Kristeen said that, working in IT, she had focused on improving systems and using Agile methodologies to improve productivity, but she found it even more rewarding to be able to focus on the people. She was interested in how people work together, why they work the way they work, and so on.

Q: How do you define a person’s relationship with work? What kinds of unhealthy work relationships have you seen, particularly in the tech fields and what does a healthy relationship with work look like?

Kristeen describes three components of a relationship with work: meaning, growth, and shared goals. The extent to which these factors are positive and balanced indicates the health of the relationship. Listen to the podcast to learn more about these factors, how they appear in tech jobs, and tips to develop healthier relationships with work.

Words of Wisdom:

If you are depleted, you won’t be fresh and ready for an urgent situation, like an outage.

Customer service can be healthy or unhealthy, depending on what is driving it.

Fear of making a mistake can lead to an unhealthy relationship with work.

A healthy work relationship is when you are standing up tall and strong and are ready to take on a challenge.

Contact Kristeen Barth for a free 30-minute coaching session:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristeenbarth/

Saboteur Assessment & Coaching Offer: https://www.kristeenbarth.com/saboteur-assessment


Joanie Connell Speaks about her Book on Consulting to Technical Leaders



Highlights:

In this unique episode, Joanie presents a short overview of her new book, Consulting to Technical Leaders, Teams, and Organizations: Building Leadership in STEM Environments and responds to audience questions. She differentiates technical leaders and industries from nontechnical leaders and industries and answers questions on a variety of topics ranging from how did she come to write the book to is it nature or nurture that determines the personalities of technical leaders.

Use discount code FLYER25 for purchasing the book at 25% off the list price until March 31, 2022 at the American Psychological Association bookstore. The book is also available on amazon.com.

Shout Out:

Joanie talks about how to increase diversity in STEM and gives an opportunity to donate to the All Girls STEM Society. Joanie is donating all proceeds from her books sold at her book launch event on March 31, 2022, to the San Diego Chapter of the All Girls STEM Society. You don’t have to attend to donate.

  1. Go to the Book Party Event website at https://bit.ly/Connellbook
  2. Click on Tickets and look for the Donation option.

If you want to attend, get a ticket for the event.

Contact Joanie:

Visit https://flexibleworksolutions.com/ for more info on the book, Joanie, and consulting/coaching programs.

 


Keith Mangold: A Technical Leader’s Dream Job



Keith Mangold is a Senior Manager of IT Applications at Make-A-Wish Foundation. His passion is finding the right technology for organizations and helping improve their processes through innovative and new ideas. He loves playing with new tech, but his specialty is making the tech work for the organization’s needs. In this episode, Keith talks about his IT management journey, how he landed his dream job at Make-A-Wish Foundation (and why), and how he is able to be both an IT manager and a Jazzercise fitness instructor.

Highlights:

Q: Tell us about your passion for technology and when you first knew you wanted to go into IT.

Keith tells how he has had a lifelong passion for playing with the latest technology and he tells what his latest gadget is. Hint: it’s bigger than a bread box.

What do you do at Make-A-Wish Foundation and why is it your dream job?

Keith describes how he gets to use the latest tech but, more importantly, at the end of the day, he gets to help make the world a better place. The mission of Make-A-Wish is what enabled them to retain his talent.

Q: Can you tell us about the mission of Make-A-Wish Foundation?

Make-A-Wish’s mission is to create life changing wishes for children with critical illness. Keith describes how everything he does at Make-A-Wish is to help grant as many wishes as possible in as short a time as possible to spread that joy to every single eligible child. Their product, if you will, is granting wishes.

Q: You say that your least favorite words are “That’s the way we’ve always done it!” and you aspire to look at things from different viewpoints.  How do you bring others on board with you when you do this?

To get people to have open eyes, Keith says he has to have equally, if not more, open eyes. He says he wants to understand why people have always done it that way. That allows him to determine if there really is a need to change. Often there is a really good reason why people are doing things a certain way. Having an open mind himself allows him to ask the questions to get others to think about the way they are doing it.

Listen to the episode to learn Keith’s approach to managing teams by taking the work aspect out of it, how he builds connection in the team, how he shows up both as a senior tech manager and a Jazzercise instructor, and what his tips are for nerds to stay fit.

Words of Wisdom:

I have found I can’t change other people.

As a manager, I have grown more heavily by asking questions than by providing direction.

Learn and understand how someone likes to communicate.

To stay fit, don’t stop moving.

Shout Outs:

Help make the world a better place by making a donation to Make-A-Wish Foundation (Wish.org).

Stay fit while having fun. Join a Jazzercise class.

Contact Keith Mangold:

Email Keith: kman@blargo.net


Fabrice Paracuellos: Supporting People Through Holiday Stress



Joanie hosts a special holiday episode with Fabrice Paracuellos. Fabrice is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of California.  He helps individuals, couples, teams, and organizations with emotions, relationships, self-worth, and wellness. In addition, Fabrice has a technical background with multiple degrees in engineering and business and he’s worked for startups and large tech companies. Today, Fabrice talks about how technical leaders can be supportive to others both at work and at home to people who are stressed out or feeling bad during the holiday season.

Highlights:

Q: Tell us about your background, including your international studies and your work, and how you came to become a therapist and specialize in wellness and relationships.

Fabrice received therapy when he was a teen and it was a wonderful experience for him.  He studied math and physics in high school and engineering in college.  He worked in IT for several years. Having a daughter opened his eyes to doing something that was more meaningful to him, and he transitioned to international relations and business.  Later, when he was ready, he trained to become a therapist.

Q: Technical leaders often say that they want to be a good partner or a good manager or a good friend, but they don’t know what to say to someone when that person says they are stressed out about family dynamics during the holidays. Can you help explain what kinds of stressors and emotions that holidays can bring up for people?

Fabrice explains that what’s called for in this situation may not play to the strength of a person who is really good at solving problems, as technical leaders often are. Simply listening and understanding the emotions that the person is experiencing may be all that is needed. Empathizing by acknowledging their stress may also help. He advises a straightforward statement, such as “That sounds very stressful.”

Fabrice has noticed that lots of tech folks, for various reasons, may not have developed a comfort level with emotions. He says that the trick can be to recognize the emotion the person you’re dealing with is experiencing and validating it. He recommends practicing with a good friend.

He also has found that technical leaders are often used to working in an autonomous fashion.  Asking for help may not come naturally. A good friend can be a good place to start.

Listen to the episode to hear more from Frabrice about how to be a better listener, how to offer support at the workplace without getting too personal or intrusive, and how to manage your own emotions and stress during the holidays so you don’t become a tyrant at work.

Word of Wisdom:

In lots of situations, what’s called for is not what we’re good at.

Emotions are really logical when you are given the right theory and tools.

Noticing emotions is a form of data collection.

Emotions usually have valuable information in them that eventually need attending.

Contact Fabrice Paracuellos:

therapyforhumans.com


Katheryn Baker: Bridging Business and Technical People



Katheryn Baker is Vice President at Artic Consulting, a consulting firm that provides technology solutions for business and data management.  Katheryn is passionate about both technology and business and is skilled in Enterprise Software, Business Strategy, Productivity, Data, and Program Management.  She’s joining us today from Anaheim, CA.

Highlights:

Q: You have a background in both business and technology, and you have been a consultant for essentially your entire career.  Tell us your story of how you got to where you are now.

Katheryn has a degree in Art History but quickly found she was interested in program management.  She became good friends with the dev teams and moved into leading them.  She had to learn as she went.  She has grown dev consulting teams for many years, including at Artic.

Q: Did you have to learn how to program to lead dev teams?

Katheryn learned what she called “enough to be dangerous,” both in programming and database management.  She said her sweet spot was understanding how things work together and working with the technical and leadership teams and translating between them.

Q: You work with a wide range of clients, from small companies to giants across different industries.  Is it pretty much the same to communicate with them or do you have to use different methods?

She said Agility has been important in all industries, but it’s critical to her as a leader and a consultant to a wide range of clients.

There are some similarities, but jargon changes across organizations and industries.  Whether people are remote or on site is another consideration.  It is extremely helpful for her team to be able to go on site and actually see what is going on.  She has to use different forms of communication to work with different clients—email, chat, in-person, and so on.

Listen to the podcast to hear Katheryn’s tips on being flexible with different clients and as a leader working with different team members, how she has handled the talent shortage, and tips on working remotely and what challenges they have overcome at Artic.

Words of Wisdom:

There isn’t a one size fits all to a specific issue or goal.

If you understand what motivates people, you can help them have a sense of pride in their work.

As a manager, it’s important to recognize that people have different scenarios in their lives at different times.

It’s a great time for women in the tech industry.

Contact Katheryn Baker:

Website: https://www.articconsulting.com/

Email: katheryn.baker@articconsulting.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katheryn-baker-34bb485/


Steve Hoffman: People Skills for Founders



Joanie has a conversation with Steve Hoffman, CEO of Founders Space, one of the world’s leading startup accelerators. Steve has trained hundreds of startup founders and corporate executives in the art of innovation and provided consulting to many of the world’s largest corporations, including Qualcomm, Huawei, Bosch, Intel, Disney, Warner Brothers, NBC, Gulf Oil, Siemens, and Viacom. Steve is also a venture investor, serial entrepreneur, and author of several award-winning books, including “Surviving a Startup” published by HarperCollins. Steve has also worked in the television and gaming industries and has some great tips and stories to share.

Highlights:

Q: Steve, you’re known as Captain Hoff in the gaming world. Tell us about your work in the television and gaming industries, as well as what games you play.

Steve is known in Silicon Valley as Captain Hoff because he’s a game player and designer.  He started out playing Dungeons and Dragons, RuneQuest, and almost any board game you can think of, as well as video games of all kinds.  He worked for Sega on Sonic the Hedgehog, and eventually started a company and created the award-winning strategy game, Gazillionaire, and many other games that are still available on Steam.

Q: What skills did you have learned along the way to expand your ability from developing to lead teams and companies?  How did you learn to manage people?

Steve learned the hard way.  He was an introvert and extremely shy.  Even though Steve comes across as an extrovert now, he said it was all trained.  He said he started out being really bad at presenting, interviewing, making sales pitches, and so on, but just did it.  He said the way he learned was to notice every time what worked and what didn’t and never do the same thing twice.

He learned how to go from telling people what to do to asking them what they think they should do, what problems they are facing, and what they need.

Listen to the podcast to hear how Steve came to start Founders Space, what some of the most common challenges he see tech startup founders running into, and what kinds of barriers technical founders create for themselves.

Shout Out:

Steve’s book called Surviving a Startup: Practical Strategies for Starting a Business, Overcoming Obstacles, and Coming Out on Top.

Words of Wisdom:

The only way to meet a challenge is head on.

Don’t sell people on what you’re doing; figure out what they want.

You cannot motivate people by standing over their shoulders and nitpicking them.

Get people on board by asking them what they should be doing.

Instead of convincing yourself that you’re the best, ask yourself “how can I be better?”

Contact Steve Hoffman (Captain Hoff):

Founders Space: https://FoundersSpace.com
Books: https://FoundersSpace.com/books
Podcast: https://www.CaptainHoff.com/
Facebook: https://Facebook.com/groups/FoundersSpace
LinkedIn: https://LinkedIn.com/in/FoundersSpace/
Instagram: https://Instagram.com/FoundersSpace/
Twitter: https://Twitter.com/FoundersSpace/


Franklin Taggart: Pros and Cons of Working Alone



Franklin Taggart is the host of the podcast called Your Own Best Company.  He coaches and leads a community of people who enjoy working alone.  A lot of nerds work alone and it seemed like a good idea to learn more about what kind of support is out there for them.  This is also a special episode because it is the 50th episode and Franklin was my first guest on the podcast.  He gave me the idea to host a podcast and supported me through figuring out how to create one and getting it started.

Highlights:

Q: What inspired you to support people who work alone?

Most of the people Franklin has worked with have tended to be people who were working alone.  He noticed some patterns and some specific challenges for this population.  He also brings his enthusiasm for working alone and connecting with others in the same space.

Q: Are people who work alone typically introverts or does personality matter?

Franklin says he often works with introverts who enjoy a slow pace and quiet place.

Q: Who are your typical clients?  Are they remote workers in companies who work on their own or solopreneurs or something else?

Franklin started off mostly working with artists, authors, and musicians, but now works with a lot of businesspeople too.  The majority of clients are in professional services, like coaching and consulting, some who are freelancers, and others have roles such as technical writers.

Q: What kinds of challenges do they run into?  How do you help them?

Franklin discusses several challenges.  One of the biggest challenges is that working alone means having to wear a lot of hats.  A resulting challenge is being unwilling to delegate and let go of control.

In this episode, we also talk about social isolation, anxiety, and depression, why people who like to work alone would want to have a community, what the benefits are of working alone, ow can extroverts succeed at working alone, and what resources Franklin recommends for people who work alone.

Shout Out:

The book The Company of One by Paul Jarvis is a great resource.

Words of Wisdom:

Introverted doesn’t mean shy.

People who prefer working alone still need human contact.

Contact Franklin Taggart:

Website: https://www.franklintaggart.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/franklin-taggart-coaching/

Podcast: Your Own Best Company


Angelo Ponzi: Strategic Conversations About Marketing



Joanie has a conversation with Angelo Ponzi, a marketing architect at The Ponzi Group. Angelo has more than 25 years of marketing experience in and outside of companies in industries ranging from semiconductors to financial to restaurants to beverage to ice cream. As a fractional Chief Marketing Officer (and marketing nerd!) he helps define market opportunities, develop competitive profiles, and marketing strategies.  Angelo talks to us about how technical leaders can strategize about marketing and what pitfalls to avoid.

Highlights:

Q: What drew you to the field of marketing?

Angelo says that it is about being able to solve problems for clients.  He also talks about feedback he received early in his career to identify where his aptitudes lay.

Q: What’s the difference between what you do and what the typical digital marketing firms do?

Angelo describes how digital marketing firms are often his clients.  They hire him to conduct market research for them so they know who to target to get clicks.

Q: What are some common marketing pitfalls technical leaders tend to run into?  Are they different from the pitfalls other types of leaders face?

Angelo has noticed that there seems to be more of a focus on the features of the product than the functional value of it.

Q: How can technical people think more strategically about marketing?  When should they start doing this?

Angelo talks about the importance of telling your product’s story, among other things.

Q: How can technical people better communicate with and appreciate marketing help?  How would your ideal technical leader interact with you?

Angelo suggests stepping back to understand the user and the customer.  They may not be the same people. Listen to the show to hear more about what technical leaders can do to improve their marketing strategies.

Shout Out to Angelo’s podcast Business Growth Café.

Words of Wisdom:

It’s the failures that help you learn what you’re good at.

At the end of the day, you will fall in love with your product but you have to make sure there is a market for it.

Know your customer and build relationships with them.

Contact Angelo Ponzi:

949-357-9547

angelo@theponzigroup.com

www.theponzigroup.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/angeloponzi/


Michael Puldy: Managing Critical Life Circumstances



Joanie has a deeply personal conversation with Michael Puldy, CEO and Founder of Puldy Resiliency Partners, LLC.  Michael has over three decades of technology, information risk management, and operations experience in the aerospace, banking and computer technology sectors, including at IBM. He is passionately focused on ways companies can improve their offensive and defensive posture towards internal and external threats.  But, in this episode, Michael shares a personal story about how an unexpected suicide impacted his life, both personally and professionally.

Highlights:

Michael answered these questions and more.

  1. Your career was pretty accelerated for the first 25 years. You worked in governments, aerospace, banking, a security services start up and at IBM….and then you personally came to a full stop.   You lost your first wife to suicide.  Walk us through your professional mindset and focus around that time (2009).
  2. Professionally, you have built a career around disaster recovery, continuity and incident planning, and crisis management, talk about how your professional vocation helped you through this experience…or did it?
  3. Let’s fast forward 12 years later, looking back how did you navigate your way through your crisis both personal and professionally, what worked and how did you reinvent or rebuild yourself?

Listen to the episode to hear his story, how he took care of himself, how others supported him, and what he learned.

Shout Out:

Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, where Michael volunteers.

Contact Michael Puldy:

Email: michael@puldypartners.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mpuldy/