Amy Chang – Founder / Accompany
Michel Feaster – CEO / Usermind
Jennifer Tejada – CEO / PagerDuty
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be the captain of the ship, steering a startup to breaking through $10, 20, 40 million ARR—and beyond? In this session, hear from 3 female CEOs who each sit at the helm of a fast-growing Silicon Valley tech company: Accompany, PagerDuty and Usermind. They’ll recount pivotal experiences from their leadership journeys and share key leanings gained from navigating the often choppy (but thrilling) seas of startup scaling.
As your business scales you will need to vary your leadership. How you lead and the style of leadership needs to change to adapt to the growing business. Some CEO’s are more suitable to early stage than late stage. Be prepared at some stage to recognise that you may not be the best leader for future growth of your company. Not always the case but need to be aware and adapt as required.
As a CEO, you need to work out what to be involved in vs what to delegate
In a growing business the CEO/ Founder can make every decision up to 20 people. After that look to the person that has the most knowledge to make the right decision and trust them to make it
Clear communication is key for business success. Easy to achieve when teams are small and huddled in one room but as you grow need to develop chains of communication as well as open town meetings.
For your team to make the right decisions, you need to communicate clearly the objectives of the business and what needs to be achieved. A team can’t make the right decisions if they don’t understand growth targets, company goals and desired outcomes.
Culture comes from the top – from the CEO and everyone need me to embody it
CEO has to manage how long a company has until they have until they have to raise again – manage burn and top line revenue
CEO needs to learn each week and gain knowledge to solve every week’s next problem
How to be perfect as a team and not perfect as an individual
Find coaches and mentors for your senior staff to help them and you.
Give staff the ability to reward each other on the companies dollar
Empower people to make the decision, especially in times of strain
Understand stress responses from team members so you can better manage it as a team and support each other
Don’t scale any part of business until something’s working really well with repeatable motions
How to build a board
- You want a board to be out in the market place understanding the industry so they can help you see around corners and identify upcoming surprises in the market that you may not be aware of.
- Use the board to further investigate what’s happening in the industry
- Don’t ever deliver surprises to the board at a board meeting
- Pre-calls to the board if something surprising is going to come up in board meeting
- Choose them wisely
- Invest in the relationship with the board
- Chemistry of the board, can they as individuals strengthen the overall board
- More value from casual interactions than from the board meeting
- Sounding board around business strategy rather than board reviews
- Use your board to help with making key Introductions
- Advisory board is very different to Company Board
- CEO mustn’t delegate the big decision up to the board but can do in a 1 on 1 casual chat about issues within the business
- The CEO must make the decision.
- Board meetings are focused on outcomes and tracking.