Taking the Reigns: My First 4 Months as President of SEER
In the past 4 months, I’ve learned more about SEER, about our team, and about myself than I may have in my nearly 7 year tenure here. Okay, that may not be entirely true, but it’s certainly been a whirlwind of a learning experience to say the least. But how can someone who’s been with a company for 7 years feel that way?
4 months ago, directly upon my return from maternity leave, our mighty leader Wil Reynolds appointed me as the President of SEER. So here I was, a new mom jumping into another brand new role that had some seriously big shoes to fill. Not to mention in the span of the 4 months that I was out, we brought on 12 new team members that I never had the chance to meet. At times I questioned my own sanity, but I also had this new sense of excitement and fire that drove me to persevere through my own doubts.
It’s been absolutely amazing to feel like ‘the new person’ within the same walls that I’ve spent the last 7 years. Over the past few years I’ve been so heads down and focused on running our PPC division, and with only so many hours in a day, I didn’t have the time to really, truly get to know and understand all the amazing stuff happening at SEER.
What has it been and felt like these past few months stepping into the President role at SEER?
Wil has built a company unlike any other I’ve ever seen; it is something to be incredibly proud of. It’s his baby (and now that I am a mom, I really, really understand how that feels..) and he’s entrusting me to take care of it. I’ve learned so much working closely with Wil over the years and am hoping and praying that I can fill his big shoes.
I also recognize that this has been a big, scary shift for everyone, not just me, and the heartfelt support and encouragement from the team has been appreciated more than they will ever understand.
I’ve always felt a sense of responsibility to my team, but it’s become much heavier now. There is a team of 70+ people in two cities that are looking to me to maintain and push forward this amazing thing we have going here at SEER. And if I don’t succeed, or I take us down the wrong path, there are 70+ people whose lives are affected in a very real way. No pressure, right?
Holy moly, challenging. And I love it. I’ve had to answer tough questions, provide guidance on sticky situations, and make BIG decisions that impact SEER into the millions over the next few years… and then, share those decisions with the entire company. No amount of education, research, or advice can truly prepare you for these things.
I am constantly being pushed outside my comfort zone (no joke, this blog post was one of those pushes) and know that I will continue to be as every day will bring new challenges.
I’ve had to learn how to balance my time in new ways I never had to before, and I am a pretty stringent Franklin Covey-style planning type of person (seriously, I carry my planner almost everywhere.) But new role, new mom – this was a curveball even for me. I now have set hours when I have to handle my ‘motherhood business’ and set hours when I need to get home to switch into mommy mode. When you feel like you could work 24/7 and still not accomplish all you want to, additional time constraints complicate it all a little bit more.
In a nutshell, Wil is my ‘boss’ (we actually kind of hate that word around here) when he has his CEO/founder hat on and I am his boss when he has his SEO hat on. You try telling the founder of the company he can’t have budget for something, or he needs to get approval first! Luckily, Wil is actually happy about that, but it still will take some getting used to.
This is also a brand new role at SEER. For a long time, Wil has been wearing the hat of CEO/founder/president/CFO/SEO director and many, many more. There hasn’t been someone else who has paved the path for me that hasn’t also been the founder, which brings a very different take on each situation. Navigating the roles between CEO/founder and President is something we’ll continue to work until we find that sweet spot and balance.
…That Wil has so graciously given me the bandwidth to figure things out and put on his CEO hat when I need him to and his SEO hat when I need him to. It’s made the entire transition 1 million times less stressful than it could have been.
Also that the team, especially those members that I work closely with now that I didn’t before, has embraced me in my new role and every day whether they realize it or not, help me to become better and better.
The pressure of helping to guide such a fast growing, fast-paced company can be overwhelming. There is so much to keep up with, so much to understand. Figuring out how to balance it all is a constant battle.
What will they think? Will they trust in my direction? Am I living up to expectations? Am I communicating well? Did I make the right decision? Crap, did I give the best advice? And the list goes on. While I feel like I am generally a pretty confident person, I’d say that overall I am fairly shy, quiet, and reserved. So, while I’ve worked closely with the leadership team and with our PPC team as the director for the past few years, there are probably 30+ team members I haven’t had a chance to work closely with. So I am pushing myself to work hard each day to get to know everyone and earn their trust.
It’s been so incredibly rewarding when I get to work with our team and see the amazing things they are doing. The passion and dedication they display day in and day out helps to push me through the tough days, and I want to be my best each day. For them.
I could go on and on as I am fairly certain I’ve experienced every emotion out there these past 4 months, but my time is up. I had 1.5 hours to write this, and while to some that may seem like a lot of time, getting a post out is always a struggle for me… so thanks for the push, Wil!
All in all…
The past few months have been quite interesting, and I can’t tell you how excited I am for the struggles, challenges, and celebrations that lie ahead!