Last year, Insight Partners launched the Faces of Change Executive Leadership Academy with a cohort of six inspiring women from our portfolio of ScaleUp software companies. The program provides these executives with resources, connections and coaching to support their development and the advancement of female and minority employees.
To celebrate Women's History Month, we interviewed each of the women who were selected to be a part of the program. In the interview below, learn more about one of the members, Dr. Shawn Mahoney, Chief Product Officer and Chief Learning Officer, Illuminate Education.
Have you had a mentor?
I’ve had the honor and privilege of a business advisor that didn’t really change me as a person but did allow me to see things differently. He taught me to understand things first, do them second, and teach them third. He understands the dynamics of my business and of my mind in a way that enlightens and informs both. He has taught me that if we start with the outcome, we often get suboptimal results. Whereas, if you start with meaning, that drives behavior and outcomes, thereby giving optimized results. It’s all about setting context and establishing the why behind the what.
How did you get to where you are? What was your career path?
I believe that in your career—much like in life—you become what you focus on. In my case, I started as an academic and then shifted to business and leadership. I was initially very product focused, but then began to center my interest on organizational design and effectiveness as I better understood how I could most affect change. I was fascinated by how you get people to engage with excellence and efficiency in the workplace and how you can also get different subject matter experts to work together for the greater company with a greater purpose.
What’s your superpower that's made you successful in a ScaleUp?
Cute question. I’m not sure I have one. Though if I reframe it in my mind as “what I’m naturally good at that helps me as a leader”—which I think is the intent of the question—then I’d say that I know how to be fully and empathically in the moment. I make sure that I seek first to understand what's being communicated and observe the dynamic between all the communications in the room so that I can help others gain a contextualized understanding of what problem we are trying to solve.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
Simple: establish a network of CEO mentors.