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, Louise O'Connell, Chief Customer Officer, Fenergo.
What’s your superpower that’s made you successful in a ScaleUp?
When you’re a leader for a ScaleUp company, you are operating in multiple countries and hurdling multiple challenges while rapidly growing. My superpower is my resilience and ability to keep calm under pressure. I’ve had to learn over the years that done is better than perfect. If you expect everything to be funneled through you, then you’re going to fail.
How did you get to where you are? What was your career path?
I started my career with humble beginnings in technical support learning how to support software applications in Dublin. In the early 2000s, Internet banking was kicking off and I worked for an organization that was the first fully on-line European bank, but the company was too far ahead of its time and it ended up failing. This allowed me to move into Financial Services where I was able to climb my way from the very bottom to the top, where I eventually became Chief Operating Officer. Fast forward, I now am the Chief Customer Officer at Fenergo. Throughout my career I’ve had to work my way up the hard way, but that has given me the opportunity to really learn and understand the business in-depth.
What was the most unexpected part of your career?
An opportunity that I didn’t expect was when CIT shut down operations in Europe, I was responsible for fully transforming the business under new private equity ownership and keeping the lights on. The buck stopped with me, which was challenging but a truly transformational experience. I proved to myself that I could do it and built a great team around me in the process.
Have you had a mentor? Share a story of how they impacted your growth.
One of my mentors was the Global COO at CIT and she really challenged me. I remember she once asked me, “what tools do you have in your toolkit” and this helped me reflect on my value. She helped me articulate what I really bring to an organization and to use my voice to advance in my career and drive the business forward.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
Don’t sweat the small stuff and get to the “so what” faster. When you’re early in your career, many people struggle thinking that they need to know all of the details. When you’re a leader, you need to be able to clearly articulate the problem and know your ask. And most importantly, this should all be based on facts and data versus anecdotal information – always understand the root cause to get to the “so what”.
What does it mean to you to be a part of the Faces of Change program?
It’s an honor to be selected and I’ve already benefited by being exposed to these senior women. While I’ve been a board member for three years, it’s been so valuable to receive advice from women who have been on multiple boards. The virtual salons are a great way for us to share advice and understand how to strategically advance my career.