Thursday, April 2, 2015

Flat is where it's at!

Weve been looking for a Senior Vice President at reSET for some time now.  We needed someone to manage the day-to-day operations and oversee the talented work of the team thats in place, freeing me to concentrate on strategic development.

In the months of searching, a funny thing happened: The team stepped in, stepped up, and kept moving the ball forward. In the absence of a leader, they took the lead.

Program manager Rosie Gallant pulled in Ben Simmons-Telep to assist her in delivering the programs she leads, giving her bandwidth to start developing new programs. Ben didnt just step up and help with the existing work, he took on a whole new initiative - setting up an Internship program - and saw it take off. 

Ojala Naeem, who has been managing the day-to-day operations of our co-working space, took it upon herself to research several co-working spaces from here to Toronto. She then put together various space crawls and surveys to find out what local entrepreneurs are looking for and conducted an exhaustive search in the Hartford area for suitable spaces for us to relocate to.  We signed a lease earlier this week and will be open for business at our new location-where there will be easy, free parking-May 1 (more to come on that!).

James Woulfe, who was instrumental in helping us propel the nations most comprehensive social enterprise legislation through the Connecticut Senate and House of Representatives (while at the same time working his way through law school), began establishing the connections we need within the city to help entrepreneurs navigate through and connect with the resources they need to succeed.

And Joanne Donaghue continued to plug away at sowing the development seeds, applying for grants, and developing relationships that will support our efforts.

Meanwhile, the search continued. We interviewed many strong candidates. But as the days became weeks and weeks became months, the perfect match did not emerge. And then the reSet team approached me to suggest that perhaps we didnt really need to find a single leader. Perhaps, they ventured, they could lead together.

Yeah, butI felt the need for a right hand to take details off my plate. (My other important role is as CEO of The Walker Group, a large and growing technology services firm. Its my day job and takes at least half of my 80 hour week.) I dont have the time to not have strong leadership  I dont have time to take on that leadership role I explained. I wouldnt have to, they explained

And heres what happened: They created a tight-knit team that got the job done. They met among themselves to figure out what was needed and made it happen. They pulled me in for the high level discussions or when a tie-breaker was needed but for the most part they figured it out on their own. For my part, I found myself enjoying my time at reSET more than ever, because watching a well-oiled team at work is a thing of beauty, and because I was increasingly able to work at the strategic level that interests me and where I can add the most value. Theres respect and silliness, hard work and ping pong, planning and follow-through action. What were distinctly lacking is petty BS.  There is no whining, no games of one-upmanship, no grand-standing, no turf wars, and no passing the buck. The work is getting done. And then some.

So as of April 1 (no fooling) weve decided to forgo the position of Senior VP.  Instead we now have a team of directors who will blow you away:
  • Joanne Donaghue will continue as Director of Development
  • Rosie Gallant is now Programs Director
  • Ojala Naeem is now our Director of Operations
  • James Woulfe is our Director of Advocacy and External Affairs
And Ben Simmons-Telep -  our new Program Manager
When you next see one of these guys - congratulation them on their well-earned new roles. I am grateful and inspired to be working with them and excited to explore the possibilities of this flat, nimble organization thats trying to do so much for a community thats ready to rise.